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Take a closer look at what's on our mind

Seasons test even the seasoned

Posted by Emily Mason on October 14, 2014

The weather’s taken a turn for the worse this week - summer already seems like a lifetime ago and, as the days get progressively shorter and colder, people will be surrendering to the fact that it might just be time to put the heating on.

For an unlucky bunch, winter comes at an expensive price - the extra strain on the boiler will take its toll, and the heating will fail. It could just need a service, a simple part may need replacing, or the whole thing might have to be replaced. But, whilst everyone else is tucked up in the warm, those affected by a broken boiler won’t care what’s wrong - they’ll just want it fixed. And fast.

Winter is a busy time for heating companies whether they service domestic or commercial properties, with demand for repairs typically doubling between October and February. Coupled with challenging weather conditions, it can be hard for them to get engineers on site quickly and the problem fixed first time, leaving customers frustrated and cold.

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“The driving force of all nature”

Posted by Emily Mason on October 10, 2014

That’s what Leonardo da Vinci called “water” – and who am I to disagree with a genius?

Truth be told, I actually do not know that much about water, beyond the fact that it streams out when I turn the tap (faucet?) and an unreasonable amount of it falls on the UK in a typical year!

Of course, there is a massive industry at work behind the scenes, ensuring that customer demands are met and there is continuous availability. Just as there is for all of our utilities (electricity, gas, etc.). And, an important part of those companies, which provide our energy and water, are large field-based workforces – precisely because their infrastructure has to reach every factory, office and home in the country.

Now, just the mention of a “mobile workforce” in the Cognito office is enough to get everyone interested – it’s our specialist subject. We know a whole lot about communicating with them, recording what they do, and improving their performance. It’s what we do.

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“Drive safely, darling!”

Posted by Emily Mason on October 8, 2014

Are those the last words you hear when you leave for work each day?

Cognito customers operate in many different industries and provide many different kinds of services. One thing they all share is that they deliver those services to different places, with employees travelling between sites - usually by driving some kind of vehicle.

Which makes driver safety a hugely important topic.

Earlier this year, Volvo Cars UK launched a new initiative aimed at business drivers, particularly in SMEs. Entitled “Co-Pilot”, it is part of a vision that...

“...by 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.”

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The problem with service

Posted by Emily Mason on October 2, 2014

It never fails to astonish me how some businesses fail so completely at providing even just a basic level of good service.

On a recent visit to a well-known hotel chain, I walked into the impressively large reception area to be ‘greeted’ by “do you want to check in?” No ‘hello’ - not even a smile. The place was huge and there were many doors to which could or could not have led to my room, so I dared to ask which door I might take. The answer was simply “over there” and a vague pointing of the finger to what could have been one of three options.After struggling to find the staircase at all, I finally made it up to my room, somewhat perturbed by the reception I’d received, but glad to see my room was up to a good standard. I later ventured down to the spa, where the staff were friendly and the facilities helped me wind down for the day.


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What does ‘M2M’ mean to you?

Posted by Emily Mason on October 2, 2014

Everywhere you look, it seems the world of field service is talking about only two topics - the Internet of Things or “wearable” technologies. And sometimes, both!

I have written previously in this blog on the topic of Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, its history and identified some of challenges around widespread and rapid adoption of this kind of connectivity. Ian Mapp also contributed some comments to the current issue of the UK-based Field Service News magazine.

As well as articles and conversations inside the industry, they have become topics of general interest and appear in mainstream media too (see here and here for two recent examples). It is easy to see the appeal, but the coverage is often characterised by more emotion and hype than solid information or informed commentary.

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