Let’s talk about resource limitations in the field service industry! Managing resources is undeniably crucial, but it consistently stands out as one of the most demanding and challenging tasks. The efficiency and productivity of your workforce play a key role in ensuring that your customers are satisfied and you don’t end up spending money on an ineffective and mismanaged workforce.
You don’t have time to chase after your technician’s no-shows and last-minute cancellations, and leaving your customers dissatisfied is the last thing you want to do. The crux of your business’s success lies in resource management and your ability to schedule effectively.
Is your business facing a downturn due to a lack of resources, and do you have trouble with scheduling technicians? Then, you need to know the strategies discussed in this article. Follow these strategies for hassle-free scheduling and keep your promise to your customers.
Short-term resource optimization through gig workers
The short-term strategy to handle resource limitations is hiring gig workers. Gig workers are the future of the field service industry. Why? Read our article “The impact of the gig economy on field service operations” for a detailed explanation. There is a reason why we said hiring gig workers is a short-term remedy!
First and foremost, gig workers are available on short notice. When a technician fails to show up on time or cancels at the last minute, it may be necessary to reallocate the job assignment. The technicians who are closest may not be available, and those who are available may be too far afield to respond quickly. In these cases, you can easily book a gig worker and assign the task to them immediately.
But, gig workers can never be a permanent solution. Although they may have a wide range of skills, they don’t have the proper training to represent your company or brand values. This leads to poor representation and can negatively impact customer loyalty. So, getting the help of gig workers is a short-term strategy, not a silver bullet.
Field service management software for long-term resource optimization
Based on our research, we have found that there are five key strategies for handling resource limitations in scheduling. If you follow these five strategies, you won’t face any problems in handling resources. They are:
- Automate scheduling processes
- Setting priorities for a task
- Cross-training technicians
- Forecast demand using predictive analysis
- Tracking technician productivity
But the good news is all these can be ensured by using a single platform—Field Service Management (FSM) software makes this possible. A study by Hubspot found that businesses can increase 15% of their lead conversation rate by using field service management software. So, purchasing FSM software is the best move forward.
1. Automate scheduling processes
Companies that automate scheduling increased customer satisfaction by 15% according to a Salesforce report. How? When a service request is placed, and a job is created, the scheduling software takes charge and scans through your entire employee list and sees your employees’ timesheet. Then assign the job to the technician who is available at the time with the right skills, and tools and, of course, who is located in the closest proximity for responsive service. Automation is not new, but it is not something that is to be underrated because it
- saves time
- reduces scheduling conflicts
- prevents double-booking
2. Setting priorities for a task
Let’s say you have assigned three tasks to a technician who is currently working on the South East side of the city. If another service request comes in the same part of the city—this one is about a broken pipe and water damage due to leakage—it makes sense to assign it to the same technician. But what about existing priorities? How do you balance the urgency of a call needing an immediate response with pre-existing commitments?
While you will want to dispatch, the closest tech, it will likely impact their schedule and cause them to be late for existing appointments—leading to dissatisfied customers. On the other hand, if you do not respond to the leak immediately, significant damage may be done, and you will not be winning any new customers.
Fortunately, our scheduling software allows you to set a priority level at the time of job creation. Additionally, you can include job notes allowing for additional details. Using this system, technicians are kept up-to-date, and the chances of information slipping through the cracks are reduced substantially.
3. Cross-training technicians
Cross-training technicians is definitely a good strategy for handling resource limitations. One of the major criteria by which automated scheduling works is finding the technician with the necessary skills and experience. That means, even when you have many resources available, you can assign the task to the one who has the skills—this is where conflicts arise!
When you give cross-functional training, all your technicians will be trained and specialized in doing various tasks. Field service management software cannot give you the training, but it helps in other ways such as
- Track training progress
- Facilitate communication between the technician and the trainer
- Store training materials and other data
- Schedule jobs based on the certification of training of employees
4. Forecast demand using predictive analysis
Handling resources becomes easy when you know your problems beforehand. How can you be aware of problems beforehand? By using predictive analysis in field service management software, you can track your previous data and see the demand patterns.
By keeping track of demand patterns, you can optimize your resources accordingly. Like, during peak season, you can hire part-time workers and, in lesser demand periods use gig workers. Not only that, predictive analysis data helps in keeping your inventory up-to-date as well.
5. Tracking technician productivity
With field service management software in place, tracking technician productivity becomes easy and transparent. With features like geofencing, face recognition, and punch-in/out, you can easily track the productive time of your employees without falling prey to employee time theft. Yes, with the data you have, you will know of clock-punching fraud, extended breaks, and excessive leave.
You can also how much time is taken by technicians to do a job, which will help in giving them rewards or additional training. We talked about the flourishing gig economy at the beginning of the article. Using timesheet management in scheduling, you can track the working hours of the gig workers and pay them accordingly.
Make sure your team is working at its best
Your employees are your most valuable business assets. The easier and more organized you make things for them, the more productive and efficient they will be. By adopting field service management software (save my spot for free trial), you can streamline the scheduling process by providing technicians with an intuitive mobile app; automated routes, territory planning, and real-time data are all available in the palm of their hands. Field service management software will help your employees make the most of their day, and make the most effective use of limited resources.
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