Recently I read an interesting report published by Aberdeen Group about the emerging workforce – young, technology-savvy and collaborative. Aberdeen also reported that on average, today’s technicians carry two devices to complete their work utilizing a combination of smartphones, tablets, laptops (Service Mobility: The Right Technology for the Tech, August 2014). The reports highlight how businesses now have the opportunity to ensure that vital information is included in the job form for the field service worker doing the job, ensuring workers arrive onsite armed with the necessary background to get the job done quickly.
Few workers today will stay with one company forever. Unfortunately the vast majority of companies are ill prepared when it comes to succession planning and 60% of organisations surveyed were reactionary when it came to recruiting – they only recruited when there was an open position.
The problem is not only finding the next worker as a reaction to a departure, but also ensuring that your organisation understands their needs and motivations in order to keep these new recruits for the long haul. And as these new workers begin their journey with the team, companies and business owners must manage the way in which this next generation uses, processes, and engages with technology as this is the opportunity for future success.
What younger workers lack in experience, they can make up for in social and mobile skills
Today, approximately one-fifth of the current workforce is under 30, with the average age of a field service technician being 32 years old. Field service organisations must therefore recognize what the needs and motivations of this new, up and coming workforce are, in order to keep them for the long haul as well as to attract the next pool of young talent.
There are several traits and preferences that typify today’s younger field service worker; they are 30 years old and younger, tech savvy (they grew up with computers), and collaborative (social networks are a way of life). These workers are able to attain and evaluate data faster than ever. But the integral part is how quickly data is turned into insight and answers which can translate into a better, faster service for your customers.
It is their technology savvy and collaborative traits that will help to make younger workers valuable to your business. Speed of communication via social and mobile allow new, tech-savvy workers to solve problems more quickly and ensure resolution to a customer’s problem is not delayed because of a lack of information.
Tech-savvy workers do not want to be tied down by outdated, legacy technologies. They want the freedom to engage with the latest technologies they have been using in their personal lives. As a result, the mobile landscape for fleet and field service organizations is evolving and the emerging worker is helping to speed up this transformation.
Losing a seasoned technician can be potentially devastating to a service business but top performing organizations ensure that they are able to capture as much knowledge from these workers before they leave. The new worker can be well equipped with tools like smart phones, apps and social media to learn from as well as teach more seasoned workers in the team.
Customers demand exceptional service
In the past, much like a generation of technicians gone by, the customer was willing to wait for service resolution. There weren’t as many options, before social media it was harder to search or get referrals and many service issues were less than critical. Today that is no longer the case. The customer expectation is that the service organization will fix the issue right away – and fix it right the first time. The service worker must be able to provide a fast diagnosis of the issue, find the answer right away, fix the issue AND make the customer feel valued before moving on to the next call. This could be the perfect challenge for the emerging worker utilizing a powerful combination of mobile devices and field service management software.
Attract the next great field service leader
Meeting the changing needs of a customer requires that a service provider has the right resources to deliver these expectations. The most important part of service delivery is the technician who is actually on site and interacting with the customer at their time of need. These mobile service workers are the face of the business for the customer and more often than not, the hero when resolution is reached. The Best in Class outperform their peers in regard to retaining the field heroes they have, but almost as importantly, they are able to find, hire and train the next field service heroes that are essential to sustainability.
New technology adoption empowers service teams with information
Mobile, video and social technology adoption by a business isn’t about jumping to the next cool thing. The business value of these tools is empowering service teams with the information they need on-demand. Mobile technology allows technicians and service workers to quickly find product, part and equipment information which update in real time to more quickly repair and resolve customer issues.
Collaborative tools, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, offer the opportunity to take advantage of mobile apps. There are a number of custom apps on the market that are tailored to helping manage a field service operation and simplifying the business processes.
Mobile apps offer utility service technicians the ability to share, store and view job data while in the field, providing them with a virtual link to the back office. Critical information such as daily tasks, customer histories and billing can be accessed on demand. In addition, locations of nearby teammates can be accessed on a mobile device and a real-time connection provided through social networking, enabling them to seek assistance or help resolving a problem.
Having the tools and capabilities to work more collaboratively, and having access to real-time insight, empowers workers to make more strategic decisions. The speed of communication through social and mobile allow them to solve problems quickly and ensures resolution is not hampered by lack of information.
Mobile technology results in higher levels of communication and team collaboration
Technicians can easily recruit help from co-workers and are better enabled to reach appointments on time and achieve first-time issue resolution, leading to increased customer satisfaction and worker productivity while reducing operational costs.
An additional advantage of recruiting workers who are already well equipped to use mobile solutions, such as smartphones and social networking, is that they are well placed to teach other workers. Mobility solutions can then be adopted throughout the workforce.
The connection to the business and the customer is integral for field service. The emerging workforce of young, tech savvy, collaborative technicians know how to find answers quickly to resolve their customer’s needs via mobile and social tools.
Service businesses must evolve or risk becoming extinct
Customer expectations continue to evolve. But too often, a service organisation remains in status quo, too slow to adjust to a new marketplace. This is not sustainable and top performing service organisations understand that the fastest way to change with the customer is to infuse the company with new talent as well as investing in smart technology and hardware to empower them to do their jobs smarter, faster and better.
So don’t get left in the last millennium; make sure you have the right mix of young, tech savvy as well as seasoned workers, using mobile platforms to deliver the best service possible to your customers.
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