Measuring the Performance of Field Technicians In & Out of the Field
For many service providers with mobile field technicians, there’s always a question of “How productive are my field team units?” Measuring field technician performance is more than just “Did the customer’s problem get fixed?” There’s also determining the effectiveness of the solution, each technician’s time management capabilities, and whether each tech is performing to the best of their abilities.
Field technician performance can be measured using over a dozen different metrics, but implementing tracking technology and upgrading your technicians’ ability to communicate with customers and the home office, including the inventory system of your parts on hand, can easily reduce some of the back-and-front paperwork that results in downtime in the field. Allowing your technicians greater ability to get the answers they need, when they need them, can make even your rockstars more effective.
Let’s examine how the aspects of measuring field technician effectiveness, and how you, as a service-providing business owner, can quantify the performance of everyone on your team.
Company Data – More Than Just Numbers
Tracking many different field service performance metrics enables you to get an overall picture of your company’s profitability and performance. Anything from HVAC to lawn care, pest control, and even regulatory bodies benefit from more effective field tech service management and better accountability tracking.
Defining the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and consistently tracking them is vital to the growth of your service company. However, looking at the wrong numbers, or analyzing the wrong figures can provide misleading information, making it difficult for you to gain a picture of your company’s performance as a whole. The right data shows a true picture of the current state of your business and gives you a quantifiable starting point for comparison as you optimize your techs’ performance.
Key Field Service Performance Metrics
While your particular industry may not utilize all of these metrics, these are several things that are common for service businesses. Plus, many of these are ways that you can help your techs improve their overall customer service and reduce costly downtime.
Average Response Time
If you have a business that has an emergency response service, understanding the average response time can help you schedule more customers into your workday. Even without emergency response service, monitoring how fast your techs respond to customer calls helps you track the success of your customer service goals.
Average or Mean Repair Time
The mean repair time is the average time it takes for techs to assess the problem and provide on-site repairs, completing the work order. As a service provider, you know that the average work order time can vary widely, but improving training for technicians, as well as access to resources and technology, can help decrease this metric and increase the efficiency of your field techs.
Average Job Completion Time
The job completion time is the entirety of the job cycle, from the initial call from the customer through scheduling, work order completion, and billing. Often, companies who aren’t using the most efficient software or best practices for workflow end up with less efficient business models. Excessive paperwork or a back office with a backlog reduces the cash flow for our business significantly.
First Time Fix Rate
When a customer calls for a repair or service, their desire is to have the problem solved in the first visit. Tracking the rate of completion for the first visit, as well as the incidences of follow-up visits for the same concern, allows you to determine the productivity of each technician. If your team is having higher return rates than the industry average, you’re missing out on the opportunities to add new customers to your schedule. The right software can ensure that the techs that are best suited to the job are dispatched, and those who lack experience have either a mentor or will be undergoing additional training to improve their performance.
Monitor Repeat Visits
This goes hand in hand with the first-time fix rate and can give you valuable insights into which techs return the most to complete the job. A high rate of repeat visits allows you to identify who needs extra training, or when it’s time for you, as the business owner, to step in and offer an alternate solution for a customer, such as replacing rather than repairing an appliance or fixture.
Utilizing Billable Hours
How many productive hours are your techs billing in a day? Technician utilization refers to tracking how many billable hours your techs log each day, including time giving customer service and upselling, versus time traveling to other jobs, or back and forth to the office to get parts or more tools, which is downtime that you’re not making money on. A high amount of non-billable hours gives you insight into how you can schedule better, or how your customer service team can get more information from the customer to ensure that the techs are fully prepared with tools and parts when they arrive the first time.
The term “contract uptime” is the percentage of problem-free operation for equipment, from HVAC units to plumbing, computer systems, or swimming pool pumps, just to name a few, that is covered under your maintenance contracts. If you’re providing an excessive number of service calls for a piece of equipment that’s under contract, then you may have to re-evaluate either your installation processes, the kind of equipment you’re installing, or the terms of the maintenance contract itself, to ensure that each contact is profitable.
Attach Rate of Service Contracts
Tracking how often your service techs are able to upsell service or preventative maintenance contracts to your customers identifies who may need additional training and mentoring to switch from “fix the problem mode” to “upsell mode.” Service contracts are an incredibly od source of steady income for any type of service prover business, not just in dollars alone, but also in customer retention rate. Customers with an existing provider, under contract, often don’t look for a new one unless there’s a significant concern.
If you aren’t seeing conversion rates above the industry average, then you may need to both train your team better and revise your contracts into ones that are more appealing for home and business owners.
Better technology allows your techs to offer additional services or repairs at the moment, while they’re already on-site with your customer. For example, if your plumbing journeyman discovers loose joinings or thin spots in a customer’s pipes when he’s out fixing a clog, he can use a tablet to immediately show customers replacement options and generate a couple of quotes right away.
Or, there may be a “good” repair for a customer, but the tech may be able to upsell the customer into the “best” repair option, which could mean higher quality parts or parts that have a better profit margin for the business. Immediate information gives your techs flexibility for presenting customers with timely, accurate estimates, and can increase your average ticket price.
It’s much less expensive to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, and for service-focused industries, retaining customers forms the base you need for steady growth. The retention rate gives you insight into whether you’re keeping your customers happy, or if they bok one job and then go elsewhere.
Customer service representatives should follow up after every job, and with the right technology, can add notes to the customer profile, which allows your techs, in turn, to provide more customized service for each client.
Acquisition Cost of New Customers
Touching on the expense of acquiring new customers, if your retention rate is low, then your marketing budget (and the time you spend on marketing and lead generation efforts) increases. To put numbers on the acquisition cost, it’s the ad spend divided by the number of booked jobs that result from that campaign. This number also helps you quantify your marketing campaigns, allowing you to jettison ones that aren’t getting results, and focusing your spending in areas that are.
Improving Your Service Metrics
Understanding the different areas you can measure the effectiveness of your service techs is the first step – now you know where your company is at, so you know where you need to change and improve. The next step, after gathering your data, is to set different goals for your company.
These goals can include reducing the number of repeat visits that your techs have for each client, as well as increasing the number of billable hours for each tech, and the company as a whole. When you’re focusing on customer retention, the customer service surveys that you conduct after every job can give you specific insights into where you need more training for your team.
You may wish to look at the industry average for different metrics if that information is available. Some service industries have associations that poll members for certain data points, while others may not have this information for you. Once you have your base and your goals, then you set a dateline for improvement.
Use Technology To Help
Great field service technology can remove a lot of the downtime your techs have, from checking parts to providing quotes and even making their appointment schedule more geographically efficient. Plus, when you’re using technology consistently, you can track the performance of each tech, and quantify their results.
Let’s Get Started!
If you aren’t using FieldConnect to quantify and monitor the performance of your service techs, you could be missing out on an efficient way to improve your customer service and your bottom line. Give us a call today, or visit us online for a free demo, and discover how your business can benefit from our industry-specific solutions!