Let’s be honest, managing a team of service technicians is everything except easy.
It involves so many things that need to be kept in mind, and which need to be logged, monitored, and controlled by office personnel. Keeping track of all the unpredictable changes that could occur at any time takes a significant amount of time. Miscommunications, delays, and incorrect or incomplete field service related information inevitably plagued many companies on a regular base, and while electronic databases certainly helped matters, they are still exceedingly prone to human errors.
In the last couple of years, leading service providers started actively looking for mobile solutions that would assist with managing field service operations, relieving frustrated project coordinators and dispatchers and field experts of the inefficiencies inherent in the traditional work process. As customer demands and the logistics of managing field teams continue to increase in complexity, it is clear that many business leaders are discovering the value that FSM software can bring to their organization as a whole, as well as its employees, shareholders, and customers. No wonder that the FSM market will be valued at over $3.52 billion by 2019 (MarketsandMarkets).
10 processes that your company must automate in 2019 by using field service management solutions in order to remain competitive:
1) Service Requests Management
The management of service requests is the first step at each of the field service jobs and initiates all the following steps. At this stage it’s important to capture and process all the information in the right manner and as fast as possible. The process begins when a new service request for a repair or maintenance is received through one of the supported customer service channels (phone, email, social media, or a direct message).
This request may also be made through a new customer order or through a customer order planned visit based on an existing Service Level Agreement (SLA). The service call must be documented and classified so that a priority level can be assigned to it. Some problems or service calls can be resolved or clarified directly over the phone and do not require further attention. Others are very urgent and need immediate attention.
2) Service Preparation
At this stage, office personnel needs to prepare all the needed documentation for each field job. By creating intelligent job profiles, these processes can be easily automated. Thereby, based on job type, all the needed reporting forms, material lists and service history information can be merged into a user-friendly reporting form, which can be accessed out in the field via tablet. With this type of workflows, subsequent steps are adjusted to the specific requirements of each business.
Although, 52 percent of field service companies still coordinate work and perform functions manually, more and more companies are planning to invest in software solutions to automate manual and time-consuming tasks during service preparation.
3) Supply Chain Management (SCM) / Logistics
After the smart field report is created, the next step is to order and supply required parts to the warehouse or the technician’s service truck, so that the technicians have the necessary parts on site to provide the needed service. Field service software also includes automated inventory management, including real-time tracking and inventory monitoring to ensure vehicles are always properly equipped. The dispatchers can arrange the service appointment only after the parts have been ordered.
4) Job Scheduling
Job scheduling is an important part of the whole field service business. Automating this steps helps project managers to assign field service technicians to each of the pending jobs in a fast and intelligent manner. Each of the scheduled technicians should have the necessary skills and parts to provide the needed service once they come on site. In case of more complex jobs, it must be also defined which technician should be on site first and which technician will join them at a later stage of the process. According to the last field service report by Gartner, by 2020, 10 percent of emergency field service jobs will be monitored by artificial intelligence.
5) Route Optimization
Planning a route for each of the field technicians is time-consuming and complicated. And you know more than us, that for a service company, like yours, controlling drive time is essential to profits. Companies that schedule technicians for job routes with multiple stops experience immediately a high return on a small investment in this area.
6) Access on the Go
According to Gartner, by 2020, mobile apps will be actively used during field jobs in 75 percent of field service organizations with over 50 business users. Companies can significantly improve the onsite and over the phone customer service due to the use of optimized report handling with ad hoc customer service history overview. When field workers come to a customer visit, they have an overview of all the needed information regarding service history, location and customer. The optimized process allowed to minimize the unsuccessful field visit rate, shorten the waiting hours and improved the ability to resolve issues in a more sustainable way.
7) Reporting Checklists
Once the technicians have completed their work, they can use the smart reporting checklists with custom material lists, voice-to-text, and automatic photo attachment features to generate very detailed reports on the work being done. Each step that was ticked off the list, as well as the uploaded attachments, can then be reviewed by the team leader. The reports can be downloaded by the customer to understand all the information that is relevant for the invoice. This includes, for example, which work was done, how many hours the technicians worked and which tools were used, and which materials were installed.
8) Mobile Calculation
Technicians capture the required information and data using their field service management application on the tablet. They can calculate the service costs with the customer on site. The new solution allows calculating job costing based on the spend onsite time and material costs using predefined drop-down lists with customer pricing and optional discounts. By calculating the price with customers, the company significantly lowers customer support calls about what work was performed during the job and what they have been billed for.
Now that the reports have been created for the team leader and the customer, the job can be completed. Once the customer has received the reports, they can be checked for possible discrepancies that could eventually lead to the customer receiving a flawed invoice. If the project report is all right, the customer can sign the project with his signature on the mobile application.
Once the customer signs the field report, the final process for the field service is to create an invoice that can be sent directly to the customer through field service software. As the field job information was captured fully and in detail, back office employees don’t have to manually look up material names or call the technicians to clean misunderstandings. As a result, invoices can be generated faster, which means the customer can pay faster. This completes the service process.
If your company is currently looking to automate day to day field operations, and thereby reduce manual steps, high labor costs and human error rate, if your company would like to concentrate more on your business rather than on data re-entering, and you would like to know what options you have, feel free to contact Ecodocx and we would love to provide you with a free consultation. Let’s create solutions that adjust to your business needs and not the other way around.