The Paperless Trail (Part 1): Information Access in Mobile Field Service

Hello everybody and welcome to part 1 of the Paperless Trail; our new content series focused on optimizing mobile field services and modernizing the technician workforce. In this post, we’re going to cover mobile access to important information by technicians in the field and what kind of data field techs need in order to be successful at service. Let’s get started!

Mobility is hardly a foreign topic to the field service industry; all field service is mobile. What we’re discussing here is the extent to which field service organizations can utilize mobile solutions to their advantage when trying to improve their business. Specifically mobile solutions that empower field technicians with seamless information access and database syncing.

Firms are striving endlessly to optimize their service operation against key performance indicators. According to a recent Aberdeen study, some of the objectives these organizations have are to raise their productivity (55%), increase their customer satisfaction (51%) and improve the profitability of their service process (28%). Considering these goals, it’s no surprise that 55% of field service organizations are also evaluating software solutions that can help them increase the capabilities of their field workforce.

Maximizing technician access to important information in the field is integral to achieving each of these service objectives. And making vital information available to techs both before and during the service process will ultimately improve service efficiency as a whole. Difficult as this task may seem, advanced data-sharing can be done relatively simply through a field service software system that has strong mobile capabilities and cloud-based features.

Improve Productivity

Using mobile field service software, organizations can essentially turn their technicians into rock-stars by outfitting them with all the information they need to work efficiently. They can also accomplish this without the use of paper-forms. Making technicians as productive as possible is imperative for service businesses because technician utility will play a major role in the overall measurement of service success. Here’s some of the information technicians can have access to when using advanced field service software (before even leaving for a job site):

[list_well][well_item]Customer/Contact Info[/well_item][well_item]Site Information[/well_item][well_item]Equipment/Asset Details[/well_item][well_item]Work Order Type[/well_item][well_item]Invoice History[/well_item][well_item]Customer Comments on Equipment Issue[/well_item][well_item]Assigned Tasks to Complete Service[/well_item][/list_well] As you can see, by the time the tech is assigned a work order he/she will know: which customer they’re servicing, what the service call’s priority is, what tasks or abilities the service call requires and the location of the work-site. They’ll also know what piece of equipment they’ll be servicing, the customer’s past invoice records and the customer’s comments as to the equipment’s current problem. All of this knowledge means the technician can bypass process inefficiencies and focus on the inspections and repairs they were meant to do. This lowers the time-for-service for each field technician. Expand that across an entire service fleet and you’ve got yourself significant improvement in the productivity of your service operation.

Increase Customer Satisfaction

Probably where technician information access is the most help is when trying to increase a department’s customer satisfaction rate. Through field service software, organizations can provide technicians with all the information they need to get a job done right the first time and leave the customer singing praises. This advanced information sharing can be done through the use of service portals; cloud-based content hubs that technicians use to access all sorts of organized data through their mobile device.

Mobile Field Service - Customer Service

Let’s say that a field technician finds he/she is unable to diagnose an equipment issue after performing the proper inspections. That tech has a range of helpful options available to him through his service portal. For one, he can log in and view that type of equipment’s profile to find past repair cases that match his/her situation. He can also pull up his/her customer’s records to see what service has been done on that specific piece of equipment and what parts were used.

Another example would be if a field technician has diagnosed an issue, but isn’t familiar with the repair required for a first-time fix. Through the service portal, that tech can access video demonstrations of the repair right there on his/her mobile device. He/she can also download drawings, schematics and instruction manuals from the service portal to get a better sense of the equipment’s architecture or dig up further repair instructions.

This level of on-site information access for technicians allows them to achieve higher service success rates as well an increase their first-time fixes. And since Aberdeen’s study noted that “Not solving the issue” was the number one customer complaint of field service work in 2012 (45% of respondents), service organizations would be wise to aim for an increased fix-rate performance.

Increase Profitability

As competition becomes more fierce and the cost of customer acquisition continues to rise, service profitability has become a key theme in 2013. And although generating revenue through a service operation is no easy task, technician information access can lend a helping hand.

One way info-access can help is by having technicians inspect customer contract information prior to conducting service. If a technician pulls up their customer’s data and realizes they currently don’t have a maintenance contract, the tech can try to sell them one so their next preventative maintenance or service requests are covered. Additionally, if a technician on a call sees that their customer’s maintenance contract is soon to expire, they can alert their organization’s sales team as to the coming opportunity. This level of sales-service collaboration is an easy way for organizations to grow their service revenue.

When discussing profitability, its important to hammer in that bringing on new customers is more costly than keeping old ones. Therefore customer retention is an important goal. And everything that we’ve discussed in this article in regards to productivity and customer satisfaction applies here. Field technicians are clearly the best weapon a company has to keep their customers coming back for more. And excellent field service is a paved road leading straight to profitability.

When a customer becomes comfortable with an organization because of their excellent service, that customer will likely continue the business relationship. As such, the organization can continuously get maintenance contracts on the equipment the customer already owns as well as contracts on equipment the customer will purchase in the future. In addition, that customer is likely to recommend the company to friends, coworkers and family if the service-level is strong. All of this translates into more revenue as time goes on. So When a missed service, late arrival or incompetence in repair can mean losing a customer, it’s vital that techs be provided all the information they need to succeed in the field if the organization wants to turn a profit.

A Quick Wrap-Up

There’s no denying that knowledge is power. And the more technicians know, the better they’ll be able to perform in the field, making your service organization more efficient and making your customers happier people. How has giving your technicians access to important information in the field helped your service process? Leave your answers in the comments!

A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software: 9 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Solution

Manual paper logs are becoming increasingly incapable of keeping up with the current data loads of modern field service. Having a comprehensive mobile solution is necessary to keep in line with the ever changing landscape. Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-do’s in our free, educational whitepaper: “A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software.”

buyers guide to mobile field service software

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