You’re considering an upgrade from a paper-based system or a home-grown system featuring a collection of disjointed apps to a connected field service management solution. But what, exactly, will that solution look like?
It shouldn’t be just another version of what you’re already doing on another system. This transformation is an opportunity to reduce inefficiencies from the existing process and connect your entire operation.
While there are many capabilities and add-ons available, you don’t have to implement them all at once. Simplify the transition to a new system by identifying the key features you’ll need right off the bat and those you may want to consider down the line.
Your field service management must-haves
Align the process from end to end
Introducing a single-console system provides a full view of the field for agents and dispatchers, who assign, track, and cancel assignments in real time. Dispatchers see schedules, track locations, assign tasks based on skill set (algorithms suggest qualified workers), and eliminate overscheduling or job crossover. To boost efficiency further, give dispatchers the visibility to track parts and inventory, ensuring every assigned mobile worker has what they need to complete the job.
Manage without paper
Digital work order management is crucial to raising the job completion rate. When mobile workers are dispatched with digital work orders, they are primed with the information they need on the customer and details about the site. It’s a vital way to instantly track all updates about the assigned job so everyone involved can see it in real time. Digital work orders also mean no more lost or miscategorized forms, which is often a reason for delays in invoicing.
Activate mobility in the field
Mobile workers are the face of your company, and not only in the literal sense: 89% of service decision makers say the experience a customer has with a mobile worker is a reflection of their brand. To provide the best service, implement mobile capabilities to empower mobile workers with the information they need to deliver the best customer experiences.
A connected mobile worker gets a complete view of the customer before arriving at the appointment with access to customer data, task details, and their schedules via a dedicated field service app on their smartphone or tablet. They log updates before, during, and after the appointment, and have access to inventory details and asset management insights. While on-site in remote areas, mobile workers get this same information with offline capabilities by downloading the day’s materials before they start the day. Updates sync back once mobile workers are back in a range of data.
Harness powerful workforce analytics
A connected field service management solution instantly adds value with reporting and analytics that allow complete visibility into operational performance across the field service organization from how jobs are scheduled to the completion of work in the field.
Dispatchers see assigned tasks completed and tasks pending at a glance. Business users also view metrics like hours logged, hours billable, and work order completion rate. Once it’s quantified, you can put the numbers to work to improve efficiencies, like reducing billed overtime hours.
Make it intuitive to use
When introducing a field service management system, it’s important to manage change and allow time for employees to adjust. Companies must guide employees who may be accustomed to manual spreadsheets and whiteboards, giving them steps along the way as they move to a digital process.
The best bet is to leverage a solution that’s user-centric and intuitive, eliminating the need for lengthy training and onboarding processes. But it should also have the modern tools expected by digital natives that make it easier to get more work done: a real-time map overview of worker locations and instant job status updates.
Another consideration with long-term mobile workers: the institutional knowledge they draw on may be on paper or it may not be written down at all. Make a plan to transfer knowledge to digital, such as creating knowledge base articles and video tutorials into a learning management system for new employees.
Additional capabilities to consider
Depending on your business’s specific needs and preferences, these features may be worth adding in the first phase of adoption or keeping in mind for later.
Seamless self-service for customers
Add convenience for tech-savvy customers with online appointment booking, either with your customer-facing app, if you have one, or through a customer portal on your website. You may also consider issuing ongoing automated notifications like preventative maintenance reminders through your app, email, or SMS.
Keep tabs on the whole fleet
A fleet management system delivers numerous benefits. Because it can track all of the vehicles, plus traffic and weather, it can lead to lower fuel costs and increase the amount of completed jobs. They also give valuable insights into the hours and miles driven, so dispatchers can see outliers and top performers. Leverage a fleet management system for automated reminders on when vehicles are due for maintenance, leading to longer vehicle lifespans and safer employees.
Ensure all aspects of projects are on track
Project management services can be added to your workforce solution to ensure that equipment is in the right place, and projects come in on time and on budget, from start to finish to support the most complex operations.
Create custom training materials
Training plays a big role in the implementation and success of a new system. Leverage a technology partner that can help you build out a customized onboarding and training program, which can include classes, digital learning resources, and more.
Offer continuous support in the field
Elevate first-visit resolution rates by empowering mobile workers to self-serve when they are unable to resolve an issue on their own. To do this, build in compliance with automated flows to walk mobile workers through jobs and create a digital knowledge base with articles and video tutorials. If mobile workers still can’t resolve an issue, add functions to connect with the contact center or a remote agent, either by phone or through chat.
Considerations for the future
As you continue to evolve your company’s field service operation, consider connecting sales capabilities into your solution. You may incorporate the ability to make sales or the option to easily begin work on another product while at the same site. You can also anticipate easier customer appointment updates, like the ability to cancel and reschedule via text before the service vehicle is on its way, freeing up that mobile worker for another job.
As customer expectations continue to evolve for connected field service, companies need to choose a field service management platform that changes at the speed of business. Discover how to maximize efficiency while providing onsite support with Field Service Lightning.