They say “Communication is the key to success in any business” and this stands true especially for businesses that foster a remote, or an on-field workforce. Strong communication lays the foundation for efficient employee engagement, making informed decisions and setting clear goals to improve operations and end results. Instant messaging apps, walkie-talkie apps, push-to-talk apps are some of the new-age tools to strengthen remote connectivity.
Ensuring seamless communication amongst every member of every team is easier said than done. Communication faces several barriers, whether technical or geographical when it comes to on-field teams. Businesses need to pick the right communication strategy for their on-field employees as they operate in rough terrains and are constantly on the move.
What are some of the common field service industries?
- Mining, oil and gas
- Logistics and transportation
- Last-mile delivery
- Plastic extrusion
Why is it important to streamline communication with field employees?
- Field employees routinely face customers and build quality relations
- They represent your brand, services and uphold your company values even outside office facilities
- They are the links between potential customers at diverse locations and your in-house sales teams
- They have the power to provide real-time feedback and identify problem areas on the field physically to help the company deliver its services better
- They cross-sell and up-sell your products and services with their expertise
What are the common communication obstacles faced by on-field employees?
Lack of engagement
On-premise employees do not face barriers in communication whether it means communicating with internal teams, receiving company updates, reaching out for IT support, or engaging in recreational team activities. These simple forms of communication keep the in-house employees informed and engaged with the rest of the teams.
Field service employees, being constantly remote and on the go, do not experience the benefits of on-premise infrastructure. They seldom meet their colleagues and other internal teams and hence without a proper communication flow, they are bound to feel disconnected from the rest of the workforce.
- Wrong communication technology
On-field employees are non-desk workers and operate from rugged terrains. Consider an ongoing construction site, or a busy warehousing facility, a manufacturing pipeline or last-mile delivery, field employees need tools that enable them to connect with their colleagues or managers instantly.
They find it difficult to read and revert to lengthy emails or engage in tedious dialing and texting processes to connect with their teams. Organizations that rely on social platforms, cellular calls or emails to connect with their on-field employees lose precious service time.
- Miscommunication and information silos
Businesses that are unable to pick proper communication tools that suit the on-field environments often encounter improper communication. Miscommunication between verticals leads to decreased operational efficiencies and insufficient outputs. Sometimes tedious communication protocols lead to sensitive business information being lost in translation leading to failure of achievement of the desired targets.
- Lack of feedback and direction
On-field employees are usually the ones to perform on-site and interact with customers directly. They represent your brand in the outer world. The inability of on-field employees to get in touch with their team members or managers instantly may cause loss of opportunities and inability to make informed and collective decisions.
- Reduced productivity
The inability to discuss important issues with colleagues and managers has a great impact on the operational efficiency of the on-field teams. All remote and field employees are heavily dependent on technological devices for exchanging information. Barriers in fluent communication bring about a loss in overall productivity.
What is Push-to-talk?
Push-to-talk (PTT) is a mode of communication that facilitates an ultra-fast two-way connection at the press of a button. The sender and receiver communicate via dedicated two-way radio devices. These devices are half-duplex in nature, i.e. voice messages can be transferred only in one direction at a time, however, they are a fast and time-saving communication method, especially for frontline employees. Walkie-talkies and Land Mobile Radios (LMRs) are popular examples of Push-to-talk communication.
But investing in individual dedicated devices is a costly affair, requires employees to carry bulky devices on-site and also poses network restrictions. These devices have a limited frequency range and cannot be leveraged by geographically dispersed teams.
To tackle these issues, technological advancements gave rise to PTT apps. These apps can be easily downloaded on an employee’s smartphone which not only helps in cost control but also curbs the need for on-field employees to carry bulky dedicated PTT devices.
Why are PTT apps the best form of communication for field services?
On-premise teams that work within office facilities generally communicate with their peers and clients over emails or phone calls. However, when working in harsh on-field environments, regular means of communication lack speed and ease of use. Push-to-talk (PTT) is the most convenient mode of communication for field service agents.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why PTT apps are the best communication mode for field services:
- No coverage restrictions
Modern-day PTT apps have the ability to be downloaded and integrated directly with the user’s smartphone. Thus these apps run on cellular or Wi-Fi and do not have distance-related limitations, unlike traditional PTT devices like walkie-talkies. Your teams can connect with each other instantly from any corner of the world, making connectivity a breeze for on-field employees.
- SOS communication
On-site and frontline operations go beyond simple desk work. They have to operate from potentially hazardous locations with several threats lingering around. In such situations, having a tool that helps you connect with your peers at the press of a single button holds a big value. Due to its simplicity of use and ultra-fast connectivity, PTT apps make the perfect SOS communication tool.
Employees can instantly call for help, or convey alerts in events of emergency and tackle a threatening situation.
- Benefits both employees and the business
Purchasing a bulk amount of dedicated PTT devices such as walkie-talkie apps, LMRs, two-way radios, etc. weighs in significant financial investment for businesses. Besides, even employees are required to carry these bulky devices on-site. The introduction of PTT apps has benefitted both the employees and the businesses. Businesses no longer need to invest in purchasing separate PTT devices. Similarly, employees no longer need to engage themselves in the hassle of carrying dedicated devices while working. Simply carrying the smartphone with a PTT app installed, suffices all instant communication needs.
- Modern features that go beyond just PTT
To add to the convenience, the latest PTT apps not only provide instant connectivity to on-field employees but also offer an array of other features that simplify management and operations. Businesses can leverage several high-end features from PTT apps that go beyond just voice communication such as real-time location sharing, business messaging, sharing media files over-the-air, group call ability and much more.
Push-to-talk technology has revolutionized on-field communication since its inception. While PTT technology has been around for a long time, PPT apps are a contemporary modification that aim to tackle the drawbacks of traditional PTT devices such as walkie-talkies. As most people own smartphones today, implementation and usage of PTT apps can be streamlined with ease to simplify day-to-day communication amongst on-field teams.