“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in their own way,” reads the famous opening line of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The same could be said of companies — so we’ve found as we’ve helped more field service firms shift from paper-based processes to automated ones asserts Phillipp Emmengger of Core Systems
Field service companies usually come to us seeking a more streamlined way of doing things. They typically are working under the burden of a heavily paper-based process with unique, time-consuming ways of doing things. One customer, for example, required technicians to re-enter their data back into their systems after their day was done, while another passed the paperwork to teams of data-entry clerks to enter the often illegible information. Neither was ideal.
Customers start enjoying the benefits of a more efficient process, they begin to notice something else: that not only are their customers happy, they’re happy”
As Lisa Erling, Chief Financial Officer at the California-based Vegetable Growers Supply, a packaging supply firm, said of the new work culture that emerged after their move to automated services, “It’s a whole new business.”
As with happy families, happy field service companies appear to have certain traits in common.
Here are the top 6 ways we’ve found on how automation can create a happier work culture:
Technicians Are in Control of Their Day:
Field service software on mobile devices allow technicians to see and manage everything in their day. They can easily record and track their working hours, see the day’s schedules and if any changes occur to their schedule. With a mobile solution, the lines of communication between technicians and the back office are constantly open, meaning technicians are better supported, and don’t have to return to the office when problems occur.
Free Technicians from the Burden of Paperwork:
Forgotten forms, lost paperwork, re-entering data back at the office and even interpreting their own illegible handwriting used to add to the administrative burden of a technician’s day. With an automated, mobile solution, where everything is in one place and is filled out and captured in the course of the day, the hours technicians literally spent on the admin of their jobs is reduced. “Our employees are very satisfied,” says Johann Schild Jr, Managing Director of Herstellung & Handels, the German supplier of hydraulic systems and accessories, “They are able to save time, which they use much more effectively. They benefit from having all the data they need in their hands and they have less paperwork to fill out, which for a technician is always an advantage.”
Empowered Technicians Have the Information They Need to Perform at Their Best:
Mobile solutions give technicians everything thing they need to do the job right: service manuals, customer and service histories and inventory levels and the ability to order spare parts are all at their fingertips. As first-time fix rates rise, technicians feel empowered by their ability to quickly do their job right. Daniel Reichert, a service technician at Cald’Oro, the Austrian makers of high end coffee machines, says: “I am much faster in creating service orders or in finding spare parts. I can see at a glance what my colleague did during his last visit, what work he carried out on the machine and what the problem was. Everything is just much faster. You can see right away what part was changed during the last service or which item got damaged when. It allows me to narrow down the errors in no time.”
Improved Relations Between Technicians and Customers:
Technicians armed with the knowledge of who their customers are and their service histories can put customers immediately at ease and demonstrate quickly to them their understanding of their equipment and issues. But they can also make the repair process more transparent. Simple photo capture of broken equipment, for instance, can show customers (especially with inaccessible parts) where the problem has occurred and how severe it is.
Better Communications and Team Work Between Technicians and Back Office:
No one likes to have to constantly check in with their office or have their office checking up on them. With mobile devices, automatic status updates can be easily sent when a job is marked done, when snags are occurring, or when drive times are taking longer than expected. Open communications between all team members can also let techs tap each other for knowledge, and let techs quickly locate a supervisor if they need one or call in extra help.
Work Faster; Save Time:
If there’s one thing that makes technicians happy, it’s the ability to work faster and save time. No one wants to be bogged down trying to diagnose a problem, when a simple service history might speed up the process. No one wants to have re-enter information when easy data capture could let them do this as they work.
With technicians on the front lines and in the position of representing and advocating for your brand and company, their happiness has a direct impact on customer happiness.