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Field Service Businesses: How to Optimize Customer Service

Ray Rebello | December 12, 2016

This post is the final and third part of a three-part series on how Acumatica Field Service Management optimizes field service businesses. If you missed part one, read it here “How to Optimize Dispatching and Route Management”. Part 2 is available here “How to Optimize Inventory and Equipment Maintenance”.

For any field service businesses, customer expectations surrounding service expectations and results are extremely high. With online business, such as Amazon Prime, people receive a high level of care and results (in stock, low price, and 2-day shipping). These high levels of expectations are brought into the business world, including the field services industry.

Field Service Businesses: How to Optimize Customer Service

Take, for instance, knowing the history of a specific customer. This is a perfect way to make people feel great about your company, and yet it can be very hard to do. Imagine their relief when they call a company, give their name, and hear this: “Oh, you’re [so and so]! I see here you had a service last month; are you happy with the result? Which equipment are you calling about? Oh, I see that two years ago was the last time we changed it. How’s it working?”

This set of interactions is key, because the customer feels heard and known. It’s how field service businesses treat them like a valued customer. Yet too often, the systems in place doesn’t give this type of insight. And if they do, it’s often tedious to find and creates a lot of frustrations for your customer service employees.

Jorge Santos, Acumatica Field Services Product Manager and resident Field Services guru here at Acumatica, knows this type of frustration all too well. I recently sat down with him to hear what his years of experience has taught him. Santos shared how Acumatica Field Service Management provides three key pieces of information to help field service businesses optimize their customer service performance and focus on putting the customer first.

1. The Right Person and Parts

Here’s something you should avoid in field services: sending the wrong repair person for the problem. This may not have anything to do with the capacity of the person; they may just not have known what they’d be doing, meaning they were not prepared to service that piece of equipment for that problem. Now, precious hours have been lost, not to mention the business you’re leaving on the table because you could have that person elsewhere performing other services.

It’s important to stress that having repair parts available for the service technician is key, say Santos. Acumatica Field Service Management can help you treat technicians’ vehicles like mini-warehouses, keeping them properly stocked at all times. Read about this in further detail in part 2 of this series.

2. The Right Time

Another industry disaster is when a technician is scheduled for a 9 a.m. appointment and doesn’t show up till 3 p.m. Santos shared how Acumatica has something cool to take care of this frequent problem.

The calendar board that we hold for the dispatcher in Acumatica displays certain colors and notifications if the appointment hasn’t been closed. In other words, Acumatica knows in real time what’s happening in the field. It will send off alarms, notifying you to figure out what’s wrong if the appointment hasn’t been closed out.

Then the dispatcher can call the technician and mitigate further disaster or furthers delays in the schedule. If there was, say, a flat tire, the company needs to either immediately find another technician or contact the customer to reschedule. But whatever the solution, it needs to be done in the moment, instead of hours later. Acumatica makes sure all of this happens seamlessly.

3. Faster Billing

Efficiency in billing is a problem in field service. Let’s call it what it is, says Santos. When systems aren’t integrated, there’s a lot of paperwork. It needs to be transcribed in order to invoice. Of course, information gets lost in the shuffle. Papers may not arrive in the office, or the handwriting may be illegible.

Acumatica, as a mobile platform, allows the technician to convey information cleanly and immediately. Voice dictation is also useful; you can train technicians to use Siri to document their work and dialogue with customers. That dictation winds up in the history of the customer and the device—easily accessible by anyone at any time. We want the technician to be supported and for the technician to support the process.

Acumatica also allows for printing bills on the premises. The customer can have the invoice sent as a pdf, along with a recap of what happened at the appointment. This shortens the billing cycle tremendously.

There’s more, though. Think about it: you’re saving overhead with less paperwork, but your staff is also focused on more complex things in order to serve the customer better. They can focus on something more productive than piles of paperwork—they can focus on the customer.

A Recap of the Process

  1. Customer calls in.
  2. His or her history is now on the customer service rep’s monitor.
  3. A service order is created and simultaneously scheduled.
  4. The service team gets the order.
  5. The service call is routed in the service management module.
  6. On site, time spent, parts used, and any notes are inputted electronically on premises.
  7. Invoicing and billing is done without delay or data re-entry.
  8. Your customer-first business carries on with another happy customer in your books.

Sound like an integration your company could use?  Interested to see if it is a fit for your ideas for improving customer service?

Ray Rebello

Director of Product Marketing at Acumatica

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