A subcontractor’s truck pulls into the driveway, but the right tire veers off and leaves a rut in the grass. Already 20 minutes late, the subcontractor proceeds to track mud through the building and exits with more of a mess than when it arrived. On top of that, part of the job is unfinished.
From start to finish, it’s a disaster from the customer’s perspective. He or she is furious, and rightly so: the customer service was poor, undermining any level of quality the job had, and the technician left before the task was complete. In the future, the customer remarks, I’m not using that company again.
At some point, every company reaches a maximum and simply has no further resources to allocate. It’s OK, and every business has that point. All the technicians are booked, each piece of equipment is signed out, or a customer requested a service not offered. That’s when it’s time to turn to third-party vendors, helping ensure that tasks are completed on time for clients.
But there’s an added pressure to that. Even though your company isn’t performing the service, your name is still connected with the vendor. Should they do a good job, it’s a positive bump to the company’s reputation. A poor job does just the opposite: you recommended a technician with a low level of customer service, one of the vital parts of field service management. If the subcontractor management process isn’t optimized using a step-by-step software, two reputations are harmed. And yours will take the biggest brunt.
Find Vendors You Trust
Just as customers search for products or companies they can rely on, your company needs to do the same when branching out. Not every field service technician aligns with the values and operational tactics that allow you to stand out.
Imagine that for years you have gone to the same barber shop, conversing from the same chair for a large part of your life. But suddenly, the barber retires and you’re left without one. As you leave your last haircut appointment, one of the questions you’ll likely ask is,”Who do you recommend I go to now?” The answer leaves a life-long impression.
If the recommended barber is impressive, your lasting image will be that your old one recommend someone who does a good job. If not, then you’ll wonder why someone you trusted for so many years recommended a bad hair place. Years of trust fly out the window, and as a customer you’re left struggling.
The same goes for subcontracting in field service management. Create a list of trusted vendors and do research before allowing them to sign contracts with your customers. Contact other companies they have freelanced for. Dig into any red flags that arise. If they are ignored, that only leads to trouble in the future.
Once you have gathered an initial list, narrow it down even further. A simple phone call or quick meeting can tell a lot about customer service traits and whether the technicians are individuals you want representing your company. Because in the end, that’s ultimately what they’re doing. Even if it’s the only time you use them, for that one day they are part of your company.
Use the Software’s Guided Process
When subcontractors arrive at job sites, many times they are thrown in blindly. In the middle of a long workday, your customer’s job is simply the next step for them. In a January 2017 survey by Service Council, more than 75% of organizations who participated used third-party vendors. A business can only offer so many services within its budget, and some even choose to focus on one thing. Maybe it’s HVAC, Fire and Life Safety, Oil and Gas, or all three.
From the beginning of the task to the end, follow along throughout the workday as each step is laid out for the subcontractor to begin, track time and complete. Everything’s through the Mobile Field Service App — the same one your company’s technicians already use — and a familiarity with it only helps. You know how to navigate the checklists. You know how to make sure a task is truly complete before closing it. Most of all, you know that you can’t be taken advantage of.
If your company hasn’t used our software in the past, it’s simple enough to learn. As is the case for any occupation, a list makes a task much easier. It centralizes points of emphasis and lays everything on the table out front. Get live updates along the way as each step is completed and see how accurate the quotes are. If for some reason the hired subcontractor experiences a delay, whether it be for weather or equipment malfunction, an alert will be sent to notify you of this. This way, any loopholes are closed and all the tasks that needs to be completed that day are clear.
Integrate with Ease
At Fieldpoint, we make it easy to manage third-party vendors through a connection with WorkMarket. Subcontractors can bid on clients while viewing the estimated time, customer data and equipment necessary to complete the tasks. This allows both sides of the operation to have access to necessary information before beginning a partnership.
Once the third-party technician presses the “complete” button on his or her mobile device, the company can ensure it has all the required information before billing the customer. That way, its reputation is safe regardless of the quality a technician completed the task with. If something is missing, the technician and company are both notified through the software. If not, the task is closed.
Fieldpoint understands the stress when hiring a third-party vendor. Your company likely has no connection with them, and sometimes these blind partnerships end up with negative effects on customer service.
That’s why our field service management software is integrated with WorkMarket, in order to relieve those stresses. When hiring, you should not only be confident in your decision, but also certain that no steps will be missed. With our software, all the tools you need are available to you.