Businesses of all types are now more reliant on mobile connectivity than ever before, and for many workers, losing this means they are simply unable to complete their jobs effectively. Whether this is field agents who need to check in for the latest info, or retail staff looking to complete transactions or gather customer details, mobility is vital to their performance.
So what happens when this technology doesn't work as expected? For all their powerful features, phones are still fragile devices, and a drop or exposure to water can quickly put them out of action. Plus, as phones age, they will naturally lose performance as storage fills out and more power-hungry applications drain its resources, while batteries become slower to charge and hold their power for less time.
The consequences of this can be wide-ranging. A cracked screen may not affect the performance of a device, but it can cause productivity issues if it makes it harder to see key information - not to mention looking unprofessional if the worker is in a customer-facing role. More serious issues, such as unresponsive screens, slow performance or batteries that won't last the entire day can even bring work to a complete halt.
The challenges of broken tech
This can cause great frustration for workers, and it will usually be the IT team that bears the brunt of the blame. A recent study by process management firm Nintex revealed that 71 per cent of employees agree the onus should be on these professionals to act quickly when things go wrong. However, only 16 per cent of employees said their IT department is able to swiftly handle any tech-related issues they may have.
In many cases, even raising an issue can be problematic. The study noted that often, steps that should be simple, such as putting in a request for a device service or repair, can break down and lead to frustration among employees if they aren't tracked and followed through effectively.
As a result, many people may feel they need to take action themselves if they don't have the support they need, and the consequences of this could be far more serious. Nintex's study found that one in five employees have turned to people outside the company for help, while 40 per cent have resorted to using apps or devices that haven't been approved by the company until their original tech issue gets resolved.
Clearly, this could present significant security and privacy issues in addition to any productivity problems, so is something to be avoided at all costs.
Gaining the visibility you need
Therefore, it's vital to have an effective mobile phone repair and replace strategy for these devices to ensure that workers are not being inconvenienced and the business can continue to operate as normal. But what should this look like?
For starters, it's important to set expectations with employees about what they can expect, and what their own responsibilities are, as well as identifying which workers should be the focus and what they can do in the meantime. So for example, if a field agent can't do their job without a device, they should clearly take priority over those for whom a device is less of a necessity.
Standardising rules about the process is also important. Should essential workers expect a temporary or permanent replacement straight away? If so, make sure everyone is aware of this - and if not, also be clear on the expected replacement time. Even if it takes longer, having a clear deadline workers know will be met helps to eliminate frustration and worry.
Another factor to consider is visibility, which is important not only in speeding up the repair process, but can help firms be more proactive and avoid the need for this altogether. Having a clear, standard process for reporting a problem and tracking the status of a repair ensures IT teams are alerted quickly to any issues.
With the right logging and monitoring tools, teams can also quickly spot any trends, such as common failures or issues at a specific location, that can be acted on with additional training or changes in policy.
In-house repairs can be costly and time-consuming, especially for firms with smaller IT departments, so having a partner that can assist with the process and provide companies with the services they need can make a huge difference as the number of devices they manage grows.