The market growth of field services-based businesses such as plumbers, home cleaners, roofers, tillers, electrics, etc., is highly dependent on the experience it is offering to its customer base. In every single visit, there is a need to satisfy or meet customers' expectations. Yet, in most cases, the customers' feedback to this kind of service is still primarily negative. Many factors come into play and cause the gap between what the customer is expecting and what he is receiving in name of service.
Field services are driven by customer experience and although the nature of service is different for different lines of businesses, yet when it comes to creating a customer experience, one common problem area for field service operators is the lack of visibility into field activities. This root cause leads to various other operational challenges such as:
1. Matching the tasks with the servicemen to ensure first visit effectiveness.
2. Managing the emergencies and reshuffling the schedules accordingly
3. Managing the travel and overhead costs related to it
4. Maintaining a standard process for workflow
5. Setting a feedback loop from the customers to identify the problem areas
6. Managing the productivity leaks in the processes that reduce the efficiency of the field workforce'
Scheduling conflicts - the underlying issue
If the scheduling conflicts in field services can be taken care of, then automatically it will rectify most of the problems mentioned above. However, to achieve the required accuracy in work scheduling, service managers need proper field visibility, and manual efforts are not sufficient enough. Here arises the need to apply field automation.
A field service scheduling software is an apt tool to achieve accuracies in job scheduling. It minimizes conflicts through its automation mechanism. They can manage schedules at complete auto-mode, and even automation-assisted manually overriding is allowed for the customized requirement. These software suites are designed with data mining capacities.
Thus they asses data like the location proximity of servicemen to a job site, their skill sets, their availability based on their prior commitments, availability of tools in their kit, clients' availability, clients' service history to identify if there is any speculation, likewise based on various custom logic, the software identifies the rightly skilled nearest available servicemen for a job.
Using the software, the service manager can create the service calendar even for a bigger team. The automation mechanism ensures that there are no scheduling conflicts - there is no duplicity in the schedules; complex tasks are assigned to the star performers; no servicemen is overburden and no one is underused.
To maximize the efficiency of the field operations, the field scheduling software is powered with added features that further help in improving the customer experience. Some of its added features are:
- It helps with route planning by identifying the optimal route to job sites avoiding
- It supports multiple collaboration tools like phone calls, private chat, group chat, etc., and keeps communication transparent and trackable.
- It allows online data collaboration by storing the organizational data in one common cloud space. It facilitates the auto-syncing of data and also provides offline support.
- It helps with invoice generating and also can archive thousands of those for future reference.
The field service scheduling software helps in improving customer experience by ensuring that always the right servicemen take up the job. Also, it reduces the occurrence of incidents that irritates customers, such as service delay, inefficient servicemen, need for follow-up tolls, communication gaps, lack of customer-convenience provisions, etc.