Five Ways to Ensure Field Service Technicians’ Punctuality and Promptness
Field service operators grapple with many variables outside their direct control. Traffic snarls or diversions, wrong location details, ambiguous directions or addresses- all cause delays. Extra precautions in the wake of COVID-19 also take field technicians’ time these days. But today’s highly demanding customers do not consider these as valid excuses. Punctuality and keeping up with commitments is the cornerstone of any business.
Related Reading: How Can Field Service Businesses Survive A Pandemic
If you still haven’t tapped into the potential of field service management software, you are missing out considerably.
How do you stay connected to your field service agents, especially in these challenging times? Here are a few ways to keep your technicians on time.
1. Effective Scheduling
Scheduling mistakes affect the productivity of technicians leading to customer annoyance.
Scheduling software makes the task easy and ensures near 100% accuracy. Such software matches jobs to technician availability. The algorithm considers factors such as leaves, the time gap between two jobs, distance to the new work-site, and other relevant factors.
Related Reading: 7 Factors To Consider While Optimizing Your Field Service Scheduling
But effective scheduling still requires many ground-level initiatives such as these:
- Take stock of technicians: Categorize field service technicians based on their experience and skill-sets. Do a job analysis and determine the expertise required for each job.
- Track time to complete specific tasks and work orders: Over time, it becomes easier to predict the time required for each job. Commit to delivering work orders depending on technician availability.
- COVID-19 necessitates extra precautions such as sanitizing tools and equipment. Adhering to these protocols takes extra time than normal to complete tasks. Tweak the scheduling software to factor in these necessities.
2. Meeting Consumer Demand
Customers demand instant service and customized engagement. Smart businesses align their processes around the customer.
- Maintain an active on-call policy. A good field service software enables you to classify jobs based on the priority and nature of each job and treat each work order with the urgency it requires. Many schedulers load regular appointments in the morning and keep afternoons light. This leaves room for technicians to overcome lag, make up for time lost due to unexpected issues, and meet emergency service requests.
- Match technician’s skills and expertise with the job. Assigning an experienced technician improves the chances of a first-time resolution. For simple routine services, you can even send a novice technician who can remotely connect with a senior technician to resolve the issue. This way, businesses can spare the time of experienced technicians for complex tasks.
- Cluster assignments by geographical area will reduce the time technicians spend on the road.
- Plan, but be flexible. Consider the schedule generated by the automated scheduler as a tentative time-table. Improvise as required. But make changes through the field management suite, to prevent confusion. Deliver push notifications to inform customers and other stakeholders of any changes.
Related Reading: Keeping Your Field Service Customers Satisfied In The Digital Era
3. Ensure Real-time Connectivity
The best field service software co-opts a collaboration component. All communication with the field technician will be held through mobile apps, linked to the integrated field service suite.
- Communicate real-time updates: Supervisors watch the external environment and issue timely updates to field technicians. Technicians contact supervisors as soon as they encounter any issue, enabling prompt resolution.
- Managers track the entire activity: The field service app gives the managers a bird’s-eye view of all their technicians and the field operations. This allows them to make timely interventions to avert any issue before it escalates into major hold-ups and delays.
4. Promote Technician Productivity and Efficiency
Micromanagement is neither possible nor desirable in field service management. But boosting technician productivity improves output, CX, and profitability.
- Avoid technician burnout: Make sure the scheduling does not cause frustration or stress for employees. Overworking technicians cause burnout.
- Foster a healthy work culture: Support the technician to deliver optimal output. Bestow rewards for prompt completion of tasks.
- Develop performance standards: Appraise technicians on such standards. Reward top performers. Review the performance of laggards. Identify problem areas. Develop an action plan to boost productivity, taking the technician into confidence.
- Involve the technician as part of the process: Seek employees’ feedback and consider their suggestions when devising scheduling standards.
- Invest in training employees: Offer skill refresher courses, to update them on the latest technology that will enable them to do their work fast, well ahead of their next appointment. Offer training in soft-skills.
5. Establish Supporting Back-End Processes
Seamless back-end support allows technicians to work efficiently and always stick to their time schedule.
- Automation: Automated reports and invoicing spare the technicians from valuable paperwork.
- Digital forms: Digital inspection reports accelerate the process, allowing technicians to move on from one task to the next fast.
Related Reading: Ten Reasons to Adopt Digital Forms in Field Service App
- Integrated inventory management ensures the prompt availability of spares and tools. With an automated system, the technician does not have to waste time requisitioning for materials or suffer hold-up due to non-availability of spares.
A smart field management suite allows the optimal allocation of field technicians. At the same time, field service companies need to expand and diversify their talent pool to meet the increasing demand. Businesses will have to hire more technicians to match new customer requirements and use FSM software judiciously to get the best out of such recruits.
ReachOut: Inspection & Work Order Management Software
Do you still use paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage your service business? ReachOut is a web and mobile solution for companies to schedule, dispatch and deliver inspections, work orders, ticketing and more.