Field Service Solution is not an entirely new concept. In fact, it has been around for many years! But majority of Field Service companies around the world haven’t fully embrace it yet. That’s because there are many Field Service Solutions myths surrounding their benefits and usage.
Don’t let these myths about Field Service Solutions discourage and stop your company from becoming more efficient! In this article, we’ll list down some of the most common Field Service Solutions myths and misconceptions. Along with these, we’ll also provide scenarios and examples to explain the real facts behind each myth.
Common Myths About Field Service Solutions
1. Field Service Solutions Don’t Meet Customer Demands
In an ever-changing technological market, you need to stay ahead because business as usual is only temporary. Customers are becoming more demanding and doing this by paperwork seems to be harder and harder. Customers now demand shorter lead times, accurate and timely billing. In some cases, they even want you to fill out their paperwork in addition to your own!
Have you become a technology company?
GE once said that they were a manufacturing company and one day they woke up and they were a technology company. It seems as if the old way of getting a call, having a technician go out and do the work, writing up the paperwork, having the customer sign it and then them wait
Is “Special Handling” a “Big Headache”?
Special handling was then invented, which works well for the office who has all the information. But how do you transform and relay this information into the hands of the technician who must make decisions on what they do when they do it?
How will they do it? And not to mention the biggest problem of all, Purchase Orders.
Bottleneck #1: PURCHASE ORDERS
Purchase Order (P.O) bottlenecks is one thing that will cause everything to come to a halt. Customer sometimes require the PO before you go on-site while others require that you have it before you leave. How do we tell the customer that it’s the management making the decision? It appears as if the customer is setting you up to fail.
Bottleneck # 2: PAPERWORK CRAWL
Your dispatcher receives a call from the customer because they have access to their needed information. Once they’ve taken the call and opened the service order, they’ll choose a technician to take care of it. This tech receives the service order via call or email and know they need to take care of this customer. If it’s a phone call, there’s an additional discussion on how to handle this customer. If done via email, they will attach the instructions on how to handle this customer.
The technician receives this information, gets to the site, and does most of the work. But they may not remember all the information from the phone call or email to complete the order! After turning in the paperwork, it goes into the bottom of the dispatcher’s stack of service orders to close out. The dispatcher may see that the technician didn’t follow specific instructions. So they’ll send the technician back to get it right. If they do send them back, this will more than likely not be billable.
Bottleneck #3: THE DREADED SNOWBALL MEETING
To make matters worse you have the technician “snowball” meeting, which we call spending money to make money. This is when technicians hang out and talk to each other because they don’t see each other that often. They use this time to catch up with issues, items, and friends.
A two-hour meeting ends up being a four-hour meeting. Because now the techs are at the shop and might as well offload parts they need to offload and pick up what they need. And even talk to whoever they need to talk to. You can see how this snowballs fast. This process is not fast, intuitive, or responsive and more importantly, it is costing you money.
Introducing Field Service Solutions
This is how we handle the fast-changing customer landscape.
We developed the technology that is responsive, intuitive, configurable, and fast. Field service solutions are completely designed for this. These field service solutions can do work in a matter of minutes or even seconds. You can compare this with the old-fashioned way that is taking up hours or even days!
Our Field Service Solution may be the right fit for you. Call us now!
Case Study # 1 on Field Service Solutions
In Field Service Solution, customer requirements are set up and put in area where it’ll be updated on each service order. Once a customer calls the company, their concern will be forwarded to the dispatcher. The dispatcher will allocate the open service order to the technician using the Field Service Solution. This time, it will come with the instructions and is set up in a way that it wouldn’t be missed. Techs now have a greater chance of handling customers properly. This is because everything is right there in the service order they received.
The Efficiencies of Field Service Solutions
If a warehouse manager doesn’t want to issue a P.O, the tech can show them instructions that dictate they can’t leave without it. This can happen with zero conversation with the office and saving valuable time for technicians on the job. For technicians, this saves them 6 minutes each (on the low end). That’s already saving an hour of productivity across the entire team! In addition to that, the customer gets a receipt right away for proof that the service was provided after signing. The receipt or invoice will be sent to multiple people through distribution groups handled by the customer or multiple emails.
