Nobody said that managing a mobile workforce was easy. But times have changed and so have service businesses. Do you remember what it was like, back in the day, when you were booking a taxi service? You had to find a taxi service number, give them a call, and listen out for the beeping car to know when they’d arrived. Sometimes the taxi would turn up on time and sometimes it wouldn’t. Sometimes the taxi would turn up at the wrong spot and you’d have to start over, calling the taxi company again, being told your taxi had left, and having to rebook again.
When I was booking an Uber on the weekend, it struck me just how much technology has now become a critical part of many service companies. Being able to see your Uber driver’s location on a map, moving along in real-time, keeps you informed and in the loop. The driver can see my location exactly on a map so I don’t have to worry.
Jumping on board the technology train
Taxis have jumped on board the technology train, upping their game with their own apps with live map views. But it’s not just taxis that finding new gains from new ways of managing a mobile workforce through technology. Companies that organise services for customers en route to or at a customer’s location (which is known as field service management) are using technology to their advantage.
The uptake isn’t as quick as you’d think, though. Gartner Inc. estimates field service software is only being using in around 25% of those businesses. Why is this the case? Well, it’s usually a matter of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
"If one of your competitors had an Uber-style app that organised live communications and delivered real-time location updates between servicepeople and customers, wouldn’t you be worried about your business being left on the side of the highway?"
The “old taxi way”
A lot of service businesses have been managing things the manual way (or should I say the “old taxi way”) by arranging appointments over the phone and telling customers they’ll show up within a 4-hour window. Sure, it’s the way that managing a mobile workforce has been done in the past. But if one of your competitors had an Uber-style app that organised live communications and delivered real-time location updates between servicepeople and customers, wouldn’t you be worried about your business being left on the side of the highway?
The reality is that service companies with a mobile workforce are already turning to technology. They’ve realised that word of mouth plays a big role in gaining more business – and when customers have an uber-modern experience made possible by cutting-edge technologies, they talk.
Delivering a memorable experience
Delivering a memorable experience isn’t as difficult as it might sound. It just comes down to removing uncertainty for customers. You can do this by:
- Giving them clear visibility
- Keeping expectations aligned with what you can deliver
- Communicating with them
Think about how you’re delivering your services right now. When there’s a serviceperson dispatched, does your customer have any tracking? Or are they given an 8am-12pm time-slot and asked to wait patiently? Are they being made aware of all changes to appointments? How about if either your staff or the customer is running late, if site access is tricky, or if a booking is cancelled? Do your customers only hear from you when booking the job and being chased up for payment? If you were the customer, how memorable (for the right reasons) would the experience be right now?
"Think about how you’re delivering your services right now. When there’s a serviceperson dispatched, does your customer have any tracking? Or are they given an 8am-12pm time-slot and asked to wait patiently?"
Removing uncertainty doesn’t just benefit customers. It can be a big win for your business. How much time does it cost your team if a customer needs to change appointment details, for example? Do they need to call your office staff who take down the details, call the serviceperson to confirm, then call the client back again?
Putting more efficient processes and technologies in place lets you cut down the low-value tasks. It also frees your resources up and puts you in a position to scale the business quickly - when your customers tell everyone about the memorable experience they’ve had with your company, that is!
On top of improving the experience between customers and field staff, technology can bring massive benefits to your management team. Having visibility of job completion and customer satisfaction gives supervisors the tools to identify training gaps and continually improve on them. Your management team can support field staff on a more personal level – something that’s always been a challenge when managing a mobile workforce.
"Removing uncertainty doesn’t just benefit customers. It can be a big win for your business. How much time does it cost your team if a customer needs to change appointment details, for example?"
No one said it would be easy
Nobody said that managing a mobile workforce was easy – but it’s being made a whole lot easier thanks to service job management software. If you’re wanting to take the fast road to scaling your business and seeing greater success, take a look at how job management software like Riyo can help.
Riyo is a mobile-first platform that manages communications between all parties, gives everyone live visibility of jobs on real-time map tracking of service resources. End customers love it because it delivers an easy, memorable experience, and service businesses love it because it cuts out the low-value manual tasks and lets them scale.
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