In a typical technical support scenario, a back-office CRM system receives a customer call – a request to repair a boiler perhaps. This gets passed to scheduling software in the back office, which then dispatches the job to the most suitable technician near the stricken appliance.
The technician receives the job on his mobile device, acknowledges receipt and goes to the location supplied. His smartphone provides navigation instructions, contact details, boiler manual, parts lists, maintenance history, billing information and so on, all without resort to paperwork. Once the task has been completed, the scheduling software sends the engineer his next job, and at the end of the day he transmits his timesheet via his phone to the back-office payroll system.
To provide watertight connectivity with back-office enterprise applications and workflow systems, consumer devices such as iPhones need to be beefed up.
"In an isolated area there may be no reliable transmission," said BenBassat. "To download the required information securely and at the right speed you cannot rely on the software you have on a consumer device. You need software with much higher capabilities for data volume and transmission intensity."
A strategic weapon
In yet more bad news for our thirsty man in a van, the next step in linking all parts of the service enterprise together is now under way, integrating service mobility applications with social media.
"Gone are the days when a person would spend all day waiting for a technician," said BenBassat. "Customers can now opt to receive regular updates via Facebook or Twitter."
These same tools also allow customers to complain about poor service to a wide and receptive audience, which should help to keep the supplier honest.
"Service companies today are much more aware that quality of service is a strategic weapon. It determines your destiny in terms of customer acquisition and retention and companies are using community social networks to improve service," BenBassat concluded.