Both executives and field teams are feeling intense pressure. Between the Great Resignation, the Silver Tsunami, job burnout, and the increased difficulty in attracting the younger generation to the field service profession, it’s an understatement to say this is a challenging time for everyone.
The aging field service workforce poses a shortage of roughly two million workers in the manufacturing industry. A survey of field service organizations revealed that 47% of respondents believe one of the biggest challenges they face is attracting qualified field service technicians.
Many of the most seasoned and experienced field workers are retiring and are not being replaced proportionately. The technicians who decide to stay are faced with adapting to the growing volume and complexity of service work, often in dangerous conditions. They’re under greater pressure to perform, upsell products and services, and achieve high first-time fix rates, all while delivering exceptional customer service.
For these reasons, technician morale and loyalty to a field worker’s organization are at an all-time low. Field service technicians are exhausted, lack motivation, and large numbers are leaving the profession. It’s not any easier on the other side of the fence back in the office. Executives are buckling under the weight to ensure new hires are properly onboarded and trained.
Anything that a company can do to help with job satisfaction, onboarding, and retention will be of benefit to calm the storm. Let’s look at how the answer might be in the palm of your field technician’s hand.
Making a case for mobile solutions
Gartner states, “… aging workforces will transition to workforces with less experience but more autonomy. This change will require better digital service support techniques, especially for training, safety, collaboration, and democratization of distributed knowledge.”
Mobile forms apps fill many of the gaps field technicians experience by:
- Providing context and intelligence on assets, sites, or work. This additional information drives superior field performance and ensures safety because technicians know precisely what to look for and work on.
- Assistance with high-complexity work. Contextual, step-by-step work guidance enables techs to tackle jobs reliably and safely with help from ubiquitous access to contextual procedure documentation, resource images, and workflow support.
- Embedding safety, compliance, and training procedures directly into the work process.
- Accelerated work order completion with the easy retrieval of data from previous site visits.
- Reduced administrative burden. No more late nights spent catching up on paperwork. Mobile data collection apps allow the field technician to click and submit, and the data is sent to business systems.
- Delivering training materials and detailed information to ensure effective onboarding and continued learning. Field service techs can accomplish training and obtain certification directly while on the job.
- Offering technicians a way to provide feedback on workflows or processes. Being heard goes a long way towards helping them feel valued.
Service organizations that deploy mobile solutions across their workforce benefit from:
- Greater regulatory compliance and adherence to business and safety procedures.
- Improved data integrity for more accurate and efficient reports and audits.
- Increased access throughout the entire company to real-time data to fuel decision-making.
- Deeper and richer information on assets throughout their entire lifecycle, including photos and audio.
- Faster identification of risks and trends.
How mobile form apps can help
Mobile forms apps offer technicians the opportunity for continued learning and growth on the job. These apps also ensure work is safe and error-free, especially for younger, less experienced techs who may need additional support.
One of the most prominent and well-used items in the technician’s toolbelt is their mobile device. 99.5% of techs surveyed by The Service Council say they use these tools to accomplish their work. In this survey, the majority of field service technicians agreed that mobility has made them more independent, productive, efficient, and safer. Furthermore, a whopping 82% of companies surveyed in TSIA’s Field Services Mobility Stats Benchmark said, “worker productivity was better after using mobility tools.”
It’s abundantly clear that mobile solutions deliver the goods. Technology is a major differentiator to attract new service technicians to your company in this thinly stretched labor market. Furthermore, the field technicians who currently work for you deserve robust and effective mobile solutions to be successful, stay safe, and remain with your company for years to come.
For more on the power of mobile apps, check out Ensuring Field Team Safety & Effectiveness with Mobile Apps.