The world around us is changing every minute of the day. Your business needs to adapt to those changes to make sure you can stay ahead of the competition in your market.
It is hard to keep up with all the changes and decide which one are relevant for you and you should adopt. But it is even harder to get all the noses in the same direction with you in every change you make.
Especially when they’re used to do things one way and you find that adjusting the process will make big improvements in efficiency.
How can you make sure your mechanics easily adopt your new insights in their daily work?
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. – John F. Kennedy
Service companies need to be agile too
Flexibility has become essential for successful businesses. Everybody is trying to adopt an agile mindset.
Simply put, no longer having to work on long term projects, but cutting it into shorter sprints. Whether you’re a software development company or any other business.
The main benefit, off course, is being able to get feedback from your customer sooner. Right after you release the output of the shorter sprint to them.
Making you more adaptable to the unpredictability of your customers. Thus being able to pivot your service or product according to the feedback you get.
In the end this results in a customer that gets what he wants from you. Which will make him happier with you as a supplier for them. Because of the early and often input they feel more connected to you as a company and to the solution you provide.
How can an agile mindset help your service company you wonder?
But you don’t deliver a software product to your customer. And your customer can’t give early input about how they want their maintenance done.
So, you’re tempted to think there is no need for focusing on shorter term iteration within your business. All you care about is the long term improvement of service delivery.
In reality you should be looking at how you can improve the work process in the field to give the best possible service. And this should be done in short iterations and incrementally as well.
Testing your field service process
Does being flexible in the field service require you to make changes in your work processes on a daily basis to stay ahead of the competition?
Probably not. But you most likely want to evaluate your processes at least a couple of times each year.
Start with planning a regular evaluation throughout the year. Than you will soon find that you’ll get some ideas that might improve how your mechanics do their job.
You want to test your ideas as soon as possible. In order to do that you need to be able to easily make changes in the process without too much hassle.
Maybe not all ideas will bring big improvements. But little adjustments that can save a few seconds for each mechanic add up into a big advantage.
Some changes won’t even save time on the job but will make the work of your employees much easier to do. In that case it is still worth making that change to improve the life of your mechanics.
Always be looking for ways to optimize the way your mechanics work. And if you find nothing to improve you’ll still get a feeling with how things are done in the field and how your employees think about their work.
Change in a work processes is hard to get adopted
We all know it is hard to get new things adopted by anyone. Even if the changes are small and you train your employees extensively.
Everybody wants to see change around them, but nobody wants to change their own behavior.
The easiest way to get changes in the field accepted is to make them unnoticeable to your mechanics.
Off course they’ll know that something has changed in what they see or need to do in their mobile app. The change will be so straightforward for them that they won’t even have to think about how to do things differently.
This can be adding a questionnaire to survey your clients satisfaction of the execution of job. Or adding a safety check that they need to do for a specific client before they’re allowed to start their work.
Normally this would take an instruction to your employees and maybe even a short training or meeting to explain why and how they should do it. Making sure everybody gets the correct paper work to be filled in and everybody knows how and what to do with it.
What if you can make these changes easily in the back-office and the next time they log in their account the changes will be instantly visible in their app? This would make the adoption of changes in their work process much easier.
All they need to do is follow the defined work process and the information provided on the screen. No need to think about what they were supposed to do differently from how they did it before. Just working through the (optimized) work flow.
Improving the life of your mechanics
You want to make the life of your mechanics as easy as possible. They need to focus on doing their job and making your customers happy with their visit.
But you also want them to work according to the processes you’ve defined so the quality of your registrations is good. And make sure processing all the data in the back office can be done as easily as possible.
By providing them with a work flow based app you’re able to structure their work process in the field. This will help them register their work more easily.
All they have to do is follow the steps of the work flow presented in the app and fill in the fields they see. Some fields are optional to fill in when they have the necessary information to answer them. While others are mandatory, because the back-office need the data for further handling the invoicing.
Providing your mechanics with an easy to understand interface helps them to adapt the usage of a field service app. You want to spend as few time possible on training your mechanics how to use it.
By having a clear interface that gives them the right information in the right time you can streamline their work in the field. Instead of adding more work for them to register their work in an app.
Making changes in your app should not take a couple of weeks or days, it should be done in a matter of hours or even minutes. Provide your mechanics with the updated version the next time they log on to their mobile device.
Chances are your mechanic won’t even notice the changes in the procedures or workflows. They simply start following the process defined within the app as they’re used to do.
That is how you make sure change is easily adopted by your mechanics.