While starting a field service business is no easy task, the tricky part is keeping your operations at peak efficiency. Most managers will find it hard to maintain accurate metrics when their supervisory capacity is limited. To address this issue, here are five tips that will help boost the productivity of your in-field technicians.
Choose your communication equipment wisely
Productivity can be severely affected if the right communication channels and tools are not selected. Especially in this age of technology, using a smart device to communicate is a crucial element that can easily boost effectiveness as well. Empower your field technicians by equipping them with a smart device, such as a phone or tablet.
You can load up the device with a job management software that can help them track daily work orders, get driving directions to the customer’s site, and ensure they have all the right tools for each particular job. Field service management software can also give your technicians access to client service records, instruction manuals for older parts and in some cases even bill and invoice the customer.
Don’t always dispatch jobs to the closest technician
For efficient field service, it is important to carefully decide between getting the work done in time and getting it done right. It may be tempting to dispatch a job to a technician who is close by, so as to save time and free them up earlier for any other tasks that may come up. However, sometimes you might want to dispatch a different technician if they are better equipped with the right tools and skills, even if it takes them more time to arrive at the job site. Field service management apps feature location and skill-based routing that help businesses select an optimised schedule. By sending the right technician, you reduce the chance of multiple visits and increase your chances of delivering better service.
Ensure your technicians can collaborate if required
Any group of individuals can better problem solve when they bring their skills and experience together. Software-based collaboration tools can help you effectively utilise your in field workforce as well those in the back office. Technicians can stay connected with experts and seniors, who can give them second opinions on the best approach to a particular job. This will help technicians resolve cases on their first visit, eliminating the need for another engineer to assist him on-site. Such tools can also provide a centralised base of knowledge content, such as repair video tutorial, how-to guides, and service request history. While this should definitely increase productivity, it also allows companies to reduce fuel expenses and enhance service levels.
Make room for some overlap in the technician schedule
Two of the biggest issues that affect productivity are lost time and missed opportunities. When dispatchers generally assign jobs, they leave gaps in between schedules in case any urgent service requests come up. However, this does not take into consideration the cancellations they receive each day, which can be anything between 5% and 10% of scheduled. This results in a larger gap in the technician’s schedule. In fact, most field service companies will receive more cancellations than urgent requests, which means you can overbook your technicians without facing too much of a problem. To do this, keep a track of the cancellations and try to identify a pattern. Once this is done, you can create schedules that allow for some overlap. You can always revert to the older schedule if you find your technicians overworked.