A Guide For Field Service Industry To Deal With The Challenges of COVID Era

The Covid-19 Virus has changed how companies across different industries work in the future. The field service industry is no exception to that.

Customers are apprehensive of letting field service technicians come to their houses due to the raging pandemic. But simultaneously, they are also desperate to get their appliances fixed to survive this difficult time.

Field service organizations are facing four challenges in the Covid era.

  • Ensuring the safety of employees and consumers
  • Fulfilling increasing demands with a reduced workforce and reduce field service cost
  • Maintaining high-quality standards
  • Dealing with uncertainty

So, what can service companies do to survive the trials that the Covid-19 virus has brought upon them? Continue reading this blog to find that out.

How Can Service Companies Deal With The Challenges of The COVID Era?

The new safety restrictions have dramatically affected field service organizations. As a result, it is the number 1 priority now to ensure the safety of customers and field service technicians.

One-third of service companies had to freeze all field activities during the pandemic, with 15% seeing the situation as the new normal.

Also, new challenges began to arise for those field service organizations that were delivering on-site services as they now had to equip field service technicians with masks, gloves, and sanitizers. It also became an issue to reduce service times, maintain first-time fix rates, and minimize the need for follow-ups.

Here is how the field service management can overcome these challenges:

Solutions to Deal with the Challenges of the COVID Era

  1. Opt for Remote Support

    Here the customer reaches out with an issue and gets directed to the right technician. The field service management will share a link to start a live video stream, where the service expert will identify the issue and guide the consumer with a step-by-step process to solve the problem.

    With this model, businesses can continue providing field service operations in high-risk areas or to customers in quarantine. Both customers and field technicians will be safe.

  2. Do a Preliminary Visual Inspection

    Companies can add a preliminary visual inspection step during the first contact if on-site support is unavoidable.

    I mean the visual session before the dispatch. It ensures that a field technician is ready for the task. They understand the issue, what tools and parts are required, and if there is any special requirement like access issues to consider.

    Use Covid-19 pre-arrival checklist to ensure that the field service representative is healthy.

  3. Provide Onsite Support

    Your field service organization should ensure that the particular technician can reach out to experts. They can receive guidance right on the spot with their smartphone and tablet screen through onsite support. It will eliminate the need to have follow-up visits, which is costly, unsustainable, and increases the risk of Covid-19 exposure.

    It will help you maintain first-time fix rates and also minimize the need for follow-ups.

  4. Automate The Solutions

    41% of the companies had to deal with a reduced workforce due to Covid rules, workers getting sick, or business layoffs. As a result, there were only fewer skilled technicians to work in the field.

    Organizations faced increased demands during the pandemic. People were staying home during the quarantine, which created issues more often than before. But businesses had to forcefully put their field service operations on hold due to Covid restrictions.

    So, in such dire times, how can companies maximize their efficiency while ensuring the safety of their employees? By automating the solutions.

    You can automate solutions with software like FieldCamp. Whether optimizing the routes, making delivery times faster, or increasing transparency in field operations, FieldCamp can automate everything. Proactively address customers’ issues with this user-friendly software.

    With FieldCamp, you can check on the task assigned to the technicians and their location. Then, change their schedule on the go.

    As per the report from Mckinsey and Co, field management software can boost the field worker’s performance by two times. Service experts were completing an average of 8 jobs per day compared to 4.5.

    So, to survive the Covid era, ditch the manual methods and use technology in managing your field services.

  5. Implement a Data Driven Approach

    Covid-19 has created instability everywhere. Consumers nowadays are more emotional and sensitive to stress due to living in quarantines for a prolonged time. Therefore, it has become a challenge for companies to maintain high-quality standards in their services in these difficult times.

    What steps can businesses take to maintain the high standards of services amidst the pandemic?

    Implement a data-driven approach. You can use FieldCamp to track different metrics, such as the first-time fix rates, mean repair times, and customer satisfaction rates.

    With FieldCamp, you can collect all the data in one place. It will give you better insights on how to deliver better services. Using checklists can help you maintain consistent standards. Your field workers can use these to follow guidelines and not miss any steps.

    Make it mandatory to include photo reports of the completed work in the standard workflow. Use FieldCamp software to collect customer feedback. This feedback will be an excellent source of information on what improvements your company needs in service delivery.

    Digital transformation will help companies weather the storm that Covid-19 has brought upon all of us. However, field service organizations need to shed their conservative practices if they want to survive in these times.

    It’s high time to incorporate technological innovation, data-driven approaches, and process automation for field services.

    With FieldCamp, businesses can turn these challenges of the pandemic into a sweet opportunity.

Next, I will discuss how organizations can reduce costs in the Covid era.

