Field service management software has revolutionized how field service technicians and field service providers do business. The process of scheduling field service appointments and allocating the workforce has been streamlined to allow for a more efficient and effective distribution of resources. Field service management apps have made it easier for service technicians to access the information they need to ensure a job well done – often the first time around – and keep track of appointments, customer histories and corporate knowledge.
This has all led to more satisfied clients and, by default, an increase in customer loyalty and revenue. However, the best field service management software is not enough without a dedicated chief services officer asking the right questions to ensure satisfaction. Here are the ten things that every successful field service manager takes into consideration on a regular basis:
1. Where are my field service technicians?
In order to determine how best to allocate field service appointments to the best-qualified and available field service technicians, field service managers have to know where their employees are. Using field service management software, technicians can activate their location on their Smartphones giving the chief services officer a comprehensive overview of who might be available at any given time to answer a field service call. This ensures that customers’ requests are met as quickly as possible.
2. How much time will they need to complete the field service?
Field service management software also facilitates the documentation process for field services provided. Both in online and offline mode, field service management software documents the amount of time that service technicians are spending on a particular service call. Service technicians simply record the start and end times by pressing the respective button on the app. They can even add break times. An accurate log of time spent on a service call is then transmitted so that the chief services officer has a precise record of how much time a given task has taken. The customer can then sign off confirming how much time has been spent on the task. This is not only helpful for field service managers trying to organize a realistic field service schedule, it is also useful to refer to this aggregated information in order to give customers a rough idea of how long a particular field service call might take.
3. What does the customer need?
Plain and simple, customers want the best quality in the shortest amount of time. However, a successful chief services officer knows the value of digging deeper to determine the specific key customer needs to guarantee satisfaction. Using quantitative and qualitative market research, Field Service Managers conduct customer analysis to determine the key metrics for their specific clientele.
4. Is the customer satisfied with the service?
Chief services officers of 66% of companies that have first-time-fix rates above 71% have made customer satisfaction their top priority according to a study conduced by Aberdeen. These chief services officers know that customers rely on effective real-time field service in order to keep operations running and revenue flowing. However, they are also aware that there is more to pleasing a customer than getting the job done quickly. That is why they place a great deal of value on customer feedback. A field service management app makes it possible for customers to offer an immediate evaluation and specified assessment in regards to the task, technician and operational field. This gives both the chief services officer and the service technician an instantaneous opportunity to consider potential improvements for the next customer.
5. How can I guarantee constant access to a sufficient workforce without generating high fixed costs?
A field service manager charged with providing the best field service experience also has to consider the confines of a designated budget. Customers want reliable, real-time, predictive field service. However, if a company were to hire enough full-time employees to meet this demand, it would quickly hit budgetary constraints. That is why many chief services officers are turning to crowd service as the best solution.
A crowd service is a pool of qualified service technicians that consists of a company’s own technicians, subcontractors and freelancers. Having access to an extensive group of skilled workers makes it possible for chief service officers to meet the growing demand for field services. Customers are satisfied because their field service calls are quickly answered. Chief service officers are happy because they pay for the services that they need without high fixed overhead costs.
6. What is the Return on Investment (ROI)?
By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), field service managers create a precise expense analysis that offers them detailed insight into the ROI. Using this information retroactively, they can adjust processes in order to economize along the workflow by, for example, optimizing logistics, managing inventory and auto-scheduling the best technician for each job. All of this amounts to increased first-time-fix rates. And once again, companies with first-time-fix rates above 70% perform 10 percentage points higher on KPIs like customer retention, service level agreement (SLA) compliance and customer satisfaction than their counterparts with lower first-time-fix rates.
7. How can I increase the number of field service appointments in a given amount of time?
Field service management software powered by artificial intelligence (AI) has given chief services officers the power to implement intelligent workforce scheduling. As mentioned, using a network of connected devices chief services officers ensure that service technicians with the right skills are sent to field service calls. The same software also makes it possible for them to maintain a real-time inventory overview. Knowing how to get the job done and having the right supplies on hand are two ways service technicians can work more quickly and efficiently, which results in a substantial increase in revenue.
8. How else can I increase the first-time-fix-rate?
Aberdeen group shows in their report, First-Time Fix: A Metric That Drives Success from March 2016, that Sixty-one percent of customers felt the biggest problem with field service was a service technician’s inability to resolve their problem during one visit. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is already being implemented for intelligent workforce scheduling as mentioned above. Having online and offline access to the work order management helps technicians keep track of their time to maximize potential output. But sometimes, having the right parts and the best people available on a field service call are not enough. Service technicians can not keep track of every issue and all possible solutions, so FSM software is equipped with checklists that service technicians can use to determine the next course of action should one resolution not solve the problem. Combined with Augmented Reality (AR), for example in the form of virtual reality (VR) glasses, displays or sensors, service technicians can gain added perspective on how to fix an issue. And this is important for business, as 60% of companies with first-time fix rates report increased revenues as compared to 38% of companies who have not made improvements in this area.
9. How can I sell more service contracts?
Most businesspeople know that satisfied customers are more loyal. The best way to ensure that a client relies on you for both products and field services is to offer the best field service and replacement part conditions. Part of that is ensuring real-time responses and more realistic waiting times. This is all possible thanks to FSM software that can track a service technician’s location and progress and provide an update to field service managers about scheduling and customers about arrival times. However, successful chief service officers take it one step further by working on customer relationships. By involving customers through self service portals in the field service process by letting them schedule appointments, track their service technician’s arrival and rate their experience on their mobile devices, customers feel engaged and value. A satisfied customer is more likely to come back to a company for field services and future product purchases.
10. How can I best manage the knowledge we have?
Service technicians are the key to quality field services. It is critical that corporate knowledge be shared and made available to them. It is just as essential that knowledge be centralized and secured so that employees who leave the company do not take all their valuable knowledge with them. Chief service officers take advantage of several methods for guaranteeing a prepared and well-qualified workforce. They create skill groups to manage knowledge and allow for cross-divisional sharing of information. They offer regular training to keep service technicians up to date on their latest products and new technological developments. They provide access to checklists, videos and manuals that are available online and offline on mobile devices equipped with FSM software. They even use augmented reality to enable service technicians to share their expertise in a virtual environment. The more knowledge is pooled together, the greater the chances are of solving an issue, which leads to happy technicians, customers and companies.
Chief service officers know that technology is propelling the field service’s industry in a new direction. How quickly they integrate these latest developments into their business practices will determine how profitable they become and how satisfied their customers are. Have you taken the necessary steps to keep pace with the transformations affecting field services?