Many different variables can play a role in a field service manager’s journey toward improving customer service and reducing waste. But regardless of the path taken along that journey, the destination must include job completion to the satisfaction of the customer. In fact, research has shown that 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. Also, 63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations, while 76% of B2B buyers expect the same thing (Microsoft). That customer loyalty underscores the importance of the “First-Time Fix Rate.” This metric measures the percentage of problems that are resolved on the first customer site visit. Leading in this key metric indicates your field service processes are streamlined and your techs are enabled with the mobile tools they need.
Field service scheduling can play an instrumental part in setting your organization up to meet customer expectations better. And by integrating an automated solution, you may be able to improve the chances of a first-time fix before you even dispatch a technician. Here are four tips for using field service scheduling to make your customers happier and your business more efficient.
As we’ve discussed elsewhere, you should ensure techs arrive at a job site with the right tools, knowledge, and resources. Automated software with a field service scheduling module may be able to help tremendously in this area. Some platforms allow you to build technician profiles where you can enter information like each employee’s skill set. This can safeguard you from dispatching a technician incapable of completing the job or necessary tasks. Other modules can track inventory, improving your field service scheduling by avoiding dispatching a tech lacking the right supplies.
The size of your company may very well dictate the geographic footprint you cover. But no matter if you’re a multi-state giant or a mom-and-pop shop, route planning is critical in field service scheduling. For instance, let’s say one of your techs has five jobs in his queue for the day. If you don’t schedule these jobs properly, that tech may only get to three of them. This is where the power of automation can really come into play. A good field service scheduling software reviews the location of each job and helps by grouping jobs that are in close proximity. As a result, you’re now able to organize your techs’ queues in an efficient and attainable manner. Barring any unforeseen issues, your techs may even be more likely to stick to the arrival times promised to customers.
A good field service scheduling software reviews the location of each job and helps by grouping jobs that are in close proximity. As a result, you’re now able to organize your techs’ queues in an efficient and attainable manner.
Some software solutions will allow you to color-code your routes to ensure your drivers aren’t clustered or unnecessarily grouped. As an added plus, drivers taking more efficient routes are likely to conserve fuel throughout the day. Consequently, you may be able to save on fuel costs due to this increased emphasis on field service scheduling.
Regarding field service scheduling, keeping your database of customer information current is essential. The first thing you may want to focus on is the customer’s basic contact details. If the address on the work order is outdated, your dispatched tech may waste valuable time by driving to the wrong site. To make matters worse, if the phone number is also wrong, your tech will have no way to reach the customer.
63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations, while 76% of B2B buyers expect the same thing (Microsoft). It’s that customer loyalty that underscores the importance of the “First-Time Fix Rate.” This metric measures the percentage of problems that are resolved on the first customer site visit. Leading in this key metric indicates your field service processes are streamlined and your techs are enabled with the mobile tools they need.
Prior experiences with the customer can also supply you with a wealth of information. Most field service management software solutions allow the tech to enter detailed notes about work performed. For example, historical documentation can shed light on on-site access points, equipment intricacies, and customer preferences. This can be helpful for you to review before scheduling or dispatching a tech the next time the customer calls. Just how significant can that preparation be? Nearly 60% of customers say tailored engagement based on past experiences is crucial to winning their business.
One of the more frequent complaints customers have with some companies is the lack of personal touch. Simply put, they want you to treat them like a person, not a number. And you should be extending that courtesy throughout the field service scheduling process. It may be a good idea to take the time to confirm the appointment with a follow-up call before the visit. Fortunately for you, field service scheduling software can make this easy for your organization through automated alerts. You may also wish to use alerts that prompt follow-up calls to gauge customer satisfaction. Following up with customers can help identify errors in the CRM data and specific steps that the visiting tech could have taken to complete the job the first time. Together, these efforts can increase the overall first-time fix rate.
On the day the job is taking place, your tech may want to call the customer while they’re en route. This is a nice customer service gesture and confirms the customer is home and ready for your tech to arrive. If there’s a delay, the tech should make a phone call to inform the customer of the new expected arrival time. Over-communicating is key when it comes to field service scheduling.
First-time fix rates have maxed out at 75% for more than a decade, and they remain stagnant for all but a handful of top-performing companies. Each failed first visit generally leads to 2.5 additional visits and 20 days’ mean time to repair. While many factors are involved, there’s no doubt that field service scheduling influences customer service. Automation may be a good idea for some organizations, but a sharpened focus on scheduling and dispatching should be a priority for all. Check out EnSight+ Field Service Management Software to see how our solution can bring your desired results.
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