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With FieldCamp, you will know how much time your field staff spent working, how much time they spent commuting.

What Steps Can Businesses Take to Reduce Field Service Costs Amidst the Pandemic?

The global economy has taken a hit due to mandatory quarantine to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. It has disrupted businesses across different industries.

People are focusing on being cost-effective as there is continuous fear of job layoffs looming in their heads. Hence, revenue-producing activities for companies are at an all-time low nowadays because the general populace isn’t spending much on their products or services.

So, organizations need to reduce their field service costs if they don’t want to go bankrupt in these harsh times.

Let’s find out how to reduce the field service cost without hurting customer expectations in this section.

Steps to Reduce Field Service Cost Amidst the Pandemic

  1. Start By Understanding The Entire Expense Structure

    You should conduct an expense audit to determine the areas of spending. These generally will be technology costs, labor costs, inventory, and travel costs. By gaining a detailed understanding, you can make the right call on where to cut, whether it is short or long-term cost savings.

  2. Cut Back On Non-Essential Expenses

    Many companies dedicate a portion of their budget to equipment and services that they don’t need. These fall into non-essential categories. Identify them, and instead of wasting money on them, reallocate it for those that will positively impact your business.

  3. Implement Pay Cuts

    Approx 17% of businesses implemented pay cuts during the pandemic. It’s better to cut the salary of your employees rather than laying them off. But, many times, companies only cut their worker’s earnings while managers and executives remain unaffected.

    It sends the wrong signal to your employees and also demoralizes them. Treat everyone fairly. If you are going for pay cuts, ensure it applies to everyone working under you. No exceptions!

    You can reduce working hours in exchange for a salary cut. It can be an ideal compromise for the employees.

  4. Rethink on Office Space Needs

    Work from home is the new norm. Employees are finding it increasingly appealing to work remotely. Hence, think about the office space needs. You may have more space in the office than you need, which increases costs on rent and utilities, cleaning services, food, and taxes. Relocating to a smaller office can cut costs.

  5. Get Rid of Obsolete Technology

    52% of companies are still using manual methods. Technology can boost efficiency and reduce high operational costs. But, often, the technology that businesses are using is obsolete.

    77% of organizations are using on-premise field service software, which is getting outdated fast. Cloud software is the future. The systems these companies use don’t integrate well. Businesses need to upgrade to modern ones to optimize field services like inventory management, dispatch management, vehicle tracking, and scheduling.

    Here are two more steps that companies can take to reduce operating expenses.

    • Decrease Technician Downtime

      You can achieve this downtime by automating the inventory replenishment, ensuring that the right technician has what they need to complete the new task.

    • Maximize Use of Assets

      Track and optimize the use of vehicles, machinery, inventory management, and other appropriate equipment.

  6. Improve Your Inventory Management Practices

    Managing parts and inventory stock information is essential as labor and spare parts take up 77% of field service costs. You should also integrate this data with your other systems. It will help you eliminate the time-consuming tasks of sending technicians to the warehouse for missing inventory or searching for specific parts for hours.

    Here is what you will gain:

    • Cuts inventory costs: By having better inventory visibility, you can reduce the excess inventory from the stock.
    • Higher chance for the first attempt to fix rates and provide a better customer experience: Since you are deploying the right field worker with the correct parts, it won’t frustrate customers. There won’t be any need for follow-up trips as issues will get fixed in the first visit.
  7. Reevaluate Travel Expenses

    Travelling is costly. Fuel costs, vehicle maintenance, ticket costs for airfare, and hotel rents eat up a good portion of the budget. The Covid-19 pandemic has reduced travel costs considerably. But how can companies maintain it for the future?

    It is by providing field services remotely to the consumers. For example, there are dozens of highly qualified service technicians across the country. With a field service management platform, your team can get in touch with these workers and outsource work to them.

    There is no longer any need to maintain the presence in every city physically. Service outsourcing will save time, effort and eliminate travel expenses.

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FAQs

When a company misses out on potential benefits by choosing one alternative over another, that’s called opportunity cost. Don’t overlook this concept. It will help you make better decisions when you understand what you will lose if you choose this particular investment over another.
It refers to the jobs that service experts perform out in the field. It requires dispatching technicians or contractors to a specific location to sell, install, repair, or maintain systems or equipment.

Conclusion
You can use FieldCamp with its exclusive features to optimize service costs and reduce the need for truck rolls. With this app, your technicians will resolve issues faster, and their skills will be utilized most efficiently.

Collect feedback to improve overall services. Get access to the customer service KPI dashboard, where you can access data in real-time. Use it to observe and boost the performance of your field workers. All this will help you navigate these dark times that Covid-19 has brought upon all of us with ease. Book a free demo today!