I must admit that automation comes with its own investments – time, energy and money. But it does pay off in the long term. Our recent automation projects are a clear sign of this. Having worked with many customers across the globe from varied industries like electric, gas and water, I can confidently say that the employees are a company’s biggest asset. They are the ones who ensure smooth operations and continuous service to keep your customers happy. This is why it also makes sense to train them well to perform better on the job and implement best practices from their industry. Water utilities will benefit immensely from a utility workforce management software (the 500+ field engineers and water utility workforce who have used our software would agree too). Let us dive deep right away to understand the benefits, some relevant use cases and the best way ahead!
First up, the benefits
I believe any technology upgradation should come with its own benefits. What is the point of implementing it otherwise? Owing to the number of customers availing utilities services, productivity becomes an issue if manual processes are followed. With automation, productivity levels can see a major spike. The orders can be executed quickly and at scale. The operations can be managed more efficiently, and this ultimately impacts the bottom line in a positive manner. Field staff can also work better even while being connected remotely. The utility company can ultimately track the customer requests through relevant reports and real-time data visibility. And finally, customers will be happier – this really is my favourite part!
Secondly, some use cases
A water utility crew has many tasks to perform – routine checks, specific fixes, upgrading infrastructure, managing a crisis to name a new. As long as your company is working on routine checks, everything is hunky dory (and pretty straightforward). But the minute you talk about complex situations or a wide variety of tasks lined up, the need for a fieldforce management software becomes more prominent. When a customer request comes in, you can link the job to a crew member based on rule-matching algorithms. At Bynry, we usually look at a wide variety of parameters like a crew member’s skill, location, customer’s demographics, request timelines (TATs), past performance and ratings to find the best match. This also helps ensure that calamities are managed better as field staff can be provided real-time alerts for quick actions.
Standardized work orders and automated workflows help capture relevant information and additional details (if necessary) to personalize customer service. Another interesting scenario that I come across while working with our customers is when they want to make it easier for their staff to serve their customers. We enable route optimization to enable field staff to plan their work and customer requests more efficiently, thereby managing timelines and deliverables better. By leveraging artificial intelligence, tasks can be allocated to different team members.
Thirdly, some best practices and the way forward
Before getting to this point, let me recall an interesting incident. I was once calling up a customer care executive regarding an inflated bill, only to end up wasting more than 20 minutes to simply get through a customer care executive who wasn’t able to tell me what I was charged for. Ultimately, I ended up paying the bill and switching my operator. That incident got me thinking. It would have been much better if the customer care executive would have told me what I was charged for, so I could have at least got some context before deciding to switch to a different operator. They lost a loyal customer. And I strive to not repeat this incident for our customers by helping them build a better customer experience with Bynry. Our utility workforce management software enables our customers to serve their end customers in a better way by attending to their specific requests in a swift manner - be it scheduling check-ups, providing real-time updates, linking to the best work force available or providing the best service. The workforce is trained through knowledge guides and online resources which can help them handle situations that they might not have faced in the past (or if something new comes up suddenly). After all, learning on the job is the best way to move ahead in one’s career!
Realtime dashboards is another feature that has really taken off well in the utility industry. With our solution, managers and senior staff members are able to track the performance of their workforce in real time to understand key metrics like issues resolved, time taken, customer feedback, staff experience etc. Bottlenecks can also be easily identified. Finally, your field staff can provide alerts, updates and communicate seamlessly with their customers. Everyone is on the same page and everyone is happy! If you are looking to accomplish something similar or even better, we would be happy to collaborate. Let us connect to take the utility workforce management software game to greater heights!