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How to improve field team operations with business texting

Fatima Puri
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Fieldwork is different from office roles because field employees are often on the move and not sitting behind a desk from nine-to-five. For this reason, communication is especially crucial for field workers because they’re not in close proximity to each other or actively online, where they can monitor their email inboxes or messaging platforms. Business texting connects field workers with their companies through two-way, real-time communication. Not only is texting the most used application on smartphones, but a good 93 percent of workers also use their cell phones for work every day.

93 percent of workers also use their cell phones for work every day.

Additionally, texting provides field workers with conveniences that suit their workflows. They don’t need to stop their task to answer a phone call or pull out a tablet to check their email inbox. When they do get the time to reply to a text, the process is short, making it easier for them to respond on the go. Texts also live on the field workers’ phones so that they can reference historical conversations.  

Four ways to use texting to communicate with field workers

We’ve established the value of business texting for communicating with field workers. Now here are four ways companies can use texting to talk to their field team members to boost productivity and minimize confusion on the job.

Schedule shifts and send reminders

It’s common for field workers to have an inconsistent schedule where a gentle reminder can help reduce employee no-shows or a chance of a schedule mixup. Businesses can shoot a text before a job begins to send reminders and schedule openings to workers. Field or part-time employees can pick up projects at their convenience by responding to a text message to claim the shift. On the chance that a worker is unavailable to work a committed time slot, companies can send out a last-minute text to fill those spots.

Example of sending out a last-minute text to fill a shift
An employer shares location details with a part-time employee.

Communicating an announcement or change during a shift

The nature of fieldwork is dynamic — no day on the job looks the same, and things can change instantly. Dispatchers can use business text messaging to send mass announcements to communicate a change to multiple employees before, during, or after a shift. Textline users with a similar use case find the Announcements feature beneficial when sharing these changes with field workers that are spread out or working in smaller groups. Texts also have a 98 percent open rate, so you’ll be sure they see it.

Texting to send mass announcements to employees about shift changes
A company communicates a system issue via Announcements.

Workers can reply to announcements to ask questions or confirm that they received the message. Doing so allows for more transparent communication, which boosts productivity and limits issues on the job.

Example of a worker replying to announcements to ask questions
A company shares a pin location to communicate with an employee.

Verify information and troubleshoot 

Text is a great channel to provide updates or verify information on the spot because texts have a response time of 90 seconds. Employees on the move can use text to clarify instructions or send confirmations. Time is money, and any error on the job will cost your business. Even a one percent error rate can cost a large-scale organization over $4.5 million.

Employee using text to clarify instructions
A delivery driver uses text to verify product drop-off with a dispatcher.

On the same note, businesses can troubleshoot using text. The back-and-forth nature of text messaging, accompanied by its support of photos and videos, can help solve minor problems on the job. Companies can send texts to employees, or vice versa, to keep a two-way communication going.

Example of using a photo text message to solve minor problems on the job
A delivery driver verifies a drop-off with a photo.

Collect feedback

Turnover and recruiting are expensive — with turnover costing employers an average of 33 percent of an employee’s annual salary. It’s easier and cheaper to retain the same employees, instead of looking for a new team at the start of every project. You want to ensure your field workers have a good employee experience, even if you think it’s temporary. Having the same field workers on every project can minimize communication problems and save you time with onboarding. You can use survey tools like NPS to gauge employee satisfaction. There are some best practices to follow when using SMS surveys.

Using a text survey tool like NPS to gauge employee satisfaction
A moving company uses NPS to gauge employee satisfaction.

Companies can also use text to address problems as they come or handle future concerns, such as employee-specific needs. Texting allows your team members to have an open line of communication to ask or answer questions. Having a channel like texting gives field workers a sense of value because they know they have an opportunity to express their wants at any given time.

Using texting to give field workers a sense of value
A part-time employee uses text to communicate a late payment with a company.

The bottom line

Business texting is a hassle-free way to stay in touch with your field and part-time workers. It works best for them and your company and eliminates any confusion on the job. The better the communication, the more efficient and productive your employees will be. Ultimately, you’ll be able to limit bumps in the road and complete jobs faster, earning your company more revenue.

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