6 KPIs to Tell You If You’re On Track

Given the nature of our connected world and the impact of technological advances, it is little wonder that customer experience and satisfaction have risen to the top of the list of differentiators for so many companies. In many instances, customer satisfaction can be measured directly, via a survey to customers asking for their feedback. Unfortunately, with so many purchases and other transactions happening online, and the desire for customer feedback so intense, customers are starting to experience “survey fatigue.”

Don’t get me wrong, thoughtful customer response to a 6-7 question satisfaction survey is great feedback, but getting meaningful responses is becoming increasingly difficult. So, how can a field service-based business get a better sense of customer satisfaction without bothering your customers with a survey every time they use your services?

KPIs for Field Service

If you’re like many field service-based businesses, you have your eye on some key performance indicators that help determine how well certain aspects of the business are doing. These indicators tend to focus on how much work is being done, how much revenue is being generated per technician, and other indicators of business health. These also tend to be looked at through an inward-facing lens. That is, what do these metrics indicate inside my business? By adjusting that lens to look outward, some of these very same metrics can help gauge levels of customer satisfaction, with the right focus. Here are a few that we recommend as a great starting point.

#1 – Attach Rate

Attach Rate is the percentage of active customers that have a preventative maintenance contract. This metric has a lot of relevance in a commercial environment, as field service businesses in the commercial space seek longer-running relationships than on the household side of these businesses, which tend to be more transactional. Monitoring the percentage of customers with an active preventative maintenance contract is an indicator of customer satisfaction and provides some predictability in revenue projections. It also tells you which customers are willing to make a longer-term commitment to using your services. A steady or rising Attach Rate is a solid indicator that customers are satisfied and are willing to make long-term commitments to work with you.

#2 – First-Time Fix Rate

The First-Time Fix Rate determines how many repairs were resolved in a single visit. Ideally, this is most of the time and this metric can be a key indicator for several potential problem areas, or success, depending on the trend. Having to schedule a technician for a second, or even third visit to successfully effect a repair will definitely have an impact on customer satisfaction. A low, or decreasing First-Time Fix Rate may also indicate an issue with training, or pairing up technician skills with the job that needs to get done. But one thing is for sure, a repair, resolved on the first customer site visit, improves customer satisfaction, and reduces costs. Tracking this metric over time will give you a sense of the experience that your customers are having and the corresponding level of satisfaction should track with it. As a bonus, increasing the First-Time Fix Rate lowers costs by eliminating second and third trips for the same repair.

#3 – Repeat Visit

A Repeat Visit metric represents the number of times that an installed product had to be re-serviced by a technician within a certain time frame (e.g., 7 days, 30 days, etc.). Repeat Visit provides you with a different angle of looking at the cost to return and deliver service—this time tied to a specific installed product. If you look at this metric by product line or family, it can point to products that require a high number of repeat visits within a certain time window and provide great input for product development teams. Looking at this metric by the individual technician, it can point to insufficient testing on-site or lack of adequate training. It can also point out the technicians who have mastered service on a certain account or product and can be leveraged as an expert resource. From a customer satisfaction viewpoint, it can be eye-opening for the customer to see how often certain products require repeat service. Providing information that helps them limit downtime while providing the warranty services and expert technician support is a value-add that differentiates your service levels from those of your competitors.

#4 – Average SLA Compliance Rate

SLAs or Service Level Agreements establish the parameters of service that should be achievable by the mobile workforce and acceptable to the business customer, based on potential disruptions to their business. Improve Service Level Agreement compliance rates by empowering your field technicians with field-based access to the customer’s current SLA, repair history, and maintenance information. Meeting your commitments to customers, and doing so with a mobile technician that has the confidence and expertise that having all pertinent information brings, changes the dynamic of the relationship to one of being a trusted advisor. Making the switch from simply delivering a service to one where you are a trusted resource will have a dramatic effect on how customers’ experiences are perceived and should drive a corresponding increase in customer satisfaction.

