In order to compete in the ever-evolving field service industry, businesses must be able to adopt mobile technologies. If not implemented properly however, smartphones and tablets can become a distraction rather than a solution. In order for service managers to gain greater control of their business, mobile technologies provide a variety of dispatching solutions that can be utilized by all companies. Mobile systems allows for increased collaboration and streamlined communication between dispatchers, service managers and field technicians. The tips and tricks in this article discuss the benefits that mobile can provide for your business, as well as the appropriate steps to implement new technology to ensure long-term growth and success.
Finding the Right Mobile System
Service managers and business owners must first identify what the right mobile application will best suit their personnel. During this process, there are many things to consider, beginning with the size of the business. Smaller field service companies can take advantage of inexpensive mobile apps for communication and dispatching. Larger businesses may require a more sophisticated software to perform other functions including invoicing and recording customer history. Furthermore, when selecting the best mobile solution, identify one that your employees will be able to implement. Take into consideration how open your field technicians or dispatchers are to change, and select the mobile system that they will all be able to adapt to. Rather than simply going for the cheapest or most popular, take some time to do additional research and ask your staff for their opinion as well.
Use GPS to Improve Dispatching
Included in most mobile applications are GPS systems. Because the success of field service businesses is dependent on excellent coordination between the office and the field, dispatching must be extremely efficient. Through GPS, dispatchers will be able to track where technicians are, and direct them to their next jobs. With the unpredictability of service calls, GPS allows for a more flexible system where adjustments can be made much quicker. Not only is this a great way to track productivity, it provides service managers with a clearer picture of how each technician is utilized.
Introduce Technology Gradually
Just like any organizational change, technology is often met with resistance. The key is to introduce the technology gradually and equip technicians and dispatchers with the proper training. Service managers must take the initiative and learn the system as well, and implement it slowly. Consider utilizing one function at a time. For example, start by utilizing mobile communication functions through instant messaging. Then, slowly integrate GPS and get dispatchers and field technicians familiar and comfortable with these functions before moving on. Throughout the process, ensure that you are explaining how mobile solutions will ultimately make their jobs easier.
Deal with Growing Pains
With a sudden influx of data provided by mobile systems, service managers will have greater access to communication channels, GPS tracking and productivity levels. Some managers may be inclined to micro-manage, or identify any problems you see right away. Rather than jumping to conclusions, take a step back and assess your current workflow processes and wait until the mobile system has been used for some time. The initial reaction may be to bring organizational issues to light, but remember that the company will have to go through a series of growing pains before everything runs smoothly.
Although you will gain greater access and visibility to your business, let dispatchers and field technicians adapt to the new technology before assessing their performance, as well as the suitability of the mobile system. Ultimately, mobile solutions are meant to enhance organizational efficiency and streamline the workflow of field service businesses. Most importantly, by implementing mobile technology sooner rather than later, you are able to modernize your business and conform to industry standards.