Times have Changed
- Outdated, siloed systems can’t keep up with the speed of customer demand and need for real-time communication.
- Field service job preparation is critical: The right technician with the right tools must arrive at the right time. Variable route changes, and prior job completion times can affect schedules.
- Paper-process (or white board) saddled dispatchers have little to no visibility into their workforce productivity, availability or even customer requests and appointment changes.
- New requirements for contactless field customer service mean that field technicians must be even more responsive to safety concerns and risk reduction.
- In order to grow via new investment capital, companies must increase operational revenue transparency and provide margin information on every process.
- Companies that rely on old manual processes and dispatching face the risk that competitors will take their customers, and industrial assets will go missing.
Field Service Scheduling and Customer Service
Customer experience is the single most important aspect of field service. Job effectiveness and quality of service are crucial pieces of the puzzle that determine customer satisfaction – as is time management. In fact, 36% of customers won’t rehire a service business if a technician is 30 minutes late.
Service businesses schedule, assign and dispatch thousands of workorders per day. Dispatchers and office support staff must process appointments, assign them to the right technicians with the right skill sets and find suitable times for the work to be completed. Multiple types of work orders that require varied skills and equipment can further complicate matters.
As more and more customers and field service jobs demand on-time efficiency, companies must now improve their ability to mobility-optimize field service management, deliver real-time data to field technicians and create workorder efficiency – in order to increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn.
Five Essential Ways to Reduce Customer Churn in Field Service Operations:
- Augment dispatch via a real-time interactive dispatch board
In old, manual operations, crews and jobs are listed on a whiteboard. Throughout the day, dispatchers move names around the board, erasing previous assignments in the process. Then, a message arrives – the dispatcher needs to know who was assigned to a particular job earlier that day – but the information is gone, having been erased and written over multiple times.Or worse. The dispatcher doesn’t know the status or proximity of a crew to a new job. And in some cases, whether technicians are available, trained or aren’t on vacation.Dynamic scheduling systems eliminate this issue and help generate new efficiencies. For example, a live dispatch board not only shows who is assigned to each job, but also shows where crews are in the field, which jobs they’ve completed, and which orders are still pending.The ability to monitor all crews from a single view enables dispatchers to do more in less time. With the power to react in real time, dispatchers can optimize routes, effectively manage scheduling, and take control of emergencies as they occur.
- Provide Customizable Views
Not every dispatcher works and learns the same way. The same goes for technicians. Though some people like to work with text data, others might prefer a more visual approach. Effective mobile scheduling solutions must make it easy for dispatchers to assign workers and crews quickly and efficiently.Traditionally, dispatchers work with a standard time frame: the present day. The limitation of the dispatcher’s view to only the present can hinder business objectives. By opening the dispatcher’s view to the next week or month, the service business gains the advantage of preparing for future work orders.
- For example, a grid view might be preferable for dispatchers who want to see the names of technicians assigned to each job.
- Alternatively, a map view gives schedulers a look at how the plan for the day is unfolding in real-time, with location insights and proximity-available crews for an immediate job.
- Color-coding makes it even easier for dispatchers to understand priority needs immediately.
- Rather than spend valuable time loading trucks in the morning, crews can gather the resources needed for jobs the next day when they have some downtime in the afternoon on the day prior to the job. This is essential for service organizations that handle large jobs.
- Create Incident/Emergency Smart Alerts
The ability for dispatchers to quickly identify priorities and incidents can significantly improve response times. As the response turnaround time decreases, customer satisfaction increases. Dynamic dispatching tools support this goal using easy to understand iconography and coloring coding.For example, when a priority job appears on the dispatcher’s map, s/he can quickly identify which crew is closest and immediately deploy them to the operation. This is only possible with live data. Cloud-based technology allows the dispatch office to be in direct contact with technicians in the field, as well as customers who need timely service. Customer satisfaction was proven to be 26 points higher for those who interact digitally with their service operation via website and mobile app communication.
- Provide Mobile Work Order Management and Crew Assistance
Equipping field technicians with mobile technology delivers increased customer satisfaction and optimized resources.
Dynamic scheduling tools enable dispatchers to co-assign crews as needed. And with the support of artificial intelligence (AI) and
machine learning (ML), dispatchers can instantly understand which technicians are best suited for each and every job. New cloud-based AI and ML systems are built into easily-installed, secure, cloud-based applications. These apps can process much more data than any human. Intelligent algorithms utilize data input such as technician tenure, skill set, experience level and work order history to dynamically optimize schedules. With ML-assisted assignments, dispatchers can be sure that the most suitable technician is sent to each job. And this increases job success and productivity, as well as customer satisfaction.
- Deliver Real-time Communication and Crew Engagement
When the dispatch office can easily communicate with technicians in the field, more opportunities for optimization arise.Cloud-based software enables dispatchers to send instant in-app notifications to technicians. These function like text messages – which makes them intuitive to use. For example, if there’s a hazard on the road, or a customer cancels a work order, the dispatcher can notify crews of the new route.In addition, as more and more new people enter the Field Service and Asset Management workforce, there will be a mandatory requirement for simple, easy-to-use, any device/anywhere data delivery. New workers will expect the simplicity, info, and data they receive from their personal mobile devices.
Each of these five features helps dispatchers better support crews. In turn, crews benefit from optimized resource planning and
- Dynamic dispatch centers allow dispatchers and crews perform better and deliver on-time service with the right people and tools for the job.
- Crews spend less time traveling and more time working.
- Each new operational efficiency helps the service business to generate more value and ultimately earn the loyalty of every customer it serves.
- This increases field work productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty. And as customer satisfaction goes up, churn goes down.
Over the past year, resilience, change and innovation have driven operational service and management modernization. Many organizations have benefited from these new, paperless, cloud-based solutions. And the value just keeps increasing: digital transformation will provide advantages to an organization’s workers, customers, and business well into the future.
Dynamic, modern mobility and AI-driven scheduling and dispatching solutions empower operations to automate role tasks, gain operational efficiencies, optimize crews and enhance productivity – all creating a better customer experience. And reduce customer churn.
The Digital Transformation process requires planning, possibility-thinking, and mobile dispatching, field service and asset management integration. These are easily implemented with a proven, cloud-based solution that takes a “worker-first” approach to provide operations with a Single View of the Customer.
To learn more about how to gain these benefits at your service business, schedule a free demo of the KloudGin platform today.
About the Author
Vikram Takru is CEO of KloudGin, Inc. He co-founded KloudGin with the vision of creating transformative field service and asset management technology that eliminates silos, connects people, process and technology, and creates access to information where and when it is needed. He is committed to delivering solutions that work for field crews in the toughest conditions.