The days of placing a phone call to a service center to schedule a repair or get your cable installed and being told that they will be there somewhere between noon and 5 p.m. are quickly becoming a thing of the past. We can thank advancements in mobile technology and field service software for saving us time.
How can a five-hour window waiting at home for a technician to show up be considered good customer service or even good business for that matter? It simply cannot. What we have come to accept as “just the way it is” is being replaced by leading field-based companies that leverage mobile technology to improve their customer’s experience. This change also reduces their internal costs, improves productivity, and changes the way field service companies work forever.
By implementing mobile computing technologies and field service applications that utilize the data generated by these technologies make better, faster decisions and updating all of the related parties along the way. Let’s look at a day in the life of a field repair technician to get a better understanding of just how these systems work.
Day in the life of a paper-based field worker
The traditional technician starts the day by picking up his truck, checking inventory levels, and reviewing the day's scheduled calls. He decides which calls he will tackle first and heads out on his way.
At the first call, he learns that the asset he was to repair was miscoded and needs to change the work order. Now running behind for the second stop, he encounters traffic. Fortunately the second stop was an easy repair and he had the required replacement part on his truck.
He was not so lucky at the third stop, as he did not have the right parts and had to go 30 minutes out of his way to get them, adding an additional hour to the customer's wait. Also during this time, dispatch added another call to his schedule, which had he had received the call earlier he could have resolved it on the way to the hardware store.
By the time he is ready for the last call of the day is he two hours behind and while the technician made the five-hour service window, the customer is upset that he had to put his life on hold for five hours just to get a dishwasher repaired.
Day in the life of a mobile-enabled field worker
With the implementation of mobile technology and a field service application, this day would have looked very different.
From the beginning of the day, the technician would have been in real-time communication with dispatch and the other supporting business systems. Using his laptop, he would have been able to take a detailed inventory of his truck, know exactly which parts required fulfillment, paper work orders would have been loaded and sequenced on his mobile device so that they could be performed in the most efficient manner.
The GPS system would provide dispatch with his current location and the field service app would have been able to provide the completion status of each service call, so new service calls could be inserted to his schedule with limited impact on the others.
Finally, the waiting customers could be notified of his progress and thus provide a smaller service window resulting in better utilization of the customers' time and eliminating their frustration.
In this simple example you can see that mobile technologies and field service applications not only improve operations but also customer satisfaction levels.
- Improve the quality of service
- Increase field workforce productivity
- Decrease customer service window
- Reduce inventory shrinkage and eliminate monthly inventory counts by managing inventory levels in real-time
- Eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry
- Improve the control of technician processes in the field
- Capture payment at job completion
- Reduce fuel costs through improved call routing