Be consistent and precise as you work to bridge the gap between customer expectations and service performance with mobile inspection software.What’s the most important aspect of a well-run field service organization? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with an “s” and this is not a trick question. That’s right…service! While it’s important to monitor and improve individual operations like scheduling, inventory, and billing, you won’t have any operations to run if word gets out you have poor service quality. The first step to making your business a service leader in the field is tracking your current service quality. We all want to know where we stand in terms of quality and as a service organization it’s vital to search for ways to measure and improve. But, while its importance is obvious, service quality is an elusive category to quantify due to its often subjective nature and unknown expectations.
Mobile vs. PaperNow that you know what to measure, you need to figure out how you’re actually going to track quality and how you’ll prioritize it within your organization. You may already be taking steps to monitor service quality using paper forms for things like customer surveys and performance evaluations, but in order to use these methods, you’re required to make several extra trips to and from the office, rely on your workers to remember each step, and reenter data once the forms are returned. Mobile inspection applications cut out many of those steps since field workers can easily click through preconfigured forms already on their mobile device, submit the inspection, and sync data directly to the back office. No returning to the office to pick up or drop off paper forms, no worring about forgetting any steps (the app won’t let you finish if you don’t complete all the necessary steps), and no reentering data because once it’s submitted it’s accessible in the main system. Here’s an example of a completed form on an inspection application vs. a paper form in a word document:
Build a Plan to Track Service QualityEquipped with the right tools, your next step to consistently tracking service quality is to answer the following questions, which could lead to your company’s mission statement, the development of key performance indicators (KPIs), and a map for understanding where you are now, where you want to be in the future, and how you’ll get there.
- 1. What am I doing?
2. What should I be measuring and how can I measure it?
3. How can I improve?
4. How can I communicate with the customer whether we’re meeting quality standards?
5. How can I measure customer expectations?
6. How do I avoid angering technicians?
Challenges to Service QualityYou’ve answered important questions to get your plan on track and set up goals and KPIs, now it’s time to be realistic and address challenges you’ll face due to the nature of field service and the difficulty of measuring something as elusive and subjective as quality. Some of the challenges include:
- Enforcing consistency: The nature of field service demands that workers perform different types of work for various problems and repairs, which makes it difficult to enforce consistent measurements of service quality throughout the organization.
- Volume: With so much happening, it’s hard to track each service visit
- Balance between quality and profitability: It can be tempting to assume that if your profits are increasing, so is your quality. But this isn’t necessarily the case and if you focus only on profitability and not on quality, your organization will soon plateau, or worse, decline.
- IT infrastructure: In order to track and analyze the large amount of data required to measure service quality, you’ll need a hearty IT infrastructure, which can be difficult to come by if you don’t already have the necessary resources.
- Different standards: Balancing differing standards, like company standards, to customer standards, to national standards, while maintaining consistent service can be a huge challenge for companies trying to gain a reliable measurement of service quality.
Solve your field service quality tracking challenges by using mobileAll of these challenges may make it seem nearly impossible to accurately track service quality, but the right tools and technology make the task more manageable. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: how can you use mobile inspection software to address those challenges? From safety to productivity, here are some ways a mobile inspection app will ease your most challenging field service quality tracking difficulties:
- Gather customer feedback (e.g customer survey, understand customer expectations)
- Speed safety inspections with drag and drop forms and preconfigured, drop down questions
- Monitor service performance in the field (e.g. which technicians are better at which types of jobs, how long it takes techs to complete a certain type of task, etc.)
- Identify conditions to make more or extend current service contracts and enable your technicians to act as salespeople in the field
- Comply with safety regulations and internal policies and procedures by providing technicians easy to access information