Field service companies face a unique set of challenges. It may be that your company services office equipment or air conditioning, provides a building maintenance service or looks after office plants. Perhaps your business repairs and maintains household appliances or provides a pool cleaning service. Whatever it is, field service companies have a number of common challenges to contend with. In this post, we look at what those challenges are, and more importantly we provide a solution in the shape of a company intranet.
The Challenges Of Field Services
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing field service companies is managing and connecting with a largely remote workforce. Most service personnel spend their time out on the road or working in a variety of different locations. Making sure that these staff still feel as though they are an integral part of the company is a struggle.
In addition, these personnel need to be able to communicate smoothly and quickly with head office. Ideally, they will be able to undertake a range of business processes electronically including: scheduling, booking, work order management, estimating, dispatch, CRM, invoicing, payments, and reporting.
Remote service personnel will also have a requirement to access information and knowledge. For example, it would be impossible for a technician to carry around an operating manual for every model of office air conditioner they may encounter in the field. Likewise, how does a technician on the road access expert help and advice if they come across an unusual problem?
There’s no doubt about it – we live in a world of increasingly complex regulatory demands and ensuring that your company and its employees are meeting these constantly evolving requirements is a major headache. The costs of non-compliance though as almost too great to contemplate. You only have to look at the fiasco of the Volkswagen emissions test scandal to see the damage that can be done to a brand and reputation literally overnight, not to mention the accompanying fines and monetary penalties. But how do you make sure that your staff members out in the field are consistently educated and informed on company and regulatory policies?
Easy-to-use Technological Solutions
Doing away with paper-based systems and processes is a no-brainer for staff members that spend most of their time out and about. However, field servicing technicians are likely to be using a variety of different devices from tablets through to smartphones. And so head office will want to ensure that any software solutions are capable of being utilized on a range of devices and outside standard office hours.
What’s more, any technological solution must be easy to use, optimized for smaller screens and mobile friendly.
It may seem as though all these challenges put this into the too-hard bracket, but have you considered a company intranet? A fully mobile-optimized intranet can address all the challenges we have outlined above and also offers a range of other benefits. Too good to be true? Well, let’s look at the specific challenges and see how the intranet can make a difference.
Intranets And Remote Workers
A mobile-friendly intranet makes connecting with remote workers easy. A news page accessed on login to the intranet will ensure that all workers are kept up to date with the latest company news and events. For staff members accessing such information on smaller screens, it’s important that these news updates are clear and concise. A short synopsis with a link to a more detailed article is preferable to a long and detailed post. Therefore, those workers who spend most of their time on the road can still receive timely news bulletins and will feel part of a wider company culture.
Furthermore, news blogs, discussion forums quizzes and surveys on the intranet are a great way to connect remote workers with each other and head office staff. In addition, they also convey a sense of value to the remote worker and a feeling that their opinion and contribution really matters.
Communicating with head office though goes beyond just keeping up to speed on the latest news. It’s also about the smooth operation of business processes. With a company intranet, both technicians and head office will be able to effortlessly communicate on a range of business processes using prepopulated forms. These may include: making appointments, work scheduling and management, CRM processes, estimating, reporting and invoicing. Whilst in the field staff members will also be able to upload client documentation or take photos of issues and problems and send these back to head office.
And we’ve also seen that the ability to access information and knowledge is vital for technicians that are out and about. The company intranet is the central repository for all those manuals, technical drawings, service brochures and product information that is just too cumbersome to lug around. As well as cutting down considerably on printing costs, the technician can be certain that the intranet has the most up-to-date information thereby eliminating the possibility of costly mistakes.
And if a technician comes across a complex or unusual problem then help is quickly at hand with the intranet. Using the subject experts identified in the staff directory, FAQs or discussion forums on the intranet staff can easily seek expert advice on a particular issue.
Intranets And Compliance
There is a number of ways in which the intranet can assist in the ongoing issue of ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines and safety and health requirements. Awareness, education and training are perhaps the critical areas. The news page can assist with awareness and education of staff members. News feeds can also be customized to a team or job role so that as well as receiving those important corporate messages, team members are also receiving updates that are pertinent to their team and position, including any changes in the regulatory landscape. What’s more the intranet will be able to track and report to management when the relevant staff member has accessed and read the required information. This ability is very useful when it comes to reporting to regulators on compliance.
Likewise, e-learning management systems through the intranet are a great way to ensure that staff stay up to date with the latest requirements. The e-learning can take many forms including interactive quizzes and webinars or how-to videos and blogs. It’s a very cost-effective solution as it can be completed remotely on a modular basis and at a time that suits the worker. Once again, the training can be tracked through the intranet and produced as evidence of compliance to any regulatory inspectors.
Easy To Use Intranets
An intranet solution can be mobile friendly and optimized for the smaller screens and touchscreen functionality of tablets and smartphones. This means that the intranet has an intuitive navigation and an advanced search functionality, making it easier for staff to quickly locate the information they are after.
Overcome Challenges With An Intranet
So if your business is looking to overcome the challenges of field service and large numbers of remote workers, then a company intranet could well be the answer. If you would like to find out more about the possibilities, then contact us at MyHub today.