By Fan Bi
It’s possible that nothing has upended the status quo of the traditional office experience more than the mobile broadband revolution that has taken place over the last decade. The early part of the 21st century, when you used an out-of-office auto-reply and were actually unable to check your email until you physically returned to the office, might as well have been decades ago in terms of technological possibilities. As mobile technologies have advanced, developers have created ingenious methods for executives and sales professionals to stay productive, even while on the road. Now almost any employee in any industry can successfully perform the core functions of a job from nearly any location.
Along with the ability to do work from anywhere came the need for leaders to find new ways to manage workers while they are away from the office. Innovative tech companies answered the call by developing sophisticated mobile workforce management software designed to fill the gaps that exist between the in-office and mobile work experiences. Mobile workforce management solutions are being employed in a variety of different industries, including service, retail, telecommunications, and manufacturing, proving that the mobile revolution isn’t confined to any specific type of company or sector. If you or any of your employees ever need to get work done away from the office, integrating mobile workforce management software into your business can help streamline processes for both your team and your customers, no matter the size and scope of your company.
All of this was essentially made possible by the principles outlined in Moore’s Law, which dictate the speed at which processing power increases. As software developers saw that mobile devices would soon be capable of handling much more sophisticated tasks, they began to invest serious resources in creating programs that would take advantage of the more advanced hardware. The growth of the cloud also played a significant role in this revolution, as developers were soon able to store massive amounts of data on remote servers and give users access through a cloud portal.
As this technology became available, common, and inexpensive, many business leaders understandably questioned the value of the status quo office situation. They realized that implementing mobile work capabilities could provide benefits to all parties involved: The company would benefit from productivity increases, employees would be able to work more flexibly, and customers could have their needs addressed more efficiently.
As usually happens in the business world, the success demonstrated by these forward-thinking organizations encouraged other companies to follow suit. Soon the concept of the traditional office was being challenged across the world. In 2015, the U.S. mobile worker population numbered an estimated 96.2 million, and is expected to reach over 105 million by the year 2020. To keep up with this trend of on-the-go work, companies are transitioning to mobile-friendly work solutions, management, and analysis.
With nearly 100 million people across the country working remotely, all companies need to ensure that the proper procedures are in place to allow their mobile workforce to operate effectively and efficiently. Many executives have discovered that if you simply enable your employees to work in a mobile capacity without a clear plan and a set of helpful tools, you could end up with a disorganized mess.
Clear, reliable channels for communication, asset coordination, and easy access to data all play crucial roles in the effectiveness of your mobile workforce, and most mobile workforce management solutions are specifically designed to address these needs. In addition, you have to be able to measure the impact that your mobile employees are having on the company and customers. Any high-quality mobile workforce software should have a robust system in place for collecting and analyzing data for productivity metrics.
It’s obvious that the trend toward a mobile workforce isn’t reversing itself anytime soon, which means that nearly all organizations are going to have to determine how mobile workforce management can best benefit them at some point in the future. In order to get the most out of your system, it’s helpful to search for solutions with the specific needs of your company in mind. General promises of increased productivity are nice, but micro-features that cater specifically to your operations are the key to ramping up your mobile workforce.
For instance, if your mobile employees are required to carry expensive assets on the road in order to serve customers, you may require a solution that is centered around asset management and has strict controls in place for employee accountability. If improving the quality of mobile work projects is a primary concern, then you can look for mobile workforce management software that allows you to easily monitor the status and quality of remote work.
A big component of maximizing the productivity of mobile employees is making sure they have consistent access to everything that they need in order to do their jobs just as effectively as they would in a physical office. Product information, inventory levels, order statuses, accounting information, and more data points should all be available to them through your software system.
Not only does this enable your employees to respond to customers quickly and accurately, but it also empowers them to present a seamless, cohesive experience for the customer throughout their relationship with your company.
The more we learn about the work habits of highly-effective employees, the more we discover that everyone operates differently when it comes to optimal productivity. Some people excel at catching up on small tasks throughout the day during their down time between appointments or client meetings. Others prefer to let more menial tasks accumulate throughout their workday, and will sit down at the end and knock everything out at once.
Mobile workforce management software allows you to pay attention to how your team members do their best, most productive work, and it gives them the proper tools they need to get things done. Imagine being the employee who loves to complete tasks as needed, but not having access to the appropriate databases while you’re waiting in your car for your next appointment. This software eliminates that issue. In addition, you can use productivity metrics to coach employees on finding other methods for improvement if they aren’t consistently reaching their goals.
Increasing the productivity of your employees through mobile workforce management is usually a worthy goal unto itself, but you can’t forget that the core of the solution needs to be based on delivering quality work to your customers. Ultimately, they will be the most affected by whether your mobile work strategy is effective or not, so any system you choose to implement should be selected with the customer in mind.
Software developers have recognized that quality control is a serious concern for many organizations that employ a mobile workforce, and they have engineered tools that make it possible for management teams to monitor remote projects and conduct assessments from any location. Your customers can rest assured knowing that they’ll get the top-level work they paid for, and you and your leadership team can make adjustments as needed based on data from the job site.
Mobile workforce management systems, like any technological endeavor, are subject to glitches and slowdowns, which is why it’s crucial to have a strong support structure in place from the point of implementation. You must be able to minimize the negative impact when an issue does arise. The incredible possibilities that are a result of the mobile technological revolution have conditioned all of us to expect on-demand access to anything at any time, so both your customers and employees will want to know that the mobile experience won’t suffer from inopportune software or hardware downtime or outages. Your employees rely on your system to service their customers from many different locations and in numerous situations. Investing in robust tech support to quickly address any needs they have should be a top priority.
Aligning an innovative and cohesive customer experience with your business goals is a great way to gain a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Customers want to be taken on a journey that is customized to their habits and focused on their unique needs, and they expect a consistently high level of service from your company representatives even when they aren’t in the office.
New technology allows for mobile sales professionals and service technicians to have access to an unprecedented amount of information concerning the customer’s entire history with the organization, freeing them to deliver an exceptional experience with every interaction. Mobile workforce management software can also help you match technicians with particular skill sets to specific customers who need them the most, and you can provide customers with the ability to schedule appointments with representatives anytime. Having a well-equipped mobile workforce is the key to being able to strengthen your customer experience and drive sales growth.
The best way to see how Salesforce is revolutionizing customer service is with a guided tour of Service Cloud. With the guided tour, we can show you how Service Cloud shines in several common use cases and scenarios.
Questions? Our reps have answers. 1-800-667-6389