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5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Field Service Business

Posted on the 10 February 2012 by Fleetmatics @fleetmatics

GPS tracking for field service1. Make a Plan to Improve

It sounds obvious, but do you actually take the time to write down ideas and plans for how you want to improve the business each year? Get it out of your head and into an organized format. Maybe even get that original business plan out, dust it off and consider if you’ve honored your original intentions. Areas to consider:

  • Pricing policies: Is it time to raise prices or change your pricing structure? Are you losing jobs to competitors because of price?
  • Training: Do your technicians spend their time servicing customers or trying to figure out what to do next? Are they calling the office frequently with questions?
  • Overhead costs: Are your technicians wasting fuel because of poor routing? Are you paying excessive overtime?
  • Measurement: Are you measuring the right things? (average stop time, fuel use, etc.)

2. Implement a Referral Program

Start by surveying your customers about your service. Not only will you gain valuable insights into your performance, you’ll likely identify a few raving fans who can become excellent sources for referrals. Figure out what you can afford to pay for a referral (a free service visit, a Gift Card, etc.), outline the rules (does the referral need to actually purchase something or not, for instance), then begin a call or postcard campaign to solicit referrals from your customers. Just be sure you think through the implications of a sudden wave of referrals both in terms of workload and referral payment.

3. Re-Focus on Customer Service

Honoring Appointments

5 Things You can Do Right Now to Improve Your Field Service Business

Do you honor your appointments with rigor? If you say your technician will be there at 9am, do they arrive at 9:15, leaving your customer to start generating negative feelings before the work even begins? According to a survey by TOA Technologies, 2011 saw a $37.7 billion economic impact for the total time people spent waiting for scheduled services. Are you part of the problem or the solution?

Get it Right the First Time

Do your technicians have what they need to get the job done right the first time or are they often having to go back several times? Your customers now need to make another appointment and they may simply look elsewhere.

Technician Attitude

You might cringe if you heard the way some of your technicians talk to customers. Even if they show up on time and do a great job, your customers may not call you back if they don’t like the technician. Do some ride-alongs and pay attention to the conversations your techs have with customers. Correct any issues as soon as you get back to the van.

4. Re-evaluate Your Suppliers

Do you experience lengthy waits on parts? Does it seem like everything you ask for is a special order? You may have a good relationship with a supplier but don’t let that cloud your judgment if it’s time to make a change. Your technicians, your operations team and, most importantly, your customers suffer when they have to scramble for parts and you pay for urgent shipping.

5. Explore Additional Markets

Are there services you could add that would expand your customer base? If you focus on B2C, can you expand into B2B? Can you expand your service zone with some more efficient routing and fuel saving measures like GPS tracking? Do your technicians have skills that could expand your offerings into other areas? You may discover a new market that’s a no-brainer. Just be sure to understand the impact it might have on your business and your current customer base if you need to stretch resources.

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