mobile devices for field service technicians

Author: Shannon Spollen

Content Specialist/Events Manager

GPS Insight Forward IconWhy Field Techs Need Mobile Devices

  • Get more jobs finished in less time
  • Reduce errors
  • Improve Service
  • Keep workers accountable

Think Field Techs Don’t Need Mobile Devices? Think Again!

Many of us joke about being addicted to our mobile devices. But actual statistics about just how much we use our phones each day (2,617 taps, swipes, and clicks, to be exact) are staggering. We use our phones for almost everything these days – there’s a good chance you’re reading this on your smartphone. If you’re reading this on your computer, then your smartphone is likely a few feet away.

Despite the fact these devices are everywhere, many field service businesses still run on old-fashioned paper, in part because getting technicians to install a field service management program on their personal device, or buying them a new one, is a hassle.
To the “office” workers of the world, this concept sounds completely foreign – we’ve become accustomed to managing our work e-mail and messaging our colleagues with our mobile devices. But there are clear reasons that this same mentality hasn’t penetrated the field service industry.

The Cons of Mobile Devices

There are several reasons why mobile devices haven’t fully been adopted by the field service industry the same way that they have by other industries, including:

  • Less Familiarity: Though computers have been a fixture of the office environment since the 1990’s, smartphones and tablets didn’t see strong adoption until the 2010’s. The ability to work off a digital device hasn’t been as available to professionals working in the field.
  • Employee Retention: In some field service industries, employee turnover can be very high – meaning that business owners do not want to make the investment in training someone on how to use a field service program, or purchase a smartphone for them.
  • Reluctance to Change: Some service business owners have managed for years with paper forms and don’t see the value of transitioning to automated processes – “I’m doing fine, why make the change now?”
  • Cost: Mobile devices for technicians can get costly for a service business owner to manage, especially If already running on a thin margin. The expense of the devices and their service may be perceived as outweighing the benefits using them provides.

The Pros of Mobile Devices

Despite perceived obstacles, there is a strong case to be made as to why mobile devices should become part of any service organization’s operations. There are numerous benefits to adopting mobile devices in the field, including:

  • More Jobs, Less Time: With features like route optimization, service teams can get more accomplished in less time, opening up the door for business growth. Sometimes one or two more jobs each day can be accomplished with smarter routing, clear instructions, and a strong workflow process.
  • Fewer Errors: Detailed work orders give your technicians clear information to make sure the job gets done, and done right. Digital invoicing reduces accounting errors and helps eliminate data double entry in the office. Real time connection between the whole team ensures jobs go smoothly.
  • Better Service: Field service software creates a better customer experience with features like appointment reminders, branded PDFs with work order details, and clear payment / invoice options. This helps reduce customer disputes, leaves a professional impression of your company, and improves cash flow.
  • Employee Accountability: Real time tracking and time stamps on work orders provide visibility and accountability, ensuring truth and transparency, which engenders trust with customers.
mobile devices for field service technicians

The Value of Mobile Devices for Field Technicians

To put the value of mobile devices for your team in perspective, let’s use a real-world example with the following assumptions:

  • Average Order Value: $150
  • Employees: 8, divided into 4 teams
  • Mobile Device Cost: $300/each
  • Mobile Service: $100/month for 4 lines, unlimited
  • Field Service Software Cost: $750
Let’s also now assume that using mobile devices and software, you can complete three more jobs per week.

After a single month, you’ve made $1,800 more in revenue, offsetting the cost of 4 mobile devices and their service.

After month two, accounting for all costs, you’re now up $700. Assuming all rates stay the same, month three and onward nets an additional $950 a month.

While the upfront costs can seem painful to service business owners, the efficiency of time that field service management software and mobile devices uncovers leads to quickly recouped costs and increased profit over a short period of time.

Implementing Mobile Devices

Ready to bring mobile devices into your field service business? Here are a few tips to make the process smoother.

  • Choose the Right Device: The right smartphone doesn’t have to be the most expensive one. But you do want to purchase one that will last and that won’t become outdated too quickly.
  • Consider One Device per Team: If you technicians work in teams, it often makes more sense to assign one device per team, rather than per person. This also lessens some of the cost. If you have a supervisor for each field team, you may want to assign it to them.
  • Hold Trainings: Not having the right training when you implement a new software system into your business is a recipe for frustration and failure. Make sure you take time to learn the program to educate and train your team on how they’ll use it. Practice your workflow with it and lean on the provider’s support team when you need help.
  • Demonstrate Value: Anything you look to implement or bring into your business needs to add value, and your employees need to see it that way as well. By emphasizing the benefits of mobile devices and field service software to your team, you’re creating buy-in. Show them how they will be able to be an active participant in improving their customers’ experience, spend less time in traffic, and reduce the amount of paper they need to keep track of; create a willingness to adopt technology into their workflow.

Putting Mobile Devices Into Technicians’ Workflows

Today’s top service companies have adopted technology into their workflow, and today’s customers expect a seamless experience. Bringing mobile devices and field service management software into your business helps improve your reputation, increase your efficiency, and grow your bottom line.

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