In the world of field services, every minute matters. Your customer satisfaction relies on the ability of your field team (your brand ambassadors) to quickly and effectively respond to, deliver, and/or fix issues (the first time). But employee and asset management, job scheduling, and compliance regulations are additional balls that need to be juggled when looking to improve the efficiency of your operations.
Here are 6 ways to improve your field operations – from optimizing the resources you already have to expanding to new horizons.

1. Start with your employees

Valued people add value. And by developing an employee recognition program that celebrates your associates’ accomplishments, you demonstrate that you recognize their hard work and are invested in their success. This type of program motivates employees and improves their job satisfaction – which in turn leads to improved productivity (this study found a 12% increase). And if your associates allow public recognition through social media and press releases, it can help those same customers feel connected to your business.

2. Improve the tools you have

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Improving your field operations doesn’t have to mean buying shiny new mobile devices and switching field software solutions – there are often ways to improve responsiveness and eliminate waste simply by extending the value of your current tools and processes. This is especially true for deskless workers stuck with limited-use devices that only allow/use a subset of the full functionality due to corporate concerns over productivity, safety, and security.

3. Spend less time entering data

Data entry in the field is slow, prone to error, and resource intensive. Every second a technician spends manually re-typing data instead of helping your customers is wasted time. And the constant fighting with clunky systems can lead to low employee satisfaction. (Roughly 1/3 of employees say their biggest concern related to technology in 2022 is outdated systems that are cumbersome or slow.) The more you can automate the data capture and entry process in the field, the more time your skilled employees can spend performing higher value work for your customers.

4. Evaluate the tools used by your peers

Let’s face it: there will come a time when your existing software and devices will no longer be capable of supporting your business. Unfortunately, many field managers don’t have the time to stop and evaluate new field service tools. And when they do, it can be extremely difficult identifying the best use cases, tools, and implementation models to choose. Let someone else invent the wheel: there are thousands of apps, devices, and vendors that claim to be able to impact workflow and improve your field operations – all with successful customer stories to back them up.

5. Make technology a differentiator

A recent study shows a clear correlation between satisfaction with workplace technology and reduced job turnover. Giving employees access to the technology they need to complete their jobs not only improves productivity, but it improves employee engagement overall. Engaged and satisfied employees are much less likely to change jobs or switch careers. Businesses with field-based workers should take notice of this trend, as those dissatisfied with their work technology were more than twice as likely as those who are satisfied to say they feel burned out at work, and half as likely to say they’re generally happy with their work.

6. Start small and scale

When you do make the decision to implement a new technology or workflow, consider testing in smaller, contained phases instead of going with a “big bang” deployment. This can help your team more quickly implement technology and validate the investments, with improvements being felt in weeks instead of months or years. It also gives field employees more time to learn and adapt to the new tools – asking questions along the way that provide you with important user feedback to guide future phases.