#5 – Mean Time to Service

This metric measures the average time from work order creation to arriving on site. Given that many customers in a commercial environment are on preventative maintenance contracts, this measurement may be skewed toward non-scheduled or emergency jobs. However, those situations are often the ones that distinguish your reliability and professionalism relative to other service providers. Also, keep in mind that customers will compare your service delivery to a range of other experiences, inside and outside the same realm. Making a customer wait, or being unable to provide timely updates as to the arrival time of the technician, will certainly impact the customer experience in a negative manner.

#6 – Mean Time to Repair

The Mean Time to Repair represents the average time from work order creation to work order completion – not assignment completion, but when the work order is completed. The time it takes to complete a repair can provide insights into training deficiencies and can reveal other inefficiencies in the process that are in need of attention. This metric, through the inward-facing lens, can point to inefficiencies in the broader billing cycle and challenges to getting proper paperwork to accurately close a work order and produce an invoice. For customers, they expect receipt of an invoice in a timely manner so they can properly account for the expense. Invoicing delays, inaccurate invoices, and big swings in billing cycle times create headaches for the accounting department and have a corresponding impact on customer experience and satisfaction.

A Great Place to Start

As mentioned initially, direct polling of customers can yield valuable information and insights, but efforts to collect this information can sometimes be perceived as intrusive and bothersome. In fact, one might argue that the ability to get statistically valid response rates to customer surveys might itself be an indicator of customer satisfaction – either that it is really good, or really bad.

The indicators listed above are a great place to start, and improvements can be introduced, monitored, and achieved by replacing manual, paper-based tasks with a mobile application for field service. The view into these metrics is pretty straightforward and the underlying data that is used to create visibility into these indicators generally comes from just a couple of business systems. Focus on the basics to keep everything moving forward.

Expanding the KPI Universe

And once there is a comfort level with interpreting information from a basic set of indicators through both the inward-facing and outward-facing lenses, consider the power of tying together a broader and deeper cross-section of enterprise information. The benefit of having access to more data means that, under the right guidance, you should be able to glean more insights, improve internal processes, empower your mobile workforce, and drive even more tangible improvements in customer experience and satisfaction.

In a field service context, with the right field service management solution, you are able to go beyond the six KPIs listed above and start managing your business from a perspective that was formerly unattainable. Optimally, your solution is sophisticated enough to integrate data sources from previously isolated systems giving you an understanding of both cause and effect that allows intentional and meaningful optimization of the field workforce. The integration of data across what used to be siloed repositories will reveal interdependencies that allow adjustments and course corrections based on insights and resulting conclusions that were not previously available.

In the final analysis, make sure that your field service solution can measure key KPIs, allowing you to start simply, and expand as your familiarity with interpreting data increases. It is critical that your system can capture information within the context of its own designed metrics, but also can encompass data from other systems to provide a more holistic view across the range of processes that exist in your business. Be sure to look at these KPIs through an inward-facing lens and take action where the data indicates there is an issue. By driving continuous improvement through this ongoing process, a view through the outward-facing lenses should reveal a satisfied customer.

KPIs and the Autonomous Vehicle

So, you’re finally ready to purchase an autonomous vehicle! You go to the dealership and climb into the shiny, red car that you pre-ordered. The representative gets your signature (electronically, of course), shows you the owner’s manual, goes over a few of the main features and then sends you on your way. The dashboard has a dizzying array of gauges, dials, and numbers. You tell the navigation system where you would like to go and all of a sudden you’re on your way. How terrifying!

As much as the autonomous driving technology has been tested and refined, you keep a keen eye on that dashboard. You focus on the speed, you make sure the battery has a good charge (because gasoline is so 2018), and you spend a lot of time glancing from the dashboard to the road and back to make sure the car stays between the lines – the ones on the dashboard display, but especially the ones on the actual road!

