Written by 6:00 am Feature, FSM Technology

Real-Time Field Service: Are You Mobile, Yet?

Manuel Grenacher, CEO of Coresystems, reflects on the benefits for mobile in field service…

Selfies. Games. Social media. We’re all familiar with the image; a co-worker’s face buried in a smartphone completely engrossed by what they’re seeing on the screen.

They’re far off in another digital world.

Previously, mobile devices were seen as an on-the-job distraction. Today, mobile devices enhance how field service technicians do their jobs, leaving satisfied customers in their wake.

Although consumers are using apps, smartphones, and tablets on a daily basis, many field service companies see barriers to implementing a mobile solution, such as the cost of technology or low ROI. According to the Aberdeen Group, 48% of field service organisations are resistant to change. (Source: The Mobile Technician: The Evolution of the Connection in 2015, Aberdeen Group, July 2015.)

Here are the reasons why you should overcome those barriers and make your technicians mobile:

Real-Time, Flexible Problem Solving

Today, everything is expected to be immediate.

When a customer’s machine breaks, they don’t want to wait days to schedule a service appointment. Service has to come on-demand and in real-time.

The so-called “On-Demand Economy” allows us to order pizza, a taxi, or someone to help us with our groceries with a tap on our smartphones.

Why should it be different for field service organisations?

Mobile devices equipped with field service software allow service techs to ask colleagues questions or seek out information and machine manuals so they can properly diagnose and service a product on the first try.

This becomes especially important when you have new technicians joining your organisation. It allows them to quickly get working and still be able to consult with more experienced employees.

And while many companies have begun to wisely focus on both preventive and predictive maintenance, it is “important that organisations remain vigilant and flexible enough to be able to adjust to unexpected events which could not be forecast,” says Aly Pinder, Jr., Senior Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group.

To put it more plainly, sometimes accidents happen and things break suddenly that were not–or could not be–predicted.

With that in mind, field service companies need to have the option to utilise mobile technology to handle these types of situations immediately.

When equipped with mobile devices, technicians are connected to the answers they need to solve problems wherever they may be. According to Aberdeen Research, 69% of Best-in-Class organisations “equip the field team with access to peers and remote experts through mobile devices.”

Better Customer Service

Great customer service is critical in today’s business climate. The tools you invest in for your business must improve service for your customers.

This is another reason why having mobile technicians is valuable. Well-performing companies have used mobile to encourage their techs to perform better, and to differentiate the field service they offer from the competition.

Hotelier Sepp Greil, who uses Cald’oro coffee machines in his hotels, was impressed by the company’s implementation of Coresystems’ Field Service software.

“For me, seeing all the efforts listed on an iPad was new, but I could understand exactly what had been done,” Greil said. “The service was rendered much faster and more efficiently and I can only congratulate the company on implementing this solution.”

Today, technicians are expected to deliver great customer service on top of completing fixes and service calls.

Technicians are now salespeople and customer service agents, in addition to being engineers.

Now if, for example, a customer cannot be on-site while the field service tech is there fixing a broken machine, a mobile device can be used to confirm with the customer that the SLA has been met.

A Connected Team

Going mobile isn’t just for your technicians, and it doesn’t benefit only them either. Great field service companies work with their IT departments to create a mobility strategy that is inclusive and beneficial across the board, not just for technicians who use mobile in the field.

When implemented correctly, mobility will assist techs in being more productive, give customers better and faster service, and help executives and leaders of the company have a real-time perspective of how the field service company is operating.

Still, companies should invest in mobile wisely, not like a teenager looking to get the newest device because it’ll make him the most popular kid in school until every other kid gets one too.

Investing in mobility is an on-going, strategic business element. Aly Pinder Jr. of Aberdeen Research says: “The Best-in-Class leverage mobile to provide the field team with real-time information, the entire team with integrated data, and management with the insight into field performance and location of service resources.”

Happier Technicians

Utilising mobile field service software not only makes your customers happy, but it can also make your technicians happier at work. Now is the time to make the switch from paper-based systems to mobile to give your techs the ability to deliver better service.

And the Best-in-Class have a 76% employee satisfaction rate, which is higher than industry standards and laggards. Mobility also takes training out of the office and gets new technicians out in the field sooner. Thanks to mobile devices, new technicians will have all the training tools they need along with direct access to their peers and colleagues who can help them through more difficult fixes.

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