Would it surprise you to learn that in 2012, about 80 percent of the total field service revenue for provider companies came from existing customers — not through the acquisition of new customers? Despite that, many companies continue to push their current customers into the arms of their competitors by continuing to deliver disappointing customer service — a big mistake, since, according to GetSatisfaction, 71 percent of consumers have left a company based on poor customer service alone. So, field service providers take note: to retain your current customers and increase your field service profits, it't time to start delivering best in class customer service.
How does one deliver best in class customer field service? Let’s take a look at how three companies, from three different industries, used an investment in field service management software to reach that goal.
"Always On Time, or You Don't Pay a Dime!"
Duggan’s is an Augusta, Georgia-based HVAC company that manages a fleet of seven vehicles. Punctuality is a core aspect of the Duggan’s reputation. In fact, it’s in their motto: “Always On Time Or You Don’t Pay a Dime!” No doubt, this would be a hard promise to live up to without a central management system, but Duggan’s uses GPS Vehicle Tracking software by Fleetmatics, which lets them see where each technician vehicle is and what job they’re working on at any given moment. “If a customer calls and asks where they are, I’ve got to [be able] to keep track of them,” said owner Tony Duggan. He also appreciates the software’s oversight capabilities, such as the Idling Alert, which notifies him if a technician is spending too much time debriefing after a job. Using this system, the company has managed to pick up three additional jobs per week.
Lesson: With FSM software you gain real-time responsiveness to customers, and that means higher customer satisfaction and improved retention. Without a centralized system, you have no way of knowing where your technicians are or which jobs they’ve completed, so when a customer asks for an update, you’ll have nothing but excuses to offer. With field service management software, you can track worker locations in real time through their mobile devices or, in some cases, telematic sensors in vehicles. When a customer asks for an ETA, the dispatcher can give an accurate answer based on where each technician is and their current job status. This better equips dispatchers to handle urgent requests and assign them to the right agent based on current route and schedule availability.
One visit, problem solved!
McKinley Equipment is a materials handling and industrial lift service provider based in Irvine, CA, with operations that span three states. They switched from paper-based field service —spreadsheets, whiteboards, clipboards, etc. — to ServiceMax Mobile in 2012 and equipped every mobile agent with an iPad. With ServiceMax, technicians know the exact problem, procedure and part necessary to repair equipment before they arrive on the job, which has led to an 18 percent increase in first-time fix rates and a 47 percent increase in revenue during the first year of implementation.
Lesson: FSM software allows you to deliver a complete solution in a single visit. Customers love it and you save time, allowing you to schedule more customers and make more money. Most customers aren’t interested in how you solve their problems so much as whether or not you do. Do your technicians finish jobs correctly on the first visit? Your competitors’ do: according to a recent study by Aberdeen, best-in-class service professionals have a first-time fix rate of 89 percent.
One of the best ways to ensure a high first-time fix rate is by having the right tools for the job. FSM software gives your agents anytime, anywhere access to valuable resources such as schematics, manuals and diagnostic tools. This allows them to choose the right parts and procedures and answer customer questions. Most FSM solutions also integrate with back office systems like accounting and customer relationship management, so agents can manage the entire service experience, from invoicing to proof of service.
Never miss a pick-up or delivery again
AVID Ink is a sublimation printing company with a workforce of drivers that manages 1,500 pickups per month and as many as 60 stops per day. Initially, they were using a variety of manual methods — notes, emails, phone calls and spreadsheets — to coordinate routes and deliveries, which resulted in long lead times and chaotic logistical operations.
By implementing fleet and work management solutions by Trimble, they were able to hit a new record of 99 percent on-time delivery, and a completion rate of 98 percent. AVID uses Trimble’s software to collect in-vehicle diagnostic data, which supports preventative maintenance and reduced fuel costs. It also provides real-time visibility into worker locations and schedules, so dispatchers can assign jobs based on current status and location. Since implementing the new field service management system, AVID hasn’t missed a single delivery or pick-up.
Lesson: FSM software is a powerful business intelligence system that measurs key indicators and eliminates inefficiencies so you can focus on profit. Used correctly, FSM software is much more than a job scheduling tool. With the right approach to data, your software can function as a powerful business intelligence system, drawing from geospatial and workflow patterns to identify recurring problems or service bottlenecks and isolate causes. Inefficiencies can be caused by personnel or equipment flaws, as well as environmental factors such as traffic and weather.
Reporting and analytics tools built into many FSM solutions can also be used to measure key performance indicators and drive continuous improvement. Service companies that use analytics technology have seen profits increase by 18 percent, customer retention by 42 percent, and service level agreement performance by 44 percent.
Is FSM software the answer for you?
It takes a lot more time and effort to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. If your company is losing business to competitors, before you spend thousands of dollars on new marketing and sales strategies, evaluate your approach to field service. What needs or challenges have you experienced? Does FSM software present a solution to any of these? The answer is likely yes. Remember: your field agents might be the only in-person contact a customer has with your brand. Make sure they’re fully equipped to make a good impression.