Plug revenue leakage with field service management software

What’s the average days sales outstanding (DSO) for your business?

If you have a paper-based process, then this could be contributing factor.  Many service providers find it difficult to make sufficient time for end of month reconciliation and chasing debtors – you are just trying to keep up with meeting customer demands and managing your employees.  Paperwork and admin tasks can pile up and collecting outstanding accounts handed off to other admin staff to deal with – at further cost to your business.

Revenue leakage stalls growth and reduces profitability for business owners

Revenue leakage can be a problem for service providers with mobile workers.  If you do not have an efficient system with full visibility of what workers are doing during their day, how long they are actually on site and feeding that information accurately back to the office for billing, funds will potentially flow out of your bank account faster than they flow in. It can be challenging to keep on top of everything as well as build for growth and revenue may not be reflective of your efforts.

 

leaky bucket

Mobile field service workers are responsible for customer satisfaction and keeping accurate records for invoicing

Field service workers have the responsibility of not only servicing their customers, but also of managing the job transactions, materials used and invoicing. This includes ensuring that signatures are captured at the beginning and completion of each job, delivering accurate paperwork for invoicing and making sure warranties and contracts are adhered to.

When something goes wrong, it can lead to disputes with customers, which delay payment on work performed or sacrifice what could have been the ideal up-selling opportunity, repeat business and referrals.   You then lose precious time remedying the situation for a customer as well as impact your ability to collect payments that are due.

A smart and simple solution is to implement a mobile software solution

A field service management platform can help you better manage jobs, workers and invoicing all in one easy place.  Automated job alerts, reports and invoicing will save you hours of painful admin each month.  You can focus on growing your business by providing excellent, prompt service and keep your customers updated with automated alerts and status updates.  You can also replace arduous invoicing each month with automatic invoicing which email the invoice to the customer as soon as the job is completed.

Best in Class continue to invest in mobile technology for real-time visibility into service work

Aberdeen Group highlighted in their Empower Tech 3.0 report that the Best in Class continue to invest in mobile technology to ensure the service team and teams that interact with the field have real-time visibility into service work.  Furthermore, 8 out of 10 organizations see mobility as a strategic initiative for their business and top performers are using mobility to drive at key metrics for success – such as customer and employee satisfaction, workforce utilization, first-time fix, and service contract renewals.

So think about where revenue leaks could be occurring in your business due to gaps in your current workflow and systems.  Then book a live demo or signup for a free trial and see how vWork can help you to plug them up for good!

 

 

Emerging Workforce in the Field: Young, Tech-Savvy and Collaborative

Recently I read an interesting report published by Aberdeen Group about the emerging workforce – young, technology-savvy and collaborative. Aberdeen also reported that on average, today’s technicians carry two devices to complete their work utilizing a combination of smartphones, tablets, laptops (Service Mobility: The Right Technology for the Tech, August 2014).  The reports highlight how businesses now have the opportunity to ensure that vital information is included in the job form for the field service worker doing the job, ensuring workers arrive onsite armed with the necessary background to get the job done quickly.

Few workers today will stay with one company forever.  Unfortunately the vast majority of companies are ill prepared when it comes to succession planning and 60% of organisations surveyed were reactionary when it came to recruiting – they only recruited when there was an open position.

The problem is not only finding the next worker as a reaction to a departure, but also ensuring that your organisation understands their needs and motivations in order to keep these new recruits for the long haul.  And as these new workers begin their journey with the team, companies and business owners must manage the way in which this next generation uses, processes, and engages with technology as this is the opportunity for future success.

What younger workers lack in experience, they can make up for in social and mobile skills

Today, approximately one-fifth of the current workforce is under 30, with the average age of a field service technician being 32 years old. Field service organisations must therefore recognize what the needs and motivations of this new, up and coming workforce are, in order to keep them for the long haul as well as to attract the next pool of young talent.

There are several traits and preferences that typify today’s younger field service worker; they are 30 years old and younger, tech savvy (they grew up with computers), and collaborative (social networks are a way of life).  These workers are able to attain and evaluate data faster than ever.  But the integral part is how quickly data is turned into insight and answers which can translate into a better, faster service for your customers.

 

tech savvy worker

It is their technology savvy and collaborative traits that will help to make younger workers valuable to your business.  Speed of communication via social and mobile allow new, tech-savvy workers to solve problems more quickly and ensure resolution to a customer’s problem is not delayed because of a lack of information.

