While the core function of field service management will always be about helping customers solve problems, we’ve gone far beyond the idea of “fix and repair.” It’s no longer enough to send technicians into the field with one responsibility.
It’s time to shift your Field Service Organization (FSO) and its people to think more strategically about how you serve customers in order to continually add value and stay competitive. Getting everyone at your organization to move toward the same big picture goals requires defined processes and clear expectations.
But where to begin?
Going beyond the day-to-day
As your FSO grows and customer expectations continue to evolve, it’s easy to rush into billable client work without further defining rules and processes. When this happens, everyone is playing by a different set of rules, and efficiency tanks.
Likely, you’re already aware that having too many cooks in the kitchen causes problems, and you’ve made efforts to create processes to keep everyone in your organization on the same page. How much is too much, though?
A study by Kathleen Eisenhardt, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, looked at how simplicity makes people and companies more effective.  She found that companies with complicated product development processes were really good at delivering products no one wanted, while companies with no rules or defined processes got little to nothing done.
However, those companies with a handful of simple rules to define processes (things like who’s in charge of what, analyzing customer feedback, etc.) were most effective.
Her research team found it only took four or five rules to constrain what people did, while allowing enough flexibility to innovate within their roles. According to Eisenhardt, this sweet spot of four to five rules is the key to growth.
She suggests a three-step process for defining processes:
- Clearly identify business objectives/goals
- Identify where current bottlenecks exist
- Look at past successes and failures to help define steps
As you and your employees begin to evaluate existing processes (or the lack thereof), it will be essential to do so for each function outside of simple fix and repair. If you’re like most FSOs, there will be a number of functions to consider:
Having a handful of defined rules to guide how employees function within each of these areas will not only streamline your FSO, but will result in faster growth, happier customers, and increased revenue.
The way to implement
Once you and your team have identified the essential processes expected for each role beyond fix and repair, it’s time to integrate them into daily practice. There’s no better way to do this than to use field service management software, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service.
Field service software tools are the best way to make sure everyone is focused and executing core business functions. Integrating a single system for scheduling, dispatching, inventory, and communication with technicians will be the best way to track how well processes are followed and identify areas for continuous improvement.
Not only will your FSO have clarity about processes and expectations, but they’ll have software to help them integrate key processes into their daily workflows for more consistent and measurable results.