How to Keep Your Field Team Happy and More Efficient While On the Road
“Happy” and “More Efficient” seem like two different topics, right? Well, after years in the field management arena, we’ve found that these two things have several ties. The efficiency of processes and communications go really far in mitigating employee disengagement, frustration in the field, and discouragement caused by ineffective processes.
When it comes down to it, your field managers want to do a good job, they want to be recognized for their hard work, and they want to move the dial. The question is, do they have the tools and support to do that?
No More Paper-Based Processes
For the love of a clean bathroom, stop using paper-based processes in your field management operations. For one thing, they slow everything down. They are frustratingly inconvenient to track, organize, and store. And if there is a better way to do something, you should be doing it!
Whatever type of business your field manager is assessing, there are going to be multiple checklists, follow-ups, forms, etc. These should all be on a mobile system that is user-friendly and customizable to each industry, company, and location.
Reap the Benefits of Cloud-Based Sharing
Speaking of a mobile process, it should be cloud-based. A cloud-based system means that the input information is not just stored on the device the field manager is using. The information is easily shared with and accessible to all relevant parties in real-time. No more searching for never-ending email threads with a downloaded report, all information is stored in the cloud, and can be accessed by those with the right permissions/credentials.
Close the Cracks with Automated Follow Ups
Let’s talk about an all too common situation -the field visit is complete, responsibilities have been defined and delegated, and now there are several balls in other people’s courts that your field manager is ultimately in charge of. Did it get done? When? Was it satisfactory?
Closing the cracks with automated follow up processes can eliminate these questions. Furthermore, it eliminates some of the inherent stressors of field management. Your field managers don’t have to set 7 reminders or bother location managers with multiple follow ups. Clear, documented deadlines and expectations coupled with automated follow ups go a long way to reducing the anxiety that field managers have long after the field visit.
Emphasize the Human Factor
We can get so caught up in our checklists and forms that we forget these are people, engaging with other people, with the aim of improving other people’s experience. See the trend there? People! Be sure that there is time in your process dedicated to coaching, relationship building, and listening.
Field visits have historically been about focusing on standards, compliance, and let’s face it, issues. While all of those things still stand, be sure there is an emphasis on engagement, encouragement, and recognition of successes. It’s easier to highlight and elaborate on these successes when they are being tracked. Be sure that your field visit processes allow for the storage and tracking of this information in a fashion that makes it easy for field managers to spot successes and positive trends.
This doesn’t just encourage the store manager and employees, doling out congratulations is a positive feeling that actually increases employee engagement. People love giving praise as well as receiving it.
At the end of the day, the most significant improvements we want to see are in customer satisfaction, revenue, and profitability. There is no one road that leads you there. It’s not enough for everyone to know what the goal is, they have to have the tools and leadership to get there. For more leadership tips, the Action Card blog is a great place to get a solid start. And the tools? We’ve got ‘em. Take an Action Card demo today and find out how one simple app can transform your field management processes and outcomes.