Tech-savvy workers do not want to be tied down by outdated, legacy technologies. They want the freedom to engage with the latest technologies they have been using in their personal lives. As a result, the mobile landscape for fleet and field service organizations is evolving and the emerging worker is helping to speed up this transformation.

Losing a seasoned technician can be potentially devastating to a service business but top performing organizations ensure that they are able to capture as much knowledge from these workers before they leave.  The new worker can be well equipped with tools like smart phones, apps and social media to learn from as well as teach more seasoned workers in the team.

Customers demand exceptional service

In the past, much like a generation of technicians gone by, the customer was willing to wait for service resolution.  There weren’t as many options, before social media it was harder to search or get referrals and many service issues were less than critical.  Today that is no longer the case.  The customer expectation is that the service organization will fix the issue right away – and fix it right the first time.  The service worker must be able to provide a fast diagnosis of the issue, find the answer right away, fix the issue AND make the customer feel valued before moving on to the next call.  This could be the perfect challenge for the emerging worker utilizing a powerful combination of mobile devices and field service management software.

Attract the next great field service leader 

Meeting the changing needs of a customer requires that a service provider has the right resources to deliver these expectations.  The most important part of service delivery is the technician who is actually on site and interacting with the customer at their time of need.  These mobile service workers are the face of the business for the customer and more often than not, the hero when resolution is reached.  The Best in Class outperform their peers in regard to retaining the field heroes they have, but almost as importantly, they are able to find, hire and train the next field service heroes that are essential to sustainability.

New technology adoption empowers service teams with information

Mobile, video and social technology adoption by a business isn’t about jumping to the next cool thing. The business value of these tools is empowering service teams with the information they need on-demand. Mobile technology allows technicians and service workers to quickly find product, part and equipment information which update in real time to more quickly repair and resolve customer issues.

Collaborative tools, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, offer the opportunity to take advantage of mobile apps. There are a number of custom apps on the market that are tailored to helping manage a field service operation and simplifying the business processes.

Mobile apps offer utility service technicians the ability to share, store and view job data while in the field, providing them with a virtual link to the back office. Critical information such as daily tasks, customer histories and billing can be accessed on demand. In addition, locations of nearby teammates can be accessed on a mobile device and a real-time connection provided through social networking, enabling them to seek assistance or help resolving a problem.

Having the tools and capabilities to work more collaboratively, and having access to real-time insight, empowers workers to make more strategic decisions. The speed of communication through social and mobile allow them to solve problems quickly and ensures resolution is not hampered by lack of information.

Mobile technology results in higher levels of communication and team collaboration

Technicians can easily recruit help from co-workers and are better enabled to reach appointments on time and achieve first-time issue resolution, leading to increased customer satisfaction and worker productivity while reducing operational costs.

An additional advantage of recruiting workers who are already well equipped to use mobile solutions, such as smartphones and social networking, is that they are well placed to teach other workers. Mobility solutions can then be adopted throughout the workforce.

The connection to the business and the customer is integral for field service.  The emerging workforce of young, tech savvy, collaborative technicians know how to find answers quickly to resolve their customer’s needs via mobile and social tools.

Service businesses must evolve or risk becoming extinct

Customer expectations continue to evolve.  But too often, a service organisation remains in status quo, too slow to adjust to a new marketplace.  This is not sustainable and top performing service organisations understand that the fastest way to change with the customer is to infuse the company with new talent as well as investing in smart technology and hardware to empower them to do their jobs smarter, faster and better.

So don’t get left in the last millennium; make sure you have the right mix of young, tech savvy as well as seasoned workers, using mobile platforms to deliver the best service possible to your customers.

Need mobile technology?  Book a live demo and see if vWork is right for your business.

Case Study: Dwyer Plumbing Corporation (USA)

Growth for Dwyer Plumbing after Switch to vWork Mobile Workforce Platform

dwyer

  Dwyer Plumbing has been serving the Northern Virginia region since 1922.

Executive Summary
Dwyer Plumbing Corp is a successful US family owned plumbing, heating, and cooling service business with around 30 employees. Frustrated with the daily challenges of running a business with complex job management and around 24 technicians and sales managers out in the field, they searched for a viable solution.

Key results after implementing vWork

Director of Operations, Nathaniel Cochran needed a solution to reduce labour intensive processes. Crucial requirements were real time visibility of where workers are located, easy job scheduling and dispatching using mapping and automated process.

