The buzzword floating around the field service industry these days is productivity. It’s the thing that every field service organization is striving for, what they want their technicians to have more of, and one of the main reasons they are buying field service management software.
Productivity is such a loaded word in the field service industry and can mean so many different things to a technician. So just using it as a blanket statement is alright in the short term, but when you want to make real life-long business decisions that drastically affect your organization’s ability to handle service delivery and increase profits, going deeper into the meaning of productivity is a worthwhile task to complete.
Field service management software can help your service technicians become more productive in their day-to-day lives if you know what to look for and what areas need to be addressed. Here are just some of the key productivity metrics your service organization should be looking at to increase productivity gains.
Service Quality to Revenue Per Tech Ratio
The traditional method of measuring a technician’s productivity is through their ability to deliver excellent service against the amount of revenue they bring into the company. It’s the basis in which most metrics for productivity are based on. You want a technician who is skillful in their work, but not one that is taking two-times longer to complete the same job another technician would. But then you also want a technician who is going to offer thorough service and be a great brand ambassador for your organization.
It’s a balancing act between the two. The perfect world would be a technician who is exceptional at their job, fast, efficient and a great customer service representative. Those are hard to come by, but there are plenty of ways to improve a technician’s service quality, while also increasing the amount of revenue they bring in daily. That’s how service delivery organizations are increasing their bottom line in these highly competitive days.
Turning to a field service management software is a great start in helping your technicians come out on the positive side of that ratio and increase both their quality of service and the amount of revenue they generate. Field service mobile apps can offer technicians in the field a complete service history on any piece of equipment to help speed up repairs, while also giving them all the information they need before heading to a job site.
It will also reduce the amount of administration work they have to complete manually, which is more time they can spend fixing issues. Field service managers can also build advanced checklists for technicians in the field that keep the standards high, regardless of the technician who is heading out for the job.
First Time Fix Rates
First-time fix rates are the metric that every field service organization aims to have high. Second visits irritate customers, require technicians to return for another visit instead of attending to a new client, and can be mostly avoidable. The goal of every field service organization is to have their technicians go out to a customer once and return with a resolution, with that service call ready to be billed.
As mentioned, second visits are very avoidable, especially with a field service software. One reason for second returns is that the right parts weren’t applied to the work order or available for the technician, either because they didn’t check inventory, or they didn’t know they needed the part.
With field service software, inventory is accessible in real-time, giving dispatchers and technicians a detailed look at where their inventory is, who has it, in what truck or warehouse and how much is left. If a technician needs a part, they can simply look up the nearest warehouse or van that has the part they need and request it be brought to the job site, as opposed to having to drive back to the office to complete a requisition.
Another reason for low first-time fix rates is the technician sent to the job site might not have the proper skills to complete the task. It happens in the field service industry, where another technician must be dispatched, requiring a return visit to an angry customer. This can be avoided with field service dispatch software that allows for skill set searches to be performed to ensure the right technician, with the right skill set, is being dispatched to the job. Other options include sending manuals or guides to a technician’s mobile app to assist in completing repairs.
Percentage of 2080 Hours
If you have never heard of 2080 hours before, it’s how much a person works, 52 weeks a year at 40 hours a week. And that is how much time your technicians can bill for, without of course, going into overtime hours.
The goal of every field service organization is to have their technician productivity so high that they are billing in the high percentage of those 2080 hours a year. Because without going into overtime hours, that is the most any one technician can bill in a year, so to generate more profit, there are only three options:
- Make your technicians more productive
- Hire more technicians to complete more work
- Hire subcontractors to complete additional work
There are many ways to accomplish the first option using field service management software to make your technicians more productive. One area is in their travel times, as technicians can eat up plenty of hours in the year just driving from job site to job site. You can bill for those hours, which is generally a reduced rate of what they would earn on the job site, or it’s part of a flat fee, but whatever the case, travel times eat away from the percentage of the 2080 hours a year.
Using the field service scheduling software, technicians can be selected based on geographical location to limit the amount of travel. Work orders can be grouped or assigned by geographical location, requiring less driving for a technician, and routing tools in a field service mobile app can get technicians to the job site faster. All of these will cut down driving times and give dispatchers more ‘work-hours’ to schedule additional calls.
Option two, which requires hiring more in-house technicians, is another option and field service software can handle a large technician pool. However, they come with the additional cost of being a full-time employee, so the problems of productivity still would apply to any new technicians being hired.
The third option, hiring subcontractors, is something field service organizations are using more. Subcontractors can be booked for specific single jobs or projects when things are too busy for the in-house technicians. They don’t come with the same overhead a full-time employee would, reducing costs, yet they can be highly effective when call volume increases, especially in seasonal operations.
Field Service Software Increases Productivity Gains
As has been shown, there are more to productivity gains than just the standard– the more billable hours by a technician, the higher the productivity. With the industry becoming increasingly competitive, the margins are shrinking, and field service organizations are having to find unique and technological ways to increase the productivity of their technicians to increase their profits.
They require a system to track and monitor these gains, such as with a Business Intelligence module in a field service management software, and the tools to handle administrative, training, dispatching and scheduling so that the technician in the field can worry more about offering excellent service, and not focused on speeding through a call to fulfill the bottom-line requirements of the business.