One of the biggest time drains in small businesses can be e-mail. Globally, it’s costing organizations billions in productivity. While one of the benefits of rapid mobile adoption is that it made everyone more connected -- so it’s easier to do business with people who aren’t physically near you -- there are also drawbacks. It can lead to this sense that people need to “always be on,” and that sense is pervasive in a small business. There are limited resources, limited staff, and many things to be done.
Many people approach this problem by trying to do as much as possible, but that’s not always the best idea. Work is actually less about tasks -- although they are important -- and more about the energy of the people who work with and for you.
Take an example from mobile technology. What happens to your phone if you just keep trying to use it, continuously, without a break? It dies, right? It runs out of battery. You, as a human being, are not a phone -- but the same concept applies to you. You need periods of “offline,” or breaks.
Now we come back to mobile.
Most organizations use mobile as almost a tracking device for their employees. Managers can send emails at 11 p.m. and expect a response. That does nothing for productivity -- most people are not productive at 11 p.m. -- and it does absolutely nothing for helping employees get offline, away from work, and recharged.
There is a better approach, though, and it also involves mobile.
If you run a small business field service shop, use a mobile field service management software program. Essentially, it’s an app. All the crucial information about your business is contained within this app. You’ve got schedules for technicians. You’ve got customer information. You’ve got revenue information. You’ve got payroll data. Everything is there.
Now, your employees have an opportunity to work offline a little bit -- and/or remotely. They have their phones and can check the mobile FSM solution when they need to; the information will be there in real-time. They can even set up alerts to get ‘pinged’ when something important happens or is updated within the mobile FSM solution.
OK, it’s not totally ‘offline,’ no. They are still checking their phones in this situation. But they’re not tethered to their e-mails. They’re not constantly answering questions for other people; the information other people need is within the mobile FSM solution, which they can access themselves.
This works two ways, actually: for employees and for customers. If your customers download the app, they get a different set of data they can see, relative to their accounts. This helps prevent the 10:45 p.m. customer e-mail with an urgent question; whatever they have a question about might be available to them within the app. (You will never end the idea of a potential 10:45 p.m. customer e-mail, but you can certainly reduce them with a mobile FSM solution.)
This is all part of a series of ways in which mobility has become a game-changer in field service. One of the issues there, though, is that many field service shops are still using mobile in the wrong way. It’s almost a drain on people to use it, instead of a strategic advantage. We put together an eBook on how mobility is a game-changer for the industry -- and how you can use it as a strategic advantage in your smaller shop. You can download the eBook now, and feel free to contact us with any questions.