Many field service management industries have peaks and valleys. Their field service delivery isn’t constant all year. HVAC businesses, for example, are busy at the start of each season when customers are starting to turn on air conditioners and heaters. But after that, there is a drop off, once the summer or winter season settles in. No one is thinking about their air conditioner in February, and they have already thought about their furnace in November.
Utility companies see a higher rate of service calls at the start and end of each month, as those are the most popular times for people to move into new living conditions. And many offices will take on major project work early in the year, when budgets first come out, as opposed to the back half of the year.
Whatever industry it may be, maintaining effective field service management during these variable times can be a challenge. There can be a lack of technician availability due to many different reasons. Or there can be too much work for the field service management team to effectively handle. Regardless of the situation, customers will still expect the best field service they can get. It’s up to service teams to figure out how to deliver, without disruptions and long wait times.
Turning to Field Service Management Software
With fluctuations happening for many different reasons, it’s important for any field service management team to identify them. With that, a field service management software is the approach many are taking to tackle the many problems of variable workloads. By using field service software, field service businesses are using tools to mitigate the problems of a variable workload, including:
- Work order management software
- Field service scheduling software
- Field service mobile apps
- Subcontractor management tools
- Business Intelligence and analytical reporting
Here are some common situations field service management teams will find themselves in, in regard to variable workloads, and how field service software can help.
Time of the Year Creates Variable Workload
As mentioned before, the HVAC industry experiences variable workloads during specific times of the year. Generally, the first heat wave or cold snap reminds people to get their HVAC units checked. That means during the months of November, December, May and June, HVAC technicians are busy doing service calls for customers. During the other months, it’s noticeably slower. There are multiple problems here for an HVAC organization that can be handled by field service management software.
First, during peak times, scheduling is extremely important. With customers calling in looking to service their HVAC units to battle the cold or heat, your technicians’ schedules need to be optimized to meet the demand. That means using field service scheduling software to organize service calls in a way that allows technicians to use their time wisely. With field service mobile apps, technicians are spending less time completing administrative tasks and driving back to the office to pick up work orders. It keeps them on the road, completing service.
Resource routing tools also offer a way to optimize a technician’s schedule by limiting their driving times between customers, scheduling service calls in the same geographic location, and planning a route that is more efficient. When a field service management team gets busy, they have to find as much free time as they can to schedule their technicians. Overtime is an option, but by limiting their administration work, driving and idle times, and moving their service calls closer together, they will be able to take on more calls in a day.
During the slow season, you might be stuck with a workforce that doesn’t have enough service calls to handle. That can eat up your bottom line as you pay for wages and don’t get the same return in revenue from service work. It’s one of the reasons preventative maintenance contracts have become a staple of the HVAC field service management industry, as it spreads out service across the entire year and doesn’t cram it in to one busy month.
Service contracts are offered to ensure equipment is working at peak efficiency all year, as opposed to when there is a possible emergency situation. It allows field service businesses to better plan their technicians’ schedules, have a solid floor of revenue they can expect, and keep their in-house workforce busy even when times are slow. Field service management software can handle preventative maintenance contracts and automate the work order creation process. This ensures no work orders are missed, customers remain happy, and continue to renew their contracts and contact your business for emergency and project repairs.
Emergencies happen without warning. Hence why they are called emergencies. Pipes leak, furnaces breakdown in the winter, Internet infrastructure goes offline. You can’t plan for those situations, but your customers will still expect exceptional field service work when they call. And you’ll have to be ready for those calls to come in regardless if it is the slow season or the busy season.
Don’t let unpredictable weather or unscheduled downtime ruin your first-time fix rates, response times and your customer service levels. If you find yourself with too many work orders and not enough technicians, field service management software has subcontractor management tools to utilize third-party vendors to complete service work. With subcontractors, your organization can adapt to any variable workload that happens, regardless of the situation. Push work orders to them in the field using the field service mobile app, attach checklists to keep standards consistent across your organization and add additional technicians to your workforce without taking on full-time expenses.
Subcontractors are a great way to battle any kind of variable workload your organization may face. Whether it be because of seasonal work, emergency work or specialized work, subcontractors can cover areas your in-house technicians can’t.
Field Service Management Software Prepares You for Variety
Field service work can’t be planned. Things can get thrown at you at any time, and you will have to adapt to those situations. Every day brings new challenges, but with a field service management software, you will have the tools you need to handle any situation the service world can throw at you. Lock down your preventative maintenance contracts, automate your service, optimize your technicians’ schedules and hire subcontractors to battle variable workloads and walk away with happier customers, and greater revenue.