The Benefits of Incorporating Mobile Technology in Maintenance
By Kevin Villont, Vice President of Construction and Maintenance
Anyone who has ever talked with me about the apartment industry knows what an advocate I am for service technicians. I can’t overstate how important a strong maintenance team is to the success of an apartment community. Oftentimes the service associates have more contact with residents on a day-to-day basis than other associates and are highly visible throughout the community. Because of this high level of exposure to residents, maintenance personnel must interact in a friendly, positive manner and efficiently handle service requests in order to drive high levels of resident satisfaction.
In order to give the service team the greatest chance for success, it’s imperative for operators to equip their service associates with the proper technology. For example, tablets and apps that allow the service team to access and perform semi-annual inspections – in addition to other tasks – while in the field can streamline the workflow, ensure that jobs are done properly the first time and give residents a satisfactory service level each time. Utilizing technology in this manner creates a better experience for everyone involved, from the resident who put in the work order, to the service associate who performed the work as well as the leasing associate who may need to follow up. It’s a win, win, win.
A Big Boon to Maintenance Teams
One of the primary benefits of mobile technology for service technicians is that it allows the associates to have more productive and efficient workdays. They can prioritize work and spend more time helping residents rather than filling out paperwork.
Instead of having to go back and forth to the leasing office to get the next service request, complete paperwork or close out work orders, everything is conveniently accessible at the touch of a finger. They can simply call up their next assignment on their tablet, go to the next job, enter notes about the service order while they’re in the field and close the order out as soon as it’s done.
From a resident’s perspective, this streamlined workflow is also beneficial. Because service associates are closing out orders as they’re finished instead of later at the leasing office, residents are being notified about service-order completions much more quickly, which provides a better customer service experience.
Furthermore, this system helps the leasing team and any potential follow-up work, because any notes are typed out instead of scrawled on a piece of paper. This ensures any notes are legible later and reduces the chances of them being misread.
Another benefit to upgrading to tablets or apps is that work is less likely to fall through the cracks. Any issues that a service technician runs into while in the field, whether while on another job or simply on the morning property walk, can be entered into the system then and there. Even if the associate doesn’t have time to take care of the issue at that moment, because it’s noted in the system, it will get addressed as soon as someone is available. The tablets provide a quick, easy way for maintenance personnel to report that something needs attention, instead of having to remember to report it next time they’re in the office.
As a real-life example, if a technician is doing his rounds and notices that a parking lot light is out, he will often just make a mental note or jot something down on a piece of paper. Because of the sometimes hectic and busy nature of the job, there is a high chance that the technician will forget about the light or lose the bit of paper. With the tablet system, instead of relying on the memory or organization of service technicians, they can file the necessary report at that moment to make sure the light is repaired in a timely manner.
At JVM, we will be providing a tablet that features the Mobile Facilities app to each of the maintenance staff. We strongly believe that maintenance teams equipped with mobile technology are more organized and efficient. In turn, that helps us achieve our goal: creating the best possible experience for our residents.