Medium-sized businesses can feel stuck in a common conundrum. They are now too large for free technology solutions, yet need more powerful solutions to grow, without the enterprise size pricing. This is certainly the case within field services, as service management software as an example, can come with a hefty price tag. Nevertheless, to grow and stay competitive, field services companies need to harness tools to scale and improve, at a price within their budget.
According to Aberdeen Group, 58% of field service professionals say their top pressure is competition in product and service.
3 key areas which commonly pose challenges in providing a superb product with impressive service:
- Lack of back end efficiencies
- Inefficient logistics
- Effectiveness of field service workers
Lack of back-end efficiencies
Growing profits can seem like an uphill battle when so much ends up being spent on managing the plethora of logistics and paperwork that comes with the client contracts. Changes to jobs can throw the whole process into disarray. It may involve increasing the time required at a job site, changing the work order, changing the pricing, and therefore invoicing. Additionally, prioritizing different jobs as a company grows can be extremely difficult when there is not a standard way to funnel high alert jobs to the front of the queue.
Customer service can prove to be a challenge as well, if information about customers, such as their past service calls, equipment, and preferences are not easy to locate. Not only can a lack of back-end efficiencies be time-consuming, but when paper-based, it can also be prone to human error.
Maximizing satisfaction with connected customer journeys has the potential to lift revenue by up to 15%, whilst lowing the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%, according to research by McKinsey & Company. This sounds ideal, but how can medium-sized businesses within field services connect their customer journeys?
One proven option is work order management software. Work order management software can take hours off back-office time that field services businesses currently spend and provide increased efficiencies. Work orders can be managed centrally, allowing for them to be changed or easily reassigned. Work order management software can link together the work order, to dispatch, to repair, and then to invoicing. A full view of customer history is easily accessed, enabling businesses to provide enhanced, and even proactive service, quickly and efficiently.
Another challenge faced in field services is logistics. Getting the right technician to the right job can be complex. Different skills, certifications, and training could be required, workforces can span large territories, and each technician has their own unique schedule. How to get the right field service worker to the correction location on time is a daily challenge faced across every industry, from IT Services to HVAC to Oil and Gas? How can a field services company ensure that one technician does not finish a job at the south end of town, and then head to the other end when they could have driven two minutes to do a job around the corner? How can you ensure that they are taking the most efficient routes?
According to Field Service News, 50% or more of service man-hours are typically lost in travel time before a technician gets on site.
How can this high travel cost, and inefficient logistics be remedied? One solution is service management software that works to maximize travel time, with little waste.
Service management software can narrow down the technician pool with a skillset search, find the nearest technician to a service call, and quickly add the appointment to their schedule for fast dispatching of technicians. Technicians are enabled to work more billable hours instead, arriving efficiently and with the correct skillset. The result? The profits of field services companies go up.
Effectiveness of field service technicians
Writing with a dull pencil is “pointless” as the saying goes. The same could be said for sending out a technician without all the tools and information required to do their job to an excellent standard.
Nobody wins when technicians arrive at a site of service without being entirely sure about past history with the customer, and details of the work order, including any changes since they first received it. This certainly reflects poorly on the field services company. Worse still, this ineffectiveness also results in a less-than-impressed and delighted customer who must repeat all the issues which they had already gone through with someone on the phone at the main office.
When using service management software with a mobile field service app, communication with technicians in the field is not only possible, but updates to their schedules and notifications are as well. This kind of feature helps with accommodating emergency requests, and re-prioritization of work.
There is also the issue of the variety of work that can be requested from site to site. This can also affect the effectiveness of field service technicians who have varying degrees of knowledge. Different models of products to be serviced for example, or contractors who are not familiar with your company’s typical workflow on a service call, can certainly slow down, and impact the quality of service provided.
This is where having inspection and task checklists on the mobile app for a technician helps. This resource enables technicians more effective, can help them plan regarding which tools to have with them (without having to come back a second time). It also can guide them in the specific steps to take to complete the service call, which as mentioned above can be particularly helpful when contractors are employed.
Make Customer Satisfaction the Focus
Sub-par work equals unsatisfied customers. According to Gartner, 70% of organizations say customer satisfaction is a primary benefit derived from implementing service management software. Perhaps now is the time to consider it if you have not yet.
The approach you take today in selecting the next steps to address the challenges in field services will influence both the long–term and short–term results of your field service business. By considering these challenges, and some of the solutions suggested above, you can not only overcome the challenges but experience growth while becoming more competitive in your offering and service.
To learn how Fieldpoint’s field service management software can help you achieve your business goals, contact us today.