Any company that sends technicians into the field to perform service or maintenance has dealt with inefficiencies in operations. From overbooked schedules and depleted parts inventories to incomplete and lost work orders, service companies can face a variety of operational challenges that impact profitability and frustrate customers.
Too often, the underlying issue is that technicians don’t have access to critical information in the field and office staff can’t get updated work order details.
In this article we discuss 4 keys to improving service delivery and examine how collaboration technology can help increase the efficiency of work order completion, shorten billing cycles, and improve overall service operations.
#1 – Keep Everyone Informed
A couple of critical key performance indicators (KPIs) for service operations are communication and responsiveness. With the increased use and adoption of mobile technology and cloud-based project management solutions, you can give your team access to up-to-date schedules, work orders, and other important information anytime, anywhere.
- Technicians can see up-to-date job assignments, equipment history, and more from the field—eliminating wasted trips to the office.
- Service managers can improve scheduling and work assignments.
- Technicians can complete work orders on the first visit.
- Office staff can follow up with customers quickly with the most recent information and updates from the service site.
- Parts orders can be sent and approved faster and in real-time.
- Accounting can bill promptly to reduce the payment cycle.
A growing number of contractors are also using this collaboration technology to better communicate with customers. With a self-service website and collaboration portal, customers can request service and check work order status at their own leisure, without having to call your office staff or catch you during “regular” hours.
#2 – Implement a Reliable System
Too many contractors rely on inefficient manual processes that involve layers of spreadsheets and hand-written notes to manage service operations.
But to be successful, you need a better way to stay on top of preventative maintenance agreements, ensure trucks are properly stocked for service calls, and monitor work order profitability. That scattered patchwork of notes won’t cut it.
Today’s service management software collects and secures all information in one centralized hub so nothing gets lost or skipped over. Standardized and automated workflows are built right into the technology so you can keep work orders moving through to completion and final billing in a way that’s consistent and reliable.
#3 – Improve Visibility
There are many moving parts in service delivery from tracking jobs and assigning work to maintaining parts inventories and ensuring timely billing. Managing the sheer number of work orders can be time-consuming and overwhelming.
That’s why it’s critical to provide service managers with tools to track resources and efficiently manage work orders. Collaboration software like Sage Construction Project Center reduces the administrative burden of inefficient paper shuffling and spreadsheet chaos. And with everything collected in one central hub, managers can use dashboard-style reports and dispatch boards get a handle on work orders and other details at a glance.
These graphical tools help improve scheduling for both reactive service and preventative maintenance plus ensure:
- Technician skill sets are matched to the right job.
- Necessary parts are stocked for service calls.
- Work orders can be completed on the first visit.
- Invoices can be sent promptly so you can get paid faster.
#4 – Track Your Service Levels
“More companies have identified service as a way to drive recurring revenue streams,” according to an Aberdeen report that highlights key trends in field service.
This opportunity for recurring revenue streams has encouraged more competition in the industry, making it more important than ever to provide exceptional customer service – which includes the demand for faster service delivery.
More and more companies are turning to new technology that provides automated service management and better collaboration across service operations.
For example, these cloud-based solutions help:
- Simplify service operations and reduce the time to invoice by tracking time, materials, billing amounts, and more from the field quickly and accurately.
- Improve communication between office staff and field technicians by capturing details like time, materials used, notes, and work order status in real time.
- Enhance customer service by giving your clients the ability to take control of their account information and submit service requests anytime, anywhere.
Technology as a Competitive Advantage
Mobile technology and cloud-based solutions are helping to improve collaboration and bridge the communication gap between field technicians, office staff, and customers. In the past, this type of sophisticated technology was reserved for the biggest companies with the deepest pockets. But because cloud software removes much of the upfront cost and technical hurdles, smaller contractors and service providers are beginning to realize that integrating collaboration software into their service operations can yield huge dividends.
Click below to learn more about how collaboration software like Sage Construction Project Center helps contractors improve communication, information sharing, and service levels.