Field service applications are great for things like scheduling and dispatch, work order management and handling preventative maintenance. However, one feature that doesn’t get the same attention is knowledge sharing. And it’s odd because field service management has a lot of knowledge to share. Every service call is information to share. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someone will use that information.
And they will use it in a way that will help a future repair. A technician will find a solution to a problem and complete a job faster. Or, the technician can help avoid equipment downtime if they already know what they are looking for. Knowledge sharing, however, is also advancing to new technology, such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Field service management businesses are looking at new field service applications to add to their lineup. And that includes these new training tools to share knowledge with new technicians.
The main key point of any knowledge sharing, however, is making it accessible. Firstly, information is no good locked behind closed doors. Secondly, if technicians can’t access information from the field, that knowledge does them no good in helping to improve first-time fix rates. So, here are some specific values in making knowledge sharing a critical part of your field service applications.
Encourages Communication Culture
Technicians in the field are the eyes, ears and brains behind your field service management. What they see and do is valuable information. However, if they have no way to communicate that information, it’s only valuable to them. What about the next technician who has to do work for that customer? Or another technician who is coming in for a second phase? Or even that technician who hasn’t even been hired yet but will eventually handle all repairs for that client?
To lay the foundation for knowledge, technicians need a way to record their findings and share them with everyone. Field service applications like mobile field service apps and customer portals are a great way to capture that information. Everything from work order solutions, photos, and checklists is information that can be useful later on. Encouraging a culture of communication is a way to encourage technicians to share knowledge. That’s because the knowledge they share today will help them and others tomorrow. And if your technicians aren’t sharing knowledge, you are literally only as good as the technician who does that one repair.
Field Service Applications are the Foundation
The question after collecting all that knowledge is what do you do with it? If you don’t have an actionable plan for that information and data, it doesn’t do much use for anyone in the field. Technicians can access service history, warranty information and parts from their mobile app, however, that is only a tip of the iceberg in terms of what information can do to a field service management operation.
With field service applications at the foundation of data collection, you can turn that information into opportunities. That’s because knowledge isn’t just what was wrong on this repair and how it was fixed. It’s everything down to how many hours did it take to complete, how long was the drive to the job site, was there a solution on the first visit and much more. This information can improve your field service operations. After all, knowledge sharing isn’t just for the technicians in the field. It’s for dispatchers, manager, CEOs and technicians to help everyone make a change.
Lay the foundation for any change with field service applications that collect, store, manage and analysis date in a way that can improve your operations. Business Intelligence can transform knowledge into useful operational changes. It may not seem like a technician taking a break to get a coffee is knowledge that needs to be shared. However, to a dispatcher, they can use that information to make better scheduling decisions. It makes every action in the field relevant information that can spark real change.
Unify Your Field Service Management
Knowledge sharing helps field service management providers use every piece of information submitted. And with that, it unifies the bond between field service provider and customer. Field service applications offer a way for customers to share critical information with their service providers. And in turn, that information is used to find solutions to repairs or prevent equipment failure. That improves customer service levels and makes your customers feel as if their concerns are being met.
It also helps to unify your entire field service management team. Collaboration can be achieved with field service applications that allow technicians to leave off where they are and have another pick up the next task, without needing to be debriefed in what is happening. This is useful in project management situations where new technicians are coming onto the job site. Quickly, they can review notes and service history and become an effective member of the team. It also opens up the ability for experienced technicians to help new technicians with difficult repairs. Bring your entire team together and offer the top-level service that will give your customers the best experience they have ever had.
Prevent Knowledge Loss
It goes without saying that eventually, your technicians will retire. And when they do, they take with them all the knowledge that acquired while working for you and with your customers. Your customers will still expect the same level of care that that technician provided, but now you have to get someone up to speed on their equipment and service needs. Field service applications help in preventing knowledge loss when technicians retire. Firstly, they store all that technician’s work orders that are easily accessible from a mobile field service app. Secondly, their solution notes are available for a new technician to review and help find solutions for future problems. Finally, information gathered from that technician’s behavior in the field can be transferred to a new technician, so they know how that customer likes their work to be completed.
What it boils down to is how your field service applications manage and collect information. How well a field service management team preserves information over time will have an effect on how they move into the future with new technicians. That’s because it’s more than just equipment notes, and parts used. It’s customer behaviors, likes and dislikes and pain points that shape the customer experience.
Help Training the Future
When technicians retire, they need to be replaced by new technicians. And those technicians need to be trained and mentored. That’s difficult to do with experienced technicians leaving. However, with field service applications storing knowledge, new technicians have the ability to learn from those who came before them. Knowledge sharing isn’t just here and now. It’s also in the future. The work your technicians do today will have an effect on what the technicians do in the future. Every work order is a template for what to do on a job site. New technicians now have a host of service history and knowledge they can access to learn how work is to be completed. They can learn about a customer early and not show up asking questions that they should already know the answers to.
Field service management businesses are now using knowledge sharing systems such as on-demand video libraries and documentation to help share this information. Add in virtual reality and augmented reality and you have a knowledge sharing platform ready to train the next wave of technicians for your business.
Retain Knowledge With Field Service Applications
Knowledge is power. Having knowledge can make a huge difference in how your field service management team performs in the field. It’s not enough to just take in data, you have to use that data to see results. That means giving your technicians access to it with mobile field service apps. And turning the mounds of information into useful reports and analytics with Business Intelligence. Make communication and knowledge sharing a part of your field service management strategy. Ask what field service applications you need to be a company that embraces knowledge, and now one that walks away from it.