Is Rising Field Service Operations Cost Hurting Your Business? Here is How You Can Reduce It
In the field service market, where every service-call matters, the fact that there is a high cost associated with each service delivered is detrimental for the value delivered to the customers. But when the needs of the customers are diverse and not the only factor that influences the cost to service delivery, how can a business with field service operations exploit the different methods of cost-saving in their favor?
Field service management companies, regardless of the industry, need to look at their entire service management lifecycle from the two perspectives to reduce field service delivery cost:
- Cutting cost on outdated practices
- Increasing service calls to increase the top and bottom-line
Effective action in these directions can help them remove the hindrances to optimize sales and service delivery, improve field service staff productivity, and enhance asset management—all the essential elements of having a cost-effective field service operations.
Tips on Reducing Field Service Operations Cost
Reducing on-site service cost is neither a straightforward process nor a short-term journey. As a business leader, you need to track the full lifecycle of the field service and the associated delivery cost to discover the practices that are causing revenue leakages. Once you get your hands-on those obsolete, expensive practices, replace them with a more cost-effective one. But while doing so, do not let the cost-saving measures conflict with:
- Delivering customer value
- More efficient field service processes
- Maintaining the profit margin
- Reputation and credibility of the company
Here are some tips for cutting costs on field service management practices and simultaneously increasing the service calls in a day.
1. Look into Your First-Visit Effectiveness Stats
It is one of the most reliable yet complicated methods to reduce the cost of on-site service delivery. In order to resolve the issue quickly and correctly in the first-visit, a field service manager needs:
- Accurate information of the issue
- The right talent for the task
- Ability to match talent with tools to fix the issue
With these essentials, a field service manager can shorten the length of time a field service technician spends at the client’s location and thus attend more calls in a day. You can use the image or video support to brief the technician about the incident so that they can fully prepare themselves before reaching the client’s location.
2. Is Your Scheduling Practice Up-to-date?
There are a number of small steps that can save you money without compromising quality. One such step is smart scheduling and dispatching.
So, how do you schedule work orders for field service technicians? Is your scheduling practice up-to-date?
Let’s take a simplistic example. Mark has a work order at 11:00 AM and another at 4:00 PM. As time cannot be compromised on either of the work orders, the scheduling manager must create new schedules that fit into Mark’s day plan.
You would not be able to properly schedule all the work orders for Mark if you lack the real-time location information of Mark and where the tasks are to be performed.
Automation comes as a great relief for field service managers struggling to improve their scheduling efficiency of the team. Using a smart scheduling and dispatching system, they can track the location of field technicians, and assign new tasks nearest to their location. This way, they can reduce their travel time, save cost incurred on traveling, and finish more jobs in a day. A win-win situation for everyone, client, company, and the field technician.
3. Move Away from Redundant, Paper-based Processes
Information is collected from a variety of sources throughout the service delivery process. If you have hired people to collect and report the information, it is time to switch to automated methods of collecting a variety of information such as signatures, invoices, warranty and contracts, attendance and leaves of the employees and so on.
Review your entire field service management lifecycle and identify the processes that are redundant or extensively dependent on paper. Check the cost associated with the people managing those processes and then plan on automating those processes so that you can effectively minimize all the middlemen and associated cost.
4. Inventory Optimization
Re-examine your service levels to plan on your inventory size. Use advanced systems to get real-time information about your inventory, including the tools you need on an immediate basis or the tools that are not being used for a long time. This level of acute monitoring of your inventory can help you to plan on quick and necessary replenishments.
5. Save Cost on Recruitment and Training
An efficient field service technician can complete more service calls in a day with quality, and if you are able to recognize the most efficient technicians in your organization, you can make strategies to retain them.
As the talent war is looming in the field service industry, retaining your best talent is an effective method to save cost on hiring and training. However, the recognition should be data-driven and must not be influenced by any biases. Use field service management software in which you can set the metrics and it will provide you with the related data such as the number of tasks completed by the technicians, the number of issues resolved correctly, and so on.
This way, you will be able to compare the skills and abilities of every member of your team and plan on compensation, training, and rewards effectively.
6. Real-time Business Information
Having real-time information about your business will strengthen your decision-making capabilities. The information varies from individual field technician to overall performance of your business in a specific timeframe. For instance, if you have the knowledge of:
- The areas where you are getting most of your business?
- Where does your field service technician spend most and least of their time?
- How does your field service technician is responding to customer queries?
- How long do they take to complete a task?
you will be able to bring on incremental change in the field service delivery process, essential for reducing field service costs.
If you are far behind on your bills, these are some ways you can cut on expenses and direct the flow of your business earnings to a more leaner, automated, and error-free process. Also, as a field service business is usually location-specific and to bring in more revenue to your business, invest in increasing your business outreach. Take help of tools to complete the work orders of a larger market, keep information of your business on your fingertips, and take more bold, effective, and data-driven decisions.