Gone are the days when sales, service and customer relationship management were delegated to different departments. With the introduction of rugged computers, the iPad and other mobile devices, every tech in the field now has the ability to be a serviceman, salesman and customer relations manager.

As Christopher Bucholtz points out on E-Commerce Times, the idea of taking CRM into the field isn’t exactly groundbreaking. But new technologies are enabling mobile CRM like never before, giving techs in the field the ability to offer their customers superior service.

Handheld rugged computers have been around for years, but the past year witnessed an explosion in popularity with the introduction of the iPad and its various competitors. Because this latest generation of devices was originally intended for the consumer rather than a business audience, a large portion of the general workforce has already interacted with and familiarized themselves with these devices in some capacity outside the workplace. Which makes adoption on the job that much easier.

With mobile devices in hand, techs are prepared to go beyond the mere completion of a call for service. It may not be a seamless integration, but adopting mobile CRM is “an inescapable reality,” Bucholtz writes. “Giving field service personnel a laptop and a laptop-based CRM system and expecting them to enter data into it at the end of the day would be an act of fantasy. But these workers are already dependent on handheld devices to do their jobs, so augmenting their tasks with some CRM record-keeping in the field is a distinct possibility.”

Over time, the act of providing customer relationship management in the field will cease to be called “mobile CRM” altogether, predicts Bucholtz. Instead, it will be standard to provide those services in the field.

More about mobile CRM on The SmartVan

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.