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Invest in the Right Digital Field Solution to Protect Your Company’s Most Important Asset

April 18, 2024
Unfortunately, many of the technology-based solutions that have emerged in recent years have failed to enhance the experience of techs in the field.

Technicians are the face of any contracting business. Throughout the mechanical, electric and plumbing industries, the performance of technicians in the field is a critical element of a company’s reputation.

It’s not just the skill and expertise they bring to the job, though those are essential. In many cases, technicians are the only people representing your company that customers will ever see.

Successful contractors recognize the value of their technicians. They consider the real-world experience of their team members, who perform difficult tasks in demanding environments, and look for ways to empower them and ensure they have everything they need to complete the job successfully.

That’s prompted widespread adoption of digital field solutions over the last decade. Employers are investing in tools intended to enhance the experience of the hard-working men and women on the front lines of our industry.

Living Up to the Promise

Unfortunately, many of the technology-based solutions that have emerged in recent years have failed to enhance the experience of techs in the field.

The digital transformation of the trades promised to streamline processes and communication, but many technicians feel overburdened by the amount of documentation and data entry that is now required for every job. Some technicians report using as many as nine different applications in a single day just to complete straightforward jobs.

In an increasingly competitive industry facing a chronic labor shortage and the radical disruption of supply chains, it’s important to search for solutions that truly empower technicians, the people who are the heartbeat of field service.

Tech-Enablement Solutions

Tech-enablement solutions that put field workers first, allowing them to work better and more productively, are redefining how skilled trade workers interface with technology on the job and are producing dramatic results.

Tech-enablement solutions give technicians in the field the information they need to get the job done in a quick, safe, and accurate manner. Equipped with the right tools for the tasks, technicians can deliver better results in a more efficient and satisfactory way which allows them to be better at the jobs at hand. 

Truly innovative platforms deliver support and equipment information in formats designed to elevate technician skills, not just provide a quick fix in order to close out a call. Every time a tech troubleshoots a new issue or solves a problem, that becomes a data point for that company. No other company has it, and that team has instant, democratized access. And the tech has added to his or her knowledge of the field with firsthand experience.

Features That Enable

Streamlined mobile access: Technicians need access to data in the field. Mobile-first user experience means designing software and applications for mobile devices first and then scaling up to desktop devices. The streamlined mobile-first user experience enables field service technicians to access critical data, such as service history, manuals, and customer information, with just a few taps. With mobile-first technology, field service technicians can work faster and more efficiently, reducing downtime and increasing productivity.

Advanced analytics: Tech-first technology must be able to examine large amounts of data quickly to identify patterns and draw insights. It enables field service technicians to identify service and sales opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, advanced analytics can help field service technicians identify patterns in equipment, such as when a particular machine breaks down frequently. This information can be used to recommend upgrades or replacements, increasing sales and improving customer satisfaction.

Optical character recognition technology: OCR functionality allows field service techs to instantly capture equipment and service data that can be accessed by other members of their team or on future jobs. 

Knowledge management: Knowledge management is the process of capturing, organizing, and sharing knowledge within an organization. It enables field service technicians to access the information they need to solve problems quickly and efficiently. For example, if a technician encounters a problem they have never seen before, they can quickly access relevant information, such as manuals, videos, and expert advice, through a knowledge management system. This approach enables field service technicians to solve problems faster, reduce downtime, and increase customer satisfaction.

The Training Advantage

From a training perspective, tech-enablement tools offer inexperienced technicians a quicker path to working more independently. When technicians have reliable access to powerful AI- and data-based tools, they can save valuable training and support time. New technicians can become job-ready more quickly than they can with traditional training alone.

Facing the ongoing labor shortage, contractors can hire for attitude, not aptitude. They can prepare the new but inexperienced talent by training them with the tech-enablement tools. This allows the new talent to become more confident in the trade and to get out on the job faster.

By taking less time to prepare a new technician to become productive in their new trade, business owners can now recruit from a wider pool of talent, accelerate their onboarding process, and reduce their turnover rate.

Workforce Multiplier

A related advantage is that experienced technicians can remain productive, instead of serving as mentors to newer technicians who are learning on the job. When new technicians have tools that empower them to work independently in the field, experienced workers can be more productive.

As the market for skilled labor continues to present a challenge, employers may feel compelled to hire anyone, simply to meet customer demand. But it’s important to remember the value of effective technicians. Their performance in the field drives every facet of business.

You may not be able to hire a full team of experienced and fully trained techs today. But investing in your team and ensuring they have the proper digital tools to power extraordinary performance can enhance their experience—and empower them to deliver world-class service that helps set your business apart.

J.P. Cahalan is senior process engineer at XOi Technologies and he’s responsible for helping customers find multi-layered value and success with the XOi platform. Believing that change is something that is necessary for businesses to grow, J.P. has an acute understanding of customer behavior, and knows that change is not something that should be taken lightly.

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