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A mobile application that’s configured to your business needs may be exactly what your field technicians need so that they’re more productive.

Let’s face it, your field technicians need to generate revenue. To generate revenue, you need to get the right technicians to a customer site as quickly as possible—and with the right parts necessary to fix the job the first time. According to an eMarketer study on mobile apps, it was found that the average American in 2016 spent 54 minutes a day using applications on their smartphone. Now think about what that application time is doing to your technicians’ productivity rates.

Counterintuitive usability metrics

It seems counterintuitive, considering today’s world where we shop, get news updates and even keep ourselves amused while waiting in the airport with the latest game craze on our mobile phone, but field technicians need to be unstuck from their mobile device.

A sticky application is wrong for the field. Your field technicians must be able to focus on the main goal, which is customer service. What I mean is that consumer applications make revenue by encouraging you to use their application. However, this can leave your field technicians stuck if they are out in the field and waiting for an application to update before they can enter in a piece of data. Mobile applications for field service management need to unstick your technician by allowing them to capture necessary information at any time without disruption to your business.

1. Interface designed to facilitate minimal, hands-on involvement

The layout of a mobile field service management (FSM) application needs to be simple and intuitive. It should require minimal keystrokes and defaulting fields, enabling an efficient workflow that is appropriate for your business. Mobile devices need to take advantage of barcoding, picture capture and easy data collection methods so that their hands are kept off the keyboard and on product resolution.

Technicians should also be comfortable with the user interface (UI) being used. If a technician prefers an Apple format, the look and feel of the UI should match Apple’s design to keep technicians agile. The same goes for an Android or Windows user. Allow your world to be platform-independent and allow your technician to work in a world they are most comfortable in.

2. Automatic updates without technician intervention

Let’s think hypothetically for a moment. Your technician arrived on time because his/her mobile application provided real-time driving directions, allowing them to avoid any current traffic delays, and your customer was kept up to date—from the moment that your technician was en route, arrived on-site and once the work had been completed satisfactorily. Your technician documented the problem, recorded the parts used and calculated the travel and labor time on-site, too. Your technician even gathered feedback from the customer on the level of service that was provided. That all went well, but you find there’s a problem at the time of invoicing. Your technician forgot to send all of that data back to the home office and it took weeks to get the invoice to the customer. The price of the part used was wrong, too, as the technician forgot to get the current price list before he went on site. So, what could have prevented this?

67% of customers say the number one component of customer satisfaction is getting the invoice on time. Make sure your system is providing real-time updates without the technician’s involvement, ensuring the data being worked with is current and that it is sent back to the host in real-time, or when in coverage, without the technician needing to take an extra step.

3. Information available to improve first-time fix rates

Two (or more) trips to a customer site are expensive, not only from a cost standpoint but from a customer satisfaction standpoint. First-time fix rates are key to a successful service operation. Ensure your technician has the right manuals, diagrams, latest technician bulletins, helpful videos and possible solutions at their fingertips. In the fast changing world of today’s technology, it is impossible to know every possible reiteration of every piece of equipment that is serviced. Provide your technician with a toolbox of information to help them be successful on-site the first time.

Ensure your technician has the right part(s) to complete the job. Excess inventory is expensive. Use data analytics to ensure that the flow of your service parts is enabling you to get the right part to the right place at the right time. Doing so will help your technician to fix it right the first time.

Ensuring the productivity of your technicians not only helps your bottom line for service revenue, but it improves your customer satisfaction. Support your technicians by making sure that information received in the field is simple, easily accessible and accurate.

How mobile applications unstick your technicians

The use of mobile applications is a great way to improve the productivity of your field service technicians. In addition to improving productivity, mobile applications that are device-agnostic (BYOD) can benefit your business by:

  • Improving time tracking
  • Improving expense tracking
  • Enabling blazing fast performance

The customer story, “IFS Field Service Management helps Associa standardize processes to better prepare for future growth,” is a great example of a real-life use case. It explains how Associa increased each of their technicians billing by two hours per day and how they saved 50% of their back office resource time by implementing a mobile solution for their field.

If you are interested in learning more about mobile applications for field service management, I suggest reading the white paper, “4 steps to choosing the right device for field service mobility.”

Do you have questions or comments about mobile applications for field service management?

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