From The Editor | September 28, 2011

Use Field Technologies To Give Your Customers What They Want


By Sarah Howland, Editor In Chief, Field Technologies magazine

The articles you read in this magazine focus primarily on the operational benefits field technologies can provide — from increased efficiency and productivity to reduced labor costs and fewer truck rolls. While the operational improvements mobile technologies provide are impressive, here’s another advantage you shouldn’t underestimate — the effect your deployment will have on your customers. Today’s world is one of convenience, and that’s what your customers are looking for. Here are a couple of examples of how field technologies provide an opportunity to enhance your customers’ experiences.

Timely Service Calls
No one wants to have to stay home from work for half a day to wait for a cable install technician. And, if the power goes out, you want your utility company to arrive immediately — not days later. How can you improve your service windows and ensure that your techs arrive on time? GPS fleet tracking. If you don’t know where your workers are, you really can’t optimize your resources. GPS enables you to send the closest technician to the most important job, making it easier to arrive on time for the customer that needs you. Incorporating location data into a customer portal where they can see the location and estimated arrival time of their tech takes the customer experience one step further.

Do The Job Right The First Time
What’s more annoying than waiting forever for a service tech to arrive? Finding out once he’s arrived that he doesn’t have what he needs to get the job done. While repeat trips are painful to the company from a cost perspective, think about the poor experience they mean for your customers. Manual scheduling and dispatch won’t cut it — no human being can accurately keep track of every tech’s skill set, areas of expertise, and availability. Optimized scheduling and dispatch provides the capability to input an array of data on each technician, which ensures you send the right person to the job the first time. In relevant applications, tracking mobile inventory adds certainty that not only will the right tech arrive — he’ll have the parts he needs to complete the job.

Payment At The Point Of Service
The amount of paper statements I receive and actual checks I write has become virtually nonexistent over the past couple of years — everything is managed electronically via debit or credit card, and I prefer it that way. Many of your customers likely do too, so why not give them what they want? Choosing a mobile computing device that enables your techs to accept payment on-site, along with a mobile printer to print receipts, not only shortens your billing cycles — it makes it easier for your customers to pay.

As you evaluate the impact field technologies can have on your organization, don’t forget to think about your customers’ experiences. Cost savings are important, but so are satisfied customers.