A top-quality customer experience is at the heart of good field service organization management. You want your customers to like and respect the work you’re doing. You also want them to remain customers, and to refer others to your service. Additionally, the effective, productive use of time is most people’s biggest concern.
When you combine these two truths, here’s where you arrive: for your customer experience to be excellent, your scheduling has to be excellent. That’s the cornerstone of field service.
If your scheduling is poor and customers are always waiting for service or they don’t have details on when something might be fixed, those customers don’t tend to stick around for long. Remember: while your technicians have a lot to do in any given day, oftentimes these customers have machines or parts down that represent potentially millions in lost revenue. They want that fixed and fast.
The other phenomenon at play here is the Bullwhip Effect. If your scheduling is poor and the first appointment runs late, your second appointment also won’t start on time. If a technician has six appointments a day, imagine the lag time that could build up. We’re sure the customer wouldn’t be too thrilled.
In short: scheduling is crucial for your FSO.
That said, how do you get better at scheduling?
One of the main reasons scheduling backfires on FSOs is that different teams within the FSO aren’t collaborating. Scheduling can’t simply set up five appointments. They need to work with dispatch on routing, and they need to understand the customers’ needs and how that impacts inventory. All the parts of your organization need to be integrated to make the customers’ experiences valuable ones. You improve your first-time fix rate, which keeps your scheduling on target, by integrating the various aspects of your company.
- Utilize GPS:
Traffic congestion, unfortunately, is a fact of life. But most modern GPS devices take heavy traffic into account, so GPS needs to be utilized by all your technicians. This will help prevent many scheduling back-ups.
- Communicate quickly and effectively with the customer:
If the last appointment of the day is running an hour or more behind, the customer needs to be notified. That customer also needs to be given additional options -- another day, a discount, etc. -- so that he or she feels valued and heard. The communication has to be proactive (it comes from you, not the customer) and transparent (tell the customer what’s really going on).
Those are three big buckets for your FSO -- integrate, use GPS technology, and communicate better -- so how can you pull those off in addition to everything else you have to accomplish in one day?
There’s an easy answer: implement an FSM software solution. FSM software tools will help integrate your business, typically come with GPS already installed, and allow for seamless communication with customers, often right to the customers’ phones.
We understand FSM software presents an additional cost. But FSM software also helps you generate revenue, and that’s a crucial goal of any small business. We’ve put together an eBook on revenue-generating methods for small business FSOs, and you can download it for free. Look it over, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.