Automating Field Force With Real-Time, Geo-Location Data And 5 Ways How Google Maps Can Help

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Automating Field Force With Real-Time, Geo-Location Data And 5 Ways How Google Maps Can Help

This story is cross-posted at www.mediaagility.com

A typical day in the life of a field force agent comprises of office, trip sheets, customers, traffic, and back to office. While, a typical day for an operation center involves drafting trip sheets, coordination with the in-field force team, and checking status of jobs.

If we zoom into these seemingly regular days, we start to notice many irregular patterns. To name a few –

  • Traffic conditions
  • Delays
  • Incoherent and unplanned routing
  • Customer unavailability
  • Unplanned scheduling without considering skill sets, and more

These irregular patterns contribute, often the negative way, to customer experience, productivity, bottom lines, and working environment, of both the operations team and the field executives. One common trend attributable for these irregular patterns is the static nature of operations. The increasing size of operations is still managed through static systems, like – unchangeable trip sheets, coordination through traditional calls, slow information transfer, or time spent on waiting and traffic.

Operations Managers ask multiple questions when their concerted efforts to tackle the irregularities bounce back without any results. To mention a few –

  • Are my field staff optimally utilizing the time they spend on field?
  • Are they spending enough time addressing the customer’s problem?
  • Are they productive enough?
  • Are they reporting genuinely?

This is the story across multiple industries which interact with their customers through a mobilized field team.

One particular banking and finance service provider, managing a force of 550 customer service executives, faced a similar situation. The service provider did everything to improve customer experience, to increase employee productivity, and to gain better bottom lines. But, it did all in the traditional way – charting daily manual trip sheets, connecting through calls, assigning teams and roles, and more. As a result, executives’ productivity declined and customer experience stayed well below the expected level.

With multiple failed customer service instances, the service provider took an alternative approach. It felt the need to be in connect at all times, to remain updated about the status, and to respond quickly to changes. A close look into the issues gave a few observations, to name some –

  • Static trip sheets
  • Delays due to dynamic environment factors, like – traffic, weather, unavailability of customers
  • Long waiting times for reassignment of jobs, or new job allocation
  • Uncentralized operations
  • Unstandardized reporting

The service provider realized that powering its field force with location has the potential to rectify the wasted time and efforts, and to regain its productivity and customer loyalty. It started to approach its field force management from the Location Lens. Through this lens, the apparently irregular patterns bogging the operations down, were more organized and easy to tackle!

The service provider put in place a location-enabled field force automation system, and reaped the following benefits 

  • Lowered costs for operations
  • Real-time insights to operations teams at the HQ
  • Improved agent productivity, directly increasing organization’s revenue
  • Mobility to field service agents
  • Enhanced customer experience
  • Additional information and help at fingertips of the Service Agents
  • Streamlined and automated operations
  • Improved field force visibility, tracking, and control

With location intelligence, reallocating the jobs on any typical hectic day was as easy as a compass magnet aligning itself to North. The system is always abreast with the location details of the operations, it can nimbly take decisions and achieve SLAs, and deliver exceptional customer service.

Field Force Automation with Location Intelligence – the new way!

Location intelligence, power of tracking, and managing in real-time the location, timing, and speed of the operations can actually boost up your workforce productivity and spell out success by delivering improved customer experience. You can do the following, sitting at your office –

  • Get a real-time view into what’s happening on the field
  • Effectively plan and allocate resources
  • Match workforce with jobs, schedule on the fly
  • Real-time routing and view into job statuses
  • Simplify business operations for customers
  • Improve your customer reach out
  • Up-to-date road topography, current traffic conditions
  • Assign to appropriate field staff, and track all orders to closure
  • Create roster of field staff and also inform them which store/customer to report to  
  • Check in/out feature to manage the part time field staff

Google Maps provides a bouquet of capabilities to make your field force automation journey smoother –

 

  • Distance API

The Distance Matrix API is a service that provides travel distance and time for a matrix of origins and destinations. The API returns information based on the recommended route between start and end points, as calculated by the Google Maps API. It gives a realistic travel time and distance estimate, and relays ETA to the customers.

  • Directions API

The Directions API is a service that calculates directions between locations. You can search for directions for several modes of transportation, including transit, driving, walking, or cycling. This API provides inputs to effortlessly route the field force.

  • Geocode API

Geocoding is the process of converting addresses (like “1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA”) into geographic coordinates (like latitude 37.423021 and longitude -122.083739), and subsequently placing markers on a map, or position the map, and reach accurate locations.

  • Nearest Road API

The Roads API takes up to 100 independent coordinates, and returns the closest road segment for each point. It aids the routing of the field force by suggesting the optimal route.

  • Places API

The Places API is a service that returns information about places using HTTP requests. Places are defined within this API as establishments, geographic locations, or prominent points of interest. Field force can navigate easily to the destination with the help of the multiple landmarks displayed on the screen.

Location Intelligence Advisory by Google Premier Partner with Location-based Services Specialization

Google is the leader in mapping technology with capabilities to serve very specialized business purpose. Our advisory board helps customers effectively use Google Maps.

Interested to know more? Get in touch with us or request a demo and explore how to map success with a robust, Google Maps powered location intelligence system.