Field service teams are the only company resources deployed to resolve the issues, requests, and grievances of customers. They’re essentially who the company sends to be the customer’s hero. However, you don’t hear a lot of companies rethinking the way their field service teams work. In many enterprises, field service work is even outsourced and farmed out to third-party contractors.
Businesses and enterprises will gain a lot if they find ways to improve the productivity and efficiency of their field service teams. Fortunately, there are numerous ways of doing this. To help you out, here are a few suggested ways on how you can level up your field service business:
1. Field Management And Scheduling Software
Aside from their enormous talent and skill set, the most precious resource of your field service teams is their time. They often have to service dozens, if not hundreds, of clients in a single day.
The way a lot of companies do it nowadays is that field service teams are given their task list of job orders for the day, and then they’re sent out from the office. They go from one site to another and work on the tasks if they have enough information and tools to resolve them. If they don’t, they have to go back to the office to log a ticket and pass it on to another team.
To level up your field service business, you might want to consider getting field service management solutions. This would immensely help your field service management team optimize their talents, skills, expertise, time, and resources. For one, they could intelligently and efficiently farm out the job orders and pending tasks everyday based on the expertise and skills of their team members.
You might also want to consider getting scheduling and dispatching software platform and applications coupled with mobility solutions. This would enable your scheduling and dispatching team to track the location and progress of each team. It’ll also help field service teams coordinate with the operations center if they need any information, resource, tools, or spare parts to do their job.
If there are any changes, such as canceled appointments or when service vehicles are delayed by traffic or blown tires, you can easily reroute your teams with the help of your scheduling and dispatching platform. The result is higher work efficiency and productivity, minimal canceled job visits, a higher level of work synergy, and faster resolution of issues. This is why some companies are now moving into integrated platforms as part of their digital transformation.
2. Integrate All Your Systems
Numerous departments of businesses and enterprises use different software platforms, applications, and tools. For instance, business operations usually use a workflow platform across their teams and units. Finance and accounting usually use another set of software applications and tools for bookkeeping, accounting, and financial analysis. Also, customer service teams have their own database, sharing software, and process tools.
In all of this, the field service teams are usually left on their own. Some field service organizations still work offline. They use outdated technology platforms and workflow tools if they have access to technology at all. They seldom have access to customer’s accounts except for the technical portions that they need to do their job. Some field service teams still get their job orders in clip folders. The result is that different technologies exist in disparate compartments within the same business.
To level up your field service business, you should consider getting an integrated system and platform for your operations and service management. This would link your field service operations with your customer service operations, administrative business management, and workforce management. Even ‘low-tech’ field industries, such as cleaning services, are now urged to develop systems and emphasize digital skills. In addition, this would create value for your business since you now have an integrated focus on serving your customer’s needs.
3. Invest In Worker Productivity
Another area of opportunity for further improvement in field service business operations is worker productivity.
As mentioned, many field service teams still work offline even in the most ‘high tech’ industries, such as telecoms and internet service. Once they leave their offices, field service teams are usually left on their own. All they bring are their pliers, side cutters, RJ45 wire splicers and connectors, drills, and screwdrivers. They go to the customer’s home or office armed only with a piece of paper that contains cursory information about the customer’s account type.
It’s ironic because field service technicians are usually the only employees of your business that customers will ever see face-to-face for the most part. Yet they go to customer’s homes or offices without any briefing about the customer. They can’t even access the customer’s account. Usually, they only have access to the technical or engineering details about a customer’s account.
To level up your field service business, you should consider investing in the productivity of your field service workers. One way of doing this is by giving them field access to both the sale and technical aspects of the customer accounts database even while they’re out in the field. They should have access to whatever technical information they need about the customer accounts. This would reduce the need for second visits or postponed work, which has an impact on productivity, efficiency, and operations expenses.
You should, however, couple this with some basic training on customer service relations. Based on what the customer needs and wants, you can also give your field service teams some training on upselling other products and services. Remember, they’re already inside the customer’s home or office; that’s a golden upselling opportunity right there.
There are numerous areas of opportunity to further improve the efficiency and productivity of field service teams. Businesses can get scheduling and dispatching software platforms to enhance the coordination and collaboration between operations center and field service teams. They can also integrate their software frameworks and systems for more work synergy. Businesses should also invest in leveling up worker productivity and efficiency by giving them the mobility solutions and tools, which can help them get the job done.
John Cort is a specialist in systems improvement and development for the field service industry. He also writes about digital transformation, customer service, systems integration, and continuous improvement. When not writing, he goes out biking and trekking on sunny days.
Also Read: Three Ways to Protect Your Small Business