Productive service technicians are the key to both great customer service and an efficient, profitable field service operation.
Field service technicians are the face of any service organization. They interact face-to-face with customers and provide them with the only lasting impression of the company. “It is the personal characteristics and capabilities of the field service workforce that determine the final experience” (Aberdeen Group, Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide). So, after hiring and training a team of talented and qualified technicians, it’s imperative to the success of your company that they are equipped with the tools required to perform their best in the field
In order to better prepare technicians, many companies are now investing in field service management software. Providing techs with mobile devices and apps, for example, allows them to perform their jobs more efficiently with less time spent carrying out manual tasks and more time performing billable service work. With the right technology, good techs can become even better by improving communication with the back office and freeing up their time to do actual field work, making them more efficient on the job.
Making sure your techs are taken care of and given the right technology and training to improve their work in the field is a wise way to spend your resources. The following are benefits you will realize after implementing a mobile field service strategy:
The right mobile app allows them to redefine work processes, simplify communication and create more efficiencies in their day-to-day operations while mitigating human errors caused by manual processes such as data entry from paper forms to a computer.
• Less idle time: Technicians don’t want to waste time entering paperwork or documenting time and hours, and, seeing as you’re paying them by the hour, you probably don’t want that either. But without integrated mobile field service software, technicians spend a large percentage of their days performing manual work before and after a work order is closed. By investing in mobile devices and field service software, technicians can quickly enter documentation and log hours, which is instantly accessible to back-office workers. The integrated system saves time for everyone and improves the company by utilizing billable hours and making the most of your techs’ talents in the field.
• More satisfied customers: Many features in field service software contribute to higher customer satisfaction, mainly due to quicker visits and higher rates of success. For example, technicians that are equipped with mobile devices can easily look up manuals or tutorials if they get stuck on a project. With access to web portals and online how-to manuals, techs no longer have to carry around huge training manuals or return to headquarters if they couldn’t fix something. Often these digital tutorials are complete with videos and pictures, which make it even easier for them to trouble shoot. These tools make for quicker, more effective visits, and, in effect, happier customers.
• Increased first-time fix rates: Like customer satisfaction, there are several features in field service software that contribute to an increase in first-time fix rates and, really, customer service and first-time fix go hand-in-hand. When technicians are equipped with the right tools and know-how to fix or maintain something quickly and on the first try, customers will inevitably be more pleased and your company more profitable.
According to the Aberdeen Group, the most common field service complaint from customers is that the technician did not resolve the issue. In other words, he didn’t fix what he needed to the first time. We see over and over how important first-time fix rates are, yet many companies still aren’t reaching their goals in this category. For example, according to the Aberdeen Workforce Management Guide, only 47% of non-best-in-class companies have the necessary part for a job available in the technician’s truck stock. In addition to frustrating the customer (which is bad enough), the unavailable part leads to increased cost for the company and additional driving/idle time for the technician.
There are several steps you can take to measure first-time fix, improvement priorities:
• Improved triage and diagnosis processes at the time of initial service request
• Intelligent scheduling of field resources tied to tech knowledge and part availability
• Better access to service knowledge and resolution information in the field
• Enhanced focus on planning tied to future service demand forecasts
• Improved and increased training for field agents
By making sure your technicians are equipped to handle jobs the first time, your organization will start to see increases in consistency and revenue. Customers notice the expertise of your service technicians more than anything else about your business. It makes sense to invest in modern tools that will make them the best they can be by equipping them with the right information, support, and software.
Whether you’re a veteran field service software user or you’re just considering whether to make the investment, it’s clear that investing in your service technicians is vital to your company’s growth and in order to succeed in the ever-more competitive field service industry