Curing Institutional Blindness

Charles Jackson, CEO, FieldAware
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Charles Jackson, CEO, FieldAware

If you were blind every week from 8 am to 5 pm, you wouldn’t go about your day hoping your vision gets better; you’d go immediately to the doctor and try to have it fixed. But, many businesses live with that blindness every day and, as a result, have no visibility into their field operations.

“Institutional blindness leaves a company vulnerable to customer attrition and vulnerable to their competitors”

What’s Causing Institutional Blindness?  

Most companies today have invested heavily in systems to help them run their business. These systems are frequently complex and have limitations that prevent them from rendering business processes and information down into something that a mobile worker could utilize effectively. Adding to this dilemma is the prohibitive cost and complexity of moving legacy systems to a cloud-based mobile platform. As a result companies feel powerless to gain visibility into field operations and accept that employees must unplug from their business systems to work off site or at a customer site. This leaves them blind to everything that is happening out there.  

Companies have scratched the surface through the utilization of GPS tracking, and mobile voice and texting communications, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. While they’re not completely blind, they are still largely in the dark about engagement with their customers. There is no means of tracking process adherence, engagement protocols, resolutions and documentation-until the mobile worker comes back to the office and plugs in to their systems.  

What is the Effect on the Business?

The effect on the business first and foremost is inefficiency, which negatively influences the mobile worker’s productivity. With lack of communication and lack of visibility, things fall through the cracks and mistakes go unnoticed. Without important customer, equipment and service information at the fingertips of mobile workers, the likelihood of a technician not being able to solve customer problems during the first visit increases significantly. Lack of information in the field can also result in missed up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

A company could get stuck in the dreaded “repetitive visit syndrome”–which does not bode well for overall customer satisfaction. When a technician comes out to fix a problem, and is not able to do so, the customer becomes frustrated–and rightfully so. The bottom line is that institutional blindness leaves a company vulnerable to customer attrition and vulnerable to their competitors.

Curing Institutional Blindness  

Institutional blindness can be fixed using mobile field service management (FSM) technology. An Aberdeen study indicates those companies adopting FSM solutions increased customer renewal rates by an average of 7 percent; overall customer satisfaction was improved by 19 percent and per-customer sales increased by 13 percent on average.

The right FSM solution can connect those on-premise systems (CRM, ERP, Inventory, etc.) through the cloud to a worker’s mobile device. It provides bi-directional communications that enable field worker’s to access important information to get the job done right the first time. At the same time, provides visibility and control over what is happening at the customer site. Data is synchronized on a regular basis so that information is accurate and up-to-the-minute.  

Getting the job done right the first time is always possible with better visibility. According to TechnologyAdvice, the right mobile FSM solution “enables better accountability and helps teams manage unexpected delays or problems.” Such solutions give technicians crucial information regarding the customer’s equipment and past service history, allowing them to be much more efficient and productive. It also empowers them to overcome unforeseen obstacles they may face when trying to service a customer.

There’s no need to be blind anymore. Mobile field service management solutions are the spectacles necessary for a service organization to get their sight back.

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