When you need to outsource, contractors help, but how do you manage field service contractors and still deliver great customer service?
Whether it’s due to staffing shortages, widening service area coverage, increasing availability during peak seasons, or reducing labor costs, companies often outsource field service to third-party contractors. With that, of course, comes an array of challenges and unknowns. These may include:
- Striking the right balance of work between internal employees and contractors.
- Lacking visibility into capacity and real-time availability of contractors.
- No insight into progress once work is assigned to outsourced mobile workers.
- Diminished brand reputation due to inconsistent service levels.
Research shows the majority of service decision-makers (89%) agree that the experience a customer has with a mobile worker is a direct reflection of their brand. Contractors are really an extension of a brand: customers should expect the same level of service regardless of who walks through the door. So, what’s the best way to provide consistently excellent service from field service contractors?
Gain greater visibility and control with connected field service
Service providers can leverage a contractor management solution that gives internal teams and field service contractors a complete view of services and job status. This ensures brand and service consistency, while leveraging the service capacity elasticity provided by contractors.
From a single platform, service providers present a single face of service to the customer from appointments, to status updates, through completion. They control the tasks assigned to each outsourced mobile worker based on criteria such as cost, skill, location, or service level performance.
Meanwhile, dispatchers view contractor capacity against internal resources to improve staff planning and optimize schedules. If the contracting company rejects a job, an automatic update is sent to the dispatcher to avoid an unneeded visit. Dispatchers view the availability of the entire mobile workforce and easily reassign based on skill set, location, availability, and more to either an internal resource or other field service contractor. Dispatchers are also able to provide boundaries and guidelines to give contractors flexibility over job completion.
Track job progress with real-time insights
With a connected field service solution, service providers receive real-time updates of each job status.
By providing all mobile workers — full-time and contract — a connected device, they’re able to view customer data, job details, asset history, and tasks list. Armed with this information, every mobile worker is empowered to deliver a premium service experience and achieve first visit resolution.
Online and offline capabilities also allow them to log updates in real-time, even in remote locations. Dispatchers receive detailed reports on charges, signatures, and part or equipment photos. Real-time updates and documentation also enable a more efficient billing and invoicing process.
Unify the customer experience and increase service levels
Connectivity provides opportunities to optimize the entire customer experience. When field service management teams use a connected field service solution, it’s easier to deliver a consistent experience and protect brand reputation, whether it’s a full-time employee or outsourced mobile worker who serves your customers.
Multi-channel, real-time communications between dispatchers and contractors ensure information is available to resolve cases quickly and deliver the best service experience.
After the visit, customers receive branded completion reports and post-service surveys to close the feedback loop. This provides insight into the field service contractor’s performance. Service providers are able to evaluate field service contractors and determine the path forward, whether that’s continuing to leverage them or outsourcing to another third-party.
Grow despite mobile workforce challenges
Many service providers are coping with a shortage of technical workers. The population is aging and tradespeople and other technicians are retiring in droves. In fact, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1 in 6 people in the world will be over the age 65 by 2050, up from 1 in 11 in 2019. How will organizations grow while the number of field service workers shrinks?
- First, nurture and support current workers.
- Shore up employee engagement and recruiting efforts.
- Offer training and continuing education through digital learning resources with customizable learning paths that nurture your mobile workforce.
- Finally, provide field service contractors with connected tools and data to deliver excellent customer service.
Connected tools, such as Field Service Lightning, set all mobile workers and customers up for success with the right information at the right time. Mobile workers have a complete view into work histories, warranty information, parts needed, and knowledge articles, so there are no surprises. Service providers rest assured service levels are always consistent whether a full-time employee or field service contractor is dispatched to the job site.
It expedites documentation, invoices, and even boring tasks like mileage, expenses, and timesheet capture.
Increase efficiency, productivity, and service levels when you manage field service contractors with Field Service Lightning.
Click here to watch a demo of Field Service Lightning.