Ways to reduce costs as a field service company
Technician dispatches are the biggest revenue generators for field service organizations. The problem is that they can also be the largest source of costs, including vehicle expenses, labor costs, and opportunity costs due to not having technicians available for activities that produce your company revenue. Fortunately, there are modern solutions for these ongoing problems that can help your field service organization streamline service calls to maximize revenue and minimize unnecessary expenses due to inefficiency. When your organization is reducing field service costs, you increase efficiency and profits.
1. Go Digital
We are in a digital age, with tools and devices able to aid in efficiency as never before, yet 52% of companies still utilize manual methods for field service delivery. Manual methods are neither efficient nor cost-effective and lead to common problems, such as technicians arriving at canceled appointments or not having the proper equipment or tools on hand for the repair. Accurately tracking essential data points and performing analyses with efficiency is nearly impossible with manual methods. Field service management software helps reduces complex paperwork and manual tasks down to a simple touch of a button, which frees your technicians to focus on work that produces revenue for your company.
2. Increase First-Time Fixed Rates
The most efficient way for a field service organization to operate is for a technician to complete a repair in the first appointment with no follow-up visits. Each follow-up visit costs your company through vehicle expenses, labor costs, and opportunity costs. If a significant percentage of your field technicians need to do follow-up visits, you lose money without fully knowing it or knowing how much. Reducing follow-up visits increases efficiency and is one of the best ways to reduce costs.
To reduce follow-up visits, it’s important to have a complete understanding of what the customer’s issue is so your company can dispatch the right technician with the right tools and parts. This is where gathering information and making it available for dispatch is crucial. One way to get as much information as possible about the customer issue is with video conferencing. If the customer can show, through video, what their issue is, this can help reduce follow-up visits. A field service management software that includes a customer portal where customers can upload videos that clearly show their problem can help dispatch ensure the technician is fully prepared to solve the issue in one visit.
Once the task is complete, a standardized validation procedure helps to ensure that the customer is fully satisfied before leaving the premises, which also helps to reduce follow-up visits.
3. Give Technicians Onsite Access to Expertise
In the past, an apprentice would work alongside a master to learn all of the tricks of the trade until the apprentice had mastered the trade. In today’s digital age, a more experienced technician can help younger/newly hired technicians virtually, which cuts down on labor costs. Older technicians who no longer want to go out physically to repair jobs can be utilized to assist younger technicians through video conferencing. Video support is a great way for your field service technicians to tap into other experts while onsite who can walk them through resolving an issue and avoid a follow-up visit. In some cases, the issue may be new technology or a model the technician is not familiar with, and they may need help from someone who knows more about new technology than they do. Efficient support helps technicians avoid follow-up visits which helps in reducing field service costs.
4. Encourage Self-Service
Although most companies will bill a customer for a trip charge for a minor repair, your company won’t be utilizing its vehicles and labor force to the maximum just billing customers for trip charges. It’s best to make an attempt to avoid them.
One way to do that is by uploading how-to videos your customers can access online or through a customer portal. This way you can avoid the opportunity cost that comes from having a technician scheduled for a visit that turns out to be something the customer could have resolved on their own while missing out on another service call that could generate a higher profit.
Another way to increase efficiency is to have customers have a preliminary video-conferencing call to make sure that their issue isn’t something that could be resolved simply on their own. This process can also help dispatch to assign the correct technician for the job and ensure they are equipped with the correct tools and parts.
5. Implement Remote Monitoring
Depending on your company’s products and services, remote monitoring can help your company more efficiently service your products. Remote monitoring utilizes predictive maintenance, which is the automated collection of data that enables a company to foresee failures and outages before they occur. With predictive maintenance, ordering parts and scheduling technicians can be fully automated through field service management software.
6. Reduce Travel Time
When technicians are crisscrossing one another’s service areas, this can lead to extra vehicle costs, increased travel time, and fewer completed jobs per day for each technician. Dispatch optimization helps to schedule technician routes so they travel further than they need to for their next task. Field service management software can optimize dispatching through scheduling tools and geo-mapping. This allows your company to easily track the whereabouts of your technicians in real-time and assign a new appointment that is nearest to their current location. Optimized routes reduce fuel costs and increase the number of jobs a technician can complete in a day.
When it comes to inventory, your company can lose money by running out of an item or by stocking too many of the wrong parts. When a high-volume part isn’t in stock for a repair, this can lead to opportunity costs, especially if there will be delays in receiving the part. Many customers will call another company who does have it in stock, and your company loses out on that revenue. While every technician should be equipped with the tools they need for that day’s jobs, some expensive specialty tools and equipment are best reserved for only the jobs that require them.
You may also have tools on hand that are never used. Keeping expensive parts and tools in stock that haven’t been used in years is wasteful in both the cost of the part and the space they take up in your inventory. Field service management software helps reduce the opportunity costs that come from out-of-stock parts by automatically reordering them when they reach a pre-determined point. It can also automatically schedule a visit once a part has arrived. For local part suppliers, the software can schedule the delivery of a part at the same time as the arrival of the technician.
8. Enhance Recruitment and Training
Your company needs to find a delicate balance of having enough workers to meet the needs of your customers in a timely and efficient manner while also avoiding having technicians who are idle waiting for field service requests. One way to do that is to make sure that you are retaining your most efficient technicians. Through field service management software, you can track the number of completed jobs per day, the number of follow-up visits and other data points that show which technicians are benefiting your company the most. With field service management software, you can create a performance profile for individual technicians to identify weak points and implement additional training or correction procedures. Managers can also create rewards and compensation for technicians that meet specified performance metrics to motivate technicians toward greater efficiency.
9. Efficiently Utilize Your Technicians
Any time that technicians spend filling out paperwork, trying to locate parts for repairs, ordering parts, and doing other manual tasks, they are not spending their time generating revenue for your company. Field service management software frees up time for each of your workers by automating these tasks.
10. Earn More Business Through Onsite Quotes
With onsite quoting, technicians can earn more business when they are right in front of the customer. Having full access to parts and labor costs to give an onsite quote can influence a customer to take the step of scheduling an additional repair.
11. Analyze Your Data
With all of your data at your fingertips, you have a clear picture of what is working and what isn’t with your current methods. Areas that need improvement become very clear. With field service management software, you can easily recognize where and how to increase efficiency to generate more revenue with lower costs to increase your bottom line.
Reducing Field Service Costs With Field Service Management Software
If your company is interested in reducing field service costs and increasing efficiency, we here at FieldConnect have the solution you need. FieldConnect is a field service management software for mobile field service industries with technicians. Our software includes everything you need to help your business operate to maximize cost-effectiveness. Our software includes onsite quoting, GPS integration for technician tracking, accounting integration to streamline billing, a customer service portal to facilitate self-service, technician data analysis to increase productivity, an efficient system designed to increase job satisfaction and worker retention, mobile management, and more. To find out more about how FieldConnect’s field service management software can help your company reduce field service costs or to request a free demo of our software, contact us today.