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10 Ways to Optimize Efficiency in The Field Service Industry

Written by Kimberly Heuser | May 02, 2017

The field service industry is ripe with opportunities to improve efficiency and service delivery. Failure to identify deficiencies can lead to delays, poor utilization of resources and low levels of customer satisfaction. By making a few key changes to your field service protocol, your technicians can provide service faster and more accurately. Below are 10 ways to optimize your field service department’s efficiency.
1) Invest in a system that provides real-time updates. Timeliness and the availability of parts are two factors that can dramatically impact customer satisfaction in the field service industry. Real-time updates through a cloud-based software system give field service technicians immediate access to schedule changes and inventory, enabling them to give customers a swift response. Purchasing agents are able to see when key parts are running low and ensure that they are ordered.

2) Ensure that your work order system is mobile-friendly. A work order system that is compatible with tablets and other mobile devices enables technicians to complete service transactions on the job quickly and with ease. Clients receive their invoices faster, facilitating a healthier cash flow for your organization.

3) Use video to convey instructions. Videos are often the best means of illustrating installation instructions and problem-solving techniques to field service technicians. They are particularly useful to technicians in training and technicians who are struggling to resolve new or complex product issues.

4) Track your work orders to identify sales patterns. Tracking service tickets enables field service managers to see seasonal patterns and new trends in service requests. Knowledge of these patterns and trends helps with inventory forecasting and technician staffing.

5) Provide technicians access to warranty and contract details. This practice helps to safeguard against contract leakage, or the tendency for field technicians to provide parts free of charge because they “assume” that the customer’s warranty or contract includes those items. If technicians have immediate access to a customer’s account, they can see exactly what was promised in the terms of the contract.

6) Encourage customers to provide feedback. Customer feedback can help you improve your service operations and address problems with service delivery. Additionally, customers feel like they are valued and appreciated, which fosters repeat business. The end result is increased revenue and customer retention.

7) Offer a quick complimentary spot check of other products onsite. In many cases, technicians will find that customers may have other equipment or products that require servicing. By offering to do a quick complimentary spot check, technicians can identify opportunities for additional service revenue.

8) Incentivize customers for prepaying annual service contracts. Customers who are willing to pay for their service contracts in advance should be rewarded with a discount or free accessories. Receiving prepayments bolsters cash flow for service organizations, providing them with cash resources needed to service large projects.

9) Teach technicians how to upsell service contracts. Technicians are not salespeople by education and trade. However, they should receive training on the basics of upselling with service contracts and be rewarded for successfully expanding the scope and dollar volume of a service contract.

10) Conduct an annual internal audit of your field service records and procedures. An internal audit will help you identify billing mistakes, inventory deficiencies, and opportunities for improved documentation. Field service processes should also be reviewed to identify opportunities for improvement. Perhaps most important, internal audits can help you plan for upcoming compliance reviews.

Bonus tip: Seek the guidance of a workforce management software expert. The best way to optimize your field service operations is to enlist the support of an experienced workforce management software specialist. A trained industry professional can review your business operations and recommend a software solution that will help your maximize your field service department’s efficiency.