Overcoming the Roadblocks to Delivering True Field Service Excellence

By Mark E. Engelberg, TimeLinx –

Delivering excellence in field service management hinges on field technician’s abilities to keep their workload clear of manual processes, administrative clutter, and obstacles that often prevent them from committing as much time as possible on the one thing that matters—engaging with customers.

For field service managers, the challenge is scaling operations around professional services growth while scaling down the time lost on the mounting roadblocks field teams face in trying to maximize customer satisfaction.

The first step to overcoming those roadblocks is taking a step back to understand the full scope of the challenges at hand before prescribing options to overcome each.

Roadblock 1: “My Field Technicians Are Taking Too Long to Complete Tasks”

One of the most stubborn burdens on field service management efficiency is time management. Circumstances—and the data relating to them—often change by the hour.

When field personnel that are on-the-go struggle to keep on top of changing real-time narratives, tasks take longer to complete, repeat visits may occur, and customer dissatisfaction grows.

Solution: keeping field teams involved and connected

To keep field technicians consistently tuned-in to a changing picture, field service management strategy must optimize field teams for mobility.

The goal should be to equip personnel out in the field with real-time task alerts and data, not only for rapidly working on multiple customers at once but also for efficiency.

This one mobility innovation alone of live updates and notifications allows for faster approvals, prompt problem and service-ticket resolution, and, more importantly, improved customer satisfaction.

Why do service management approaches fail?

Curious about increasing management productivity and efficiency? Download TimeLinx’s Project Service Automation Buyers Guide and get answers to critical questions behind doomed approaches to service management.

Roadblock 2: “Our Field Service Management Is Too Dependent on Field-Team Communication Touchpoints”

There’s no getting around the fact—steering field service projects and delivering customer excellence depends on faultless communication between managers and field consultants.

Ultimately, however, field teams want the best of both worlds; to stay informed so that they can perform, but also to be left in peace… so that they can get on with performing.

Overloading field technicians with constant emails increases the risk of oversight and error, with reliance on continued email visibility. Slam them with continuous phone calls, and you risk slowing their pace, causing frustration that may impact attitude and motivation.

Solution: keeping communication light but effective

Balancing those two imperatives requires more than just tact, trust, and avoidance of micromanagement.

The whole approach to communication must innovate toward giving field teams greater autonomy and convenient access to data when they need it.

Roadblock 3: “Client Satisfaction Is Hampered by Late or Inaccurate Billing”

No matter how above-par your field teams and technicians perform against client expectations, those expectations are quickly shattered when clients receive unexpected or revised invoices weeks after completion.

This usually occurs when field teams rely on manual and pen-and-paper processes for logging billable events and time. The catch-22 is that profit margins drain if the teams keep silent, but client relationships suffer if they declare unbilled expenses once client invoices have been issued.

Solution: Guaranteeing accurate project costs, and timely client billing

For clients of professional service organizations, accurate, transparent invoices delivered just once and on time are key trust factors. Professional service management teams must define and automate what billable items should be included in project costs to ensure this happens consistently.

A powerful way of achieving billing accuracy is to configure the revenue rules in your PSM to calculate revenue and cost factors of every labor transaction consistently. That’s how billing-rate ‘guesstimates’ can be avoided so that customers have zero cause to question invoices or so you can back them up if questions are raised.

To ensure accuracy, an automated approach should be adopted to capture and match the right billable time and event data to the right project. In addition, a PSM such as TimeLinx with its’ Revenue Optimization Engine helps ensure that all out-of-pocket, contractor and other ‘true-cost’ expenses can be tied to the correct service work and tracked, logged, and factored in as billable data the first time around.

TimeLinx Can Help Orient Your Field Service Management Strategy Toward Customer Excellence

For service organizations, client satisfaction is the net outcome of a management approach that prioritizes giving field-service personnel maximum autonomy to streamline service and project administration workflows as much as possible. It’s a simple fact often lost in over-communication and manual day-to-day professional-service delivery processes.

New to TimeLinx? Schedule a demo, and we’ll show you how TimeLinx’s suite of CRM, workforce mobility and revenue optimization tools can enrich client excellence, empower field teams, maximize revenues and reveal actual expenses while speeding up cash flows.

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About TimeLinx
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.