Online tracking and monitoring of field teams have become a mandatory part of field service operations. Obviously, working with a geographically dispersed team is not easy. On one hand, service managers must remain in contact with them to provide necessary guidance and share information, while on other hand, they must give them freehand to make decisions in the field.
At first, it seems contradictory. However, if you take a deeper look, you would know that it is more about the balance between objective and intention. What is the objective of tracking field team? The business objective of tracking is to ensure effective use of time to drive productivity.
Until now, there has been no problem with the tracking. Every service company wants its field teams to become more productive so that operational efficiency and profitability could be maximized. Tracking becomes a problem when service managers get distracted from the objective. In most cases, field service professionals complain about excessive tracking of tasks, which leads to microscopic scrutiny of the work.
It reflects a distrust in field service professionals that affects the overall work culture and the service technicians’ mindset. Here are 3 critical factors service leaders must consider when tracking and monitoring field activities.
Always remember that you are not tracking the employee. You are tracking the tasks. As field service manager, what comes under your responsibility is to ensure that operational processes and associated tasks are completed on time. Once you allocate the resources and assign the tasks to field service technicians, it means you hand over the next step of the processes to the technicians.
That next step starts and ends at a particular time. Consistently pestering field service technicians about the task before the time. And then interfering with how and when they perform the task must be avoided at all costs. These habits create frustration in them and show your lack of trust in them. Because of these habits, field service technicians are never able to connect with the company. In the long run, it affects employee morale and leads to a high attrition rate.
What actually should be tracked and monitored are the field activities. If the technician has been consistent in completing the activity in time and has maintained a high first-time fix rate. It should not really bother the service managers that how many breaks the employee has taken.
Digitized operations that come with field service scheduling software have many benefits. One of the crucial benefits is visibility into operations. With deeper visibility into field activities, service managers can track “who is doing what in the field.”
However, there have been cases where these facilities are exploited. Many service managers put unnecessary restrictions on field service teams, including their movements or how they spent their time in the field. All of these aspects are part of the job, however, it does not really mean to be restrictive to a point where it begins hurting the employee morale and creates frustration.
The best way to avoid unnecessary employee restrictions and provide the flexibility to work in a comfortable and free space and yet ensure that jobs are completed on time is to define and set metrics. Many online field service scheduling software solutions enable the users to define KPIs and set metrics. This takes the focus out from the employee and puts it on the field activities.
An easy and widely recommended way to make field service technicians more accountable for their work is by providing them advanced tools to manage themselves effectively.
Instead of supervising people at every step of their tasks, field service organizations must empower their technicians to track their own schedules, get automated reminders and notifications for their jobs, and add, view, upload, and download documents as and when needed.
Modern-day cloud-based field service applications are full of capabilities that make field technicians’ lives much easier. They could track and fill their time log, manage their visit-in and visit-out timings, create and send reports, track their own performance to be more accountable, and take corrective actions on their own.
Time has changed how field service teams work. In the modern era, field teams want more flexibility. They want their employers to trust them for their jobs and skills. However, since there are a lot of factors associated with the job, employers can take more sustainable routes that on one hand, let employees do their job with full confidence and on the other hand, allow employers to track and monitor tasks effectively.
In an industry that is struggling with a talent shortage, employers should not give more reasons to employees to turn their backs on them. Field teams are already exposed to many uncertainties and in-the-field challenges, which is often frustrating.
Too much scrutiny of everyday tasks makes them more vulnerable. An effective way to deal with the problem is to empower the teams to manage themselves more effectively and be accountable for their jobs.