Compared to other business models, running a field service organization can be especially challenging. In addition to the marketing, customer service and administration tasks involved with running a business, you also need to manage field service technicians, keep track of schedules and equipment and ensure your organization continues to deliver fast, efficient and effective service to your customers.
Finding ways to streamline workflows and manage your teams more effectively can increase both efficiency and profitability. Here are some ways you can boost efficiency across your field service organization and your reputation and profits in the process.
1. Access Critical Data on the Move
Research carried out by Field Technologies Online reveals that 52% of field service companies are still doing things manually. That means roughly half of your rivals aren’t yet benefiting from field service software and that it’s the perfect time for your business to ditch the paper, pens and headaches and move to a software solution.
The use of field service software on smartphones and tablets in the field can help to improve both collaboration between team members and communication with customers. With customer data at their fingertips, technicians can drive seamlessly from job to job without needing to check in at the office and keep customers reliably informed of their ETA. Fellow workers can also contact each other easily to troubleshoot problems without needing to be at the same location.
2. Optimize Scheduling and Routing
According to Gartner, 75% of field service businesses will be using field service software and 10% will be using triage and emergency callout scheduling driven by artificial intelligence. If you are currently assigning jobs in random order to your technicians or unable to track their availability, you could be wasting lots of precious time; time that could be better spent attending more appointments. By using software that manages real-time GPS tracking and mapping information, you can assign and dispatch technicians based on their availability, location and skill set and provide a better service to your customers.
3. Use Service History and Knowledge Base Data to Reduce Resolution Times
There are many instances when having access to the service history of a customer or location and a comprehensive knowledge base can help to reduce troubleshooting and resolution times. Service history can include invaluable information such as technician’s notes, previous service tickets, customer preferences and the equipment necessary or recommended to carry out the job. This data can also assist managers and office-based staff in improving efficiencies and assisting technicians over the phone.
A knowledge database, updated by field service technicians, can be used to recruit and train new employees and preserve legacy knowledge. Technicians may come and go, but by collecting their expert knowledge you can ensure your teams have access to the information they need to get the job done. Even better, by making this information available on mobile devices, technicians can quickly look up technical and customer information wherever they are.
4. Ensure Accurate Pricing Information is at Hand
One problem that many field technicians face is having to call into the office for up-to-date pricing information. Field service software can provide the information they need at the touch of a button and ensure this information can be given quickly to customers. Not only can this help the customer to make a quick purchasing decision, but could also help technicians to upsell other services.
In addition to providing technicians with clear pricing information, you may also want to equip them with handheld payment devices to take payment from customers instantly on-site. This reduces the amount of cash they have to carry and will also assist you with paperwork.
5. Connect Your Teams For Better Efficiency
By connecting your sales, customer service and field service technicians together using collaborative technology solutions, you create a valuable network of expertise that will help you to give the best service possible to your customers. For example, field service software can enable sales teams to connect directly to field service operatives when a customer has a technical question. This not only improves customer service, but it also frees up your teams to move to the next call or task in hand quickly.
6. Request Feedback From Customers
Nothing can improve efficiency more than the feedback you receive from your customers. Encouraging customers for their feedback, good and bad, can help you to discover flaws (and perfections) in your operations that you may not have otherwise known about. Use this information to improve workflows, establish gaps in training and to ensure your teams provide the highest standard of service possible. Handing customers a card at the end of each job that gives them ways to leave feedback (Facebook, Instagram or good old fashioned email) can be a handy reminder.
Enhancing service delivery should always be first and foremost on your list of business objectives. Mobile field service solutions, team collaboration, feedback from customers and optimized scheduling and routing are all key to providing the best possible service to your customers. What’s more, all can be achieved by a single field service solution customized to suit the needs of your business and the demands of your customers.
Sarah Halloran is a contributing writer for mHelpDesk, a top-rated field service software. Her industry and market segment specializations include cloud computing, BPA solutions, PaaS and internet security.