By Logan Lyster, ECI Software Solutions
While it has been a busy year for field service professionals, there are always threats looming around the corner. In today’s economic climate, this has never been truer with profit margins becoming increasingly tight and costs continuing to rise across the board.
To drive efficiencies and cost savings, more field service businesses are starting to understand the importance of software and what it can do for their business to streamline and automate daily operations. Beyond creating more efficiencies, the right technology can increase overall productivity by enabling smart dispatching, providing access to real-time data, and the ability to gain deeper insights into the business.
When balancing multiple technicians and a busy schedule, it can be challenging for field service businesses to keep sight of their day-to-day operations while gathering the right insights to make business-conscious decisions. Smart dispatching allows field service businesses to manage their days effectively while gathering the insights needed to make big business decisions. For example, smart dispatching solutions go beyond surface-level information to track the roles, skills, time conflicts, and distance to jobs to select the best technician and create optimal outcomes with the given variables.
Having a solution that can track a technician’s closing ratios, average tickets, callback ratios and other variables that impact the level of service is critical when determining the best technician for a job. Most of the time, if an organization is running on static worksheets, they are not able to track what those numbers look like. Data and cloud-based solutions are becoming more critical in all aspects of business, especially for dispatching, since they let organizations have a better sense of how each job impacts the bottom line. For example, tracking the average revenue per employee per job, how much revenue can be expected to be brought in for a service, and what the net profits should be. With today’s challenging macroeconomic environment, having this level of visibility can create another layer of resiliency within the business, so field service professionals always have an accurate sense of where their numbers should be and where they're currently trending when making everyday decisions.
Real-Time Data And Tracking KPIs
As we touched on, data is one of the most powerful resources for field service professionals because of its ability to help inform better decisions across every aspect of the business. From scheduling and routing to flagging customer requests and tracking leads, there are many moving parts and important key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor and track over time to measure the performance of the business, which can be used to adjust and streamline workflows over time.
While there's a KPI for almost everything within the industry, it’s important to determine which ones carry the most weight for your business goals. For example, tech-qualified leads show which field service professionals are generating the most customers and closing rates give insight into which of your leads are being converted into a sale. Both of these metrics are critical for field service organizations of all sizes that are looking to grow their customer base and identify their best representative for the job.
However, capturing data is just the first step in the process to streamline and optimize daily operations. Measuring data over time helps field service professionals track patterns and answer more questions about the business such as changes in seasonality demand that can impact staffing and profitability. Having the right platform that can measure the right variables and present them in a digestible format can elevate any field service business on the journey to becoming a data-driven organization.
Finding An All-In-One Solution
One of the biggest challenges that come from a business wanting to take the step to become more data driven is finding the right platform that does everything in an all-in-one solution. When you skip this research phase, all of a sudden you have maybe four or five different platforms that have to be used simultaneously. This just contributes to the chaos of data silos and untrustworthy data that comes from working off books and static documents. Everybody has heard the terminology "garbage in, garbage out" and that is especially true when it comes to unreliable data.
The best advice is to spend the time finding a platform that covers all the key areas, from smart dispatching and quoting to reporting and customer management. Whether you are a plumber, electrician, or HVAC technician, having a platform that is an all-in-one solutions sets you up in the best position to achieve any type of business goal. Innovative tools such as business management software are an example of a type of solution that brings together all areas of the business so field service professionals can streamline operations and focus on closing more business.
As we continue into the second half of 2022, field service professionals need to be prepared for the unexpected. We’ve faced unprecedented times before and have come out stronger on the other side. With the right mindset and tech tools, I expect this industry will rise to the challenge once again and continue to find innovative solutions that let them put their best foot forward.
About The Author
Logan Lyster is Regional Sales Executive, Field Service Division at ECI Software Solutions.