Managing your field service will significantly affect the strength and efficiency of a brand as a whole. Customer experience is often determined by your response time and ability to resolve any issues without much delay. This is also a scenario in which people will be the most likely to leave positive reviews and rate your business highly online.
Field services, however, are hard to manage and even harder to improve. The key thing is that you boost your business model and make the performance of your field services both consistent and reliable.
Here are a couple of tips to help you get started.
Start Tracking Adequate KPIs
There are a lot of KPIs that you want to track. The two most important ones are the FTFR and MTTR.
The FTFR stands for a first-time fix rate. This means that your team goes to the site of the problem once and resolves the issue without having to make return trips or return on subsequent dates. This determines how well you’ve equipped your team and how well-trained they handle some of the most common problems. Most important of all, it greatly determines customer satisfaction.
MTTR is the measurement of how long it took to fix the issue. It is another way of measuring a similar thing. Customer dissatisfaction grows exponentially while they’re waiting for the resolution of the issue. It is measured from the moment that an issue is reported until the time that the problem is fixed. This is entirely up to the efficiency of your field service, which is why a problem here indicates that there’s a thing or two to be fixed on your end. It’s that simple.
Aside from this, you also want to track your mobile inventory. The items that your technicians take to the field are an indicator of a couple of things. First, they determine the cost-efficiency of your teams. Second, it minimizes the need for return trips (thus affecting both of the above-listed matters quite drastically). Lastly, it helps you determine if there’s an issue with the misappropriation of resources by one (or more) of your team technicians.
By tracking these three KPIs, you’ll already get a much better insight into your field services and get an edge when it comes to handling its management.
Finding specialized field service management software is probably one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your field services.
For starters, these tools can help you with estimates and quotes, which automates a huge chunk of your work and makes you far more available and reliable. Second, it helps with the most important aspect of your work – scheduling and dispatching. Fleet tracking is naturally of major significance. Having optimal routes and figuring out the best way to run your fleet will drastically impact the MTTR of your field teams.
Seeing as how the field service industry often involves overtime and people employed here to have a ton of benefits, invoicing and payments to technicians are sometimes quite complex. Fortunately, a proper tool can help even with invoices and payments.
Aside from these several simple issues, specialized field service software will address virtually every aspect of running a successful field service.
Answer Crucial Questions
Next, there are a couple of crucial questions you need to answer to improve the overall efficiency of your field services.
The first one is the issue of trust. The trust in your brand is often tightly intertwined with the efficiency of your field service. Here, you need to balance between delivering quick results and making promises that you know you can keep. Sure, everyone wants you to be there in 15 minutes but promising to do so if you know that it’s realistic will backfire horribly.
Second, you need to introduce some safety protocols. You want your field teams to stay safe, which won’t always be easy, especially in scenarios where the nature of your work requires handling various hazards. Here, you need to balance between the urgency and the urge to improve FTFR, with the priority of staying safe. Calling for an extra backup, making a return trip, or taking things more slowly is definitely a better alternative.
Boosting communication is another big question. How will you handle this? Sure, you can have your employees use their personal IM software to contact their colleagues, but this isn’t necessarily the most efficient approach to the issue. You want to standardize these means of communication. Also, you want your field teams to access your databases in order to boost the volume of information available. If they are allowed to do all of this via their own devices, you also want a decent BYOD policy.
In the end, the majority of the above-listed issues here are matters of leadership. It’s not just about answering the questions and introducing solutions. It’s also about enacting their implementation.
Technology and Actionable Data
There are two great ways to improve your field service management. These are the use of technology and actionable data.
First of all, your field service teams need to know what they’re dealing with. Don’t forget that we live in a COVID-19-affected world, which means that during the first contact with the customer (over the phone, chat, or email), you need to inquire about their health status. The protective gear and measures will depend on their answer here. Moreover, asking this question before arriving will reduce the necessity of a return trip and increase the safety of your staff.
Previously, we’ve already mentioned access to your own databases. Sure, the majority of issues that your field teams need to resolve are standard, and they can make decisions based on their previous experiences. However, if they can access previous reports, chances are that they will be much more efficient at resolving the issue. A lot of problems are recurring, so if you have a report for that same client, chances are that the same solution will help you fix it.
Remember that in order to make this available to your field teams, you need to opt for cloud solutions. Collaboration tools, with their to-do checklist system, are often quite efficient. Here, your field team technicians can submit/upload a report and, after a successful resolution, the tasks can be archived. Still, to help them find the data they need when they need it, you might want to get an intelligent information management system, as well. This way, they can go through the data far more efficiently. Needless to say, a solid ERP system could make a world of difference.
Proper tools can help you store all the data you need and access it whenever you need it. Therefore, it’s quite high on your priority list to secure it for your field teams.
To improve your field services, you first need to develop an in-depth understanding of the technical aspect of your line of work. This differs greatly, seeing as how expected response time, minimal tools, and safety procedures vary from one industry to another. Still, the majority of the above-listed tips are, more or less, universally applicable, and you can easily transition into them. With the right tools (hardware as well as software), achieving all of this will be a lot easier to pull off.