What Field Service Organizations are Looking to Solve With Mobile
By Joanna Pfahler
Field service organizations demand certain features as they search for the perfect mobile application. Invest in a solution that addresses the industry's most pressing needs.
It's human nature to want what other people want. If dozens of field service organizations want similar functionality out of their mobile app, I'll probably want those features, too.
Understanding what other field service organizations want and value in their quest for mobile can help ensure you get a solution that addresses all your needs without missing any steps. Equipped with the knowledge of what's popular and useful to others in the field, you can be sure your mobile solution will help you achieve the goals you originally set out to accomplish.
By analyzing the needs analyses of dozens of organizations and following relevant industry research about mobile needs in field service, we've narrowed down the common denominators organizations want from mobile. With these features on your must have list, you'll be able to conduct a mobile search with the confidence of someone who knows what they want.
Five Common Denominators Companies Want from Mobile
1. Capture customer signatures in the field
Signature capture capabilities eliminate the need for paper forms in the field while speeding up the work order service-to-pay cycle. Instead of waiting days for customers to sign the appropriate forms and technicians to return those forms to the office, customers' signatures on a mobile device instantly sync with the back office so workers in accounting can create an invoice for same-day billing. This simple feature can make a huge difference for organizations looking to speed work order turnover.
2. Search for parts
Mobile field service apps create parts transparency throughout the organization. The ability to monitor inventory across warehouses and technicians' vans produces several benefits for service organizations, including:
• Scheduling efficiency: When they can search which technicians have what parts, schedulers can make sure they book technicians who have the right parts in their vans.
• Vehicle efficiency: Technicians no longer have to return to the office to gather and return parts after every visit, which results in improved driving efficiency and productivity.
• Improved customer satisfaction: Customers are pleased when technicians show up on time and are prepared with the necessary parts.
• Inventory accuracy and fewer parts wasted: When inventory personnel can see where parts are located and what parts are needed for upcoming work orders, they can keep inventory accurately stocked without over or under stocking parts in the warehouse.
3. Update stakeholders of work order status
It's easy for people to get left out of the loop or information to get glossed over in the field service industry where there's so much activity. With automated mobile alerts, you can ensure stakeholders receive reliable notifications with "set it and forget it," automated technology for mobile apps. Companies, for example, want to be able to support automatic text messages or emails to sales representatives on the creation and acceptance of a work order quote. With a mobile field service app, you can set up these automated messages for anyone in or related to your company, such as schedulers, managers, customers, technicians, etc.
4. Improve awareness of new sales opportunities (new equipment, new contract, up-sell, cross-sell, etc.) with the technician as the starting point
Technicians are often in the best position to sell customers on upgrades, new products or extended warranties because of the face-to-face interaction they have with customers. More than anyone else in the company, customers look to technicians to give them trustworthy advice. With this sales opportunity in mind, service businesses want their technicians to receive a full history of the asset, and mobile apps keep technicians informed about service history, warranty details, service contracts information, etc, which alert them to potential sales opportunities. Mobile picture taking capabilities also make it easier for technicians to document necessary services or repairs and then show customers exactly what needs to be fixed.
5. Run natively and on multiple operating systems
One of the most common must-haves for service organizations is an app that runs off-line. Technicians often work in basements or in the middle of nowhere, and it's important that they are able to record information and use their apps while offline, then sync changes as soon as it's back in cell range.
Several companies also expressed the need for an app that runs on multiple operating systems so they can implement a bring you own device (BYOD) policy or switch platforms without needing to switch software providers.
With the flexibility to run on whatever platform you choose and offline functionality, you'll ensure the mobile app you invest in will work when you need it and can adapt along with the growth of your organization.
Don't Get Caught Without the Common Denominators
Improving a field service organization from the inside out is hard work, but, with a mobile solution that targets your most common pain points, it can be much easier. Don't let your company invest in a mobile solution without the industry's most wanted mobile features. Use these common denominators for service and find the field service app with all the features you need to achieve your goals this year.
About MSI Data: MSI Data develops enterprise, scheduling and mobile software that helps companies improve the productivity of their field workforce. Service organizations rely on MSI Data's suite of field workforce software to automate field service, inspections, site surveys, audits, reporting and other critical field-driven business processes. Learn more at www.msidata.com.