What Do Field Service Techs Want in a Mobile App?
A mobile app isn’t merely a luxury for today’s field service technicians; it’s a necessity. Field technicians know that there are great tools out there to help make their jobs easier, and if you aren’t offering them, they may try to find a new employer who will.
But not all apps are created equal.
A great field service management app is so much more than a way to remove pen and paper from the equation. It’s about leveraging the technology to make your field techs as productive, efficient, and satisfied with their work as possible.
So what do today’s field service techs want in a mobile app? Let’s explore.
Access to Customer Data to Arrive Prepared
Field service techs have unique needs. They are frequently doing work on site for the customer, which may not be a familiar environment. They are often alone or in small groups, which can make it difficult to troubleshoot or get help when needed. And they are sometimes the only person from their company that the customer has ever met in person.
Field service techs have a tough job. That’s why supporting them with field service management is vital. Techs need as much information as possible to do their job efficiently the first time and meet customer expectations.
If technicians arrive on-site without the tools or customer data to complete the work order, it won’t just cost your company time and money—it compromises your business’s reputation. The mobile app should allow techs to see before arriving what needs to be done, as well as read any notes from previous jobs with the customer or account.
With secure data integration from CRM or system of record, such as Salesforce and ServiceNow, all the pertinent customer information your techs need should be available at the push of a button. Not only will you have happier customers for a job that’s completed the first time, but you’ll also have happier technicians who are more prepared and empowered.
Travel Tools to Arrive On Time
Travel is a large part of field service work, and techs need an app that supports them at every turn.
Your chosen app should feature:
- Travel route optimization, including the ability to take outside factors, such as traffic, road construction, or detours, into account
- Built-in intelligence that considers travel time to and from each appointment and how far the next appointment is from the current location
- Real-time schedule notifications and SMS that keep your team moving quickly from job to job without have to check email and voice messages when an appointment has been cancelled or rescheduled
When you can get your tech where they need to be as quickly as possible, you reduce costs, increase efficiency, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, your bottom line.
User-Friendly (and Mobile-Friendly) Interface
For a mobile workforce, a mobile-first approach is a must, and user experience is a key component of being mobile-first.
If your field service workers have too much trouble with the app, they either won’t use it to its fullest capability or will waste time trying to navigate through the app. Understanding and best practices around mobile app design have advanced significantly in recent years; make sure your field service app has the look and feel of a consumer app so it’s easy and fast to adopt.
Furthermore, offline capabilities are absolutely necessary for anyone spending time on the road or working in areas that may have spotty service. Sometimes field service techs are called out to a remote location or otherwise work in places with a weak or nonexistent data connection. Any offline information should be stored locally and automatically sync when the tech re-establishes connectivity. Make sure there are no extra steps involved for your techs to sync their data.
In short, a field service mobile app should offer a user-friendly interface that’s easy to learn and even easier to use on a daily basis, no matter how strong the internet connection is.
Simple Tools to Collect Field Service Data
Your service techs need to collect plenty of data when they’re on a job, from photos to signatures to invoices and beyond. A strong mobile app should make data collection easy and not require you to buy yet another technology to make things like forms work the way you need.
The best field service apps capture data easily and automatically send it where it needs to go without added steps or frustration. Digitally collecting this data reduces costly errors, ensures information is appropriately secured and preserved, speeds up invoice to payment time, and eliminates the risk of losing records in transit.
A Great Customer Experience
There’s no doubt that the customer experience gives you the edge in your industry. Happy customers are repeat customers, and repeat customers are the foundation for growth.
Savvy field service providers should be constantly striving to corner the market on customer satisfaction. The Aberdeen Group reports that the best field service providers have an 85% customer retention rate and increase their customer satisfaction by more than 21% year-over-year.
Another way that the right field service app can improve the customer experience—besides sending techs prepared to complete the job the first time—is to offer precise appointment times (and keep your promise!). With an app that takes travel time, other appointments, and employee availability into account, you can promise a specific time so customers aren’t forced to interrupt their day to wait for hours on end.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have different customer needs to consider. Customers may want appointments to be scheduled quicker, or they may be willing to wait longer for a more experienced tech. Take inventory of your customers’ needs, and make sure to select an app that helps you master the customer journey.
Increased Productivity and Job Satisfaction
While your customers can make or break you, it’s important to focus on your field service techs, too. Without them, your company will go nowhere. And a great service app benefits your techs in a number of ways:
- Telling them exactly what they need to know about the job and customer, allowing them to complete it on time and correctly so they can move on
- Scheduling in real-time, eliminating the stress that comes from running late and angering or disappointing their customers
- Making it easier to take field notes or collect and enter data
- Increasing efficiency and productivity, leading to less downtime for the tech
- Simplifying communication with the back office, allowing for real-time job information updates, less paperwork, and a significant reduction in manual errors
At heart, a fantastic field service app makes your techs’ jobs easier, reduces stress, and creates happier employees who will stay with your company for years to come. Combine high customer retention with happy, efficient employees, and see how business booms!
The Bottom Line for Field Service Apps
To do the best job, your field service techs need access to the best tools. Any company that doesn’t stay on the cutting edge of mobile technology will get left behind.
The best field service apps set their users apart by:
- Ensuring techs arrive with the right equipment and knowledge to get the job done the first time, every time
- Making it simple for techs to access customer data and service history
- Creating a higher level of efficiency, thus simplifying data entry, providing faster job completions, and reducing or eliminating reworks or repeat visits
- Offering precise appointment times rather than “windows,” which offer better customer convenience
Are you ready to discover how a stellar field service mobile app can transform the way your company does business? Check out the Skedulo mobile app, and request a demo to see how a mobile app can help you please customers and employees alike!