Field service management challenges are ticking time bombs that are waiting to go off any minute. One wrong move can blow your customer satisfaction levels, field service efficiency, and employee productivity to smithereens.
Field service businesses which manage their operations on outdated tools will soon find their challenges in operations management spiral out of control resulting in a revenue drop. Although manual tools may offer simple band-aid solutions for most field service management challenges, old-school solutions can never outright solve your challenges.
While field service leaders face a ton of challenges every day, listed below are top 7 field service management challenges that demand a technological alternative.
1. Scheduling conflicts
Overlapping jobs, double booking, scheduling an unavailable technician, and rescheduling problems fall into this category. Scheduling conflicts can ultimately be expensive for field service businesses.
Schedules are the backbone of field service operations, when they are screwed up, the end-to-end operation falls down like a row of dominoes. Online calendars and online spreadsheets only escalate the problem with their constant need for manual intervention.
An all-in-one field service management tool which comes with a built-in scheduling interface can eliminate all scheduling conflicts once and for all.
It can assist you tackle all kinds of scheduling conflicts ranging from double booking to unbalanced shift distribution using state-of-the-art features like real-time availability of technician, calendar like scheduling interface, intelligent scheduler, and more.
2. Work order management
Work orders are the lifeblood of any field service management business. However, work order management is neither easy nor straightforward. Businesses create a work order when customers schedule get in touch with them seeking service assistance.
When back-office agents note down customer preferences in a siloed interface like Online forms or spreadsheets, they have to manually collect all information even from return customers. What’s more, after collecting all the information they’ll have to manually create work orders and specify location specifics before sending it across to the dispatching team. Lack of a centralized database leaves room for duplicate data entry and other associated field service challenges.
A good field service management software that has a work order management suite helps back-office staff to create, store, and monitor work orders effortlessly.
What’s more, when all customer information is stored in a centralized database, back office users can fetch and create work orders for customers in just a few clicks thus reducing the time taken to create work orders and increasing staff productivity.
3. Route planning
Manual route planning is chaotic. Paper-based routes don’t take important factors like technician’s location, traffic, and other important factors into account. As a result, they become inadequate whenever there is a slight change in the plan, which is most often in field service.
Inadequate or inaccurate route plans lead to instances like missed appointments, delay in service delivery, increased travel expenses, and more. Without a 360-degree view of technician’s whereabouts and the accurate traffic information, route plans fall short and end up draining technician’s time and energy in finding the next service location.
An ideal field service management solution will not only offer real-time visibility of technician’s location but also help businesses route their technicians effectively to the next service location. These field service apps take in account an array of factors like technician’s current location to the real-time traffic before suggesting an ideal route to the technician.
In an archaic field service environment, customers need to reach out to the back-office staff for everything from rescheduling to get an update on their service. Back-office staff who have no idea of the technician’s location or status are forced to call the technicians for an update while placing the customer on hold.
This communication disarray eventually causes a lot of headache to everyone involved. Technicians are left fielding calls from back-office staff instead of driving. Customers get annoyed with the lack of visibility and the delay in receiving an update. Back-office staff get worn out by playing the mediator between customers and technicians all day long.
Any field service management solution worth it’s salt will provide real-time updates to customers keeping them in loop while reducing the hassle of back-office administrators and technicians alike.
When your field service solution comes with an inbuilt chat tool, both your technicians and back-office staff can communicate seamlessly through it. Moreover, back-office staff can view the technician’s location and status on the interface and field customer questions like a pro.
5. Payment issues
Most often, payment cycles in field service management is too long. This is caused due to the ineffective paper-based quotations and invoice processing. As a result, the payment cycle tends to take considerably longer than anticipated leaving field service businesses chasing after their customers to collect invoice payment.
Listed below are some of the common reasons for payment challenges in field service management:
- Quotation was not approved by customer
- Invoice and quotation don’t match
- Lack of provisions to accept partial payment
- Incapability to accept online payments
- Failure to remind customers of due date
Field service management software comes with ready-to-use quotations and invoicing modules that help technicians create, edit, and share billing documents with their customers in a click of a button.
Modern field service management tools like Zuper empower field service businesses to accept online payments, send customers reminders, and speed up the payment =8cycle. What’s more, Zuper’s seamless integration with accounting tools like Quickbooks, Xero, and Zoho Bookssaves a ton of time by eliminating the need for manual intervention and double data entry.
6. Customer satisfaction
In a distributed team environment like field service, it is nearly impossible to measure customer satisfaction.
Businesses that fail to verify whether their field service teams meet customer expectations will be on the receiving end of irate customer phone calls, rapid customer churn, and bad press on public forums causing an indirect impact to the organization’s bottom line.
Automated field service management solutions offer businesses pre-built surveys to measure and analyze customer happiness. Zuper helps businesses collect unbiased feedback from their customers right after service delivery in a contactless way.
Feedback which is usually collected over email/SMS is automatically tagged to the respective job and technician, making the CSAT analysis easy and straightforward. Collected data is then turned to visual rich reports which offer actionable insights to improve and maintain satisfaction levels.
7. First-time fix rate
When technician’s don’t have all the information they need, the service closure drags on. Lack of vital information can end up resulting in a need for revisit to fix the existing issue. Revisits are not only exhausting for technicians but also expensive for businesses.
If only there was a way for technicians to contact back-office staff and retrieve their notes about the customer’s problem, or if technicians had a way to get in touch with their supervisors to get some advice on how to sort out the existing problem at hand, the number of revisits may go down.
Field service management tools solve first-time fix rate challenges in field management by providing technicians a single source of truth. Best-in-class field service management solutions like Zuper enable technicians to create, view, and manage job notes and chat with other stakeholders right from the work order.
How can automation solve some of these field service management challenges?
Automated field service management solutions like Zuper have proven themselves to be more efficient and effective in solving challenges in operations management. These tools help businesses create, manage, and share important field service documents like work orders, schedules, route plans, quotations, invoices, and more in just a few clicks.
The improved visibility and collaboration that field service tools like Zuper provide will help businesses manage and exceed customer expectations effortlessly. With a centralized database to collect and store all customer and job-related information, businesses can speed up service delivery and improve first-time fix rates while driving down service delivery costs.
With little to no human intervention, field service businesses can stay away from deadly field service challenges which lead to drop in customer satisfaction levels. 360-degree visibility and audit trails keep field service operations transparent and reduce inefficiency levels. By automating field service policy enforcement, businesses can eliminate potential legal and financial risks and compliance issues.
The evolving technological landscape only paves the way for new field service management challenges. Staying aware of challenges in operations management is the first step in battling those challenges head-on. Understanding the complexities caused by field service challenges will help businesses stay ahead of their competition and meet their field service goals.
Are field service management challenges holding your business back? If any of these seven challenges in operations management looks familiar, it is time to upgrade your field service management system.
Try Zuper for free today and see how it can help you battle common field service challenges!