As a field service manager or the owner of a field service company, you’ll know that delivering an outstanding customer service experience relies on the effectiveness of your field service engineers. From enhancing customer relations to performing a vast array of tasks, they’re essential to all field service processes. In this article, discover the impact that a field service engineer has within your company. As well as learning how field service management software can help to improve the efficiency and success of your operations. We’ll cover:
The Role of a Field Service Engineer
Field service engineers perform installations, repairs and maintenance tasks away from the company’s headquarters; i.e., in customers’ homes or on commercial premises. They’re assigned jobs from the team manager, they travel to the required locations, carry out the necessary work and provide updates back to the office after completing each assignment.
Sound like a straightforward role? Not exactly.
A field service engineer must wear many hats. Not only do they need to fix problems with assets and equipment, but they must also carry out various administrative duties, and be the face of the business too. For instance, a field service engineer’s responsibilities include:
- Troubleshooting problems
- Accurately diagnosing faults
- Striving to improve first-time fix rates (businesses with a first-time fix rate greater than 70% may see a customer retention rate of up to 86%)
- Providing technical advice to customers or clients
- Delivering excellent all-round service
- Conducting reports
The Value of Field Service Engineers for Business Operations
Field service engineers are of paramount importance to your business for two main reasons:
1. Engineers Add Revenue
They bring in essential revenue through service tasks. The more jobs that are completed per day, the more profit your business will make.
Your priority should be to ensure that your field service engineers are as productive as possible every day. That means focusing on route optimisation, job scheduling and empowering your engineers with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to do their job well.
2. Field Service Engineers Enhance Customer Experience
The second reason field service engineers are important is because they can significantly improve customer satisfaction. Your engineers are quite possibly the only faces your customers will see during their entire journey with your business. This is perhaps why soft skills (people skills) are one of the top three must-have skills for modern field service engineers.
A good or bad experience with your engineers could affect their decision to stay with your company or to switch. An engineer that turns up late or fails to fix the problem first-time isn’t going to leave your customer best pleased. This is especially the case if your customer is then forced to wait another 14 days for resolution – the average time needed if a first-time fix isn’t possible.
Customers want their problem to be resolved as quickly as possible. This is the bare minimum that they expect from your business. To meet their expectations, you need to ensure your engineers turn up on time and fix the problem first-time wherever possible. When it’s not possible to do that, any replacement parts should be ordered instantly and another appointment made.
So what about exceeding customer expectations? To do this, your field service team needs to pre-empt problems before they happen. They should recommend alternative solutions or products that meet the future needs of customers too.
The Benefits of Using Software For Field Engineers
Field service management software is a system you can use to coordinate your mobile workforce’s operations. It not only improves your bottom line but also helps your engineers to exceed customer expectations. Outlined below are some of the key features and benefits you’ll come across when using this type of software.
With field management software you can schedule, dispatch and re-assign jobs quickly and effectively. At a glance, you can see what each technician is currently working on, what the job status is and allocate new jobs to the best-suited technician accordingly. For example, in the case of a plumbing and heating company, a customer with an ancient boiler would benefit from an engineer experienced in dealing with old models.
Route Optimisation and Vehicle Tracking
GPS tracking is a feature that helps you identify whereabouts your workforce is on the road, at any time. You can use this functionality to plan shorter, fuel-efficient routes and dispatch the closest technicians when urgent jobs arise.
Digitalisation and Automation
52% of businesses still use manual methods for most field service tasks and this is one of the top frustrations for field service executives. The need for paperwork is eliminated with field service management software. Much time is saved through digitalised, automated processes and the number of errors is also reduced.
Engineers don’t need to wait until they get back to the office to update you on a job (or to accept another assignment). They can do this from their mobile phone or tablet when they get back to their vehicle. They can order new parts on the spot and receive notifications back from the office, enabling them to update the customer there and then, or by phone later the same day.
Quoting and Invoicing Management
Financial documents can also be managed through field management software, enabling field service engineers to check SLAs and provide a quote instantly or fire off a digital invoice immediately upon completion. This is helpful for the customer and also helps money to appear in the business bank account sooner.
Real-time Communication and Reporting
Field service management software allows for real-time coordination and collaboration between engineers, the main office and customers. If an engineer needs further information about parts, they can access documentation and schematics from their device, or request more details from the office if necessary. They can also collect data insights while on-site and feed this back to the office.
Because information is centralised, transferred and synced between devices instantly, response times can be improved, and more jobs can be accepted per day.
How Software Enhances Engineer Efficiency
The role of a field service engineer is challenging and incorporates many responsibilities. Not only are they expected to arrive quickly, diagnose problems accurately and fix issues promptly, but they’re also the physical link between your customer and your business.
Field service management software can help your engineers deliver a truly customer-centric approach. By equipping engineers with the technology, tools and resources they need, they can improve their first-time fix rate. In turn, this increases your profits as well as overall customer satisfaction. Learn more from our extensive field service management software buyer’s guide.