Delivering a service through a dispersed workforce brings with it many more challenges than that of a workforce in a single location. Silo working, lost paperwork, travel delays and a lack of communication are all common difficulties.
In fact, the age old saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” is particularly pertinent for service organisations. The physical distance between your teams limits communication and makes it hard to control processes and manage performance. But beyond this, the distance can also create a culture in which individuals take less responsibility for their actions, or at least lose focus on the company-wide goal.
This lack of accountability and poor visibility culminates in a fluctuation in customer service and business process efficiency.
To alleviate these problems, your organisation needs to become knowledge-rich: your teams need knowledge to give them ownership and responsibility and you need knowledge to monitor progress and make positive, insightful changes. Below is our three step guide to help you achieve this.
3 steps to instil accountability and improve business performance
1. Set standard procedures
One of the greatest challenges when managing a remote team is maintaining consistency. Steps within a process can be missed and different people can have their own way of completing work. The work may still get done but without consistency you cannot measure the success of your processes, or more importantly, identify efficiency improvements.
By implementing business process management software you can instil a step-by-step process that your entire team follow. Using a mobile device to receive and record their job data, your workforce follow a set workflow, keeping to the same steps in chronological order for every job. For example, this could be answering some regulatory compliance questions before a job can be marked as “complete”.
With everyone following exactly the same procedures for every job, you can easily monitor which steps work well and which exude inefficiency. Once you identify inefficiency, you can amend the processes (otherwise known as workflows) straightaway, enabling you to continually improve your service delivery.
2. Create an audit trail
In any busy organisation an accessible and complete audit trail is vital for a myriad of reasons. Firstly, administration can be laborious if data is missing or hard to find. Secondly, the need to meet compliance obligations requires written proof that you can confidently rely on. And finally, from a customer perspective, you need evidence of the work you have carried out; whether that is to answer their queries or to prove you have met their KPIs.
In each instance your audit trail needs to be complete and instantly accessible. Any failings in achieving this will result in inefficiency and poor customer service.
To accomplish this you need to manage your entire service delivery from one system – a system that electronically stores all of your information in one place. Our service management software can capture this information, via a mobile device, in a multitude of ways. For example, pre-configured forms can capture text and numerical data, customer signatures can be captured and stored and compliance documentation, such as the LGSR, can be generated from the data that is entered. All of this information is accessible at a click of a button, giving your team the immediacy they need to work productively.
3. Improve collaboration
Communication between office and remote workers is inherently tricky and this lack of collaboration inevitably impacts customer service and productivity. When you add third parties to this mix, such as suppliers or contractors, the difficulties are compounded further.
To overcome these complexities, it is important to unite all of your teams and instil robust communication channels. A field service management solution achieves this admirably because it doesn’t just open up communication channels, it focuses everyone’s attention on the single purpose of improving your service delivery. Your entire service is controlled through the system and data flows in real time, giving everyone access to the information they need to deliver service excellence.
It is this fluidity that enables all of your teams to work together. Take job scheduling as an example: your office team can efficiently schedule work by clicking a few buttons. Your remote team receive their schedule on their mobile device and enter job updates as they happen (such as start times, part usage and photos of completed works). Your office team have real-time insight of progress and should an unexpected delay arise, such as a traffic jam or inability to access a site, they can instantly reschedule jobs and the operatives affected will automatically be updated.
The value of accountability
All three of these steps bring knowledge, visibility and accountability – both individually and from a team and company point of view. This combined accountability gives you the grounding necessary to connect your teams and encourage them to deliver a productive and high level service to your customers.
To discover more about how our service management software can help improve your service delivery through increased levels of accountability, get in touch today.