What you are doing is maintaining a strong focus on the vehicle’s KPIs – key performance indicators. But since the vehicle is new to you, the focus needs to be on the indicators that matter, and the ones that you understand. You’re worried about speed, because you don’t want a ticket. You’re worried about battery life, because you don’t want to end up standing by the side of the road waiting for assistance. And you’re worried about staying between the lines, since you don’t want to get in an accident in your brand new car.

KPIs for Field Service

Your new autonomous vehicle is, in many ways, like your field service business. Your business does certain things without your involvement, but you need to focus on key metrics that let you know that you’re going the right speed, that you’ve got the resources (battery life) to get you to the next destination, and that you are staying between the lines to avoid business catastrophes. As you did in your new vehicle, make sure you’re focused on the right KPIs. Here are a few that we recommend as a great starting point.

  • FIELD TECHNICIAN UTILIZATION RATES – Make your field technicians more productive with the right tools and their increased efficiency will reduce costs and increase revenue.
  • ATTACH RATE – Monitoring the percentage of customers with an active preventative maintenance contract is an indicator for customer satisfaction and provides some predictability in revenue projections.
  • FIRST-TIME FIX RATE – A repair, resolved on the first customer site visit, improves customer satisfaction and reduces costs.
  • AVERAGE SLA COMPLIANCE RATE – Improve Service Level Agreement compliance rates by empowering your field technicians with field-based access to the customer’s current SLA, repair history, and maintenance information.
  • MEAN TIME TO REPAIR – The time it takes to complete a repair can provide insights into training deficiencies and can reveal other inefficiencies in the process that are in need of attention.

These indicators are a good place to start, and improvements can be introduced, monitored, and achieved by replacing manual, paper-based tasks with a mobile application for field service. The view into these metrics is pretty straightforward and the underlying data that is used to create visibility into these indicators generally comes from just a couple of business systems. It is very much akin to your first experience in your autonomous vehicle – focus on the basics to keep everything moving forward.

Expanding the KPI Universe

But, what happens if we are able to tie together a broader and deeper cross-section of enterprise information? The benefit of having access to more data means that, under the right guidance, you should be able to glean more insights, and also determine more dependencies within the business that may not have been discernible in the past.

To further our analogy with the autonomous vehicle, you’ve had some time to learn about the car’s systems and displays, so you now have access to a wider set of indicators and understand what they mean. No longer limited to the most basic information, you can now manage the vehicle’s performance by incorporating this new data. To maximize your travel range, you now know that the tire inflation sensors should show an optimal setting, that the “driving mode” should be set to “economy” instead of “sport”, and that other systems that use power can be disabled if they are not required.

In a field service context, with the right field service management solution, you are able to go beyond the five KPIs listed above and can start managing your business from a perspective that was formerly unattainable. Optimally, your solution is sophisticated enough to integrate data sources from previously isolated systems giving you an understanding of both cause and effect that allows intentional and meaningful optimization of the field workforce. The integration of data across what used to be siloed repositories will reveal interdependencies that allow adjustments and course corrections based on insights and resulting conclusions that were not previously available.

Integration and Metrics that Matter

Effective use of a broader set of KPIs opens the viewing aperture into business performance. This allows you to go beyond the basic set of KPIs – speed, fuel, direction – and provides important insight into what’s happening across the business. Like the autonomous vehicle, the more you understand the extent of the information available to you, and how to digest it, the greater control you have over the parameters that help drive efficiency, lower costs and utilize resources to the greatest extent possible.

So, be sure to consider the degree to which your field service solution can do more than just empower your workforce. Consider a solution that integrates into all of your relevant business systems and data repositories. Make sure it has a dashboard that can be configured to show you the information you need to effectively navigate the business landscape. Remember that more information makes for better decisions. Better decisions accelerate business growth. Vrooom!

