When was the last time you woke up from a night’s slumber and didn’t first check your smart phone or tablet for an update on what you missed over night? What’s the weather? Is there traffic? Do I have a 9am meeting I am already late for?
This attachment to mobile technology is not just a trend for millennials and their younger co-hort. From toddlers to grandmas to the field service technicians, mobility is becoming a way of life.
But with this level of ubiquity comes some missteps by service organisations as they look to drive value in these investments. In order to avoid a technology journey which will lack the impact that top performers achieve, service organisations should keep a few best practices in mind:
- Make technology simple for your techs. The fastest way to achieve zero to low ROI on a technology investment is to have technicians who decide to work around the solution because they are not on board for this IT initiative. Technicians should be involved in the identification, selection, and deployment of the tools they will have to use as a part of their daily activities. Being forced to use a tool because the home office said it will drive productivity is not a guarantee of adoption. Technology is no longer a foreign subject for the field, but no one likes to be forced into change.
- Open a window from the customer, to the field, all the way to the back office. Often times the discussion around paper forms and a move to mobile tools surrounds around cost savings, efficiency gains, and the ability to increase turns of the wrench. These are all benefits, but the value of mobility goes well beyond these tangible and low-hanging fruit KPI. Mobility provides a view into the field and each customer interaction. And as organisations continue to jockey with competitors and third party service providers, it is imperative that the service organisation have real time insight into the service experience so adjustments can be made to ensure the customer experience is continuously improved.
- Mobility must be an on-going journey, not a one-time IT investment. Too often, IT roadmaps are not created for the service team but instead are reserved the rest of the enterprise. But as service, assets, and customer relationships become more and more complex, it is important that technology for the service team is an area which receives constant attention, investment, and re-evaluation. This doesn’t mean that this has to be a cost drain, on the contrary if service technology initiatives follow a clear strategic vision it will avoid the pitfalls of long drawn out implementations which show no ROI.
- Find the tools that work for your team. Mobile technology is an aspect of field service which most mirrors the consumer world when it comes to excitement and ‘cool’ factor. Many service organisations are evaluating and investing in the latest technology around tablets, smart phones, and wearables. But much like the consumer space, if you haven’t identified a clear need, business value, and implementation strategy to maximise the technology’s use this will be a waste. I can’t count the number of devices I have hidden away in a closet in my house because after a short period of excitement the tool didn’t actually improve my daily life. Don’t let this happen for your service organisation or your field service technicians.
Mobile technology is rapidly evolving and it is a very exciting time to be involved in field service as organisations are investing in the latest tools to help their technicians.
But organisations must remain focused on a clear strategic vision which maximizes the value of mobility while also ensuring that this is part of an on-going improvement model. If this approach is taken, organisations will find that not only will their field teams have the tools that help them navigate the 21st century but they will also be able to deliver exceptional service to customers.