Guest Column | March 19, 2018

Tips For Taking Field Service Technicians Live With Mobile Systems

By Bruce Breeden, President, Field Service Resources, LLC

Field Service Technician Mobility

The ability of a field service organization (FSO) to meet its business objectives is based on exceeding customer expectations by providing fast response and resolution, if not predictive failure and scheduled maintenance. These results depend on daily or “live” usage of the mobile technician system, or field service software. 

Oftentimes, once technology is deployed, the question and challenge is how to get the field service technician engaged to use the systems appropriately and on a “live” basis. One key factor is to remember that involving the voice of the technician in the design of the systems is critical in ensuring proper system design, buy-in, and ultimately usage by the field service technicians.

Customer surveys indicate that customers highly value responsiveness, convenience, and expertise from their field service partner. The voice of the technician often mirrors these customer sentiments for the system they use to do their job. Are the technician mobile system “toolsets” meeting those expectations? Service technicians have a stressful job in traveling and solving problems, often prioritizing customers to optimize their productivity. We want them to be extra satisfied in their job and their toolset to ensure a positive customer interaction and promotion of our company and product brands. 

Mobile System Design Elements

When developing a system, you should start with considering the technicians’ daily assignments and ask them to broadly outline how their assignment completion could be more convenient, responsive, and effective. If you’re looking to change your technicians’ roles and assignments, perhaps to utilize the technician to promote or sell programs and products, involving the technicians in the role, process, and system design will help later in driving change and acceptance. Common mobile systems design elements include these considerations:

  • Is the mobile application convenient to use?
  • Is the system available 24/7 and error free?
  • Is the mobile system able to support all the assigned tasks?
  • Can the mobile system be used off-line when employees can’t get internet connectivity?
  • Can the technicians access manuals, training videos, safety JSAs, and other support information? 
  • Can the device integrate its native applications to the technician tasks, e.g. mapping?
  • Can the mobile system accurately capture technicians’ work hours for payroll, their actual time/travel, and material/parts applied to the specific assigned job? 
  • Can the technician understand the contract entitlements or billing guidelines to review the call with the customer, both pre/post-service?
  • If there are additional primary or secondary reports required for the technician task, can they be appended to a single system of record?  Similar, can specific calibration or validation reports be completed and routed to the customer or regulatory agencies?
  • Can quality assurance codes be routed back from their mobile system relative to the product model and serial number?
  • Can a job task be updated but not completely closed in case of continuing work or monitoring while reporting materials, parts, labor, and travel for the day?
  • Will the end-user customer be routed completed reports at completion?
  • Can the mobile system incorporate many disparate back office systems and provide a common interface for multiple systems?

By accounting for these elements, the system will improve the technician’s ability to perform their job which will lead to greater system usage and lower turn-over rates for skilled technicians and valuable customers.

Aside from voice of the technician and customer design, another engagement method is to ensure the technician teams understand both the internal and external value of immediate mobile systems usage. The benefits include:

  • Customer responsiveness, communication, and convenience; they know immediately what the completed maintenance resolution was, billing or contract coverage details, extra technician comments, or associated inspection and calibration reports
  • Regulatory documents are completed and filed for their quality system (both customer and field service organization)
  • Time and payroll reports are submitted
  • The FSO can effectively schedule technicians for other jobs, PTO, and training events
  • Product quality and parts planning are improved
  • The FSO can bill or properly account for contract cost daily

By addressing both technician preferences and customer impact when designing mobile systems, FSOs will improve their chances of “live” systems usage and achievement of their intended business objectives. 


Bruce Breeden is the author of the Intentional Field Service Engineer, speaker, and creator of the Field Service7℠ service development program. His company website is and he can be reached at