Field service businesses have many moving parts, and this is true whether you’re based in Australia or abroad. From client interactions and scheduling to service tracking and bookkeeping, you need to manage all these elements effectively to succeed. Of course, this is much easier said than done, especially if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to help you optimise your field service processes.
Enhance the client intake process
The client intake process entails collecting the necessary information for your technicians to get to work. This includes the type of service requested, client name, contact details, addresses, and appointment dates.
More importantly, the intake process is an opportunity to prove to your clients that they’ve made the right choice. As such, hiring dedicated customer service representatives to help clients with onboarding tasks and forms is essential. Providing undivided support to clients before they’ve even received service speaks volumes of your company’s values and sets a positive tone for the entire job.
In addition to hiring dedicated staff, you should also make the intake process as simple as possible through online portals and web forms. These technologies can feed vital information directly into your field service management and customer relationship management (CRM) databases, offering significant benefits. For one thing, a comprehensive client database allows customer service reps to identify returning callers and provide more personalised service. For another, completed web forms can be programmed to instantly produce work orders, so you can transition to the dispatching phase seamlessly.
Efficient job dispatching is the cornerstone of an effective field service business, but it can be a fairly complex process. Dispatch managers have to keep track of schedules, process work orders, and assign the right person for the job. Fortunately, technological advancements are helping dispatchers eliminate painstaking processes and become better at performing their jobs.
Implementing dispatching tools gives you complete oversight of work orders and assignments. Central dashboards consolidate important information like job requirements, technician qualifications, weekly schedules, and current job progress. These make it easy to assess an individual technician’s availability and assign them to jobs they’re properly trained for.
What’s more, advanced dispatching software leverages GPS technology, which allows dispatchers to monitor technicians’ locations and assign them work orders that are near their current location. For instance, if a technician is in Blacktown, their next appointment should be in a nearby suburb, not in Maroubra. GPS also helps dispatchers optimise technicians’ routes to reduce travel time and fuel expenses. Moreover, with less time spent on the road, technicians are less tired and are freed up to take on additional service calls.
Ensure high-quality performance
In an ideal scenario, technicians would follow standard work procedures and best practices on every job. However, in reality, complications occur and people can miss crucial steps along the way. To ensure technicians are giving the best service possible, you need to provide comprehensive guidance on workflows and procedures.
Field service management software lets you create step-by-step checklists on how to approach various jobs like installation and maintenance services. If technicians are ever confused about a repair service, for example, they can simply refer back to the checklist for detailed instructions. Checklists can even be used to remind technicians what tools and materials to bring so they’re fully prepared for the job.
Another benefit of clearly mapping out work procedures is that it lets you oversee job progress across the board. If there are significant service delays, you’ll be able to pinpoint the task causing the bottleneck and provide the necessary support.
Communicate effectively with customers
Maintaining open communication with clients is key, particularly when there are important updates regarding a job. A common complaint from many Australian clients is that they’re left completely in the dark about when technicians will arrive. The good news is that field service companies can use automated SMS and email notifications to give clients accurate ETAs and locations. If complications occur, informing clients through these channels can help you better manage expectations.
Beyond automated text messages, you should utilise CRM software to create a robust communication strategy. More specifically, you can use data gathered from clients to craft personalised messages and build rapport with them. CRM also tracks previous client interactions and lets you know the perfect time to follow up with clients so you can encourage repeat business.
Stay on top of accounting
The best way to mitigate time-consuming and error-prone bookkeeping is to go paperless and augment accounting processes with automated solutions. Cloud accounting platforms like Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB Online can be used virtually anywhere with an internet connection. This means technicians will be able to record transactions that occur in the field directly into the company database. They can even process receipts, signatures, and other field information on the spot, eliminating unnecessary travel, repetitive data entry, and tedious paperwork.
You can also attain greater efficiency by integrating cloud accounting platforms with field service software to simplify payroll and invoicing. Field service software instantly captures your workers’ time in the field and job-related expenses, so you can pay and reimburse the right amounts. Additionally, field service software lets your teams create invoices on site upon job completion, hastening the payment process.
Leverage powerful field service management software
It’s clear that optimising your business is not just about telling everyone to work harder. If there’s anything to learn from this blog, it’s that you need advanced technology to drive your business forward.
If your trade business is struggling to run efficiently, embracing advanced field service software like WorkBuddy is a smart move. It offers intuitive features that dramatically improve dispatching, job scheduling, worker performance, invoicing, and so much more.
Request a free demo today to see how WorkBuddy can transform your field service business.