The Benefit of Field Service Solutions
Field service solution help keep your customers by allowing them to have their way. And the solution will also give your techs the ability to quickly react to it. Imagine, getting a phone call from your customer changing the threshold for Periodic Maintenance (PM) “additionals” from $500.00 to $750.00. How do you immediately get that out to your technicians? How can they start getting that extra $250 without having to call for additional approvals?
Think of how you currently do it VS how getting it out to the right people at the right time would be paramount.
2. Extending Business Systems to the Field is Too Complicated
This is another one of the Field Service Solutions myths. I once heard a salesman say, “Why do we want to give all of our information out to technicians who normally move around from place to place?”. I asked the salesperson in return, “Why would we give all of our information to a salesperson who moves around all the time?”.
The Multiple “Faces” of Your Company
This question took the salesperson by surprise because the truth is, he can’t do his job without the information. And neither can a technician! Salesmen may be the face of your organization but in a service company, your technicians are the heart.
How much information is provided to the technicians? Is it enough?
Field Service Management Technology is what CRM Technology is for Sales People
We use things like Customer Relation Management (CRM) systems that give salesmen access to information critical in handling a customer. But it seems that we withhold customer information from technicians. Some companies will give them what they think they need. Technicians need a lot of information e.g: who worked with the customer last, the work history, what parts were used, when the last PM was, what was marked as bad on the last PM that was’t taken care of and many, many other things.
Discovering “Soft Savings” Now
Soft savings is more than just about finding time — it’s also all about eliminating waste. The saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” is what soft savings are: doing the job right the first time. There’s always something else your people could be doing that can make your company more money. This is compared to what they’re currently doing — especially when it comes to duplicate work!
The Modern Empowered Field Service Technician
Having access to needed customer information empowers your technicians. They can do their work faster, smarter, and better than they ever have before. The time and effort to get work done is reduced because the information is extended out to the field.
3. It Takes Too Long to Train Technicians on Field Service Solutions
Some people believe that it takes too long to train field service technicians in the new technology. This is one of the most mentioned Field Service Solutions myths! Because the technology they’ll train on is just what they need in this modern world. Read more about technology and training here.
Case Study # 2 on Training
Let me share with you a story. We were looking for a way to go mobile and decided to extend the ERP system to the technicians. We also wanted to teach them how to do their own orders. The teams sat down and mapped out how long it would take to do this. Everybody thought this was a great idea until the training started. We expected half a day for a week to teach them how to handle the ERP system. We believed we only needed to focus on a few items. Things didn’t go as expected. The training ended up taking two weeks and nearly full days to train a group of technicians.
To correct this, we decided not to teach about ERP systems. It’s way too complicated for what technicians need to know. Instead, we developed a field service solution for them. This field service system only needed them to fill out the things that they already knew. This is because they were already doing it through paperwork. We hid the complicated subjects from the technicians. Our training then went from two weeks down to about four hours!
Rapid Adoption by Technicians
We got incredible buy in because this technology was saving the field service reps time. It allowed them to do their jobs better with fewer headaches. And it only took about four hours to train them! They were ready to leave the office after training and go straight out to the sites to use it. And this is compared to the other ways of doing things like what we did initially. The common misconception that it takes weeks and months to train technicians is only just that — a Field Service Solutions myth.
4. Field Service Solutions Don’t Assist in Upselling
This is another Field Service Solution myth!
Following the work history trail is exactly what techs look for if they need to see the who, what, where, when, and how of a service order. This will help them understand what the customer might need in the future. This is one of the most important things that technicians get in their Field Service Solution. After the history is a step in their app called Finalize. This is the step where customers get to review everything that was done. It’s like your work order but in digital format. The customer could see the parts, the labor, the description of the exceptions and most importantly, suggested repairs.
Suggested repairs or upselling… It’s just like McDonald’s follow up question to every order, “Would you like fries with that?”. The fact that customers can see and review suggested repair can empower your techs to perform the upsell!
5. Field Service Technicians Won’t Embrace Technology
We ran across this in the past and this was what most of the Service Managers told us: It’s mostly because they did not take time to look at the big picture.
