In many field service operations, a significant gap exists between the expectations of backoffice staff and the daily experiences of field and frontline engineers and technicians.
Backoffice teams often take for granted their access to user-friendly software tools, comprehensive training, and ample company information that keeps them motivated and aligned with organizational goals. They enjoy workflows tailored to their objectives, constraints, and limitations, unlike their field counterparts who may not have the same advantages.
The Harsh Realities of Field Service
In contrast, field service crews often face a disappointing reality, akin to receiving only a lump of coal on Christmas morning.
They grapple with desktop software applications ill-suited for mobile devices, a lack of training, and limited access to expert support for troubleshooting complex issues. With low morale and high turnover due to being treated as interchangeable resources, they must adapt to existing workflows instead of having workflows tailored to their needs.
The end result is a pervasive pattern throughout the field service sector that mirrors many of the broader social issues of digital equity, with some people enjoying the benefits of transformation technology and the opportunities it presents while others are left behind.
The Impact on Industry Performance and Productivity
The consequences of this divide between the digital haves and have-nots significantly impact the industry. It worsens the labor shortage, particularly for highly skilled technicians, by increasing turnover rates.
This, in turn, leads to decreased customer satisfaction and other essential metrics, as weaker links in the workforce chain cause missed performance targets. Operational costs rise as first-time-fix-rates decline, and reduced performance can result in missed market opportunities – especially in rapidly evolving, high-growth markets – which may never reappear.
Not only is that a problem for the frontline workers who must deal with these challenges directly, but it has a significant impact on the organization’s bottom line. It’s not hard to imagine that these issues play a major role in the double-digit productivity losses and missed opportunities that have been widely reported in analyses of field service operations.
Crossing the Chasm
Now, the good news is that there are several ways to close this gap in tech equity.
By adopting strategies that close the digital equity gap, your organization can experience rapid and substantial benefits. These strategies may involve understanding your workflows and work culture better and implementing a change management approach.
You can also use software solutions designed to target these gaps directly.
Whatever approach you take, the results can be powerful, particularly if you use a solution specifically created to close these gaps.
Such strategies and tools can help your organization achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and inclusivity, leading to a more successful and prosperous future.
When helping our customers develop solutions, we emphasize several key principles to help achieve this result:
- Adopt a “mobile-first” approach to application design
- Incorporate functionality that seamlessly connects field team members with the resources and expertise they need, such as a Remote Assistant application and ChatGPT integration
- Ensure comprehensive, real-time visibility across all teams and resources, from unit-level inventory management to hybrid team management
- Incorporate functionality – such as dynamic scheduling – that mitigates some of the biggest headaches for field teams (like being stuck in traffic that causes you to miss appointment windows)
Executives have the power to bring about significant positive change within their organization. By taking steps to close the digital equity gap, they are not only ensuring that their workforce is better equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age, but they are also creating a more equitable and inclusive work environment for all.
Embracing change and taking an innovative approach to problem-solving is a hallmark of a successful leader, and implementing solutions designed to bridge the digital divide is a prime example of this.
With the right strategy and tools at your disposal, you have the power to transform your organization, empowering your workforce to reach new heights of productivity, creativity, and success. Let's work together to make this vision a reality and take the first step towards a brighter, more equitable future.
Want to find out more about how Zinier can help you close any digital equity gaps in your operations? Get in touch.