What does the Digital Workplace mean for Field Service? – Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog post, we discussed some of the benefits of adopting the digital workplace. We also identified one of the key issues – what this transformational journey looks like in the context of your business. So, what does it mean in the context of field service management? The good news is that field service is very well positioned to benefit from the transition to the digital workplace. The even better news is that once some of the initial benefits, the proverbial “low-hanging fruit,” are realized, there are many more rewards to be had down the road.

Why is field service such an abundant beneficiary of a digital transformation? Keep in mind that a major obstacle that is overcome by going digital is mitigating or even eliminating geographic constraints. Field service-based businesses are required to be geographically dispersed, as the mobile workforce performs services on equipment at various locations within their service area. In many ways, field service is all about geography – Where is the technician? Where is the next service call? Which technician is closest to that location? Furthermore, many companies collect information from the field via the Goodyear network – technicians drive into the office to drop off completed work orders, time cards, and other forms.

A digital transformation through better field service management immediately negates issues related to a widely distributed workforce. Eliminating trips back and forth to the office is an obvious one, but there is much more to be had from the digital improvements. For example, how valuable is making sure that field techs have the ability to quote additional work in the field? And not only providing that field quoting capability, but enforcing pricing by populating data from the ERP to enforce accuracy and consistency, or even kicking off an approval workflow.

Finding the Right Field Service Management Solution

But as important as accuracy for field quoting might be, it, too, is only the tip of the iceberg. The right field service management solution supports the ideal scenario whereby someone in the field gets a holistic view of the customer. This holistic view would include site history, including past quotes or estimates for work and equipment, as well as other relevant information, all aggregated from office systems. The digital transformation is not enabling a one-way communication, either. Using a mobile solution also allows the workforce in the field to transmit data and information back to the office, allowing customer service reps and operational managers the ability to see updates about work completed.

An additional geographic divide exists between the technicians that are out in the field. A good mobile solution should give a mobile workforce all the tools they need to interact with each other. Whether the communication occurs via text, voice, or video, the ability to exchange information between technicians can add significant value. Imagine a technician being able to video chat with the person that worked on the site previously, sharing images of the equipment and using their collective experience to solve the issue at hand. Or, a group of technicians getting a 30-minute training session via a group chat that accomplishes the transfer of information, without having to assemble everyone at one location.

But not all geographic distances need to be measured in miles. Some of the biggest divides can represent distances of less than 100 feet. These divides exist within the office space and represent the disconnected nature of systems and data that can occur as IT infrastructure develops over time. Software that is installed at different stages of a company’s development can achieve some level of integration, but it is often difficult to integrate every key system – Customer Relationship Management, Accounting, Payroll, and even the Phone System – even though these systems collectively provide much better value when a high level of interoperability is achieved.

IT leaders often look to outside specialists for integration of existing systems, but what if there was a better way? Depending on the architecture, one of the software solutions within the IT ecosystem can support the integration requirements across all installed systems. Integration achieved at the IT level can also be augmented by enhancing technologies, such as collaboration. One approach integrates at a technical level, while the collaboration layer integrates people and processes, especially those that work in the same area or are part of the same workflow.

And finally, make sure that customers are also integrated into the system in order to deliver additional value to them, as well. A digital workplace incorporates customers to allow them to request service, access information about completed work, and ultimately to choose how they will interact with your company. By seeing information in aggregate, customers can make better repair or replace decisions. They can also choose their preferred method for receiving notifications, initiating service calls, paying invoices and other activities that require an exchange of information, facilitated by digital transformation.

So, take comfort in the substantial rewards that are available to field service-based businesses. Seek a strategy that allows for integration at both the technical and the business process levels. Be aware that field service management solutions that embrace a forward-looking architecture can also serve as a point of integration across multiple systems, linking new capabilities with legacy functionality. Transforming your business to embrace the digital workplace may not be the easiest journey you can make, but with eyes open and integration as a keystone, it is one that can pay amazing dividends.

