Guest Column | April 8, 2021

How To Enhance The Digital Workplace Of A Field Service Technician

By Samir Gulati, ServicePower

Field Technician With Mobile Phone App

Over the past year, businesses have learned to shift to a virtual life. Organizations faced countless hurdles as they migrated business practices, company culture, and management completely online. However, a Gartner survey suggests that remote work is only going to increase even as the pandemic restrictions fade, and businesses must contemplate how to innovate and streamline workflows so that they are progressing with the times. 

Field service companies offer essential services through a workforce that is dispersed by nature. To evolve a blended workforce made up of both in-house technicians and third-party contractors, businesses must explore different levels of integrated solutions that can enhance a field technician’s digital workplace. Arming employees with cloud-based tools make it easier to work remotely and connects isolated workers together, as well as to the organization. Field service management software is a powerful tool that can help further digitize remote workforces through mobile service solutions and improved communication channels.

Equip Technicians For Better Service 

The onset of remote work has shed a spotlight on many online tools that can assist workers that operate without a permanent on-site location. By adopting the digital tools afforded to service technicians by field service management solutions into existing workflows, service companies can support their remote workforce with innovative technologies and provide a 45% increase in the number of jobs completed each day. These software capabilities allow business managers to virtually select the most equipped and centrally located technician for each job. Meanwhile, mobile workforce solutions equip field technicians with real-time access to the tools, processes, and information they need to complete their service jobs on the first try.

Field service software not only improves service quality and speed but also streamlines internal operations. Technicians spread across the field can submit payment requests and record time logs through one central mobile application. Automatic payment scheduling and vehicle mileage and repair history can be reported digitally, eliminating time-consuming paperwork, and simplifying workforce management. 

Integrated field service management software allows technicians to experience a smoother workflow as all operational capabilities are combined in one place. This allows technicians to have easy access to real-time traffic, GPS, and ETA updates when commuting to a site and provides instant notifications of job changes or status updates. Additionally, this technology employs customizable service delivery rules to automate intelligent routing of jobs,  seamlessly ensuring effective transitions between service visits and increasing efficiency by reducing turnover time – all from a mobile device. Today’s digital tools allow technicians to access online inventory records and pricing information so that locating and ordering repair parts can be done at the moment of diagnosis. The coalescence of digital tools and user experience relies on a close link between employed software. Field service management platforms can consolidate data between APIs, sync CRM customer records to mobile devices for each technician, and build enhanced inter-product experiences that are more effective for mobile workers and makes them better at their jobs. 

Facilitate Intrateam Communication  

The integration of field service management software tools across teams offers cross-functional collaboration, which is important for successful digital transformation. To execute efficient service and knowledge sharing between team members, companies should consider integrated systems that offer a high degree of communication between technicians in the field. While on call, technicians can enable video conferencing to communicate with co-workers, should an issue prove difficult to service alone. This collaboration can be done while both remote individuals refer to digital FAQs or diagrams for the equipment they are trying to service within one centralized platform. 

A pressing issue for field service companies today is the widening skill gap the industry faces due to an aging workforce. Field service management software provides various avenues for cross-communication and training. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) capabilities offer newer technicians the opportunity to solicit a virtual diagnosis from veterans. These technologies allow experienced technicians to give direction to workers on-site by analyzing the problem live and remain available to service calls of their own. VR and AR minimize the duplicate efforts that come with apprenticeships by allowing training to be given remotely in real-time via mobile devices, thereby enhancing the efficiency of each member of the workforce. In the next three years, over 50% of field service management deployments will include mobile AR collaboration and knowledge-sharing tools, allowing technicians to provide excellent service and maintain high customer satisfaction regardless of experience level or the intricacy of the repair.

The Digital Workplace 

The digital workplace will continue long past the pandemic that demanded its onset. For remote and field workforces, the integration of mobile tools and digital capabilities will enhance the efficiency of day-to-day service calls by equipping technicians with proper insight and access to their team. While digital integration focuses on technologies companies can leverage for better performance, the digital workplace encompasses all aspects of business collaboration, and those who take advantage of that fact will find better success.                                    

About The Author 

Samir Gulati was appointed Chief Marketing and Product Officer at ServicePower in 2017, where he is responsible for all aspects of Marketing and Product Management, including market strategy, product roadmaps, demand generation, product marketing, and corporate marketing. Samir brings over 25 years of experience in global product and marketing leadership roles in technology companies.