The pace of business has sped up considerably over the last decade, but for many manufacturers, field service enablement in stuck in the last century. No asset-intensive business can thrive, grow, and fulfill marketplace expectations in the 2020s without a powerful, live connection between the office and field.
In this blog, we’ll explore…
- Why mobile workforce management is more relevant than ever
- What a connected office & field look like
- How to strengthen & streamline field service rapidly
Why Field Service Mobility is Crucial to Success
Customer Service & Satisfaction
Expectations for quality of service and response time have grown across the board in recent years. Customer experience and satisfaction have emerged as the competitive battlegrounds of our time.
In manufacturing, where competition is tougher than ever, your field service team is the face of your brand to the customer. Their ability to deliver a great experience and make using your products feel light and rewarding is what builds lasting satisfaction, customer retention, and great word-of-mouth.
If your office and field service teams aren’t connected in real time and mobile workforce professionals don’t have easy access to the data they need to complete their work, there are major consequences:
- You help fewer customers per day
- Each service interaction takes longer
- Customers are less satisfied
Business Efficiency & Productivity
From the internal perspective, the connection between your office and field service teams is like the cord that tethers an astronaut to their spaceship. It helps both sides maintain a healthy, safe connection where everyone sees and understands information in the same way. Without that cord in place, your teams float steadily away from each other and it can be tough to reconnect in crucial moments.
Without a strong, connected approach to field service…
- It’s very difficult to adjust your team on the fly
- You’re losing profits because of inefficiencies you don’t even know about
- You lack the data you need to hold field service professionals to a higher standard
What a Connected Office & Field Look Like
When you’ve got great field service connectivity, your teams’ assignments are ready for their access via smartphone or tablet as soon as they clock, with full access to customer data like addresses, service history, order information, contact information, and beyond. Your service professionals know everything they need to about the environment they’re entering, so they can do great work and suggest or upsell other relevant services.
At each stop along the way, your professionals have instantaneously access to your online knowledge base, catalog or product manuals, and even their office support team for urgent needs. As they fill out checklists, capture signatures, and complete jobs, their updates are sent to your ERP in real time, which means live visibility of work updates and no time-consuming manual end-of-job documentation eating into productivity in the field.
If a cancellation or emergency service call comes into the office, that team can reroute service teams who are already out in the field, reassigning tickets and providing a clear alert to the change in seconds.
At the end of the day, when your mobile workforce returns, they’re done – there’s no end-of-shift catch-up on documentation or paperwork to turn in, and there’s no punching the clock. Their work is already documented in your system and synced with payroll and accounts payable. That means significantly streamlined processing times for payroll and billing, which means greater profitability and increased cashflow.
How to Strengthen & Streamline Field Service
Here’s the short version: Get your field service professionals the data access and tools they need to do efficient, satisfying work. Get your supervisors the live look at the field that helps them manage better than ever.
To get a little more specific, though, you need a platform like Salesforce Field Service or Oracle Workforce Management that extracts CRM and ERP data and extends it to the field in real time. Ideally, you want a two-way flow of data, so field service professionals can capture and upload files or information seamlessly, eliminating manual end-of-day reporting.
Unfortunately, many businesses purchase a mobile workforce management toolkit, integrate it with their apps and database, and that’s the end of the story. They have a management strategy but not a great one.
Great field service is like an iceberg: most people only see the peak, but there’s a massive support structure below the water. That peak is the actual service interactions your professionals perform in the field: the repairs, the customer service, the deliveries. The support structure is the IT integration that connects your enterprise and team in ways that streamline work and build new value.
Truly excellent field service management – the kind that makes customers happier and becomes a competitive differentiator – comes from optimizing your environment so that you’re offering a tailored experience that’s designed for the specific challenges, needs, and accountabilities of your team’s day to day work, not just providing basic connectivity and access. You need field service to be fully interconnected with the rest of your operations and aligned with business goals.
To do that, you need to work with an integrator who understands your business, goals, and IT environment.
Time to Get Started!
Hoping to build the right approach to field service? Need to get more value out of your existing mobile workforce or field service investments? rSTAR can help.
If you have a mobile team of service, fulfillment, or customer care professionals, rSTAR can help you streamline operations and save money by:
- Extending ERP & CRM data to the field
- Automating field data upload
- Enabling real-time communication & reassignment
- Eliminating pen & paper reporting
To start a powerful conversation about what field service optimization would look like at your business, contact rSTAR today.