If you’re operating a small business, then every aspect of your business must be optimized – and that includes field service operations. In fact, taking advantage of such optimization may help a business survive and thrive in the long run. But here’s a shocking fact: There are potential opportunities for economies in field services, that many businesses either aren’t aware of, or ignore. The use of feature-rich, intelligent, mobile-enabled field service scheduling tools can help businesses tap into those efficiencies.
Small Business Field Service Challenge#1: Remote Assist
Skilled field technicians are an invaluable asset for any service organization. The efficient use of a few, highly technical, and constantly in-demand, skills is always a top priority for every organization. One challenge, for many small business owners who are either in the service business, or who manage their own in-house field service operations, is the optimization of those skills. That’s a concern that field service management software for small business addresses.
Frequently, a service technician is enroute to one service location, and is then re-routed to another critical call. This is a loss of valuable time, and often results in employee frustration and increased stress.
The challenge with managing scarce resources is typically not the fact that they are “scarce”, but how to more efficiently leverage their time and availability constraints. Often, service organizations may choose to:
1. …pay premium (overtime) rates and have those resources handle all demands made on their time and skills; OR
2. …schedule work requests around their schedule, which might mean delaying some tasks, or declining other client orders
Neither of these responses are ideal, because both result in a tradeoff – higher costs, reduced revenue (from lost client billing). With the help of features, such as Remote Assist, full-featured service business management software allows small businesses to have the best of both worlds.
While field service technicians are on scene, and need higher-level technical expertise, they tap into the skills of more experienced colleagues remotely, using cameras and voice communication through smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The benefit: The ability to more optimally schedule highly-experienced, more costly to support more clients and field staff without requiring those more-experienced staff to undertake long, expensive, and arduous field trips.
Small Business Field Service Challenge#2: Intelligent Mapping & Routing
Another area where planning and scheduling is a challenge, for field service-oriented businesses, is the routing of field staff to and from service calls. The issue is amplified where teams are new to a service destination, or where the trip requires several stops on route to the final destination, or if the teams encounter unforeseen situations – like accidents, bad-weather road closures, or construction delays – necessitating rerouting of a trip.
For busy service teams, this can be especially frustrating, because it results in delayed service requests, and backed-up service queues. In some instances, this can impact Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with client organizations – whether internal or external. Through intelligent mapping features, field force management software can help plan, organize, and guide service teams on the most efficient route from/to service locations.