3 Ways Real-Time Communication Can Reduce Field Service Costs
Communication breakdowns lead to poor collaboration, missed service calls, and lower first-time fix rates. Agents scramble to find parts; or dispatchers assign unprepared agents. Or agents far from job sites are sent when there are actually nearer agents available.
Real-time communication has the power to dramatically and immediately reduce costs and drive productivity. Here’s how.
Improve the First-Time-Fix Rate
The first-time fix rate is one of the strongest measures of efficiency in field service. In a nutshell, FTF tells you how often field agents resolve problems during the initial visit to customer facilities. Keeping this number high is a critical part of running a world-class field service organization. To keep costs down utilize real-time communication to equip your technicians with the information they need to complete the service in a timely manner.
- Access to real-time inventory data reduces how frequently an agent doesn’t have the necessary parts on hand to do a job on the first visit.
- Agents connected to internal social networks, knowledge bases, and analytics-driven customer insights can suggest relevant upsells, solve previously invisible problems, and deliver better customer service.
- Using mobile devices to solve on-the-job problems via social networks and video conferencing magnifies impact.
- The same technology can automate and document service calls. Field agents can use tablets and smart phones to capture signatures and photos, refer to bar codes to track parts and keep inventory updated, or access the knowledge base.
The effect? Improved ability to complete jobs the first time, in less time, and at a lower cost.
Create Efficiencies with Real-Time, Automated Adaptability
Adaptability can create efficiencies that drive down costs. Automated routing provides adaptability in real-time by enabling routing changes to be immediately sent to field agents. That reduces costs caused by canceled work orders and delays resulting from missed opportunities.
With automation integrated into CRM, through help desk to dispatchers – and even to accounting and ERP – the process of adapting through automation can be managed, controlled, and refined to maximize efficiency.
Improve Customer Communications without Additional Service Load
Through web portals and mobile apps, customers have real-time access to field service agents, customer service staff, and sales people, and this enables delivery of better customer experiences at reduced costs.
Automation can also drive costs down. With a well-developed self-service portal and native web app, customers can reach out, set up multi-channel alerts, and receive the notifications they want and need. So there are fewer missed appointments because customers are more in the loop. The improvement in service can result in more engaged, satisfied customers and lowered costs through increased efficiencies.
Industry leaders increasingly understand the necessity of integrated technology to power this level of service. Aberdeen Group reports that 43 percent of best-in-class field service organizations see an increased need for integrated service parts and inventory management systems, for example.
When your agents are networked and share information, have access to real-time inventory data, and can sync inventories and service needs to drive efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction, then you have effective real-time communication.