The first solution they implemented proved inadequate and after 17 months of trying to make it work, they knew they needed to find an alternative.

Savings of $57,000 per annum due to removal of Full Time Dispatcher – dispatching is now handled by the Ops Manager and admin team using vWork
Revenue is up around 16% for past fiscal year to date (March 2015)
Gas costs are down due to more efficient routing of technicians closest to the call out
• The ability to see all jobs and employees on a map in real time has meant that the mobile technicians can run more calls in a day by driving shorter distances
Technicians spend significantly less time in traffic
• After an intensive 18 months of searching, reviewing and even using alternative offerings, they made the decision to go with vWork.

Today, just 10 months after implementing the vWork platform, Dwyer Plumbing are finding the process of managing their mobile team much easier.  Dwyer Management are thrilled with the results and are planning to implement more of vWork functionality soon, including automated invoicing.

“There were very few usability questions. Customers love that we have a much quicker response time and are able to more accurately estimate when we’ll be able to arrive”.

Background
Dwyer Plumbing Corp is a family owned and operated plumbing business in Northern Virginia, USA. They faced the daily challenge of running a business with complex job management with a high volume of calls (peak days they serve up to 70 callouts) with 24 mobile workers including Sales Managers and deliverymen/apprentices.
They needed a sophisticated yet simple to use tool to manage job scheduling and dispatching that would prp providing real time visibility of worker locations and job information back to the office.

Managing a manual workflow was challenging and time consuming

Nathaniel Cochran, Director of Operations handles long-term business strategy and marketing, as well as fleet maintenance and risk management. He now does the majority of the dispatching as they no longer required a full time dispatcher, saving the company over $50,000 per year.
“Some of the bigger challenges we faced before vWork were around understanding the daily schedule and our ability to take on more work. Customers wanted to know when someone would get to them so knowing where the guys were in relation to their calls was critical. We also needed a good understanding of what the guys were encountering out in the field. Certain seasons are very busy with 40-70 calls in a day and it was previously impossible to quickly and accurately determine how many calls we could schedule weeks in advance. Now, anyone can determine availability just using the custom fields to sort. It’s amazing and our CSRs love it”.

Close but no cigar
Before vWork, the main system they used was GeoOp which they found too unstable. “It was very buggy, with lots of server time-outs and unavailability. GeoOp became too unreliable to trust with the operations of a business that runs 24/7/365” reported Cochran.  After 17 months they made the call to find an alternative. “Our key requirements were how long the product been around for, what was the ability to handle high volumes, customizability and price. We considered a few options; Jobber, Razorsync, Synchroteam and vWork.

In the end, we selected vWork because it is a mature product with very responsive developers and a large customer base. The user interface is very clean and it has an intuitive process.  One of the key things that attracted us to vWork is the support and usability of the product.  We were able to get started with a very easy setup. After a screen sharing demo and a few emails, we were away importing customer data and setting up mobile users”.

The results after implementing vWork were excellent
Nathaniel improved the flow in job status information back to the office for management purposes.
• The team are now able to give customers up to date information about their timetable and estimated arrival times.
• The ability to see all jobs and employees on a map in real time has meant that mobile technicians can run more calls in a day by driving shorter distances and spending less time in traffic.
• Accurate reporting on how long a technician was on site, how long it took for them to get to a call and specifics required on site
• Easy forward planning as job scheduling can now be done weeks in advance and workers can advise of any conflicts with their schedules ahead of time
• Minimal training and assistance was needed to get started, ongoing support and usability of the product were all deemed excellent
• Technicians quickly saw vWork as a huge improvement over manual processes
• Dispatching is reported as relatively painless…the management and admin staff can all share the responsibilities of dispatching and they no longer require a full time dispatcher.

Improved customer service and visibility into day to day operations
Nathaniel and his team can now tell if certain jobs weren’t completed on the first visit and why. They can identify what the issues and required on-site repairs were, as well as the final billing amount collected and the method of payment.
“Thanks to the service being in the cloud, we can adjust the schedule from anywhere, helping to manage matters that occur after normal office hours but will affect the upcoming schedule”.

“Since implementing vWork, we have spent less time figuring out when and where we are going and more time figuring out how we can better serve our customers and work on acquiring new ones. Gas costs are down and revenue is up…vWork has been very good for us”.

Find out if vWork is right for your business. Book an online demo today and we will get you up and running in no time!