There are more than 3 billion people who regularly use smartphones, and the number continues to grow. The increasing popularity of smartphones—demonstrated by 25% growth in users from 2016-2019—means that companies need to be mobile-first when it comes to both their employees and their customers.
Many smart companies are working hard to keep up with the mobile work movement by investing heavily in mobile-friendly, cloud-based workforce management solutions. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one for your deskless workers?
Feature Checklist for Workforce Management Tools
At first glance, the many SaaS-based mobile workforce management tools available may look very similar. But as you dig deeper, you will see meaningful differences between solutions in terms of data collection, intelligent functions, mobile compatibility, and more.
Look for the following essential features in your mobile workforce management system:
Scheduling and Communication
- Matches the right worker to the right job.
For the first iteration of mobile workforce management tools, finding and sending an available technician to a customer was a game-changer. These days, that just doesn’t cut it.
To provide the best customer experience possible, you’ll need a solution that can match mobile workers to clients in a more dynamic way. They even enable you to create shift and roster templates to manage single shifts, recurring appointments, and more—all based on resource requirements and demand—saving you time generating rosters for your blended workforce.
- Notifies mobile workers of new jobs and appointments.
A mobile workforce management tool only works if the information reaches the people who need it. Basic scheduling tools still require manual emails or calls for shift updates and changes, and those administrative tasks just aren’t sustainable as your business scales up. Your mobile workforce management solution should automatically notify deskless workers of new jobs, cancelled appointments, or schedule changes without the information getting lost among the shuffle of manual staff scheduling. As you evaluate tools, make this a point of emphasis so you can ensure your mobile workforce is as productive and efficient as possible, regardless of their ever-changing schedules.
- Offers various notification options.
The mobile workforce management software you choose should complement your workforce. Make sure the tool offers multiple notification options, including push notifications, email, and SMS text notifications, depending on how your employees like to receive updates. Think about how your workforce operates (and how that may evolve in the future), and pick a solution with notification options that will work over time.
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Optimization for Deskless Workers
- Is mobile-first, and works seamlessly with all your devices.
To keep up with the pace of change, you need a solution that fits seamlessly with how your mobile employees conduct business. Look for a mobile workforce solution that is purpose-built for mobile work, not retroactively adapted to the changing environment. A solution that works with any mobile device—not a specific brand or operating system—is better positioned to meet your needs right now and in the future.
- Has real-time tracking capabilities.
Real-time tracking is a feature that separates the best workforce tools from the rest. Look for workforce management tools that allow you to see when workers accept, travel to, check-in, start, and finish each job. This real-time visibility helps managers understand how and where everyone is working, and it gives the back office tools to provide status updates when needed.
- Helps mobile workers capture data from the field.
In the past, a remote worker would come back to the office at the end of the day to drop off a huge pile of paperwork for the back office to sort through. As the field service industry gets more crowded, customers want faster service and issue resolution. This requires streamlined, mobile-first data collection, not manual pen-and-paper processes.
- Gives mobile workers access to important information.
The better prepared your mobile workers are, the more value they can deliver to your customers. If your workforce management system is disconnected from your customer database, you will be missing out on important opportunities to increase customer satisfaction. As you look at workforce management solutions, prioritize the ones that put customer data and job logistics front and center for your mobile workforce. Information about job logistics helps your mobile workers arrive at the site better prepared or even make adjustments to personalize their service. Seeing the customer history will help workers understand the customer’s situation without having to ask them to repeat details.
- Can set precise appointment times based on location and availability.
When most people think of field service or the mobile workforce, they too often think of sitting around and waiting for the cable guy for hours at a time. Technology has moved far beyond the four-hour “estimated service window”—so why rely on a workforce management system that can’t be more precise.
As you review workforce management options, look for a system that can set precise appointment times. You’ll find that exact appointment times make your customers happy (and happier customers means better days for your employees!). Make sure the system you choose has the ability to automatically notify customers if the mobile worker is running late or needs to reschedule.
- Integrates with other tools for extra functionality
Your workforce management software should make it easier to perform other business functions—not more complicated. One tool may not be able to do it all, but it should be able to talk to other systems to build on its functionality. Look for a system that integrates easily with other tools and platforms. If you need connectivity with HR and payroll, make sure it is compatible with those tools. If you have a custom app that employees use in the field, check if the workforce management system has APIs to let you build functionality into your own app in addition to using its proprietary app. Interoperability is particularly important for industries like healthcare, which rely on a combination of different platforms and databases that need to be accessed securely.
- Integrates with CRM platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow.
Platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow house valuable customer information that helps your mobile workforce perform at a high level. If you rely on a CRM for business insights and opportunities, be certain that your workforce management tool integrates seamlessly with these platforms. The best mobile workforce management tools offer native integration with CRM platforms that gives you a single source of truth for your workforce and customer data.
The right mobile workforce management solution can drive success for your deskless workers, customer interactions, and overall business. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Skedulo’s Deskless Productivity Cloud can help you better manage your mobile workforce.