The era of digital transformation has affected most areas of the field service industry, including route optimization. Optimizing field service routes has many benefits and will be more important than ever in 2021. While many field service companies have been focused on operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, some have neglected to see the value in the route optimization process. This post will explain what route optimization is and how it can benefit your field service management business.
What is Route Optimization?
In simple terms, route optimization is the process of determining the most cost-efficient route. There are several factors that go into creating an optimized route, such as scheduling, transportation and the stops on the route itself. Optimizing field service routes is no different, it is just more efficient in this process. In order to provide the best system, field service managers must take into account the day-to-day activity of their field service workers, what customer expectations are and what sort of workforce management tool, if any, that they are using to run their business.
Route optimization has many moving parts. In order to keep this process running effectively, many companies have turned to automation to maximize efficiency when it comes to their service routes.
How to Optimize Your Field Service Routes
So, how does a workforce management company go about optimizing their field service routes? As it is the answer to many questions these days, it is also the answer to this question: Automation. An automated field service route planner can dynamically change the way you run your day-to-day business.
The first step in perfecting your route is optimizing your schedule. Schedule optimization uses AI technology to optimize your service schedule in real-time based on configurable business-driven constraints. Having a schedule optimizer is more important than ever with the rise of the gig economy and third-party employees. A schedule optimization tool can take into account all full time and third-party workers to ensure that no job gets missed and every employee is utilized for maximum output. Not to mention, it makes it way easier for employees and contractors to update shift changes and vacation or sick time. This real-time access means the days of producing a useless schedule where days are filled with workers who are not actually available are no more.
What are the Benefits of Route Optimization?
Improve Workforce Efficiency
A scheduling optimization tool has many beneficial features. AI-based optimization can achieve up to 68% more productivity and 15% less schedule cost than manual or rules-based solutions. These AI features focus on things like experience, availability and location. By selecting technicians profiles based on their unique skills and qualifications, you ensure that the field service worker being dispatched will be equipped for the job. This in turn will help improve your first time fix rate and save you time and money.
Assigning the right technician to the right job may be an obvious benefit of scheduling optimization, but there are other subtle benefits from this feature. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, safety for both customers and technicians has become a number one priority. Scheduling and route optimization software has the ability to exclude zip codes that are known as COVID-19 hotspots. This helps both technicians and customers to feel at ease with performing a service. This also allows for easy tracking, so that if a technician or customer does become exposed, it can easily be traced back to the source and the proper people can be notified.
You can also get jobs done at a faster rate. Route and schedule optimization take into consideration even routine maintenance and repair requests. They are then able to match those requests to open time slots in a technician's schedule, meaning it maximizes the amount of work the technician can complete and executes maintenance projects at a faster rate.
Better Customer Experience
Customer experience is what separates a good workforce management company from a great one. Route optimization allows for consistent customer outcomes. Not only that, it allows for increased visibility for both internal and external purposes. Customers love to feel in control of their service and customer portals with built in scheduling software allows for them to get live status updates with real-time alerts and instant communication. This means customers are able to know the exact status of their request and the location of a technician, so they can trust in your business.
Half of the battle of excellent customer service is making your customers feel supported, as a positive emotional experience can make customers six times more likely to buy, twelve times more likely to recommend the company, and five times more likely to forgive a mistake.
Having a servicer that is reliable and efficient will build loyalty and create a life-long customer. With the competition as tough as ever, loyal customers can be what keeps your business afloat during hard times.
Increase Cash Flow
Scheduling and Route Optimization gets technicians out the door quicker. Not only that, it verifies that the right technician is going to the site to get the job done. If you do the math of overall calls in a day, and the percentage of calls that were not fixed, it can add up quickly. Say a field service company averaged 300 service calls a day, but only had a prepped technician 88% of the time. That means 36 calls, or 12 percent, will need another visit.
By utilizing automation software, you can have qualified technicians on site the first time. This saves them from having to put trucks back on the road and traveling back and forth, which saves money on gas and van maintenance.
Not only that, but if technicians are getting jobs done faster, that means more jobs are being able to get done in a day. If you use a route and scheduling optimization with third-party features, then you increase your company footprint without having to spend a dime.
A schedule and route optimization software benefits managers, field service workers and customers. The transparency and efficiency of a route optimization software maximizes outcomes at the lowest possible cost.
Are you ready to invest in route optimization? Learn more about how ServicePower’s Schedule Optimization Software can benefit your workforce management company.