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Field service management has to do with a business’ mobile workforce, i.e. the frontline employees that directly interact with clients daily. They are the service professionals in your business that provide clients with the actual services; for example your cleaners, construction engineers, architects, gardeners, plumbers, etc. Field service management has to do with the oversight of these professionals as well as the measures and strategies that are put in place to guarantee customer satisfaction with these services.
There are 4 approaches to field service management which include:
1. The reactive approach: A customer reaches out via phone, chatbot, website, mobile app, or other means to request a landscaping service or make a complaint about a leak in their kitchen sink. Here, the mobilization of professionals is in reaction to the customer’s action.
2. The proactive approach: Field service managers deploy professionals before any issues may even arise or before a customer even knows about a problem. Assets are continuously subject to maintenance before potential problems can occur.
3. The asset-based approach: The services here involve the direct management of assets. For instance, a security service company that installs cameras in their clients’ facilities and oversees the surveillance of the property. This bears a close resemblance to the proactive approach.
4. The outcome-based approach: This approach focuses more on the results of the service. An excellent example is that the focus of a construction company in any project will be the completion of the building or whatever project it has been commissioned for.
Most field service businesses operate through a hybrid of these approaches, combining two, three, or all of them in their field service management day-to-day strategies. One thing that all four of these approaches have in common today is that they have largely embraced digital solutions to maximize productivity and connect businesses with more clients. Customers will always expect a seamless experience. Coupled with the increase in digitally savvy customers today, most clients now expect that field service businesses serve them using the most advanced technologies in their designated industry.
Considering all the factors aforementioned, it is undoubtedly important to have an effective strategy for field service management in your business. So if you are a business owner, team leader, or serve in any capacity as a field service manager, here are a few ways to improve your field service productivity and further the satisfaction of your clients.
Recognize customer preferences and expectations
Every business’ clientele differs, from their service preferences to the expectations about field service outcomes. Therefore, it is important to pay special attention to specific customer trends and identify the materials and tactics that you will need to fully satisfy your customers.
Get more digital
If you have not already, do so now! Technology enables a large and impactful transformation in field service businesses. By incorporating effective and comprehensive IT structures, businesses can go as far as managing customers’ and employees’ future needs while building a strong foundation for business growth. Hence, keep yourself and your business up-to-date with the latest tech solutions that have become the prevalent essentials in your industry. One of the best examples that are specific to the field service industry is time tracking software. There are many benefits of implementing a time tracking solution (but are not limited to only these):
They enable effective project management.
They help in keeping field technicians on track and on time.
They provide field service businesses with valuable data for pricing, automating processes, scheduling, calculating wages, and so much more.
They improve the accuracy of your quotes and estimates.
Automating repetitive, lower-value business tasks, such as data entry, increases productivity and minimizes employee frustration. No business should carry on doing things the same way forever. Therefore, it is important to analyze your business processes to find out what can be automated. Good examples include automated scheduling and vehicle tracking, both of which can be facilitated using an effective time and GPS tracking solution.
Facilitate employee development
As you upgrade your business strategies, technologies, and processes, it is also just as important that you create opportunities for employees, both old and new, to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors for delivering exceptional services. This can be done by establishing the right mix of training and the provision of tools necessary for employee development.
Utilize customer feedback
Another great strategy that every field service manager needs to have in their pocket is gathering and incorporating customer feedback. It’s extremely important to always stay in touch with your customers and make sure that they are always welcome to voice any concerns they may have. This in turn builds a strong connection between the business and customer, making for easier communication and work between the two in the future.
(link to the article on feedback titled “Using Customer Feedback to Offer Better Services”)
Reinforce cross-functional teamwork
This final part depends on the size of your business. If you run a fairly larger company that operates different divisions besides your mobile workforce, such as sales, marketing, customer service, and more, it is important to reinforce good teamwork across all of these divisions. This is so that the business can reap the full benefits from the innovative ideas and diverse skills of all its employees.
More importantly, all these other divisions play key roles that affect the functions of the field technicians. The marketing division employs devices to attract more clients to the business. The customer service division communicates directly with the customers and relays any issues or complaints to the technicians to further handle them. This is all the more reason why reinforcing cross-functional teamwork by giving employees the right collaborative tools and building greater communication across your business is crucial.
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