I attempted to roll out the ERP system to a group of technicians and ended up as a disaster. It took weeks to train as most technicians were unable to follow the instructions to complete a Service Order. This might’ve been a failure, but it was also a gold to me. We took that information, built an application, and asked what the techs needed and already knew. We let this built application do the heavy lifting for them.
Field Service Technicians May Surprise You
If you give the technician more than you what you ask of them, they’ll accept it easily. But in this case, we ask them to do less than they already do like filling out paperwork.
In this app, the customer address is already there and we use codes for the work performed to reduce the amount of typing needed. Typing short cuts are also available as drop downs to reduce the time it takes for a technician to fill out his story. The tech will only need to add exceptions and additional notes. The biggest thing we gave them was a way to lookup a customer’s history. They can find out what happened last time something was worked on even if they didn’t do the work.
We also gave them a way to see the PM Parts Used on previous orders, so a new tech could learn from the more experience. This reduced the paperwork time in almost half or less for a technician. This helped in getting them to accept and desire these field service solutions over paperwork. When we rolled it out, there were specific customers who wouldn’t use it. But it’s the technicians who helped convince these customers that it’s okay to use and let them see the benefits.
The fact is, Field Service Solutions will have a very quick, rapid, and high adaption rate by the field service techs because this saves them time and allows them to do the job better.
6. Data Isn’t Secure in a Field Service Solution Environment
Your Field Service Solution could be as secure as your home devices. We understand that protecting your data is even more important when devices are used outside your corporate network. For Field Service Solutions, all client-server communications are encrypted.
Data security includes:
- Invisible two-factor authentication
- Secondary authorization for registration to your servers (optional)
- SSL support to double-encrypt client-server communications
- User authentication via encrypted password or via Active Directory/LDAP
- Automatic logoff of inactive users
- Remote database wipe and device lockout
- And so much more!
Data security is built-in in Field service Solutions.
7. Field Service Solutions Won’t Help Save and Earn Money
We’ve covered several items above that are directly related to savings in Efficiency and Cost that’s referred to as Soft Savings. Once implemented, you’ll start realizing and seeing these savings and notice that the emergency factor is reserved for real emergencies. Some areas may need more effort in identifying how to achieve Soft Savings. But you’ll eventually notice that your work operation is running more smoothly and everyone knows where to find things. But best of all, your employees are now focusing on the items that mean the most to your company and customers.
Get Even More Savings
When things run smoothly, other savings just jump off the page.
Increase in First Time Fix (FTF), for instance by 5% can add hundreds and thousands of dollars to a Service Companies’ bottom line. Increase in efficiency reduces costs and allows the technicians to handle more in the same amount of time.
Inventory is also a big one since we reduce parts in vans that are just going for a joy ride each month. Field Service Solutions also helps right sizing the vans to reduce inventory in the warehouse. The customers are coming to you because you have these Field Service Solutions. This is because your technicians are more efficient when at the sites. in addition to this, they get their invoices faster which allows them to control cost and react faster.
The list of benefits goes on and on and on and on! This is the reason most companies look to these solutions — for the cost savings.
Don’t Let These Myths Discourage You Ever Again
It’s time to let go of these misconceptions. Field Service Solutions have many benefits that your service company can enjoy. It’s time to turn slow, clunky processes into quick, nimble automated ones through an easy and simple Field Service Application.
With this, you can make work easier for everyone and save your company time and money. Do more with your work force by doing less. With Field Service Solutions, your business can work smarter while keeping both employees and your customer happy.
Schedule a call with us now to discuss your very own Field Service Solution business plan. We offer FREE CONSULTATION for interested service companies who are looking to be more efficient with their business processes. We might be the perfect fit for you!
On our Field service Solution, UR-TECH:
“Since rolling out (URDesigns), service department workflow has improved with less paperwork, reduced scanning, and fewer extra phone calls and emails. This has also helped us complete service calls faster and get customers up and running more quickly.”
– Pete Cicero, I.T Director, H&K Equipment Group
Founder and CEO of URDesigns Inc.
For over 20 years, he has perfected the art of connecting field personnel to a company’s business systems. Usually to improve overall efficiency and productivity, just to name a few of the benefits. He founded URDesigns with the aim to partner with customers. URDesigns help organize companies’ existing business processes, streamline it, and then drop all the unnecessary complexities; all while packaged in our capable business applications.