The Whispers Down the Lane
Have you heard of the game ‘Whispers down the lane’? It is a game where players form a circle or a line, and the first player whispers a message to the second player and the second player is asked to do the same to the third. Once the message is passed to the last player, the person is asked to speak the message out loud. What starts with, let’s say, ‘There is a puppy in the village’ turns into ‘This is the porridge from the villa’. It may seem like a mere children’s game but what it demonstrates is the human error of miscommunication. We are not generally built to remember every word of sentences where multiple noises and even pronunciation can influence the message along the journey of communication.
A Worried Man
The reason to mention this age-old game is because of a friend who I had met last month at a cafe. It was after a lot of schedule clashes that Dan and I could finally take out some time for ourselves. I was happy to see my school friend after so long. However, that happiness soon turned into a state of worry. He had dark circles around his eyes and looked like someone who barely gets any sleep. Naturally, I asked him if something was wrong. And there was something definitely wrong - his business had received multiple negative reviews from his customers. Dan was the owner of a hardware provider that was doing quite well until the positive reviews for his company turned out to be a major issue for them. As more clients started taking their services, they were slowly struggling to cope with the maintenance and repair queries and more complications started to arise. When I asked him what he thinks the problem is, this is what he had to say:
“Here is what the problem is. My field agents visit clients for installations, inspections, and repairs.? Some issues are more complex than others and need more time to get resolved. So when the first agent visits our client and gets stuck while fixing the problem, they forward it to the next specialized individual. The complication starts when the second agent actually starts inspecting the problem from square one. Our customers have been irritated with this recurring issue. I’ve asked my agents to submit progress reports of the work done so that others can be aware of it but this isn’t practiced often. They tell me that with the number of field visits they have to go to, it is quite difficult to note every progress they’ve made and communicate it with others. I am beginning to think that the problem is with my strategy and nothing else.”
The Answer He Sought
I felt bad for Dan and decided to help him with my experience with such problems. It is quite common for businessmen to face this issue, especially when there are so many clients with such a wide array of needs. It is also common for a field service agent to not be able to resolve all the problems of your customers. But at the same time, it is important to convey the progress report to the next specialist visiting the same client. This is where a field service application can show its magic. I listed out a couple of perks that his company may enjoy with such a powerful tool like Custella at their disposal and he was not disappointed.
1. Photo capture: The user is able to take a picture of the work that is being done and upload it in the system for others to see. The before and after pictures can give visibility on the changes made and allow the next person to pick up the work from where it was left off.
2. Note important information and reference past work records: Along with the pictures, detailed notes can also be attached to act as a guide of what has been tried and observed for the next field agent to reduce his/her troubleshooting time. Visibility of this information to the planner and field agents of the word history is certainly a plus in strategizing ahead and will avoid the need for your field reps to ask the customers questions they have already been asked before.
3. Spare parts reference: After the inspection of a problem, a particular product may be needed to complete the work. It may take a second visit for that to happen. The agent can simply raise a flag for the next individual to address and keep the needful equipment for efficient operation.
4. Document attachment: All businesses want to be proactive because it is a win-win for the business to know the essentials of the customers and the customers in turn are satisfied and provide positive reviews about the company. With documents such as product guidelines attached, it becomes easier for field service agents to come prepared rather than being reactive.
5. Single source of truth: Rather than scrolling through multiple texts on what was agreed upon, aimlessly searching through photos that were deleted without any proper tagging of a particular customer, and referring to months old physical documents, you can simply get your desired information with a few simple taps on the Custella app.
6. Dynamic reporting: A complete illustration of the entire work done by a service agent that will give your managers/supervisors an edge when reviewing their strategies and plans for improvement.
Finally Some Rest
After much discussion, Dan was delighted to see the light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to give it a go. The solution has worked wonders for others like him and it is only a matter of time before his company starts seeing the results he has been hoping for.
If field service applications like Custella can help Dan get a few extra hours of sleep, I’m sure it can help others too. Reach out to the Custella team if you have a similar challenge to Dan.
Still have more questions? Check out more FAQs on our website here. You can also get in touch with us below from the link below; we are always happy to get back to you with any queries regarding your business.
Need a field service management application like Custella? If you’re in Malaysia, Indonesia, or the ASEAN region, drop us an email to schedule your demo: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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