Published in LocalZ – June 2022
Although “field service management” is a broad term that encompasses a variety of industries, there are some best practices that apply to all field service teams.
We asked the field service experts for their insight into the field service management best practices that every operations team needs to know.
One key note: Most of these best practices focus on utilizing technology like field service management and customer engagement platforms. If your organization is still relying on manual processes and disconnected apps to manage field service teams, step one is to go digital.
Here are the top 10 field service management best practices to help your business flourish.
1. Track the right KPIs.
You can’t optimize what you can’t measure, so quantifying the performance of your service teams is crucial.
Two of the top key performance indicators (KPIs) for field service teams are first time fix rate (FTFR) and mean time to repair (MTTR).
- FTFR is the measurement of how often technicians are resolving problems the first time they visit a site. This KPI offers a look into whether you’re assigning the right technicians for a job, and whether you’re providing them with the right tools. Achieving a high FTFR improves customer satisfaction and reduces costs.
- MTTR is the measurement of how long it takes to fix issues. It provides insight into the efficiency of the whole system — from when an issue arises to when it’s resolved. If you notice a dip in MTTR, you can dive deeper to diagnose exactly where the issue lies in the chain of service.
2. Track parts inventory on the truck.
Improve FTFR and MTTR by tracking inventory on the truck. Experts recommend using a central database to predict which jobs will require which parts and send technicians equipped to solve the problem. Tracking parts also allows for optimizing restocking back at dispatch. Ultimately, you’ll minimize the need for repeat visits, which lowers costs and improves customer satisfaction.
3. Minimize technician data entry.
One of the biggest wastes of technicians’ time is paperwork — and most of the information they need to enter can be automated. To minimize manual input, automate items like customer information, job description, and time of arrival and departure via integrations with your jobs data and GPS geofences.
Then, work whatever information can’t be automated into a step-by-step digital logic form to maximize efficiency and minimize errors.
4. Provide real-time info to technicians.
Phone calls and texts are not efficient communication methods for techs in the field. Save them valuable time with a real-time job portal that gives them access to all the info they need on a phone or tablet.
For example, a mobile field service management app might offer features like:
- Access to the most updated version of their schedule
- Access to customer location, service history, and warranties
- Access to information and service capture without internet connectivity or a data network
- Comprehensive pricing tools for accurate estimates, quotes, and invoices, as well as automatic calculation of billable work
5. Listen to technicians.
Your technician is your expert in the field — so ask for their insight and feedback frequently, and use it to optimize your operations. You can even automate feedback collection within their job portal.
6. Provide real-time info to customers.
Companies like Amazon, Uber, and Doordash have spoiled users: Now, customers demand real-time info about service appointments without having to deal with a call center.
Offer a portal that lets customers access information like their appointment time, technician ETA, and instructions/details for their appointment.
7. Let customers self-service.
When you centralize this real-time data, customers can self-service and use the portal to make changes such as canceling or rescheduling appointments. On the operations end, this reduces call volume, hold times, and no-access appointments.
8. Offer customers the ability to track technician location.
Let customers track their technician’s location on a map before their appointment to improve customer satisfaction and reduce no-access appointments and ETA chase calls.
9. Allow customers to communicate with technicians.
Don’t make customers wait on hold with a call center just to provide a simple piece of information to their technician. Offer two-way communication so they can message their technician with crucial information or real-time updates.
10. Collect (and follow up on) customer feedback.
In addition to asking technicians for insight, collect customer feedback after every job. Use a customer portal to trigger an automatic survey after the technician leaves — this will lower the cost of follow-up calls — then focus on dissatisfied customers to improve their experience.
These 10 field service management best practices will level up your operations and customer satisfaction. Now, it’s time to invest in the field service customer engagement solutions that are right for your organization.
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.