Running an electrical field service management operation can be among the more challenging FSOs to manage. (No offense to any others, of course. All have their challenging days.) If a client calls needing an electrician on-site, there’s a good chance that hours of lost productivity could be on the line. For an enterprise-level organization, having faulty electricity for 5-6 hours could potentially represent millions of dollars in losses.
Your clients want an electrician there ASAP, and they want the problem fixed the first time that electrician comes out. So, your first-time fix rate needs to be high. On top of that? The client expects good service, easy invoicing/billing, and all of his or her information to be correct.
Stop and think about this for a second. You send an electrician out to the client’s site with the main goal of repairing the problem. But while that’s the focus, 9-10 other small things need to go right or else the client could end up having a bad experience working with you. The margin for error is really small. If the client believes he or she had a subpar experience once or twice, this client might stop working with you -- even if you consistently fix his or her problems the first time out.
This is because the “product” for any service business, especially an electrical FSO, isn’t really the fixing of the problem. Most of your clients don’t understand electrical wiring at an in-depth level, so they aren’t sure exactly what your electrician is doing when he or she comes on-site. They are judging your quality of service. Is the electrician nice and prompt? Are all the processes easy to follow?
You have a small margin for error in this work, especially if your goal is retaining clients and promoting growth.
How do you take that small margin of error and give yourself some breathing room?
You need to make sure that all your different processes work together effectively, which can be a challenge. When a client calls your electrical FSO, here’s generally what needs to happen:
- Whoever takes the call needs to understand the problem
- Someone needs to know where all your electricians are
- Based on that info, someone needs to schedule an electrician to go out ASAP
- The information about the problem needs to be transmitted to the electrician
- Any inventory issues need to be addressed
- The customer’s information needs to be updated and made available for invoicing
- The electrician has to get to the site and fix the problem
There are a lot of moving parts, and it typically involves four to five people (if not more).
The easiest way to keep all these balls in the air is to use a FSM tool, i.e. a software program that can integrate all the bullet points above into one system.
Of course, this type of software does cost money. (Nothing that can improve your business will ever be free.) You need to convince your boss of its merits, and if you work in a small business electrical FSO, this might be hard. Resources are tight.
But don’t worry. We put together a checklist of how exactly to convince your boss of the need for a FSM tool to make it easier to walk that tight margin of error in your work. You can download it now.