The complexity of service and customer expectations has made workforce management across functions of the business more and more critical. In particular, field service workforce management (i.e., scheduling, routing, training, compensation) has had a great impact on the efficient delivery of service to the end customer. In Aberdeen’s 2013 field service research, areas of training and workforce planning continue to be key focal points for field service; however some top performing organizations (21% of the Best-in-Class) also have begun to look to third parties in regard to field service excellence. This group of organizations is leveraging a third-part field service team signifying a couple key trends –
-The customer demand for faster, more efficient service means the organization must ‘always be on’ and ready to deliver when an(y) issue arises. No longer will customers allow for the service organization to dictate hours of service in long wait windows. In Aberdeen’s recent Field Service Workforce Management research, one half of top performing organizations aren’t aware of the industry standards or averages in relation to appointment windows. This inability to understand the needs of customers or deliver service on demand has led some organizations to look to third parties execute in ever shorter service windows.
-A new focus on core competencies. Some organizations have tried to hold on to all aspect of service and have harmed their brand and the customer experience. One of the top reasons organizations sampled in Aberdeen’s Parts Management research (service parts play an integral role in Field Service as seen here) is in order to focus on core competencies. This isn’t to say that this aspect of the business is no longer integral to the success of the service organizations, on the contrary this highlights the importance to the customer, operational efficiency, and profitability.
Mix 3rd party labor to address demand, cost, margin and customer service metrics
Therefore, some organizations have decided strategically to leverage third party field service teams to enable both parties to focus on what each does the best.
-Prepare for the unpredictable. In many industries, such as HVAC, home services, and telecommunications, seasonality plays a major role in resource allocation. Whether due to a spike in service needs in the summer months for air conditioning, or the need to repair the lawn in the spring, or setting up service for the new football season, many service organizations find that customer demand fluctuates wildly throughout the year. Therefore, having a static workforce isn’t very cost efficient. For seasonal businesses, the use a third-party field service workforce to augment labor is a way to be able to quickly ramp up and ramp down with the needs of the service organization.
A third party field service workforce is still somewhat of a newer area of interest for many service organizations, but it can have a very positive impact on the ability to meet fluctuating service demands, focus on core competencies of the business, and stay up with ever increasing customer demands for faster service. The subject of field service and mobility continues to drive interest, and if you would like to learn more of the best practices currently being adopted by your peers please download our current research on Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide and Fixing First-time Fix: Repairing Field Service Efficiency to Enhance Customer Returns.
Aly Pinder, Senior Research Associate at Aberdeen Group
As a senior associate in the customer experience and service management practice, Aly Pinder Jr. researches and explores how service and manufacturing executives utilize technology and implement best practices to improve post-sales service and support processes. Through practitioner benchmarking and analysis of Aberdeen’s research database, he examines how Best-in-Class service organizations are reengineering their service chains for improved performance and increased profitability.
Aly’s coverage areas within the service space primarily cover the following topics on which he has written or co-authored over 40 research reports and bench marked more than 4,000 service executives in his four plus years with Aberdeen:
- Field Service and Mobility
- Service Parts Logistics
- Warranty and Service Contract Management
- Reverse Logistics
Follow Aly at: @Aberdeen_cesm, @Pinderjr
Find out how ServicePower can help your field service organization intelligently utilize all field labor resource pools, including your employees, 3rd party contractors and on demand technicians: http://www.servicepower.com/solutions/workforce-management