Using Real-Time Communication To Let Field Service Teams Tap the Force

When you are out in the field servicing customers every day — installing and fixing a product or updating a service — you are very much a ‘lone wolf’. In other words, most of the day is spent working alone, problem-solving with tremendous pressure to finish within a specific timeframe and move on to the next job.

When on a customer visit, anything could happen, impacting your ability to complete the job well. Events can range in frustration level and complexity, such as needing to change your entire route because a customer can’t be onsite. Or it could be a more complicated situation, such as missing a part that is necessary for finishing the install.

There also are external factors out of your control that can impact your ability to get work done. From inclement weather to bad traffic, or perhaps something as catastrophic as a hurricane, anything can happen when you’re on the go. Additionally, you have to be up-to-date on the latest training certifications to be prepared for any customer visit.

All of these moving parts can put a strain on technicians, but when they have the “force” of the entire field service organization behind them, there’s a clear path to victory — and excellent service.

The “Field Team Force”

Zinc group message; field service teamsTechnicians under pressure to complete jobs as fast as possible often follow the same steps they have seen many times before. But when issues they’ve never seen before arise, help is needed right away to resolve the situation. The results of successfully troubleshooting a problem can range from making a homeowner happy that their TV works to enabling a hospital patient to receive life-saving treatment.

Solving customer problems is only possible with the help of other experienced technicians stepping in to help find a solution. But they can’t actually show up to the customer site, instead, techs-in-need can tap workforce knowledge through real-time communication. A communication platform that connects every technician with every mode of communication that could help resolve that situation is key. From sending a message, video, or work order to starting a phone or video call, real-time communication is what lets technicians tap the “Field Team Force” and deliver results.

The Field Workforce to Operations Connection

Operations teams are the critical air traffic controllers that steer technicians in the right direction. When scheduling mishaps occur or inevitable delays prevent techs from arriving on time, it can cause a scheduling domino effect. Customers need to be informed and routes need to be changed and optimized right away. Downtime is costly and not good for the brand.

Field service teams need to know their office-based support teams have their back and can respond immediately to get schedules back on track. Walking away from an unhappy customer is never ideal. With a real-time communication app that connects field service technicians on mobile with dispatch workers on desktop, delayed response times are a thing of the past. No more waiting 10 minutes for an email response or climbing through a phone tree. Resolutions are an instant message or direct phone call away.

The Power of Uniting Field Service Teams

Being on the road can get lonely and it’s important to feel connected to peers in the field but also to management back at corporate. Face-time is not so frequent and so it’s hard to build solid, lasting relationships. Management needs to keep field teams fully informed on what’s happening with the company such as personnel changes, new company goals or perhaps something as big as an acquisition.

With technicians spread far and wide, building a culture of connectivity can’t always be achieved in person but it can be done through digital channels. Official Groups that let teams communicate on key business topics are an efficient way to get things done and ad-hoc groups are crucial in building camaraderie and a sense of belonging. Technicians can create groups around shared interests, such as football, great food, or Game of Thrones. With the freedom to create and invite others to these social groups, teams naturally build relationships, regardless of their location.

Without the ability to tap the “Field Team Force”, performance suffers, job satisfaction and engagement levels drop, and customers take notice. Luckily, uniting all your field service teams and giving them access to the Force is as simple as giving them a real-time communication app.

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.