When you think about how you’ve learned field service management, how much of it has been picked up along the way?
In building myFLO we drew on a deep knowledge about core principles in field service management and workflow. And while it’s useful to us, it’s also useful to you.
In this article, we talk about lifecycle. It’s the second in a series about core principles. The first was Standardisation
Understanding your lifecycle has a number of benefits. Two of them are:
- It allows you to increase value to the customer (and, by extension, customer lifetime value)
- It improves team decision-making.
Most of the time, ‘lifecycle’ in field service management relates to information
There are a number of different types of lifecycle, and they apply to any business. Some of them include:
- Customer lifecycle
- Product lifecycle
- Employee lifecycle
- Campaign lifecycle (when we get into marketing)
- Financial lifecycle…
Where do you start! Have you had that feeling before?
We know that those types of lifecycles are very common. So when we ask, what is the most important type of lifecycle when it comes to managing field services teams? the answer becomes clear very quickly.
It’s information. Information is ultimately what drives every job, and allows your teams to function.
Information lifecycle management is a keystone
Information lifecycles are critical to the good function of a standardised system. When you have the lifecycle well managed, some amazing things happen. Among them:
- Increased efficiency because time spent searching for information is reduced or eliminated
- Reduced cost, because information is delivered as and when it is needed
- Reduced risk, because it prevents people using or accessing any information that is out of date, incorrect, or in overwhelming or unnecessary volumes.
Good information lifecycle management does something else for you, too. It improves the availability of information to employees.
Effective teams make good decisions
The role of information in employee decision-making has been extremely well studied. (There are over a million results for the topic just in Google Scholar.)
Field service teams have specific information needs. They are also outside your hub of operations. They’re operating as best they can, on whatever information they have to hand. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what can happen if the information is wrong.
Great teams are not just great workers. They are also company advocates, sales representatives, customer care workers, and much more besides. Field service teams are all of these things because they have face-to-face roles with customers, often in the customers' own environments.
It’s well known that the customer lifecycle is largely event-driven: Whether promises were kept, how much time they spent, how easy it is to deal with your company, and so on.
It therefore stands to reason that your field service team is a key influence in how well your customer lifecycle moves. Provided they understand the customer’s lifecycle well enough, your team members can pre-empt each stage, prepare your customers proactively, and guide them.
This serves to remove uncertainty for your customers. As you may recall from our standardisation article, this is going to make working with you feel simple and easy.
Employee lifecycles have a bearing on how you handle teams
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had a fantastic employee, someone who’s been around almost since time began (or so it felt to you), who retired? What did that do to your business?
It’s a situation that is extremely common in large organisations like regional councils. Employees are extremely loyal, and over time they build up a significant body of knowledge.
The challenge becomes capturing that knowledge before they leave. Once they’re gone, all of that wisdom goes with them.
Paying attention to the types of information that can improve and reinforce the system is important. Ideally, you’d have a system in which the information is adapted, changed, or upgraded as new things are understood or learned.
This comes back to good information lifecycle management. Handled correctly, it will cater for this kind of experiential input: The things that can only be learned while in the field, or in dealing with the same situation many times.
Information lifecycle management is critical to good workflow
Information lifecycle management is the second key piece in creating a good workflow management solution. It needs to deliver the right information, in the right form, at the right time, to the right people. And it needs to be managed well enough that it isn’t static: That it can learn, grow, and adapt.
At myFLO, we have been helping people solve this issue of information handling almost since we started. Our platform grew out of a need to enable easier information management and handling, with the flexibility to adapt and grow as you do.
To learn more about how we can help your team, give us a call on 1300 78 46 60.
 Dederer, M. 2015. ‘8 Steps to Effective Information Lifecycle Management’. in Information Management Journal, Jan/Feb 2015, 32-35.