It’s no secret that the size of the global field service market exploded in the late 2010s (and has had no signs of stopping). In fact, the global field service management (FSM) market is projected to grow from $3.24 billion in 2021 to $8.06 billion in 2028.
Some field service organizations admittedly are struggling to keep up with this explosive growth.
The companies that struggle the most are often slow to adopt new technology to automate manual processes. Despite the availability of field service management software, 52% of field service organizations still use manual methods for most field service tasks.
But many companies excel at managing all the moving parts of a successful field service business. And no matter which category a company falls under, there are several common characteristics of successful field service organizations.
Align your service business with these five common characteristics of successful field service companies:
Identify, train, and nurture talent
Determine and measure KPIs
Trade suspect for respect
Empower all stakeholders
Take ownership and embrace the future
Identify, Train, and Nurture Talent
Now more than ever, talent management is essential as changes in the industry and growing demands place more importance and responsibility on front-line service personnel. In fact, 89% of service leaders agree mobile workers are a direct reflection of their brand. It’s clear that your field technicians are more crucial than ever to keep your customers happy. Leading service organizations that follow a strategy to identify, train, and retrain are successful in building and maintaining top-flight teams.
Not every worker is great at every skill. A successful service business will identify each team member’s skill set, play to his or her strengths, and develop a clear strategy for improvement. They make a commitment to train each employee closing any gaps in specific skills, and then add talent to the team.
Despite these best efforts for upskilling–the field service industry as a whole is being plagued by a skilled labor workforce shortage. Many successful equipment service management businesses are doing a lot to retain their workforce. They are providing ongoing training, transparency, and support for working to fill the labor gap. But, this is not something that all companies can do.
Determine And Measure KPIs
Field service organizations that do it right are proactive. Instead of working on fixing things blindly, they start by using metrics to track the success of the service and focus on improving it in order to make the customer happy.
Successful service organizations often get the results they want by recognizing universal truths about customer service. Foundational KPIs for field service can include:
- Increased travel efficiencies that translate into faster customer wait times
- Lowest possible repair costs
- Qualified techs with necessary skills being assigned to tasks
- Having the parts and equipment to get the job done right the first time
Metrics-based strategies to set and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) help companies detect problem areas and troubleshoot solutions. It also provides qualified data to identify specific areas of success. So, rather than a company assuming they’re doing well because they have a pile of work orders, they can isolate specific areas of strength, and pinpoint the reasons why they are succeeding.
Trade Suspect For Respect
In an occupation that allows a certain amount of freedom, some techs may not be very disciplined about time tracking. Others may even be tempted to “cheat” if left unchecked.
Mobile technology offers a solution to this problem with continuous field visibility. Punch-clock software provides field techs a fool-proof way to be accurate and honest, while fostering a mutually respectful relationship between the field and back office.
In the past, an organization had only suspicions and no proof that an employee was inflating hours on a traditional timesheet. With field service management software, supervisors know where techs are at all times. And with a phone call, they can determine whether the tech is taking an extra long lunch or picking up a necessary part.
Field service companies must openly share their vision of the enterprise with their workforce, and the mechanisms that will help it thrive. Doing so ensures everyone has a stake in the business’s success. In a transparent environment like this, workers feel respected, and buy into the importance of using software that keeps business practices ethical and productive.
Empower All Stakeholders
All three stakeholders in a successful equipment management service operation – the back office, the technician, and the customer – benefit when they are supported and empowered.
The back office is empowered with visual scheduling software that allows them to make quick and accurate scheduling decisions based on real-time information they receive about location, tech skill sets, parts availability and more. The entire order process is streamlined from call-taking to quoting, to creating work orders, to dispatching. Older processes subject to transcription errors – such as keying handwritten notes from a tech, and filling out paperwork – are eliminated as well.
The field technician is empowered with tools and resources they need to be productive and efficient all day long, helping them get the job done quickly and fixed the first time. From GPS-enabled navigation, to instantaneous service and account history, to collaborating with the field workforce, to having access to manuals and instructional videos, to paperless transactions and more, successful service businesses keep their techs “turning wrenches” and not bogged down with outdated administrative tasks.
The customer is empowered by best-in-class-service from both the field and the office. Field techs provide better and faster service, while the back office has the information they need to follow up with the customer, offering proactive maintenance, and options to save money with contracts and services.
Take Ownership And Embrace The Future
Successful field service organizations work on their businesses, not just in their businesses. They’re tirelessly committed to finding new methods and technologies to improve their operations to serve their customers better. And they make their businesses more successful in the process.
A hallmark of a truly successful company is to accept and embrace change as a constant in business, and not fight against it. Instead of being fearful of the future, they meet it head on, and go with the flow.