Managing a field-based team is a unique challenge.
It involves coordinating tasks and communicating effectively with team members who are often on the move or working from various locations.
The goal is to ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities, stays productive, and works together as a cohesive unit.
Utilising technology and implementing practical strategies can make this process smoother, helping you overcome obstacles and enhance your team’s overall performance.
To help you better manage your field team we will outline some of the core challenges and the tools you can use to tackle them.
When managing your team out in the field there are a number of unique challenges you need to deal with to ensure everything runs smoothly. These include the following:
Despite the challenges, running a field team also opens the door to many opportunities.
The key is to put the appropriate processes in place to allow your team to overcome the challenges and operate effectively. You can then make the most of the opportunities field work brings.
An effective field team starts with hiring the correct people for the job.
As a field operative, a person needs to be independent and reliable. This means you need to be able to trust the people in your team as you’re not going to be able to keep an eye on them as you might in an office environment.
To do this you want to take the time to vet the right candidates and test them out before a hire. It’s really important not just to hire for the person's skills but also based on their character.
Take the time to see how they fit into your team and make sure they get on with your current staff. A big part of building trust is about having a team of employees who get on and work well together.
If you need help finding the right candidates check out our article on how to recruit skilled tradespeople.
If you’ve got a large or even a small team working out of the office then it’s really important that everyone feels like they’re working together.
With the nature of fieldwork, many of your employees will be out working on their own or in a small group. Encouraging a culture of trust and camaraderie helps team members to work more effectively and makes people feel like they’re working for each other.
This can be very powerful and helps to ensure you’re able to create a dynamic workforce. If team members are actively trying to help and support each other, this makes a team more flexible and adaptable to change, which is crucial for field-based work.
When you’ve got people working in different locations, clarity is key. If anyone is confused or doesn't know what they’re doing this will lead to problems.
To avoid this, create a clear plan of action and a structure your staff can stick to. This means everyone knows what they should do and where they should be at any given time and removes any room for confusion.
With a good plan in place, it makes the work out in the field less confusing and chaotic. Behaviour becomes predictable and it makes it easier to work out what’s going on.
A good idea is to have an overall plan for how your field staff operate and a daily plan based on each job. This should work closely with your calendar schedule allowing you to keep track of what’s going on.
To keep everything running smoothly you need a process for tracking the work that gets done and for monitoring where your staff are.
In part, this can be achieved by using a good plan that allows you to understand where people should be. However, to gain live insights it’s necessary to use tracking tools.
With vehicle and personnel tracking, you can make adjustments and calculations based on how the picture changes out in the field.
For example, if you have an agent who is stuck in traffic and your admin team can see they’re going to be late, they can then check other agents in the area and calculate if a different member of staff will be able to arrive more punctually.
Check out Payaca's dispatch feature, which has been designed to help with this.
To allow your field staff to work as effectively as possible you need a strong office team that can take care of the admin and organisational side of the business.
This allows your field agents to focus on what they’re doing while out on the job while the office team can ensure everything works smoothly.
The office team acts as an intermediary taking calls and logging information that can be passed to field staff when necessary. This saves your field employees from having to deal with multiple jobs at once.
Your admin team is able to shield field employees from administrative work and allow field employees to focus on delivering the best customer experience for the clients.
To achieve this most effectively your business needs to operate on a good CRM with customised profiles that allow the admin team to manage operations.
As mentioned in the above point, getting the right CRM system in place is essential to running an effective field service business.
When you have many different staff with different roles, you need a system in place for seamless information sharing between employees and a way to access that information instantly wherever you are.
If you’re a field agent out fitting a new boiler and need to create an invoice there and then, then having access to the tools to do that at the click of a button gives you the edge and creates a better experience for the end client.
It also helps with organisation and planning, allowing a team to coordinate projects and ensure the different aspects of the business are all joined up and working as efficiently as possible.
Payaca's CRM allows you to achieve all these things and more, so if you're interested check out the free trial.
It goes without saying, but a good field team needs the right tools to deliver the job.
This includes the obvious tools that relate directly to a particular job but also applies more widely to any technology or mechanism that allows your team to work more effectively.
As mentioned above, a CRM is a good example of a powerful tool that can allow a field agent to work more effectively on a job.
Other examples might include tablets for your field agents allowing them to build quotes for a customer or appropriate safety equipment such as gloves and goggles depending on the job.
Once you’ve put the right processes in place and you have implemented the above points, then managing your team becomes simple.
Essentially your team will run itself, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture and developing new ways to optimise your systems and grow the business.
It also allows you to spot and troubleshoot issues before they arise as you have the space and capacity to do so.
A good field team manager doesn’t need to micromanage their staff but instead provides them with the right tools and resources to do the job at hand and can step in to assist where they’re needed.
With the right process in place managing a field-based team is a walk in the park.