But as advantageous as mobile smart devices are for most businesses, they become absolutely vital when an organisation’s workforce is actively engaged in operations in the field. Of course, when these field operatives need to be able to easily coordinate their actions, then simply having access to mobile devices is the only step; for peak efficiency and accuracy, those organisations need mobile field service solutions.
What Is Mobile Field Service?
Mobile field service, also known as field service management, is the term used to describe any systems, tools, or processes designed to assist in the coordination of field operations in a mobile workforce. And while early mobile field service software may have been severely limited as a result of overly-bulky devices and limited internet connectivity, its modern successors suffer no such limitations. The equipment that agents now carry into the field can often fit comfortably into a pants- or jacket-pocket, and the introduction of a newer, more-advanced type of mobile field service app means that users never have to sacrifice functionality while away from the office. When used properly, mobile field service increases employee efficiency, while saving time, money, and effort. However, despite these benefits, the reality is that not every mobile field service application, toolset, or system is the same. Some mobile field service solutions provide advantages that others do not. As such, knowing what features are the most beneficial is the key to finding the solution that will put your mobile workforce ahead of the game.
Finding the Right Mobile Field Service Solution
In order to help you find the mobile field service management solution that can best benefit your organisation, we’ve identified and broken down the some of the most important features, benefits, and functionalities that you as a user would need to understand:
- Increased Mobility While in the Field
Perhaps the most important aspect of mobile field service is mobility. But beyond simply allowing users access to certain features while in the field, true mobility means complete functionality across any device—or even multiple devices at the same time. In order for this to be possible, mobile field service management software needs to be cloud-based. By choosing a cloud-based field service solution, you’ll be able to access the entire functionality of the tool, no matter which device you are using, no matter where you are, and no matter how many other authorised users are working with the same data.
This is because cloud technology stores programmes and data off-site, enabling agents complete access remotely via the internet. The data being accessed is updated and synced in real time, so that any changes made are instantly visible to other authorised users, allowing for advanced collaboration between individuals and teams, from anywhere. And, as an added benefit, cloud-based mobile field service requires no expensive hardware installation; as long as your mobile device has internet capabilities, it will be able to access the application, and even integrate it with your existing systems. The result is a faster and more-efficient set of processes, not only for the agent, but also for the customer. That is what true mobility means.
- Scheduling and Tracking in One Simple Step
The basis of field work is the work order. With work orders, users are able to schedule appointments with customers, track projects that have been completed against ones that still need to be completed, and determine the workload of each agent in the field. Advanced mobile field service tools enable users to book appointments and create work orders with almost no effort, and can even automatically allocate assignments based upon employee skills, workload, location, and other factors. These work orders can also be automatically integrated with accounts, assets, cases, contacts, entitlements, and service contracts, so the orders can easily be tracked, and any relevant, valuable data may be captured for analysis.
- Real-Time Monitoring Eliminates Delayed Solutions
Field work means getting out where the customers are, but it also means getting out of the safe, controlled environment of the office. As such, the likelihood of encountering problems, issues, and even emergencies is much higher. With built-in, real-time monitoring, advanced mobile field service tools allow leaders to instantly identify situations that require attention, and keep up with the flow of work being performed by employees as it occurs. Monitoring capabilities ensure that even when the employee is away on an assignment, he or she will never be too distant for someone to lend assistance.
- Easy Customisation for Your Company Needs
You likely aren’t the only company in your particular industry, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t unique. Your organisation has its own focus, its own processes, and its own needs, so relying on an out-of-the-box mobile field service management software just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Field service solutions that allow users to configure the base functionality of the tool, or even customise the tool’s code to better suit their demands, means that that at no point will anyone have to worry about whether or not their field service solution will fit their business. And, as your business grows, you’ll be able to easily scale the field service to adapt to your changing needs.
The Need for Mobile Field Service
While it’s nothing new for businesses to benefit from the aid of field service, mobile solutions are changing the way field service is accomplished. It’s predicted that by 2018, 70% of mobile workers will use a tablet or a hybrid device that has tablet-like characteristics, but as this proliferation of mobile smart devices occurs, clients are beginning to expect more from the field agents who assist them. At the same time, data analytics is becoming ever-more important, as organisations learn to leverage customer data into actionable information. As a result, those businesses who are able to provide exceptional customer service, while maintaining a detailed record of work will find themselves at an advantage over competitors that do not. On the other hand, those businesses who forgo advanced mobile field service solutions may find themselves quickly falling behind.
Stay ahead of the curve, by investing in mobile field service for your organisation, and focus on the advantages that come from giving your customers—and your employees—what they want.