The quality and efficiency of your field service operations matters. It contributes to your overall customer service as how quickly you respond to and fix issues will impact customer satisfaction. But there are additional elements in play, such as managing your field workers, ensuring schedules are coordinated, and equipment are accounted for and maintained.
Here are eight factors that might be holding your field service operations back and how you can improve them.
- Your response times aren’t as fast as they could be
- You’re not analysing data
- Your customer data is siloed
- Your teams are working in siloes
- Your work scheduling system is flawed
- You’re struggling to schedule preventative maintenance
- You're experiencing invoicing and payment management issues
- You're providing an inconsistent customer experience
1. Your response times aren’t as fast as they could be
In a world where technology has made everything happen conveniently and borderline instantaneously, customers expect companies to respond quickly too. Customers will be frustrated if they have to wait weeks or even months for a product to be implemented or fixed.
So, response times need to be a priority for businesses who offer field service.
2. You’re not analysing data
Advances in technology have made data collection a much easier task. However, it’s not enough to simply collect the data, you also need to analyse it.
- Delivery logs
- Time spent on site
- Route records
- Driver behaviour
- Speed of service
- Technician location
…can all be used to improve your scheduling efficiency. You can see which technician operates the fastest, completes the most assignments and has the highest first-time-fix rates. You can also monitor travel routes and assign technicians to jobs that are the closest to them.
3. Your customer data is siloed
If your customer information is de-centralised and you’re using disparate systems, your teams will find it harder to operate as productively as possible. They must be able to access customer information on-the-go and pick up tasks/jobs from another technician, with easy access to all the vital data they need.
Your technicians may also need to access additional files, such as learning materials and collaborate with their colleagues as easily as if they were on location with them. This is where cloud-based technology comes in handy - it allows field workers to access previous service history, documents, guides and more while on location.
4. Your teams are working in siloes
It’s not just members of one team who need to collaborate. Your employees may also need to work with each other across departments. Working in siloes will really hold your customer service back.
For example, even the most skilled sales teams will struggle to provide a complete service if they don’t have a full understanding of the customer. And which team will likely know the customer’s needs inside and out? Your field staff as they regularly deal with the customers face-to-face.
So, your two teams in this instance need to be collaborating to make sure they build a 360-degree view of the customer.
Your field workers should be asking what your sales team need, identifying gaps in products and services and passing that knowledge onto your sales team. Your sales team then need to be using that knowledge to close future sales. They can also share some of their sales knowledge to help your technicians up and cross-sell while onsite.
5. Your work scheduling system is flawed
Scheduling work as resource-efficiently as possible is important. But without the right data and insight, this can be tricky. We mentioned this in point two but let’s dig a little deeper.
People, equipment and vehicles are the three resources crucial to field service. Field managers and dispatchers need to be able to monitor their availability. Here are some factors that highlight efficient field service operations:
- Assigning the technician who can get to the site the fastest
- Assigning the technician who is the closest to the site
- Assigning the technician who is available
- Assigning the technician with the right skills for the task
Knowing the above can improve service response times, fix rates, customer satisfaction and even reduce miles travelled to save costs on travel.
6. You’re struggling to schedule your preventative maintenance
While there may be some instances where you have to take the reactive approach, it’s better to be as proactive as possible. Customers will appreciate preventative maintenance rather than fixing equipment when it’s experiencing an issue or offering a replacement.
Preventative maintenance also reduces the frequency of emergency appointments needing to be scheduled and means your managers don’t need to find the nearest available field worker to take the job. This means less headache for your managers and field workers can stay on schedule, boosting their productivity.
7. You’re experiencing invoicing and payment management issues
Generating invoices can be a slow process, therefore receiving payment becomes even slower. Add to that any missing invoices, no immediate visibility into payments and a general lack of transparency then there becomes much larger problem.
That’s why it’s important to bring your payment management process into one system and make the task as simple as possible for your field service team. By providing them with a platform that can add up materials used and labour hours completed as the job unfolds, it reduces the time spent tallying up at the end.
This also mitigates the risk of missing costs off or producing inaccurate statements.
There’s a positive impact on customer experience too. Customers will benefit from reduced time between job completion and payment.
8. You’re providing an inconsistent customer experience
Do all of the above result in a poor customer experience? The answer is yes. And if a business is culpable for a combination of them, then customers may begin to look elsewhere.
In fact, according to a recent study, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. This highlights the importance of providing excellent experience throughout the customer journey to set yourselves apart from your competitors.
Excellent customer service in field service operations will result in the following:
- More knowledgeable and professional mobile service teams
- Greater adaptability to fix issues there and then due to increased visibility of resources
- Field service teams arriving with the right tools to get the job complete first time
- Faster and more accurately generated invoices
With customers having more choice than ever and with greater ability to shop around, it’s never been more important for businesses to keep up with demands and optimise the customer experience.
So, what can propel your field service operations forward?
Investing in the right field service management software can be the answer. Field service software can consolidate your customer data, making it easier for cross-team collaboration and to provide excellent customer service. Your field service team can also access all the information they need to manage and solve cases, whether it’s service history or digital guides on best practices.
These are just a handful of the benefits Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service can bring to your business. Discover more features and functionalities that the right field service management software should offer in our solution factsheet below.