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5 Challenges in Field Service Management That Are Holding You Back

It’s no secret that field service management is a complex process. There are numerous challenges that can arise at every step of the service workflow that can slow your productivity, decrease your customer satisfaction and ultimately hinder your success. Needless to say, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t made field service management any easier. 

With safety risks, fluctuating demand for services, field technicians on the go, and high customer expectations, your field service company needs to be prepared for any challenge that may arise along the way. This post aims to help prepare you for success by covering the top 5 challenges that are potentially holding your field service company back, and provide you with actionable solutions to resolve them.  

Top 5 Challenges in Field Service Management 

1. Ensuring Safety 

Safety has always been a top challenge in the field service industry, and the coronavirus pandemic has added another layer of risk. Operating as an essential service, field service technicians are still able to fix in-home repairs even in areas practicing business restrictions and shelter-in-place orders. However, your field service company is responsible for ensuring the safety of your technicians and your customers during these jobs, which can be a high-stress and difficult challenge. 

If your customers don’t feel safe during a service job, they will likely leave a bad review or never use your service again. If your technicians don’t feel safe during their jobs, they will likely leave your company and find a position that properly protects their safety. Both of these scenarios are detrimental to your success, not to mention a serious health hazard during a global pandemic. 

There are two main approaches to maintaining safety in this modern field service landscape, the first being a preventative approach. For instance, ServicePower’s field service software has advanced zip code management capabilities. This means that your company can easily input zip codes that are considered COVID-19 hotspots, and keep your technicians out of those areas to ensure their safety. 

The second approach tackles technician and customer preparedness. By educating your technicians and customers about best safety practices, you can minimize risk and keep your technicians and customers served and safe. In addition, ServicePower has put together a coronavirus resource center to help field service companies navigate the details of these pandemic based challenges. 

2. Schedule Adherence

When your customers schedule a service job, they expect your company and therefore your technicians to both show up and leave at the agreed upon time. Not only does arriving at a service job late negatively impact your customer experience, but staying past the allotted service time during the pandemic can be outright dangerous. With the heightened safety protocols surrounding in-home repairs it is not safe to assume that your customers are able to safely host your technicians outside of the scheduled time, and it could lead to compromising situations. 

However, schedule adherence can be a difficult task for field service companies to properly ensure. Or at least it was before intelligent workforce scheduling software. ServicePower's Schedule and Route Optimization software leverages AI technology that optimizes complex service schedules in real-time based on your business-driven constraints. 

Combined with real-time route optimization, you can rest assured that your technicians will arrive on time, every time. Workforce scheduling is considered the secret to success in the field service industry, and Schedule Optimization has actually saved ServicePower’s customer $1M YoY and reduced travel times by 15%

3. Workflow Prioritization

With fluctuating demand and changing priorities in the field service industry, it is critical that field service companies are equipped to manage, execute and communicate these changes as they happen. Be that as it may, balancing this variable service workflow can pose a difficult challenge with serious consequences. After all, mismanagement can cause delays throughout the entire service workflow that negatively impact your customer experience, productivity and profitability. 

Data is at the core of successful workflow prioritization. That’s why ServicePower’s field service management suite ensures enterprise-wide visibility into real-time data. By providing real-time access to changes in work orders, parts and inventory availability and workforce scheduling, your company is never left in the dark. This enables you to make data-driven decisions that optimize workflow prioritization and ultimately drive success. 

4. First-Time Fix Rate

Your customers rely on your field service company to fix their problem, and when they schedule a service job they reasonably expect this problem to be solved on the first try. However, whether it’s due to a scheduling delay, parts and inventory confusion or miscommunication regarding the work order, this doesn’t always happen. Not only does this waste your company’s time and money, but it also makes a bad first impression and can ruin your customer experience. 

Aberdeen found that 57% of customers want better first-time fix rates. This means that by improving your first-time fix rate you can give your customers what they want. 

In fact, ServicePower’s field service management suite increased AIG’s first-time fix rates by 40% while decreasing time on site by 20%. By removing the guesswork and enabling your company to dispatch the most qualified technician with the right parts and information, you can guarantee that every service job will be completed on time, the first time. 

5. Communication with Customers

Real-time communication with your customers is the best way to eliminate friction caused by unforeseen changes to a service job. When a customer feels like their time and energy is being valued, they are more likely to enjoy a positive customer experience. But when a change occurs to a service job and a customer is not immediately notified or able to seamlessly respond, it adds unnecessary frustration and can be a difficult challenge to overcome. 

By investing in a customer portal with real-time communication capabilities, your customers and technicians can communicate directly with each other regarding timely changes. In fact, 88% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service customer portal. Investing in a customer portal can prevent your company from wasting time and money from miscommunication errors, and give your customers what they want. 

ServicePower’s Customer Portal was recognized in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management Report for shortened interaction times for customers. Reducing the amount of time your customers and technicians spend together is more important than ever right now, and a customer portal can help you create a safer and more enjoyable experience. 

Summary: 

There are lots of moving parts in the field service industry that can be challenging, especially in the modern landscape. By investing in intelligent field service management software, your company can overcome the top 5 challenges in field service management that are potentially holding your company back. These challenges include: 

  • Ensuring Safety
  • Schedule Adherence
  • Workflow Prioritization
  • First-Time Fix Rate
  • Communication with Customers 

ServicePower’s popular field service management suite can help your company overcome these challenges and jumpstart your success. 

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