Why Messaging is Best for Field Service

The following is a guest blog by Stacey Epstein, CEO of Zinc, a ServiceMax partner. For more information, visit their online ServiceMax Marketplace listing.

Texting has become a cultural phenomenon. People will send a staggering 8.3 trillion text messages this year, and 97 percent of Americans use texting to communicate. I heard recently that 95 percent of people have admitted to texting someone in the same room.

It’s not hard to figure out why messaging is so popular – it’s simple, quick and effective. Anyone can reel off a half-dozen messages about dinner plans while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store. It’s also widespread and affordable. Assuming you know their number, you can text pretty much anyone in the world, and feel certain they’ll get it. It’s an incredibly powerful way to communicate, wrapped in a ridiculously simple package.

But how does this fit into the workplace? People who work outside of an office all day have to communicate with each other, their managers, and people at the home office. For field service workers who work independently and physically apart from one another, messaging is how they work together.

Secure, enterprise messaging has quickly become the go-to mode of communication for workers in mobile industries like field service.

Secure, enterprise messaging has quickly become the go-to mode of communication for workers in mobile industries like field service. Their time is spent in the field and on the job, fixing issues as quickly as possible. Field technicians simply can’t handle a complex user interface and long chat-room style streams of communication. They need quick, low-tech, easy to use communication that doesn’t distract them from getting the job done.shutterstock_287327678

Mobile communication is key to operational excellence – it is how remote workers establish their community inside a workplace. Because field service teams spend their days coordinating thousands of employees with managers in offices hundreds of miles away, it is important that they are able to connect in a way that enhances and improves their ability to share expertise, best-practices, and lessons learned with one another.

For example, if a field service worker runs into a problem with a new piece of equipment helping out a customer in the field, they don’t have to weed through a complicated app to get answers – they can just shoot off a quick text message or call and hear from a colleague who can help them resolve the issue. Employing technologies that make communication quick and simple for field service technicians ultimately improves service delivery, directly contributing to operational excellence.

What’s good for employees, is also good for employers. Easy communication between field teams and management obviously increases the productivity and efficiency of a business’ operations, but also has real effects on the workforce. Communication tools are the basis for de facto social networks based around work: Questions about work can turn into banter, which lead to friendships and trust. These connections might not happen without colleagues having the ability to be in constant contact.

Good field service communication doesn’t just mean getting answers to technicians quicker. It changes the fundamental underlying structures of a company in unexpected ways. By empowering field workers with simple, effective messaging tools, you can get real-time feedback on new products as they’re rolled out, track bugs and crowdsource the troubleshooting. You create a new sense of community by opening up new channels of dialogue and creating connections with employees who otherwise never see each other. And most importantly, you empower employees with the information they need to do their best work.

A famous artist and inventor once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – and I like to think that’s true of communicating for deskless workers. That’s why we just let them text.

To learn more about operational excellence and how these aspects work together to create a service system that is far greater than just the sum of its parts, check out our new free ebook.

ABOUT Stacey Epstein

Avatar photoStacey Epstein is the Chief Marketing & Customer Experience Officer at ServiceMax. Previously, she was president of Zinc (acquired by ServiceMax in February 2019) and CMO at ServiceMax, where she helped fuel five consecutive years of triple-digit growth leading to a $1B acquisition by GE in 2017.