For field services businesses, geofencing is an enormously useful digital tool that can help to monitor and manage your workforce, drive better efficiency, create a productive environment and deliver better results for your customers.
The technology itself is nothing new. Geofencing refers to technology that creates a “virtual perimeter” around a location on the map. That specific location could be anything, including a house, an office, a job site or more. Once that perimeter has been established, you can then monitor activity in the environment, such as when it was entered, exited and the time spent inside the space.
How does it help?
Geofencing has been around for as long as it has been possible to use digital technology to monitor the movement of people. It has a wide range of applications, from crowd control at events right through to monitoring people required to remain in a space. But some of the most compelling used cases are in field services.
- Geofencing improves accountability
With geofencing, the time that a field agent spends on-site is automatically logged and monitored. This benefits field agents themselves (no more need to spend time manually managing timesheets), and it benefits businesses in making sure that each field agent is working to maximum efficiency. Finally, it helps give the customer greater transparency too, by verifying visits, accurately calculating the time spent on-site, and assisting with the scheduling of visits. For example, the CRM Microsoft Dynamics 365 indicates and alerts management to the exact moment when a field agent has entered the geofenced site.
- Geofencing can have automation built into it, for even greater efficiency
One common use-case for geofencing is to send an alert to the field agent as they leave a premise, giving them a final checklist to finalise the job, and a reminder to get the customer’s signature. Another common application is for the system to determine if, based on distance or presence at another site, the field agent is running late, and send automated messages to customers to keep them updated. Another use case is to send an alert if the field agent has been off-site for too long, to remind them to get back to work before a disciplinary note is sent. In this way, through automation, the field services business can run smoothly without needing an excess of agents to monitor the network from headquarters.
- Geofencing can help with scheduling and project management
By setting up geofencing, you’ll be able to manage the resources and equipment required for each customer service call-out, visualise the map of appointments and set efficient schedules that help to maximise efficiency and reduce wear-and-tear on vehicles, and leverage resource skill matching to drive a better customer experience on each call-out.
- Geofencing improves analytics and reporting
Because geofencing keeps such accurate records of the movement of your people, time spent on site per task, and other key metrics, the data becomes enormously strategic to the business. If one particular type of task requires longer on-site than expected, then the billing for the call-out or service can be increased to maintain the ideal margins.
Geofencing can also give you an idea of potential areas of opportunity. If demand is particularly strong in one area, then you can explore the idea to leverage targeting advertising to other residents and offices in the area.
- Geofencing improves asset lifecycle management
Geofencing data can have a historic benefit, too. If, for example, you know that you are called on site to a customer every six months or annually, then you can set up alerts to either prepare for the call-out or proactively reach out to the customer. You can also monitor the demand for replacement parts and new installations, based on seasonal needs, and factor that into inventory management so there are no instances where customers are waiting on orders to be delivered.
- Geofencing is cloud-based
Because geofencing tools are hosted in the cloud, as a manager, you can work more efficiently and respond in real time. As work orders are completed, equipment service history and inventory levels can all be updated automatically and you can directly access this information while working remotely or on the road yourself.
Finding the right geofencing platform
The success of geofencing depends entirely on the deployment and delivery. The technology is mature, but as every business has a different way of interacting with customers and managing field workers, making the most of the geofencing opportunity relies on the business finding a partner that can understand their needs and build quality geofencing solutions around them.
Nexon has a long heritage in working with field service organisations to deliver highly tailored and effective digital platforms, of which geofencing is a core component. For more information about how digital technologies can benefit your business, contact the team at Nexon, or read more about their field service solution here.