By some research, 37 percent of field service organizations are still primarily using a pen-and-paper model for record-keeping, business decisions, and essentially running their entire businesses. That’s 3 in 8, despite the fact that it’s 2016 and we’ve managed to develop games where augmented reality can put Pikachus on your smartphone relative to your location.
It might be time to consider a mobile-first field service management tool. Let’s paint two scenarios to help you see the value here.
In Scenario A, you are using a pen-and-paper system -- like the 37 percent of FSOs mentioned above. You have a client call with an urgent need. Maybe you run an HVAC repair company and the client’s air conditioning is out. The building can’t function. Hours of lost productivity could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain. The client needs this fixed now.
You call a nearby field service technician -- you think the technician is nearby, based on his or her schedule for that day -- and you re-route him or her to this new job. You have to explain the job over the phone, and/or text him or her the details and the main customer information.
The technician gets there and does the job to the best of his or her ability. It’s possible that it isn’t fixed the first time because of an inventory issue, a lack of context on the customer problem via SMS, or something else. Because you are still pen-and-paper for invoices, the tech probably can’t invoice on the spot.
That’s Scenario A.
Scenario B starts the same way: urgent client call. Now you look at GPS and know exactly where your technicians are. You find the closest one, or the one that it makes the most logical sense to send, and you call him or her. You explain the problem and say you’ll upload all the necessary detail to his or her version of an app. You can even sync with inventory so the technician will know if he or she needs to get to a warehouse before going to the job site. Now the technician has all the customer data and necessary inventory on his or her phone. It’s in real-time.
The technician goes to the client site, does the job, and bills the client from the phone; ideally the client has the same app (but a different version, client-facing vs. technician-facing) as the tech.
That’s Scenario B.
Which scenario do you think would make the client happier?
Which one do you think would make your technician more effective?
Which one do you think would make your employees’ lives easier overall?
The answer to all three questions is “Scenario B.”
Mobile-first FSM is just one way to improve the efficiency of technicians in your FSO. For more approaches to having the most productive techs in your community, download our eBook now.