FIELDCONNECT’S NEWEST FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS ARE FULLY INTEGRATED WITH OFFICE 365 AND LEVERAGE POWER APPS, POWER BI, MICROSOFT TEAMS, OUTLOOK, AND MORE. WANT TO TRULY IMPROVE VISIBILITY AND COMMUNICATIONS ACROSS ALL YOUR CUSTOMER-FACING DEPARTMENTS? FIELDCONNECT IS THE ANSWER. LEARN MORE BY SCHEDULING A PHONE CALL WITH ONE OF TEAM MEMBERS HTTP://FIELDCONNECT.COM/CONTACT/

What does the Digital Workplace mean for Field Service? – Part 1

These days, the concept of the digital workplace is described in so many ways and through so many channels. Technology media, social media, software business communications, websites, and blogs (oops, including this one!) are all touting the benefits of pursuing the digital workplace. But what is the digital workplace and how will you know when you have achieved the goal of creating it?  The problem lies with the context. The digital workplace has a high-level definition – use digital transformation (also a nebulous term) to align technology, business processes, and employees to improve operational efficiency and meet the goals of the business. But what does it mean in the context of field service management?  

The keystone in any field service management solution is the mobility application that allows the physically dispersed workforce to access dispatch assignments, view work orders, review site history, capture time spent on each job, and to transmit information to and from the office effortlessly. 

Improving Efficiency in the Field Service Industry

The good news is that field service is very well-suited to benefit from the transformational journey toward the digital workplace. This is due in no small part to one of the greatest benefits of achieving it – removing geographic barriers. Field service-based businesses suffer inefficiencies primarily because of the distance between their workforce and the office. It is inherent to the type of work that needs to be done, and is frequently addressed by requiring the workforce to travel to and from the office to deliver physical proof of their accomplishments – time cards, signed work orders, and other paper documents.

It reminds me of the early days of computing when we created electronic files, but had no means to share them easily with others. The “sneaker network” meant you copied a file onto a 1.44 MB floppy disk and then used your sneakers to walk to the other computer to copy it over. Hard to imagine in today’s networked world, to be sure. Components of the digital workplace for field service are designed to overcome these geographic challenges. The keystone in any field service management solution is the mobility application that allows the physically dispersed workforce to access dispatch assignments, view work orders, review site history, capture time spent on each job, and to transmit information to and from the office effortlessly. Amazingly, tens of thousands of dollars can be saved by taking this first, relatively simple step.

Additional benefits can be realized by looking at solutions that leverage cloud computing to lower IT overhead, provide tight integrations to back office systems that reduce or eliminate paper-based processes (payroll, anyone?), and deliver additional functionality like field quoting or a customer portal to capture even more revenue and enhance the customer experience. So, do not shy away from the opportunity to begin your own journey to the digital workplace.

Think about it in the context of your specific business and don’t get overwhelmed by the pundits and prognosticators that describe a future state that appears so complex you don’t want to even take the first step. Yes, make sure your potential solution provider has a forward-looking architecture. Sure, talk to them about their ability to integrate augmented reality and the Internet of Things. But more importantly, figure out who can help you take that first step, or two, will allow you drive efficiency and additional revenue, and can join you as a trusted partner to continue the transformation in a practical and manageable way – now, and well into the future. 

FIELDCONNECT’S NEWEST FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS ARE FULLY INTEGRATED WITH OFFICE 365 AND LEVERAGE POWER APPS, POWER BI, MICROSOFT TEAMS, OUTLOOK, AND MORE. WANT TO TRULY IMPROVE VISIBILITY AND COMMUNICATIONS ACROSS ALL YOUR CUSTOMER-FACING DEPARTMENTS? FIELDCONNECT IS THE ANSWER. LEARN MORE BY SCHEDULING A PHONE CALL WITH ONE OF TEAM MEMBERS HTTP://FIELDCONNECT.COM/CONTACT/

Read Part 2 – Click Here

Embedded vs. Integrated Solutions

FieldConnect has worked closely with our software partners, leveraging our 17 years of experience with these systems, to embed field service into the back office financial management system. Actions that occur in the field are written directly into the back office database – no secondary database, no other intermediary and no synching required. 

