Swati Kungwani explains why field service mobile apps are becoming essential business tech if SMEs are to embrace digital transformation
Millennials, mobility and mobile applications define the way to run a modern field service business. To serve the millennial customers as well as manage the millennial workforce, it has become necessary for the service-oriented businesses to go the mobile way. And, it’s definitely a good and lucrative choice!
Reasons to adopt field-service mobile apps
It is tricky for organisations to deal with the workforce going out of their workplaces to do their jobs. Moreover, it has always been tough to measure performance and achieve desired efficiency. Besides that, field service organisations also involve dealing with third-party and external contractors. On the other side, customers expect more from companies due to the proliferation of technology. And, failing to meet customer expectations leads to loss.
Small-to-medium sized organisations are always on a hunt to optimise their processes and grow their market. With a limited budget in hand and tough competition all around, it is not an easy game for them. They need a solution that comes handy, is cost-effective, secure, reliable and highly available. An ideal platform must put employees, customers, contractors, services and products together on the same page.
To address these challenges, businesses are employing dedicated field service solutions. Mobile applications leverage technology to ease the work, streamline business processes, increase customer satisfaction, achieve revenues and enhance productivity. It doesn’t involve any rocket science. In fact, field-based mobile applications replace complex and tedious paperwork with automated workflows.
Are these mobile apps meant for you?
Mobile applications have found a prominent place in every industry and department. Field service trade is also bound to adopt it. Increasingly, customers prefer ‘on-demand’ services at their chosen location and time. This has accelerated the service culture.
Few examples of businesses involved in sending their employees to client locations to accomplish their jobs include-
- Technicians sent to address maintenance, installation or repair requests
- Housekeeping or facilities management staff
- Asset and equipment maintenance services
- Mobile nurses or healthcare workers
- Workforce responsible to collect waste
- Engineers working on construction site
- Other daily door-to-door service providers and contractors
Considering the accessibility and convenience, companies are shifting from traditional processes to modern customer experience management. And, it heavily revolves around using mobile applications.
Let’s talk about the actual benefits
Field service mobile applications are no more ‘nice-to-have’ but ‘must-have’ for a business to achieve following advantages-
- Productive, engaged and coordinated workforce
One of the biggest benefits of field service apps is collaborative and real-time communication. It allows the workforce to share the updates on-the-go. They need not wait to come to the office to update their tasks. They can seek help from each other as well as the office employees and thus stay connected even in a deskless environment. They receive all their job details on their device and can get going without any delay or dependency.
- Reactive to predictive services
Data analytics makes it possible to shift from reactive and correction-based actions to predictive and condition-based actions. Analysis of the data collected by these apps and digging in the customer and equipment history gives actionable insights. It leads to technicians doing their work more accurately. It increases the scope of meeting most of the SLA parameters (Service Level Agreements).
- Happy and informed customers
Customer satisfaction drives business prosperity. Today’s customer wants expediency and information. Using apps, it is possible to empower your customers to select, order, track and review the progress of their requests or issues. Some self-service features also allow them to get solutions on their own. The apps also allow them to schedule their services at their convenience. Thus, leading to enhanced customer experience without any limitations.
- Competitive edge
Maintaining the customer base and market share is becoming tougher with increasing competition. Bespoke applications help to manage the customers and employees as per business requirements. As every organisation seeks optimisation, it is obvious to take advantage of mobile applications and deliver flawless service along with retaining the best of your workforce talent.
- Cost and time savings
Field applications promote effortless working. Well-organised and automated workflows lead to significant cost and time savings. For instance, features like auto-routing align the daily tasks leading to reduced travel time and costs. It also encourages paperless approach with optimised resource usage. Apart from that, it is possible to impart training and organise quick sessions for new employees with the solution. Smart scheduling governs dispatching jobs to the right person equipped with necessary tools at the nearest location.
For SMEs, this transition from conventional systems to cloud can bring phenomenal outcomes. SaaS-based solutions free the organisations from IT worries. They need not manage things at their end. The service provider manages the application server and other technical factors. It eliminates the on-premise system challenges. Listing some features that make this digital solution a perfect fit for SME-
- Offline integration
- Automated workflows
- Lone worker safety
- 24×7 accessibility
- Payment services
- Data and regulatory compliance
- Easily configurable
- User-friendly interface
- Rich knowledgebase
- Support for multimedia attachments
- Seamless synchronisation
- Analytics and dashboards
- Smart scheduling
Besides these features, the applications can be custom-made to meet the personalisation requirements. Since we are talking about SaaS applications, it is easier to scale up and down as well as pay as you go. It holds the supremacy to introduce new service delivery models for efficient results.
The ‘Mobile’ Move!
“According to the market studies, by 2020, more than 75% of field service organisations having 50+ users will switch to mobile apps with advanced capabilities to empower their technicians than only assist in simplified data collection.”
This makes sense because of the limitless opportunities offered by this digital path. The future is digital. There is no second thought about it. It is in the interest of the business to mobilise their workforce in a true sense. It means switch to intelligent and robust mobile applications. Businesses that are able to do this are well placed to reap the benefits of productivity and profitability.
Swati Kungwani is the Project and Comms Manager at iTouchVision, a UK-based customer service platform. She specialises in customer experience management and driving new project initiatives. Connect with her on Linkedin. Join iTouchVision’s social network: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.