How to manage your mobile workers

A growing number of business rely on contractors. How can you ensure you deliver first-class service when your team doesn’t only work for you?

When it comes to customer service Amazon has raised the bar. And then raised it again. It built an e-commerce business and expanded into new sectors by delivering exceptional service with remarkable consistency. Everything is focused on the customer: from product discovery, to placing the order, to delivery or fulfilment. Customers now view the ‘Amazon experience’ as the norm. With 80% of the UK’s economy focused on service competition is fierce. Getting customer service right the first time is mission-critical for successful businesses.

Your frontline employees feel the pressure in this new reality. Be they an engineer called out to repair a boiler or a healthcare provider at a care home. At the same time, a growing number of these workers are no longer directly employed by your business. Increasingly your workers are either contractors or freelancers. Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 40% of field service work will be carried out by technicians who are not employees of the company that owns the customer relationship.

Not only do your customers have choices, but contingent workers do too. The fight for talented employees is already a perennial challenge, but the competition for unskilled labour is a new beast. As Brexit unfolds this competition will increase. So not only do customers have higher expectations for service experiences, but the labour force is more fragmented, and competition to recruit and retain the best employees is tougher than ever. How can HR leaders manage this multi-dimensional conundrum?

The answer has to be technology designed for these specific challenges. The rise of the smartphone and apps gives HR managers and contingent workers a tool capable of transforming the work experience for both parties. For HR and operations managers, mobile workforce management technology allows you to schedule and dispatch employees in the field far more efficiently, making it much simpler to ensure the right person gets to the right job at the right time. For field employees, it empowers them with the information they need to do the job right first time. Get this process right and the benefits are considerable. Feedback from our customers shows that by utilising this technology to its highest degree you can lift workforce efficiency by 200%, reduce appointment no-shows and cancellations by 45%, and lift customer satisfaction levels by 86%.

Though we do still manufacture things in the UK our economy is overwhelmingly service-orientated and likely to stay that way. And in this service-dominated economy consumers are demanding more. Forty-two per cent of customers in the UK report switching to a competing provider specifically because of bad service. If service is your business you have to deliver. But with intelligent systems that can effectively manage every detail of your mobile workforce, from availability, to skills, to schedules, to services rendered, HR managers have a way to not only motivate and retain the best mobile workers, but an effective tool to help you deliver a first-class service to customers. And the right tool will help you drive down costs in the process.

Navigating an evolving economy will never be easy, but managing your mobile workforce no longer has to be a source of trouble. And in a competitive, service-focused economy delivering great service the first time has never been more critical to your success.

Jason Stokes is commercial lead, EMEA at Skedulo