These days, as organizations work toward a unified software environment, the word “integrated” is used a lot. Integration methods vary widely and have evolved significantly over the years. Initial integration efforts were driven by the need to connect a few large, on-premise systems. These systems were large and expensive, affordable only to Global 1000-type companies. These days, companies of all sizes have substantially broader choices for their software applications, at much lower costs. Integration, however, can still be a challenge, even though the move to more SaaS applications has started to address some of these challenges. 

A word that is not used as much in these scenarios is “embedded.” That is because while integration represents one level of connectivity, embedded is a much deeper connection. Two solutions can be integrated so that they communicate with each other at some level. When these two solutions are embedded, they are no longer two solutions connected together but act more as one solution that interoperates seamlessly. 

The World of Field Service Management

This is an important distinction in the world of field service management, and one where FieldConnect distinguishes itself. Levels of integration vary widely, depending on how well software vendors and their development resources have worked together. While some integrations fulfill their objectives, the worst-case scenario for integration involves an intermittent connection, sometimes referred to as “synching,” to achieve their goal. Where the objective is to have seamless integration between field-based capabilities and back-office systems, synching does not fulfill that objective. 

Now that smartphones are so common, most of us are familiar with synching scenarios. This is the process of downloading the latest operating system, or application, or game. Or perhaps the way that we move data from an old phone to a new one. More than a few of these synching scenarios go sideways, resulting in an incomplete download, a loss of data, or data being reorganized in a way that requires additional effort to get it all in the right place. The causes can be many – loss of a connection, software version incompatibility, or inexplicable glitches caused by disruptions in the synching process. 

FieldConnect has worked closely with our software partners, leveraging our 17 years of experience with these systems, to embed field service into the back office financial management system. Actions that occur in the field are written directly into the back office database – no secondary database, no other intermediary and no synching required. 

So, as you evaluate potential field service solutions, be cognizant of the fact that “integration” is a spectrum of connectivity that has the potential to negatively impact your ability to effectively link field mobility applications with back office systems. If you choose an “embedded” solution, you can be confident that the two systems will work as one harmonious approach to delivering the results that you expect from implementing these enabling technologies. 

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation has become a very popular term over the last couple of years, and it is almost impossible to avoid references to it when looking at any industry publication, whether online or in print, that see it as a critical initiative for any forward-thinking company these days.

But what does the term mean for your organization? It would seem that this transformational journey would look very different depending on where you are starting and how much change you are willing to take on. Do you still have a fax machine? Your journey is starting from a very different place than the company that is wrapping up their go-paperless project.

Wikipedia states that “Digital Transformation is not necessarily about digital technology, but about the fact that technology, which is digital, allows people to solve their traditional problems. And they prefer this digital solution to the old solution.” This makes sense when old processes are significantly improved through the application of technology. So, where does your company’s digital transformation start and what benefits will you reap?

How Your Company Benefits from Digital Transformation

I recently viewed a presentation that former colleague and industry pundit Tom Rieger presented as part of a webcast by AIIM, an organization that focuses on information management and the technology that enables it. What I found interesting is that context here was not as important as the message. The fundamentals of his presentation transcended industries, job roles, and geographies and provided a brass-tacks assessment of what we’re all up against.

One of the most alarming points that Rieger makes early in his presentation is that our customers’ digital experience is not measured against a digital experience in the same realm, but rather against the “last best digital experience.” In a survey associated with the presentation, 94% of respondents agreed with that premise. So you’re not just competing against your traditional competitors, you’re up against the new hotel booking site, or someone’s latest banking transaction.

