Increasingly, companies are recognizing that mobile apps do far more than transform the way in which office workers do their jobs. Some of the biggest payoffs come when mobile apps are used by field service workers. As I’ve written before, mobilizing a company’s firstline workers is the fastest way to digital transformation.
How do mobile apps manage to do that? The article, “7 Ways Mobile Apps are Transforming the Field Service Industry,” provides a great summation of the most important reasons apps improve field service productivity, and give an entire enterprise a significant boost.
The article starts off by noting that mobile apps for field service have a 50 percent ROI in only two years. It adds, “There are a lot of benefits to be had, from quicker response times to real-time tracking and happier customers.” It then details seven ways that mobile transforms the field service industry. Summaries of them are below.
Team and Resource Tracking
Perhaps the most important transformative capability of mobile apps, the blog notes, is that they can tap into the GPS capabilities of smartphones and automatically track teams and resources. Businesses can see real-time locations of technicians, and more efficiently deploy them. No need for phone calls to check on workers. The location and progress of an entire fleet can be seen at a glance.
Less Confusion Between Dispatchers and Techs
With mobile apps, in-the-field techs don’t have to check in with dispatchers for job updates, eliminating confusion and errors. The result, according to the blog: “Your team will have more information, and more up-to-date information on hand when they complete a job. Dispatch will also have instant access to job updates from the field, and technician location, without needing to pick up the phone.”
Increased Field Team Efficiency
Field service work is far too inefficient. The blog notes “The average service company only has a 72% compliance rate with stated response time, and a 64% workforce utilization.” That’s because paper-based systems are inherently inefficient and prone to error. With mobile apps, field service workers need not pick up paper work orders at the beginning of the day. They just check aps, which means there’s no lost paperwork and errors. The blog concludes, “With mobile support, you can simplify operations and increase overall data accuracy. Fewer errors, and access to more data, means better adherence to your company’s processes and industry best practices.”
Sync Data to the Cloud
Thanks to the ability of mobile apps to sync data to the cloud, field service workers always have access to the latest information they need. The result, says the blog: employees can be in the field more hours of the day, improving on-time rates and staff utilization, and manual errors are reduced.
Instant Access to New Information
Field service workers live with constant change. Appointments are often cancelled, added, or moved, and emergency calls frequently come in. The blog notes, “With a mobile approach, that information can be updated quickly for instant access by staff in the field. Notifications can alert them to real time updates for assigned jobs whenever there is a change, meaning less confusion and more efficient use of their time.”
Improved Customer Experience
Customers generally aren’t happy with the service they get. Being able to schedule their appointments via mobile apps can change that. The blog points to a study by CSG International that found 89 percent of customers prefer having an app that will give them technician location and arrival times and 70 percent want to see a technician’s name and photo. And 86 percent of respondents said they would pay $25 make the scheduling process more convenient.
Access to the Full Range of Smartphone Capabilities
Mobile apps can take advantage of the full range of smartphone capabilities beyond GPS, including barcode scanning and cameras. Barcode scanners can help staff more easily track inventory and parts. Cameras can document the work done in the field. The result, says the blog, are improved operations across the board.
How to Build Mobile Apps That Can Transform Your Field Service Operations
Alpha TransForm (for non-developers) and Alpha Anywhere (for developers) can work independently or together as a single platform, and are ideally suited for building mobile apps for field service workers. Alpha TransForm helps business users craft online or offline mobile apps in minutes that utilize the latest mobile features (camera, GPS, etc.) for fast, accurate data capture. Alpha Anywhere has the unique ability to rapidly create mobile-optimized forms and field apps that can easily access and integrate with any database or web service and can exploit built-in role-based security or robust offline functionality. Learn more about Alpha TransForm and try it free for 30 days.