Feature Article

December 04, 2012

Mobile Tools and Apps Streamline Field Service Landscape

For improved field technician productivity, operating expenses, customer satisfaction and revenue, mobile tools and applications play an important role.  A special report jointly generated by TSIA and ServiceMax reveals five key drivers for effectively streamlining the field service process.

The report shows that the initial mobile applications for field service in the late 1990s never made any impact for three key reasons. They had poor usability and connectivity and the onset of rapidly changing devices deterred them from making an impact.

However, since 2010, mobile tools and applications have begun to gain momentum, according to a survey of TSIA members. From 28 percent of respondents using mobile field service in 2010, the adoption of mobile field service rose to 38 percent last year. And the preliminary numbers from the 2012 survey show another sharp increase to 47 percent, says this report.

The indication is that this number will continue to rise as mobile spending grows. As per the report, some 40 percent of technology firms have budget for new or additional field service mobility in 2012–2013.

Based on this study, TSIA and ServiceMax have jointly identified five separate drivers behind the rapid adoption of mobility. These are:

• Device cost and availability.

• User adoption and ease of use.

• Improved operational metrics and revenue generation.

• Architecting the customer experience.

• Increased employee collaboration.

Unlike the 1990s, when mobile suppliers were limited and cost was high, today’s smartphones have become ubiquitous with Internet connectivity and unlimited applications. Plus, with falling prices, the adoption rate of smartphones is spreading like wild fire, outselling regular mobile phones. And the apps are also on the rise.

With tighter budgets, technology expenditures are only being approved when a return on investment (ROI) is clear and measurable. As a result, organizations are putting pressure on field services to closely monitor and improve metrics across the board, including productivity, employee effectiveness, and incremental revenue. The report shows that investment in mobility passes this litmus test, with clear and measurable improvements to all areas of field service metrics.

Today’s technology companies clearly understand the link between customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term customer value. With additional technology and training, companies hope to differentiate themselves from competitors by offering a stellar customer experience for all on-site visits. Increased mobility easily improves the customer experience in multiple ways.

Lastly, the new mobile devices are facilitating collaboration using Web chat, video chat or access to a discussion forum for field service workers, which allows field technicians to complete repairs more efficiently.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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