Having said that, only 8% of the survey respondents replied positively to the question “Compared to your competition, do you think your organization does a better job at using technology to engage and service your customers?” So, on the digital battlefield, we’re losing to non-competitors in overall online experiences, and we’re not even doing a good job leveraging technology in our own competitive landscape.

With the growth in the number of input channels coupled with the increased use of text-based, app-based, and social media-based communication between a business and its customers, companies must focus on improving the digital experience. Let’s talk about how you can leverage the broader FieldConnect portfolio to give you the tools to capture key data more effectively, leverage newer communication channels, and give your customers a better overall digital experience.

Access Tom Rieger’s presentation on Digital Transformation here.

And you can view the research behind the presentation here:

Invoicing delays – what is the real cost?

For many service-based companies, maintaining an efficient invoicing process represents one of the biggest challenges to success. This cash flow killer can be attributed to a number of factors – inefficient paper-based processes, low/no technology integration, and delays in capturing accurate and complete costs for labor, material, and equipment costs, among others.

These areas represent some of the obvious issues, but the bottom line is that delays due to manual and stand-alone processes represent a significant cost to your company in the following areas:

  • Direct Costs
  • Invoice Errors
  • Negative Cash Flow
  • Reputation and Customer Satisfaction

Exceeding Customer Expectations

With customer expectations at an all-time high, sending out an invoice quickly is your responsibility as a service provider. If you are still using manual paper processes, you aren’t getting invoices out as quickly as you could, or should. Your technicians complete the work, but the paperwork doesn’t make its way back to the office for multiple days, or sometimes weeks. It takes another 3-5 days for your office staff to create an invoice and send it out to the customer. By the time it lands on your customer’s desk it’s been weeks and if you’re lucky, they pay it right away.

Sterling Commerce, as part of their recent market analysis, determined that the average cost of a paper invoice can range anywhere between $12-$30. This includes direct costs like paper, ink, and postage. It also includes indirect costs, like paying an office administrator to manually enter all the data needed to create an invoice or the time it takes to stuff the paper invoices into an envelope to be mailed out.

The Costs Depends on How Many Invoices You Create Each Month?

Businesses also often overlook how much invoicing mistakes truly cost. On average, each paper invoice error costs companies $53.50 to rectify. It takes days for the client to receive, review, and send back an erroneous bill.

In the meantime, you have to pay for your technicians’ time, the truck and fuel to get them to the job, and any materials needed to complete the work. These invoice delays create a negative cash flow for your organization.

Lastly, how much does poor reputation cost your company? In today’s world of Netflix, Uber, and Amazon, your customers expect an exceptional customer experience. One way sure to disappoint a customer is invoicing them incorrectly or invoicing a month after the work was performed. Their perception will be that everything in your company is that inefficient!

Additional insights from the Sterling Commerce study found that manually-processed invoices cost, on average, $30 per invoice to process, while fully-automated invoices average only $3.50 per invoice to process. That’s a 90% cost savings by switching from manual paper invoicing to an automated solution.

It’s time to provide the experience that your customers deserve. Ditch the paper and adopt an automated invoicing process that will delight your customers and save you big!

LEARN HOW FIELDCONNECT HAS HELPED OUR CUSTOMERS IMPROVE BILLING CYCLE TIME BY 84%

 

Attracting and Retaining Employees with Technology

We often think about technology in terms of what it can do to make our businesses more efficient, more responsive, and more customer-centric. But what about helping us attract and retain good employees and the knowledge that they possess?

The Use of Technology is Now Expected

Studies show that the workers that you’re trying to attract today don’t just think technology is important, they think it is essential. The people entering the workforce these days have grown up with ubiquitous access to cell phones, online shopping, and mapping applications that get them from point A to point B without really looking at a map. They don’t know what a Thomas Guide is, never made a mixtape on a cassette, nor used a public payphone. So, if you’re addressing some of your company’s inefficiencies through technology, kudos to you! Just keep in mind that technology continues to evolve and will continue to address an ever wider range of business issues. To make sure your organization looks attractive to your best job candidates, keep the technology for your business evolving, too!

