Field service management directors can facilitate operational excellence and overcome the competition by implementing innovative managerial strategies.
Here are 10 techniques that management directors use to empower service-delivery leaders.
1. Collect and review customer feedback
Modern customers are anything but bashful when it comes to discussing their marketplace experiences online. According to research conducted by Bright Local, an estimated 80 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 regularly leave digital reviews. Field service businesses are among the many establishments on the receiving end of these digital reviews, constantly receiving both good and bad assessments. Some operational leaders are tempted to ignore these assessments and other feedback channels. This is the wrong move. Instead, field service management directors should embrace all customer assessments and use them as catalysts for improvement.
2. Treat contractors like employees
Third-party technicians execute approximately 40 percent of all field work nowadays, as reported by Gartner. However, external field specialists are often treated as outsiders, despite their valuable, revenue-impacting contributions. Field service management directors should change this problematic situation by properly integrating third-party technicians into formalized operational workflows and ultimately managing them as if they were full-time employees. This mixed workforce management approach can streamline and improve field operations while cutting costs.
3. Forget about manual scheduling
Field service management directors consistently stress about optimizing workforce scheduling. In fact, a recent Asia Pacific report revealed that improved appointment scheduling was among these leaders' top functional goals for 2019. Traditionally, this push for optimization might involve significant manual work. Today, savvy field service directors understand that automation is the key to scheduling innovation. Powering this time-consuming and complex scheduling efforts with AI gives field stakeholders at all levels the ability to set it and forget it with supreme confidence.
4. Minimize the warehouse
Field service businesses have traditionally devoted considerable resources to maintaining robust spare parts inventories.
Researchers for the Technology Services Industry Association estimated that extra components constitute more than 6 percent of annual revenue for the average firm.
While field service teams need access to fairly large parts caches to get the job done, these teams don’t need limitless stores that take up space in the warehouse for months or years, incurring unnecessary costs. Field service management directors can pare down parts inventories, and the accompanying costs, by adopting streamlined asset management strategies and inventory management systems centered on material need.
5. Take advantage of IoT smart home technology
An estimated two-thirds of American consumers own multiple smart home devices, according to GfK.
These internet-enabled assets, which include large appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators, streamline everyday life. These devices also have the potential to make field service work a lot easier by proactively pushing performance data to technicians with the connected endpoints. Field service management directors need to embrace these machine-to-machine connections to proactively anticipate customer needs. Connecting to IoT smart home technology will not only boost overall efficiency; utilizing a monitoring and predictive field service maintenance platform will skyrocket customer satisfaction.
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
6. Empower technicians by implementing advanced field service
Modern technicians navigate demanding field conditions and encounter customers with the highest expectations. To be successful, these field service technicians need to be empowered with nimble, on-the-go technological tools that simplify background processes like internal communication and scheduling. Automating previously manual and tasks allows technicians to focus on performing their core job duty: fixing the customer’s reported issue.
An estimated 61 percent of field service businesses have implemented field service apps designed to empower technicians, per the Field Service conference.
Field service management directors who have not yet moved in this direction should take action and explore solutions that allow field teams to perform at the highest possible level.
7. Give customers what they want
Today’s customers expect service providers to operate with unflinching transparency, across all industries. This demand, a product of widespread uberization, weighs heavy on field service businesses, Field Service News reported.
Approximately 46 percent of companies in the space attest to feeling this pressure and working to adopt operational and technological solutions that keep customers happy, according to research from the Service Council.
Field Service conference analysts also found that one-fifth of field service companies have taken demonstrable action and rolled out front-of-house offerings formulated to give customers the clarity they crave.
Modern field service management directors have a choice: move forward and facilitate backend transparency, or lose footing in the marketplace.
8. Streamline dispatching operations
Dispatching has traditionally been an expensive, yet necessary, operational function for field service businesses. However, this status quo is quickly changing due to the emergence of cutting-edge technology and dispatch software, which can effectively point technicians in the right direction if configured correctly.
According to the Field Service Conference, of the field service businesses that have embarked on IT optimization initiatives, 27 percent deemed the implementation of automated dispatching technology the most impactful improvement in terms of revenue generation.
Field service management directors are responsible for spearheading efforts to implement streamlined dispatching workflows that not only keep operations humming, but also positively impact the bottom line.
9. Build historical knowledge bases
Enterprises within the field service arena are grappling with multiple sector-specific problems--most notably, an aging workforce.
An aging workforce is expected to affect more than two-thirds of field service companies, which risk losing essential institutional expertise with retirement, per the Service Council.
To retain this valuable expertise, field service management directors should leverage the latest technology to cultivate historical knowledge bases. These knowledge bases can store critical insights, giving future technicians off-the-books details they need to retain key clients. Having access to years of expertise will ultimately boost service quality as newer technicians settle into their roles.
10. Embrace centralized field service management tools
To implement the advancements mentioned above and differentiate your field service business in the marketplace, field service management directors must implement centralized tools. While there are certainly numerous available options, few are as effective as field service management software, which can facilitate customer feedback collection, streamline management of a mixed workforce, automate scheduling, and integrate with smart home appliances.
ServicePower is among the most reputable FSM technology providers on the market. As an industry-leading field service management software provider, ServicePower has deployed unified FMS tools for some of the biggest field service companies in the world, including GE Appliances, AIG, Allstate, and Siemens.
Connect with us today to learn more about our work and how we help field service management directors catalyze operational improvement.