Are you driving more than 50 percent of your revenue through services provided in the field? If you are, hopefully, you have a mobile device strategy that is going to help you shorten your businesses time to payment. With field service mobile apps and mobile field service software taking command of field activities, more technicians are reducing time using them. After all, losing repair time because your technicians have to fill out paper-based work orders isn’t a sound strategy. Even more, if they also have to do their own invoices on site.
The right mobile strategy is critical for field service businesses. It’s not enough to hand your technicians a field service mobile app without knowing the benefits of using it to its fullest potential. And with mobile field service software, you need to be thinking of your business’s future. Are you going to reduce your technician’s administrative time? Are they getting a tool that works with your mobile field service software? Does it work in a way to increase profits, production and efficiency?
Here are 5 questions to focus on when trying to build your mobile device strategy.
Who will be using the field service mobile app?
Are you using mostly subcontractors when providing service to your customers? Or do you have more of your own technicians on staff to get the job done? In either case, both subcontractors and in-house technicians can use a field service mobile app. However, the mobile device strategy would have to be much simpler for subcontractors than your own crews. That’s because making it difficult for subcontractors could turn some of them away from your jobs.
And the more complex your mobile strategy is, the more you need to train people in that strategy. And that brings up the question of if you really want to be providing your subcontractors with a manual of processes they need to follow to use your field service mobile app with your strategy.
On the other hand, with your own in-house technicians, you can get more creative with your mobile field service software and field service mobile apps. That’s because you can invest in the time to train them on your mobile strategy. And since they would take more service calls and be working full-time hours, that strategy will be put to use more than with a subcontractor.
What should your mobile first?
When using mobile field service software, there are plenty of areas you can mobilize first. A mobile strategy should be phased in properly, as opposed to packing everything in at once. When you give your technicians a field service mobile app, there are plenty of ways they can use it to succeed. So, the question is, what is the first priority?
Increased productivity from more accurate scheduling and dispatching drive the biggest ROI improvements. Figure out the GPS aspect of your mobile strategy up front, so you can use it to drive scheduling and routing efficiencies. By making your field service mobile apps the center of your dispatching, you can increase productivity. Work orders are pushed to the field for technicians to see on their mobile app. Changes can be made to their schedule without the technician knowing the order has changed. Dispatchers now have greater control over scheduling practices and can put a technician where they need to be that fits the businesses schedule.
Then there are strategies to have your technicians use the field service mobile app to complete work orders. That will reduce administration time and give them an electronic device to complete checklists on. And adding access to your mobile field service software so they can view service history is another part of a mobile strategy. There is no direct starting point. It’s whatever works best for your business and what your needs are.
Which device should you use?
There are many different options for mobile devices. You can use tablets, which offer a larger screen, or iPhone and Android options are obviously popular. Many field service businesses are developing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobile strategy so the technician is already familiar with their operating system. While others are investing heavily in new mobile devices for your entire business.
Whatever the options may be, technicians have a simple ask to keep everything to one screen. Technicians want a field service mobile app that runs fast and smooth on their device. And they want one they don’t have to open multiple screens for. Everything should be accessible from one mobile app and one screen and not require them to toggle back and forth. By keeping your field service mobile app simple and to one device, there is a great chance of your mobile strategy being successful.
Is online/offline capability necessary?
Connectivity may not be available in all field service environments. In the medical device industry, where you’re servicing equipment in hospitals, service technicians don’t have Internet access because it can interfere with the medical equipment. HVAC installations often happen in buildings that are under construction and there is no IT infrastructure. And IT Services have similar issues with networks are down. That means collecting service data on equipment must be done offline and synced later.
For some field service businesses, this is a must-have, as they will often be in remote, underground or in spaces with no Internet service. If so, they need to still be able to access work order and checklist information on their field service mobile app. So, checking out the working conditions your technicians are in is very important to any mobile device strategy. If it doesn’t work when they need it the most, the strategy is useless to have.
How do you ensure security?
Security in any mobile device strategy is very important. With mobile field service software, access can be restricted to the most important information. As well, field service mobile apps require logins so that a technician needs proper permission to use the app. Information isn’t being stored on their mobile device, but rather is uploaded to the cloud through the field service mobile app. Ensure you have security policies in place with your mobile device strategies so that your technicians and subcontractors are clear on the security rules.
Make Field Service Mobile Apps part of the strategy
Mobile field service software has amazing benefits to any field service business and can empower technicians in the field. By giving them field service mobile apps, technicians become more productive, with direct connection to their head office. It’s this access to service history, parts and inventory information and quoting tools that are making technicians valuable members of the team. Build your mobile device strategy today and move into the mobile world of field service.