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Top 5 tips to improve cost efficiency in field service management

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14th April 2022 - Learn more about how to reduce outgoings and increase profitability in your field service management business by reading our 5 top tips blog.

Over the last few years, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising fuel costs, rocketing energy prices, and the possibility of an extended economic recession have left field service businesses looking at new ways to reduce costs and remain profitable. 

But, how can you achieve this without compromising on quality of service? 

The first step is to look at how you can drive productivity and customer satisfaction in order to boost profits. Here are our five top tips to cut outgoings and boost income as costs rise. 

  1. Make every hour count

Making sure a mobile workforce gets the most from every day is essential to productivity and cost efficiency in field service management. 

Poor scheduling can lead to: 

  • Low technician productivity 
  • Overloaded technicians
  • Technicians who are available not being assigned jobs
  • Poor customer satisfaction too
  • A damaged reputation and loss of clients and income. 

On the other hand, a well-managed schedule can:

✅Increase efficiency

✅Improve accuracy 

✅Boost productivity

Scheduling software helps to create the best schedule based on factors such as location, skills, available parts, customer history, traffic conditions, and technician and customer availability. 

In addition, a digital scheduling assistant can help get the right engineer, with the right skills, to the right place, by the right route, and streamline job management. 

And, the potential savings are huge. Saving just one hour more than covers the costs of the technology that delivers it. 

Better, automated scheduling means less time spent on admin for back office staff, an ability to track jobs in progress, and a reduction in wasted journeys and travel time for field technicians. 

This allows technicians to increase the number of customers they visit in a day and allows back office staff to focus on tasks that can drive additional revenue for the business. In addition, you will improve customer service, which leads to increased satisfaction and repeat business.

  1. Compete on customer service, not just cost

According to a recent survey, 70% of customers would pay more for better service and more convenience. 

Modern technology is allowing businesses to drive efficiency in new ways, but 52% still use manual methods for field service delivery. These manual methods can result in problems such as: 

  • Technicians arriving at jobs without the proper equipment or tools
  • Wasted journeys to cancelled appointments
  • Wasted time
  • Lack of productivity and unnecessary fuel costs 
  • Frustrated customers who do not receive the service they require 

With the rise of new technologies across the entire consumer journey, modern customer expectations have changed significantly with on-demand services such as Uber, Deliveroo, and Amazon Prime available. 

Field service management software can help companies to keep up with the changing expectations of customers. 

When customers request a booking, a team member with the right skills and tools, and in the right location, can be instantly assigned to the job and the booking is confirmed with automated communications. The customer can then be kept up-to-date on who is coming to complete the job and when they will be arriving. 

Field management software with CRM capabilities can help companies provide better customer service with a secure online booking portal and the ability for back office staff to gain a 360 view of customer’s accounts at the touch of a button. 

  1. Make sure your work is profitable

Too many jobs at field service businesses can cost the company money. 

Companies need to be sure that costs are covered and a fair margin is made on every job. 

It’s important to understand how much profit a job is likely to drive based on the following:

  • Resources needed
  • Travel time for the whole job
  • Vehicle running and upkeep costs 
  • Accurate quotes given to customers 

Job management systems allow companies to store information about jobs completed, routes taken and the number of jobs completed per technician to provide an overview of the profitability of each job. 

As a result of this data, you can continually improve profitability and customer service.

In short, a job management platform provides a clear view of the profit margin for each job and takes the guesswork out of quoting. Plus no more jobs that leave you out of pocket.

  1. Cut mileage

Fuel prices for fleets are staggering and, in the current climate, this is unlikely to change. 

Unnecessary journeys made by field technicians can cost thousands in petrol and labour time so, when driving cost efficiency, reducing these unnecessary costs can be a critical factor to success. 

Live tracking allows for route optimisation which helps to:

  • Reduce fuel consumption
  • Keep technicians productive
  • Reduce wear and tear on vehicles (which results in decreased maintenance costs)

Live tracking will also allow back office staff to track the whereabouts of technicians in real-time whilst assigning jobs based on location. This will ensure the technician doesn’t travel further than required for their next job. 

As a result, smart job scheduling and route planning can cut mileage by 10%, helping to make journeys more cost efficient and allowing technicians to complete more jobs per day. 

  1. Do it once, do it right

First-time fixes can provide huge cost savings and play a critical role in customer experience too.

A high first-time fix rate can improve productivity and efficiency for the business, with technicians spending less time travelling and equipped to fix customer’s problems without having to turn back for parts or tools. 

Having to return to jobs wastes fuel and staff time, whether that’s back office staff dealing with queries or frontline teams doing the work. 

Ensuring a full understanding of the customer’s problem and ensuring that the technician assigned to the job has the tools, materials and information required to take care of it is essential for achieving a high first-time fix rate and providing cost efficiency.

A mobile app can allow technicians to improve their first-time fix rates by viewing the stock, equipment and parts available to them while they’re out on-site. This reduces unnecessary journeys. 

Job history can also be viewed at a glance, which allows technicians to see what the problem is and fix it quickly.  

Key takeaways

Cost efficiency in the field service industry is driven by ensuring that field technicians are provided with the correct tools and knowledge to complete customer jobs, alongside route optimisation to reduce travel time and fuel costs. 

All of these factors can contribute to higher customer satisfaction which drives repeat business and helps companies to remain profitable. 

Find out how BigChange can help your business, book a free consultation today.

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14th April 2022

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