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A Guide to the Apps Today’s Field Techs Need for Success

In today's complex environment, field techs need the right apps to succeed. This guide can help you find them.

The world of field tech management is complex, and that’s not about to change. Professionals in the field continue to report increased customer expectations and potential technology challenges. In that environment, and more than ever, today’s field techs need to find and perfect more efficient ways to get their job done and keep up with varied demands. They need modern apps to perform their job more efficiently, accurately, and professionally in the contemporary business landscape.

Finding those apps, of course, is a challenge in itself. The plethora of options available can make it difficult for organizations to decide exactly where to invest their time and resources. Understanding the core needs that require finding the right app, along with narrowing down the specific app types that will most benefit your company, can go a long way toward running a better, more efficient operation.

7 Reasons for Modern Field Techs to Explore App Solutions

Identifying the right technology to improve your business operations has to begin with uncovering the pain points that this technology can solve. A clear awareness allows you to become more goal-focused as you look for potential apps that might help your field techs better perform their work. Some of the modern needs your field techs might have include:

    1. Real-Time Access to Information. The more easily your field techs can get to the information they need to perform their jobs, the better. This includes training manuals, equipment lists, customer backgrounds, and more.

    1. Enhanced Team and Service Communication. Techs should be able to easily communicate with the office, other techs working on the same issue, or customers, as well as any manufacturing partners for ordering parts or finding solutions.

    1. More Efficient Work Management. The ability to better manage work tasks, especially for complex jobs, can help your field service techs stay on track by making sure that all needs are taken care of comprehensively and to the customer’s satisfaction.

    1. Remote Diagnostics. New technology like diagnostics via video call can save valuable time and resources by reducing field service visits, while also improving customer satisfaction through faster, more efficient solutions. 

    1. Paperless Documentation of Service and Appointments. The more easily your field techs can document their work, including the ability to gather electronic customer signatures, the less complicated the actual visits become for everyone involved.

    1. Improved Inventory Management. The right digital solutions can help your field techs more easily understand the parts available in inventory or what must be ordered, allowing them to optimize their repairs or replacements.

    1. Real-Time Training and Skills Development. Finally, field service businesses look for apps to improve training for new technicians who might need to be onboarded without the ability to sit through lengthy synchronous training sessions in the office.

Apps that can offer these services empower field technicians in many ways. In addition to providing them with the tools and information they need to perform their work more effectively and efficiently, they also help to improve the overall quality of work—enabling field techs to deliver superior service, enhance customer satisfaction, and have a significant impact on the overall field operations.

Related: Attracting and Retaining a New Generation of Workers Through Digital-Forward Practices

7 App Categories that Can Improve Field Service Success

With the basic reasoning behind the need for better technology in place, it’s time dig deeper into the types of apps that can help you better accomplish your business and service goals. These apps can go a long way toward helping you build more integrated field service management systems that ultimately create a sustainable competitive advantage.

App Category #1: Task Management Apps

An increasingly common staple across offices in a range of industries, task management solutions are making their way into the field tech sector as well. Being able to access all work that needs to be done easily and on the go allows field technicians to better organize their work, both on and off the job site.

A task management app can become invaluable for long-term efficiency, especially for field techs taking on multiple jobs. The ability to record tasks and related deadlines becomes essential for keeping track of priorities and needs—and for keeping customers happy and equipment in shape.

App Category #2: Appointment Scheduling Solutions

The time of the paper-based appointment calendar is long gone. Today’s customers expect easy online scheduling, complete with the ability to provide initial information and reschedule their appointments as needed. Anything short of that, and they’re liable to move to a competitor as they look to simplify their daily life as much as possible.

The right appointment scheduling solutions, on the other hand, can make a significant difference for customers. Not only will they be able to schedule and re-schedule their appointments, but field techs can also schedule follow-ups within the larger system on the job and in the moment. The result is a better, more streamlined system for everyone involved.

App Category #3: Real-Time Communication Apps

At any point, field techs may need to communicate with stakeholders other than the customer. A quick call back to the office can confirm availability of certain equipment or replacement parts. A call to the manufacturer may confirm ordering and shipping times before setting a follow-up appointment. A chat with a field technician who has worked with a certain customer in the past can unveil formerly unknown issues.

Related: Field Technicians: How to Bridge the Skills Gap

With the right app, any and all of these pieces become not only possible, but also straightforward. You can find chat and phone options, and even video call solutions, designed to help your field technicians get in touch with whoever they need, when they need it.

App Category #4: Customer Relationship Management Systems

Ultimately, many of the customers serviced by your field techs will have an existing relationship with your company. They may have had previous issues with the same or other equipment, or they may simply work with you through their warranty system. Regardless, a customer relationship management (CRM) system can go a long way toward increasing the efficiency of your appointments in these cases.

A CRM system records all previous interactions with customers, including both communications and appointments. In addition to automated entries, field techs can also manually enter notes for future communications, ranging from including the right work instructions to notes on how to best interact with a given customer. That makes everyone’s work easier and more likely to succeed.

App Category #5: Navigation Software

Among the more straightforward options on the list, navigation software helps your field techs find their way to the next appointment. But it can also go further than that. Advanced navigation software can map out routes to move to multiple appointments, avoiding wasted time or effort through unnecessarily long routes.

The right navigation software also integrates with your CRM and other digital solutions, making it less complex by the mere virtue of not requiring a separate app or website. The result, quite obviously, is making sure your techs always get where they need to go on time.

App Category #6: Diagnostic and Troubleshooting Systems

Depending on the exact industry, apps are beginning to make inroads in directly helping field techs with their appointments, as well. Advanced visual systems allow techs to take pictures of damaged equipment and suggest potential solutions or next steps. They can also hook into smart technology to understand the computer’s error codes better than a human ever could.

Imagine the potential efficiency improvements that can occur as a result. The right app can take the guesswork almost entirely out of the equation, requiring less time to diagnose and allowing more time to actually work on repairs as a result.

App Category #7: Training and Skills Improvement Apps

Finally, the right apps can help your field techs continue to hone their skills and train on the equipment they need to repair. This capability can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, such as virtual reality training on equipment or the ability to create 3D virtual instructions that allow your field techs to more closely see exactly the perspective they need to repair any given type of industrial or consumer-facing equipment.

Training through an app increases efficiencies because it’s asynchronous, allowing your field techs to complete their training on their own time. Even better, the right solution is highly portable, meaning techs can refer to it in real time as they work on a machine. This leads to increased knowledge retention, helping new and existing technicians more easily train on and repair even the most complex pieces of equipment.

Find the Right App to Optimize Your Field Tech Efficiency

Ultimately, understanding the different types of apps that may be required to meet your needs, in addition to understanding the reasons you need those apps to begin with, can help ensure that your field technicians contribute to a smoother, more efficient, and more successful operation. But of course, you still have to find the right apps to turn that goal into reality.BILT is not a magic solution that solves each of the above core needs. It is, however, an app unlike any other—enabling your field techs to see and work with virtual, interactive instructions that help them better perform their work. Contact us to learn more about the right technology solutions to improve your field tech efficiency.

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