For those not directly connected to the field service industry, it might be surprising to learn that many technicians in this space do not have the tools or information available to make quotes on the spot and still struggle with finding transparent solutions for scheduling — resulting in delays and lost business. In fact, when technicians leave a home without providing a quote, it instantly cuts their closing ratio in half. Combine this with the ongoing labor shortage, and you have a clear case for why field service professionals need to master the art of scheduling and quoting in 2022.
Common scheduling pain points
Field service providers operating without a proper scheduling process put themselves in danger of a wide range of adverse outcomes, including frustrated employees and customers. However, scheduling is a very complex business process that’s not just limited to coordinating times for service calls and dealing with potential customers.
Some of the main scheduling pain points that are often overlooked include:
- Scheduling jobs holding for parts: Almost everyone in the industry is navigating disrupted supply chains than can cause project delays if there’s no time properly allocated for the parts ordering and procurement process;
- Scheduling in a way that accounts for which technicians are working: Different technicians have different skill sets and basic scheduling operations may not account for these variations. This could mean having the wrong technician show up on a day where a certain skill set is required;
- Keeping a full schedule based on budget: There’s an important balance between keeping a full schedule to increase revenue vs. what staff can efficiently and effectively manage without burnout;
- Knowing the time each type of job will take to complete it: Every project is different and requires a complex mix of variables to determine the proper timeline for completion. If a project is not properly forecasted, this could cause delays on other projects until more staff is freed up;
- Scheduling the right type of jobs based on business goals: There will be projects that generate revenue and there will be ones that are simply called in by customers earlier. Being able to differentiate between the two and prioritize where necessary helps maintain a healthy bottom line; and
- Scheduling in a way to manage overtime: With busy seasons comes employee overtime. Knowing how to account for these times in budgets and staffing plans can help improve the employee experience and prevent any surprises down the line.
Having technology that can maximize data visibility in the front end of the business can help technicians with this process of providing more accurate quotes to customers, leading to improved customer satisfaction in addition to increased revenue from closing more projects.
The value of onsite quoting
As we touched on earlier, the ability of technicians to provide quotes on the spot can dramatically impact closing ratios. Having technology that can maximize data visibility in the front end of the business can help technicians with this process of providing more accurate quotes to customers, leading to improved customer satisfaction in addition to increased revenue from closing more projects.
Delivering superior customer experiences should be at the top of the list when it comes to business priorities for service providers. When there’s more competition in the market, there’s more power in the hands of customers, causing expectations regarding service to significantly increase. For service businesses like technicians and contractors, the ability to acquire and retain customers is critical for success. These organizations need to be able to meet these growing expectations and that includes staying up-to-date with technology that impacts the customer experience.
Successful HVAC, electrical, plumbing and other service providers need to have ways to ensure a well-rounded schedule and consistent revenue streams regardless of seasonal or cyclical buying cycles. The integration of digital technologies into business operations is a common factor of market leaders in this space — especially for scheduling and quoting.
With proper scheduling tools, field service providers have more control and oversight regarding project timelines and cash flows. When data is entered, it gets dispersed throughout the entire system and to the different departments, improving overall accuracy, optimizing workflows and increasing productivity.
Ultimately, these types of tech tools can help technicians provide superior customer experiences while helping to deliver optimum revenue streams for the business. Additionally, having technicians who can easily leverage these tools can also help drive job satisfaction, especially for younger generations who are looking to their employers to provide the latest technology.
Today’s most competitive service providers are making investments in their technology tools in 2022 and beyond. By implementing digital technologies such as business management software, these organizations can experience increased business agility and profits by being able to streamline and account for complex variables, which are a hallmark of scheduling and quoting. In today’s competitive environment, the margin for error is too slim to not invest in long-term strategic goals and providing superior customer experiences.