Samantha is the CEO of a successful window-cleaning business in Manhattan. She has her hands full all day managing her 15 employees and five vans, with the occasional vehicle breakdown that delays her employees from reaching their job site on time. She tries her best to manage her business efficiently when coordinating with the customer service team.
Samantha must also manage a full roster of 15 employees who take the occasional day off; this becomes incredibly difficult, especially when using a spreadsheet. Calculating the work hours to pay each employee quickly becomes a herculean task.
She has to take time out of her weekend to get it done, and that means she is not as well rested for the coming week. This cycle seems to be never-ending, and it leaves Samantha tired and fed up with constantly trying to manage her inventory, employees, and assets. Samantha needs efficient field service management software and a proper workflow system that will allow her to put her business on autopilot.
Why are workflows important in field service?
It can be overwhelming when you have many technicians in different areas and have to manually execute the processes you have in place. In instances such as this, workflows can really benefit your business and make your field service team more efficient.
Having the right workflows in place helps ensure that no necessary step is skipped and the workflow moves smoothly end-to-end from collecting necessary job information to updating records and keeping technicians informed. Proper implementation and execution of workflows are instrumental in making sure that your technicians can complete assigned tasks quickly and efficiently. Faster service time results in higher customer satisfaction and increased trust.
Existing inefficiencies in field service workflows
Like any business, you will have some areas with room for improvement. Identify what these areas are; fixing the problem will be your next step. Once you have corrected the problems you uncovered, you should find inefficiencies have been reduced and you are now in a much better position with your workflows. Here are 5 common inefficiencies in manual field service workflows.
1. Manual errors and inaccuracies
The most common error that any business faces is manual errors. Regardless of if these are caused by employees or managers, these errors can have serious implications for businesses. From ordering the wrong equipment to entering inaccurate figures on invoices, manual errors affect the business in a variety of ways.
2. Slow processing speed
In the field service business, promptly acting on customer requests is essential. Any delay in completing tasks can lead to a poor customer experience. Equipping your employees with the proper training is necessary if you are to ensure they can troubleshoot problems quickly and provide your customers with a positive customer experience. Timely responses to customer feedback and resolving customers’ issues promptly will go a long way to creating a loyal customer following.
3. Improper tracking
The inability to resume a job in the appropriate place can be frustrating for the customer, especially if they need to explain the problem again during a return visit. To avoid these situations, establish a system where service technicians are required to update their field notes each time they complete a task.
4. Increased costs
Field service businesses need to optimize their workflow. Time is money, and having a well-designed workflow in place allows you to take care of a customer’s request, start to finish, with little or no management. Having an efficient workflow means you can accommodate more customers—and that means more money.
5. Lack of insights
Improper data management can make it challenging to extract meaningful information. That, along with a lack of insights, can result in poor coordination, inefficiency, and ultimately inflated costs to the company. Without accurate and up-to-date information about the field service industry, it can be challenging to understand the current trends and what the workflows actually are.
What are some ways to optimize field service workflows?
Just like any other business, in the field service industry, there is always room to improve and optimize how your business operates. Here are 7 ways you can improve your processes and workflows.
1. Understand your workflow
It is essential to get an understanding of your own workflow and how it relates to your business. All businesses are not the same; they may have very different processes, which will be reflected in their workflows. The HVAC business is not the same as plumbing, and this will be represented in the different workflows that each uses. Planning ahead will help to ensure that each job is completed successfully and each task correctly.
2. Automate the process
Automating your workflow will benefit you. It is a powerful tool in the field service business and will help you streamline mundane tasks that you would otherwise have to do manually. Automating workflows will help improve team communication, efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. With the Zuper web application, you will easily navigate through the different features and create the workflow most appropriate to your use case.
Collaborating is an essential part of any field service business—it allows the team to come together, solve problems, and complete tasks effectively. It also helps strengthen relationships with partners and suppliers by fostering a collaborative culture. Technicians can collectively share resources while exchanging ideas and expertise, all from a single platform.
4. Schedule and dispatch
Save time, reduce errors, and monitor technicians in real-time with automated workflows. Scheduling and dispatching are critical in the field service business, and manually managing your technician’s schedule can be time-consuming and create the opportunity for errors. Creating a workflow to automate this task will help your dispatchers manage programs and dispatch, schedule upcoming service appointments, assign technicians to specific jobs, and track technician and job status in real time.
5. Use mobile technology to your advantage
Mobile technology is not only used as a communication tool; it has also revolutionized the way businesses operate. Your technicians can stay connected while they are out in the field. They can also use their mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to access job information, customer data, and service history while on the go.
This has proved very efficient since the technician does not need to go into the office to update job information or look up customer data. Zuper’s mobile app helps you communicate directly with your field technicians using messages, through which you can share photos, audio, and even video clips.
6. Implement rule/role-based access
In the field service business, it is essential to implement rule/role-based access control. This is a method of controlling access to information and resources based on the role or function of an individual within the organization. This allows companies to restrict access to sensitive data and resources to those who need them to perform their job.
7. Measure and analyze information
An approach to measuring and tracking information is to monitor the information reaching different departments and team members. It is essential to follow the communication between the technicians and dispatch or between the service team and the billing department. Zuper always strives towards customer service excellence; with this in mind, we can create a workflow explicitly tailored to suit your business needs. With Zuper, it is field service, your way!
In the field service industry, it is essential for businesses to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Businesses can use software tools to their advantage, which can help manage and optimize schedules, provide technicians with accurate and efficient route planning to each job site, and reduce downtime costs significantly.
Workflows can help optimize field service teams making full use of their potential by improving communication and coordination.
Before learning about optimizing your workflow, it is essential to understand what gaps and inefficiencies exist in your business. Inefficiencies like manual errors, delays in processing requests, and improper tracking. Each of these can result in increased costs and impact your process and employee efficiency.
Having an efficient workflow will enable your business to function smoothly, and if you need help setting things up and would like to see Zuper in action, our team would be glad to help. Sign up for a personalized demo and see how easy it is to create tailored, customized workflows that best suits your business needs.