Exceeding customer expectations begins with meeting the needs of the workforce that serves them. Whether employees or contractors, managing individuals out in the field can be challenging. How can you build and maintain a skilled, motivated, and productive fleet of professionals without daily, personal encounters? How do you ensure that every customer engagement is met with the same professionalism and the skills needed to do the job right the first time?
Imagine this Scenario
The day started off poorly for one of your field service technicians. Her first service call for that day was for a smart oven that wasn’t working. The technician was unfamiliar with smart appliances and had to call another technician to get step-by-step instructions on how to troubleshoot the problem. After some time, she diagnosed the issue, but the part necessary to fix it wasn’t on the van. The technician had to make multiple calls to locate the part, which was in a warehouse 30 minutes away. She left the job site, drove to the warehouse to get the part and returned. The trip took an hour and a half due to rush-hour traffic.
The customer, getting angrier by the minute, had to call her employer to explain that she would be even later than expected coming into work. In the meantime, the service rep had to call the more experienced technician to walk her through the install of the part. What should have been a 45-minute job took 2 1/2 hours. The service rep called the next customer, who was already upset, and apologetically let him know she was on her way. Unfortunately for the rep, the scenario set the tone for the remainder of the day’s service calls as she struggled to try to catch up.
Every customer touched that day ended up upset. Two went online to complain and gave the company negative reviews. The service rep, a contractor, was upset as well. She called other contractors in her network and warned them of the fiasco she experienced working for the service company. She decided not to take further jobs from the company to preserve her reputation as a reliable and capable field service contractor.
The Power of Increased Visibility
Now let’s rewind to the beginning of the day. Only this time, the field service manager used field service management software to automate and streamline the day’s workflows. The first customer of the day had gone online and self-scheduled his appointment. In the process, he indicated the issue and the type of appliance to be fixed and uploaded a picture that showed more detail about the problem. The service portal identified the field service technician with the appropriate skills for the job and offered only the appointment times available for that specific rep.
Route Optimization Software Improves Daily Efficiency
Route optimization software provided geolocation information that streamlined appointments for that day by assigning jobs based on technician location. This meant reps could avoid driving back and forth across town for their appointments, ensuring they arrived on time. The software also provided traffic information to help technicians find the quickest route to each appointment—even during rush hour.
Because the field service scheduling software was integrated with the inventory management system, it was able to immediately identify the part needed to fix the appliance at the time the customer made the appointment. This ensured the part was available and on the right truck the day of the appointment. No wasted time making phone calls or traveling across town to find the right part.
Field service software enabled greater visibility for the customer. The online portal allowed him to view the technician’s location and estimated time of arrival, which made it easier to get home in time for the appointment without having to take half a day off work. He received alerts and status notifications that kept him informed about his appointment. When the service call was complete and it was time to pay, the technician was able to use mobile field service software on his mobile device and was able to easily submit a claim and take payment from the customer. The service rep was also able to schedule the next appointment or offer the customer a warranty on the spot.
This technology-enabled service experience left both the customer and the service technician more satisfied.
Field Service Management Software Empowers Both Employees and Contractors
Managing a fleet of qualified, customer service-oriented field service technicians is a top concern for most field service management companies. Many industries are turning to a hybrid workforce models that include both contracted and employed labor. This model can be especially beneficial for field service organizations in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart appliances often require a specialized skill set that employed technicians may not have. The best way to manage a hybrid workforce is to leverage workforce management software and field service scheduling software to seamlessly dispatch the best technician to every job every time.
Workforce management software can also help field service organizations identify over- or under-utilization of technicians and identify which skills are needed most often. This information is essential in helping to determine when to hire employees with more diverse skill sets (such as the IoT) or when to use subcontractors.
One thing to pay special attention to when considering a hybrid workforce is the onboarding and credentialing process. You want to make sure contracted technicians embrace your company’s values and that they present your brand in the best light possible. Workforce management software can automate the entire process by providing background checks, service quality and feedback, contract costs, and reject rates. This makes it faster and easier to find the right employees and contractors to power your field service organization.
An Enhanced Customer Experience Begins with an Empowered Workforce
In the end, it’s about customer satisfaction, and that means getting the right person to the right job with the right parts—on time, every time. Your field service reps are your greatest asset, whether employed or contracted. They represent your brand at every customer interaction. Empowering them with the tools to be successful starts with the right field service technology. Smart scheduling software and workforce management software are the backbone of the field service experience and the foundation of a quality customer experience.
To learn more about managing a mixed workforce through workforce management software or field service scheduling software, contact ServicePower today.