The idea of measuring success is tied to the concept of KPIs, or key performance indicators. These are aspects of your business that you measure, and when they’re doing well, the business is doing well. When they’re not, you’re in trouble. Their performance is a key indicator of business success in the field service vertical.
As you build and grow a small business field service organization, you have a variety of different challenges. Most of these arise from a lack of resources compared to some of your bigger, enterprise-level peers and competitors. When resources are a challenge, one of the best ways to counter that is through solid planning. Unfortunately, many organizations aren’t great at planning. They tend to overfocus on task work at the expense of priorities, and overwhelm new ideas and revenue-generating concepts with process. This happens in many small businesses we’ve worked with, as well.
The cornerstone of effective planning is the alignment of strategy (the big picture) with execution (what needs to be done day to day to support the strategy). When strategy isn’t aligned with execution, what happens is that each department determines its own priorities and workflow. Then the departments become disjointed and, instead of everyone on the same page at your company, people are operating from four to five different pages.
Aligning strategy and execution is hard for many organizations, especially because people often confuse ‘strategy’ (which refers to longer-term vision) with ‘operations’ (which refers to how things get done day to day). In addition to that, companies often don’t know what success should look like -- i.e. how to measure it -- aside from “We are making money.”
This idea of measuring success is tied to the concept of KPIs, or key performance indicators. These are aspects of your business that you measure, and when they’re doing well, the business is doing well. When they’re not, you’re in trouble. Their performance is a key indicator of business success.
Depending on which vertical of field service you work in, your KPIs take different forms. Many organizations use first-time fix rate as a major KPI, because it tends to correlate directly with customer satisfaction. Many also use percentage of billable hours, because it tends to show the effectiveness of your techs and processes in getting techs successfully to customers. Again, though, KPIs can vary by organization.
There’s one important thing to remember about how to tie KPIs to ultimate revenue growth, though. Oftentimes corporate leaders will say something in a meeting like, “We want to build a data-driven culture,” and regular employees aren’t exactly sure what that means -- so it sounds like a series of buzzwords.
In reality, you should want to build a data-driven culture. Many companies claim to do that, but instead the data is only accessible by a few top people and maybe some analysts. It’s hard to have a data-driven culture without transparency, and it’s hard for KPIs to mean anything without a data-driven culture. Here’s how you can get better at this:
- Embrace transparency: Some of your information is proprietary or needs to be guarded, but not all of it is. Have your data in one system -- ideally an FSM software tool -- and let everyone look at it. You can use different permission levels in terms of how much access different people can have, but your entire company should be able to see various performance data.
- Provide weekly insights: Every Friday morning designate one person -- be it an analyst or someone in sales/marketing -- to send an e-mail to the entire staff recapping the past week in terms of key data points, website traffic, and anything else worth noting. This is crucial to building a culture where people really understand and care about KPIs and data. That type of culture will help you drive revenue. On the other hand, a culture where data is clustered among only a handful people and KPIs are never mentioned will help you drive task work and high turnover.
- Tie everything back to goals and KPIs: If you launch a new project or marketing campaign, explain it to everyone working on it in the context of company goals and KPIs. Don’t just say, “We’re doing this because X-person said so.” Any time a person at your SMB field service organization works on a project, he or she should clearly understand the goals of the project and how those goals will be measured. What will success look like? If he or she doesn’t understand that, this person’s work is essentially happening in a vacuum. If you have too many projects occurring in a vacuum, it’s very hard to drive revenue.
These are complex topics even for the best-organized companies, so we put together an eBook on revenue growth in your FSO. Because it was written to be read across multiple types of field service, it doesn’t address every possible pain point for your specific company -- so if you read it and have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve worked with hundreds of SMB FSOs and would love to help yours. For now, begin by downloading this eBook.