Today from technology to changing consumer behavior, the business landscape keeps changing and evolving. As organizations strive to maintain their competitiveness, one challenge all businesses face is managing their field service teams effectively.
Managing a field service team is a challenging task. There are so many factors you have to keep track of, and quality control is always a priority when dealing with service personnel. It’s no secret that customer loyalty is the key to success and long-term profitability for your business. Data shows that companies with high customer satisfaction rates have big growth opportunities.
For instance, as a field service manager, you’re dedicated to ensuring your customers are happy and that their job requests are done correctly. You also need to make sure that your team members are safe; an accident or injury could involve lawsuits from both yourself and your customer.
In field operations, there are critical points where you have to think out of the box and come up with a solution that is effective in the field. If handled poorly, a problem can become an ongoing issue that can make your customers lose confidence in your company.
Not only will your field service team be responsible for completing the job requests, but they’ll also need to manage customer satisfaction, safety, and job schedules. While they are on the field, you need to manage everything from their job schedules to equipment delivery at the site.
As simple as managing may sound for a few field employees, it becomes a daunting task while manually handling a large number of field workers. Along with managing field workers and customer requests you need to ensure that you are maximizing your resources in the most effective way possible.
Failing to maintain a balanced management approach to field service, or failing to properly manage all aspects of your field service operations, will inevitably impact the profitability and success of your company.
According to Salesforce, 80% of decision-makers say that field service is crucial to their overall strategy, and 75% say field service drives revenue. Thus, field service management is one of the most dynamic and challenging aspects of customer relations.
It’s important to ensure that your field service team can do its job without suffering from burnout or lack of focus. This guide will outline the five best practices for managing your field service team more effectively.
- Effective Communication
The success of your field service team depends on effective communication. When employees are working across multiple locations, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively becomes more important.
It’s no secret that communication is vital to any organization. Lacking it can lead to a host of issues, including lost activity and productivity, business loss, and frustrated employees.
For instance, your field service agent is on the way to attend to the next customer, but due to unseen challenges, he might be reaching a bit later than expected. Most customers understand the situation but it rarely becomes an issue when communicated on time.
As a field service manager what you need is to take control over client management, information sharing, and incident resolution. The first step is to establish a workflow that allows you the flexibility to customize different workflows for different customers and field agents.
Instead of managing things over spreadsheets or in books, opt for a field service management tool with built-in real-time communication. These software will help you leverage time-saving features like live chat, video conferencing, and file transfers. Thus, you’ll be able to ensure transparency between business units, reduce delays, and provide better customer service.
Moreover, with tools like allGeo, you can customize solutions from tracking real-time field agent locations to scheduling jobs automatically according to the employee location and skill set.
- Capture Real-time data
Field service requires a lot of attention to detail and forethought, especially when it comes to the data collection and storage of all those customer-related details. The number of things you need to keep track of for your team is extensive. From vehicles and employees to the actual jobs and the customer details captured by your field workers, there is no lack of information that must be managed.
When your field service organization depends on accurate and up-to-date data, following traditional methods can hinder operations from running smoothly. Traditional paper forms require a tremendous amount of time to fill out, create and manage. You can’t afford to put all that time into something prone to errors.
Apart from a higher tendency towards error, another challenge is that with all the data being captured and stored, chances are you might miss something important. But by using an enterprise software application like allGeo, you will no longer have to spend hours on end trying to manage all this information manually.
It will allow you to streamline operations and effectively, reduce paper waste and errors in the long run improving both efficiency and data security. With allGeo mobile data collection, field employees can capture information with their mobile devices and sync it with centralized storage in the cloud.
Apart from storing data in a cloud-based environment, it will allow you to have real-time access to your customer data and job information along with field worker visibility.
- Automate field service operations
When managing your field service team, you may be looking for ways to reduce your time spent on manual processes. From customer requests to job completion, the process involves several manual activities like assigning the job, tracking the progress, collecting data, etc.
Many aspects of field service management can seem simple, but each requires a set of different tools and processes to be managed effectively. Thus, manual processes are inefficient and tedious and often result in costly mistakes.
Most companies outsource certain tasks because they require too much time at the end and don’t fit into their day-to-day operations. This can lead to hiring unreliable contractors with inconsistent attendance, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and possible abandonment.
Field service management is not just about serving customers with solutions but also about increasing efficiency on your end. With a lot of companies taking advantage of automation tools over the years, managing field services has become easier than ever with tools like allGeo.
Automation would not only allow you to manage your field operations but also identify employee burnout. Further, access to critical information in one centralized system and customized workflow will increase productivity and speed up the overall service delivery process.
- Optimize Scheduling and Dispatching
Running an efficient field service operation is more challenging than ever. Your field service team may consist of multiple field workers from different regions and without an efficient scheduling and dispatching process you will end up losing customers and even employees.
For instance, one field worker is sitting idle, and the other at the same time is juggling between multiple tasks. Job scheduling is ineffective here, leading to employee burnout and loss of productivity.
The better your company’s visibility into its workforce, the more effective you can be in meeting customer expectations. This means having access to all of your employees’ location data and schedules on one place so you can see where they are and when they’ll be available to work next.
But tools like allGeo will allow managers to know exactly where every worker is at all times without having to rely solely on a spreadsheet or email-based communication system which could lead to miscommunication or missed opportunities for resource availability.
Moreover, beyond having access to real-time information it will allow managers to schedule the field workers’ jobs according to their location. This will help in efficient job scheduling with higher customer satisfaction and reduced employee burnout.
- Customer Relationship Training
As a field service leader, you need to know how to train and manage your field service team. Training the field employees is beyond just the nuts and bolts, hardware/software, logistical support, etc.
According to a Salesforce report, 47% of customers say they’ll stop purchasing from a company if they have a less-than-ideal experience. Thus, in an article by Field Technologies Magazine, they mentioned that 72% of field service organizations are now focused on improving customer satisfaction.
When it comes to field service, some rather obvious core competencies must be built into the training program from the very beginning. The best field service companies have found a way to incorporate interpersonal skills and customer engagement into their training programs so that their field agents can see their jobs as more than just work.
Moreover, optimizing workflows and identifying the barriers that negatively impact productivity and customer experience is another way out. The right FSM tools will allow you to monitor real-time data which will help you eliminate the barriers or delays, enabling you to maintain higher productivity and customer satisfaction levels.
Managing a field service team is no easy feat and requires careful consideration of best practices. By cultivating strong relationships with your team members, providing necessary resources and support systems, creating clear goals and expectations, leveraging technology whenever possible, and setting regular check-ins with each member of your team, you can create a successful environment where everyone can work together and reach their objectives.
These five best practices can help you manage your field service team effectively. By investing in the right technologies, you can improve productivity and ensure that each assignment is completed as efficiently as possible. If done properly, this will lead to more satisfied customers, a better bottom line for your business, and an overall improved customer experience.