First Steps in Field Service
Are you ready for Field Service?
Managers and business owners often know they need to make changes to improve the field service in their organization, but it is difficult to know where to start. Many agree that if they had better visibility into what is happening they could more easily see where improvements need to take place. They’d like to know what parts of the workflow need to be changed for the better so that resource can be focused there and not wasted.
FieldAware leads the way in simplifying field service management and here we look at the areas that many businesses struggle with that lead them to implementing a field service solution:
Real-time visibility of your field team
Managers need to know what is happening in their business at any time, that is a given. But with field teams that can be difficult. Whether customers are phoning to see when their job will start or you need to know where all your field team are and what they are working on, without visibility the day’s work can start to unravel.
A field service solution lets you view all your jobs and team members online in one place and lets you know their status. This visibility lets you make informed, real-time decisions for slotting in incoming jobs or giving accurate arrival times for upcoming jobs.
Connecting the back office into the field
The connection between the back office and the field are essential in any service operation. If job, customer and parts information cannot be shared then field technicians without the right skills or parts can turn up at jobs, then unable to compete them.
The right field service solution gives the whole organization the ability to manage the workflow seamlessly and keeps everyone connected. With real time updates, everyone has access to the same information and field teams can see customer and job information at the touch of a button to help them do their work quicker and more effectively. Once finished they can share their completed job information which will update the office teams instantly.
Removing the reliance on paperwork
Paperwork can cause field service organizations constant grief; from whether it is completed on time or at all, to being delayed or even lost. Jobs may then not be marked as completed so are left outstanding and work is then not invoiced.
When a field service solution is implemented, data just needs to be captured once electronically and back office systems are updated automatically. So an invoice can be created in the field and instantly be in your Accounting system ready to go. Customer information can be updated and your CRM can be immediately informed. There is no delay while waiting on paperwork to be sent in or for collected information to be downloaded and an audit trail is in place, reducing the chance of any lost or missing information.
Understanding what is going right (and wrong)
With so many variables in a field operation, it can be hard to tell what is affecting your success. Who is your best performer? What jobs are taking longer than you think? Without reliable information, it is little more than guess work.
Field service technology can give the visibility into field service operations and with that comes the data and reporting that allows you to see all the metrics you need. You can measure and compare what is important to you and spot the trends and areas for improvement.
Improving customer service
Customer service is often how businesses are judged by their users and turning up on time and completing the job first time are vital in providing the level or service customers expect. If you can’t match the needs of the customer, they will go elsewhere.
Field service solutions not only let you provide an accurate picture to your customer by giving you real-time access to your teams’ location but ensures that the team member turning up to do the work is fully informed of the customer’s needs. Job information and history can be shared before arrival so field teams are ready to go with everything they need once on site.
Getting more done
Inevitably a field service organization’s daily operation changes and the business has to adjust to what happens in the real world, as it happens. Jobs run over, traffic causes delays, new jobs come in and it all has to be managed.
Field service solutions streamline operations; schedules, for example, can be adjusted in a matter of seconds and emergency jobs can be allocated at the touch of a button.
If a job is going to be missed due to a previous job overrunning, it can be instantly given to another team member so you don’t miss out on the work.
Field workers can also document the work much more quickly. They simply use their mobile device to complete the job detail then capture the customer’s signature electronically – all significantly reducing the time taken to close out work orders, letting them get on to the next job more quickly.
Sharing information across the business
When departments don’t share information between themselves, it can lead to bad decision, misalignment and, of course, frustration. Does billing know what jobs can be invoiced? Can HR see who worked overtime? Does the Customer Service Manager know what work has been missed that week or month?
Field service solutions can be integrated into your existing back office systems so as soon as information is captured in the field, it can be shared across the other departments. From instantly updating customer records to creating invoices or feeding in to timesheets, information can be automated between systems removing the need for data re-entry and potential human error.
Once data is collected, a business needs to have confidence that storing the data is not an issue, that the data is secure and can be accessed whenever it is required. Having this information on paper or individual computers can mean it cannot be quickly searched or used for comparing or reporting.
The right Field service solution offers cloud-based storage, not only meaning that you collect and store all your data electronically but it is now accessible, shareable and can be downloaded and analyzed when needed. In addition, any audits or queries can be done speedily and accurately.
Making it easier for the field team
Field Workers are often tasked with not only doing their repair / maintenance / inspection work but are also required to document the work, get the customer sign off and provide parts and invoice information as well. The more data they need to collect, the more likely mistakes are made and the more lengthy and onerous the work becomes. Making this process as easy as possible means that field teams can not only get more done but also makes their day easier and their job more rewarding.
Field service solutions that are designed specifically for the mobile environment have the ability for mobile workers to use their device to capture, share and document their entire day’s work as they do it. If the solution also works offline, it ensures that there is no loss of data while out in the field in a place with no network or connectivity. With more time to do more jobs and with the admin side of their work simplified, field workers are more productive and efficient.
FieldAware helps companies to identify where they need to improve their field service organization and focuses on simplifying field service management. For more information on improving the visibility you want into your organization and for taking your first steps in field service see our infographic on The Key to Visibility in Field Service: Twenty Questions to Ask Yourself.
To find out more about FieldAware join one of our 30-minute webinars.