Capturing the Collective Intelligence

If the standard life plan plays out appropriately, most workers will get to retire someday. When that person is the last guy on your team who knows how to open up and fix the thermonuclear regulator on a TX-365-G, it can disrupt your ability to deliver the level of service and first-time fix rate that your company strives for. The beauty of a good field service management tool is that it captures key information about customer job sites and the equipment that needs repairing or maintenance. So, when the new tech shows up, they can look like they’ve been there before. This also creates a knowledge base that each tech contributes information to, and retrieves insights from, as they go about the responsibilities of the day.

Job Satisfaction = Retention

You’ve attracted the right people to your field tech team, trained them, and they’re doing a great job. Don’t lose them because you aren’t investing in the tools that allow them to be as efficient as possible. Employees using productivity-boosting tools that dispatch effectively, deliver the right information to them in the field, and allow business processes between the office and the field to flow smoothly are sure to experience a heightened sense of job satisfaction. Being satisfied at work means that employees are more likely to stay and the business can avoid the expense and aggravation of employee churn.

Mobile Workforce Solutions = Unseen Benefits

Again, congratulations on embracing some of the key technologies that help keep your employees happy and your business running smoothly! The benefits described above are not always the obvious ones, but these additional perks are sure to contribute to a work environment that attracts, motivates, and retains quality employees. For the sake of your workforce, keep an eye on technology trends, and don’t stop evolving.

What’s in Store for the Field Service Industry?

What’s just over that hill, or around that corner? Our curiosity to learn what’s ahead helps guide a lot of decisions we make, whether in our personal lives, or professional ones. Here are a few trends that we’re seeing that we think you might find interesting and that will be compelling in the near future.

Big Data, Data Analytics, and Augmented Reality Are Here

Early efforts that companies have made to better capture and manage the information that drives decision-making are now poised to bear fruit. By having a cohesive data and information management approach, businesses can look at trends in the data and can now extract some meaningful insights. Furthermore, this information can now be served up to a mobile workforce via traditional mobile devices, as well as wearable systems, such as goggles, or specialty glasses, helping to quickly pinpoint the issue that field technicians are trying to resolve. The wearable devices can also access a vast repository of schematics, performance data, and other information to help technicians complete their work.

The Internet of Things (IoT) Will Have An Impact Sooner, Rather Than Later

Our initial thinking suggested that software providers would drive the adoption of a network of connected devices. The truth is, we now think that manufacturers will be the ones that bring this trend to fruition. New equipment that is installed in industries such as HVAC, Construction, and Facilities Management will come standard with connectivity for IoT, at no, or minimal, additional cost. Adding these capabilities to a non-IoT conforming piece of equipment, or retrofitting for installed equipment with a lifespan that warrants the effort, will be a fraction of the IoT readiness efforts, as the capabilities will already come standard on assets that benefit from monitoring for predictive maintenance.

Accessible Artificial Intelligence Is Not That Far Away

Far from being a distant pipe dream, AI is already being put to use in a variety of ways, from placing advertising to piloting self-driving cars. While not 100% reliable in every scenario, AI has come a long way in a short time. While you might not yet be in a position to initiate an artificial intelligence pilot project at your company today, we expect that the technology will be embedded in many software solutions in the near future. This trend will make AI cheaper and easier to deploy, with an expected rapid return on AI investments when applied to the right business problems.

FieldConnect—Designed To Be Future Proof

While you may think that these newer technologies are a ways down the road, as the saying goes “objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear.” Rest assured that FieldConnect is already working on ways to seamlessly integrate these technology advances into our field service management solution. When applied appropriately, we feel that these up-and-coming technologies can deliver significant additional value for the companies that deploy them. Our ultimate goal is making sure that your investment with us today will continue to deliver value well into the future.