A recent research shows more than 60% of field technicians grappled with significant change in their working environment the last three to five years, and 93% believe change will continue at the same rapid clip or increase in the next three to five years.  Effective field service management has become a critical component of success for many organizations. In fact, companies excelling in field service management, deliver higher service revenues, higher margins and better customer satisfaction. 

In the third webisode of Zinier Field Talk & Tacos, the Webinar Summer Series delves into an insightful discussion to understand why a user-friendly UI is critical to  accelerating revenue velocity and cultivating long-lasting customer relationships. Join Raoul Hingle, Vice President of Growth and Strategy at Zinier, as he sits down with Doug McCullen, Zinier Vice President of Sales Europe, discussing UI design principles and best practices that will redefine the field services customer interaction and experience.

Enhanced Productivity

A recent study by Bain &Co., reveals that more than 50% of field technicians find their tools and technologies difficult to use. A user-friendly UI simplifies complex tasks and workflows for field service personnel. It reduces the learning curve, allowing technicians to quickly adapt to the software and complete their tasks more efficiently. An intuitive user interface also requires less training time, which means you can onboard new technicians faster. This not only saves time but also reduces training costs, making it easier to scale your field service team when needed. This boost in productivity and retention translates into more service calls or tasks completed in a day, which can positively impact revenue and customer satisfaction. 

According to Doug, “[it] doesn’t matter how great your scheduling algorithms are if the technology doesn't have the hearts and minds of mobile workers and they don’t use the technology.   Back Office efficiencies and scheduling have been the focus for the past couple of decades really, but not so much on how to best serve the mobile worker. That’s changing.”

That statement could not be more true today. A well-designed UI also helps minimize human errors by improving data accuracy. When technicians can easily input data, access customer information, and update work orders, you'll have more accurate records. This leads to fewer billing errors, improved inventory management, and better decision-making based on real-time data. Its effects on your cash velocity alone makes it all worth it. Add to that, the benefits of avoiding tech overbooking and improved customer relationships when your technicians are able to appear for their appointments on time and well-prepared to overdeliver.

Enhanced Customer Experience 

Speaking of customer relationships, it is common that every customer today expects fast and efficient service. A user-friendly UI enables your field service personnel to access customer history, preferences, and service agreements quickly. This in turn translates to a personalized and seamless service experience for customers, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

That’s the expectation, the reality though requires more work and time–and according to Doug, “For field service, this means going on ride-outs with field engineers and sitting in the back office observing how planners work.”

Some organizations have tenured engineers so it’s key to gain their trust and promote transparency, especially to the skeptics. These engineers experience the challenges out there in the field, if the UI created for them does not address their issues and is not transparent enough in terms of SLAs or Tech Availability or scope, then they would not champion the technology. A technology that’s dormant is a tech that’s not useful.

This is where companies should start generating ideas that challenge assumptions and create solutions for field techs and engineers. “It’s easy to get trapped in conventional thinking especially where there are existing design paradigms. Mobile tech has been around for decades so the UIs always have similar info,” Doug adds. That is why it’s important to custom-design UIs based on the existing problems specific to your team and the only way to do that is by walking in their shoes–one customer at a time.

Here are some quick tips from Doug on how to work out those kinks with UI users:

  • Engineers like fixing things, not filling in forms.  Often companies will try to use their engineers as ‘data cleansers’, correcting info that lives deep in legacy systems that hasn’t been touched for a long time. 
  • Keep it simple. In the interest of building standard processes for doing things, companies try to build those processes into their mobile apps, imposing rigid processes where an engineer needs to click endlessly through a myriad of questions–building frustration and stress when they want to focus on other things.  
  • Start with the absolute basics.  If there is a regulatory reason for doing something, then you have no choice but to build it in, but try to make it simpler for the engineer to acknowledge compliance (buttons rather than dropdown boxes, etc.) 
Enhanced Solutions

A user-friendly UI is not just a convenience; it's a strategic asset for field service management. It empowers your team to work more efficiently, provide better service to customers, and adapt to changing business needs. Investing in a well-designed UI can yield substantial returns by boosting productivity, reducing costs, and ultimately enhancing your organization's competitiveness in the field service industry.

“In Zinier we say ‘the journey only begins when you go live’. What we mean is that you only really know if something solves the problem when you get out and use it.  In the time it takes to build stuff, the problem often changes or new ones pop up,” Doug explains. Testing solutions and trying out their effectiveness is an ever continuous process of building, editing, and customizing. It’s a journey that’s never done! It follows many twists and turns that the system should be ready for. And where changes in customer expectations exist, so does the change in technology–hence the term Innovation. So building a user-friendly UI might be a complicated undertaking but Doug has a simple view of it–“The easier the app, the more enjoyable the experience and the happier your team  will be.”

Watch this episode here. Don't miss out on future webinars in this captivating series—register now to gain valuable insights and stay ahead in the ever-evolving field service landscape. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our official YouTube channel to get regular webisodes and updates.

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