It's all about increasing field service productivity
I read somewhere recently that 74% of businesses report taking at least one measure to minimise office distractions and optimise workflow. I am not surprised considering an average worker experiences an interruption every 3 minutes and it typically takes 23 minutes to return to the original task.
And your field service team is not immune just because they are “out of the office”. In fact being “out of the office” is almost prompting the need to get in touch at every opportunity – just to keep the “remote team” in the loop. You know, a call here and there, an email here and there.
Mmm – this warm and fuzzy approach is lovely, but not really the smartest plan when it comes to running a job-based business!
It all adds up to lots of unproductive time, missed opportunities, poor communications, impacting on your bottom line.
So, how can you stop interruptions to your field service team?
Here are some practical tips to help minimise field service interruptions…
1) Give them the right tools
Having the right tools for the job (and I am not just talking about spanner, spade, cables and whatever other gadgets are needed to do the job), I am talking about technology, cloud field service software. Let your field service team pick up their jobs on their phone, do the job, update the job and then move onto the next job. Do they really need to be calling the office checking in on which jobs they have to do next?
2) Cancel Meetings
No need to call everybody back in for a pow-wow in the boardroom. Yes it’s nice to see your team and all that, but honestly it might be better to let them get on with doing their jobs. Come in yes, but maybe not as often. If they have the communications tools they need (point 1), then sitting down in a boardroom to let them know their next week’s jobs is really just an excuse to have tea and biscuits. If you really need a group chat, there are plenty of other options like Skype for example.
3) Stop the Job Sheets harassment
Oh dear, in the bad books again for scribbles or worse, missing dockets or just late dockets. That dreaded call every Friday from Susan in accounts to give out about something or other. And she always happens to call at the very wrong time – just when that critical part is being installed in a very awkward position with sweat and grease everywhere – it’s really not a great time to be calling to give out about paperwork. We’ll have to have words with Susan. Maybe having the right tools (point 1) could eliminate the paperwork and get Susan off my case (and I’m sure Susan would be delighted not to have to call us all the time)!
4) Clamp down on customer queries
Somehow customers latch onto the service engineers mobile phone numbers and hang onto that business card forever. Ideally, they should be calling the office, not the poor guy who’s just had an earful from Mrs. Murphy for arriving 5 minutes early to fix her air conditioning! So, Mrs. Murphy is not quite sure if the air conditioning has been fixed because she left to go shopping while the engineer was there and he was just leaving as she returned. She decides it’s better to be safe than sorry, she’ll give the engineer a quick call to discuss exactly what he did. The engineer sees Mrs. Murphy’s call coming in and as much as he loves a chat, he needs to get started on his next job and he is under a bit of time pressure (for a change?!). He thinks to himself how nice it would be to give customers a login to see the details of the job for themselves. Ah yes, sounds like a better idea altogether.
5) Stop the “where are you” calls?
It’s the office on the phone again wondering if Simon could fit in an electrical emergency job in Portmarnock at 3pm? (This is the sixth call the office has made to try to find somebody close by with the right skills). Simon unfortunately is not the right man for this job (he’s a plumber) and he’s also still working on the job in Wexford that he started this morning. Simon feels bad that he can’t help out, but he’s clearly the wrong man with the wrong skills in the wrong place! Simon can’t help wondering if in this day and age, some of these types of calls could be eliminated.
Cutting out the unnecessary interruptions can really make a huge impact on field service productivity - put these tips into practice and you'll be laughing :-)