Mobile Communications Apps to the Rescue

Deskless workers such as field service technicians, hospitality employees, and home health-care workers generally don't need to come into an office every day, but that doesn't mean their need for real-time communications is any less important than their deskbound colleagues.

Consider the first responder who arrives at the scene of a mass shooting or natural disaster and needs to communicate details of the situation as quickly as possible so other paramedics on the way, nearby hospitals, and local law enforcement can take the best actions to minimize loss of life. Likewise, think about the field service technician who responds to an unusual issue with an electrical transformer. Being able to conduct a real-time video chat with an experienced expert could make the difference between a quick fix and a fatal explosion.

When deskless workers are connected to their coworkers and the teams at corporate, they can easily get the answers they need and better handle unforeseen events -- including natural disasters, crimes, and other life-and-death situations. Real-time communications not only empowers the workforce, but also benefits customers and, ultimately, the brand.

An employee working in the field usually has a device in his or her pocket. Having an easy-to-use, secure, and company-sanctioned communications app that connects everyone at the organization is exactly what employees need to resolve unusual challenges successfully. This type of mobile communication can take form in a variety of ways. While some field organizations support real-time video communications, as mentioned above, other organizations are beginning to utilize one-to-many alerts to ensure specific groups of people receive urgent information in a timely way. And, in other cases, companies are using instant messaging to communicate with dedicated teams of subject matter experts.

One mistake companies should avoid is allowing deskless workers to use their phones' native messaging apps or consumer apps like WhatsApp. In addition to privacy and security concerns, when employees are left to their own devices for communication, they may be limited in the help they can get. Employees can't possibly know exactly who to call when faced with an unusual situation, nor will they have everyone's phone numbers.

With a company-sanctioned mobile communications app, employees have access to all the right people and can easily get answers through officially designated groups such as "Regional Support Group" or "San Francisco Alert Team." This approach gives front-facing teams the support they need while also heading off potential damage such as a bad customer review or negative PR.

Putting this type of mobile communications app into the hands of in-the-field employees has started to increase, with companies realizing the value of providing an easy, intuitive solution for teams to get answers and immediate help. By having a single, unified solution to communicate across the organization, teams can deliver better customer service and organizations can leverage all the different challenges employees encounter -- including those that are highly unpredictable.

Whether seasoned employees are contending with response to a natural disaster or a new employee is facing a challenging situation and doesn't know how to handle it, real-time communication with knowledgeable teammates -- whether they're in the field or at the corporate office supporting those workers -- can greatly improve handling of an incident.