Why job assignment is the most important aspect of Field Service Management

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Poor customer experience is one of the biggest reasons for non-retention of customers, resulting in losses and lower revenue. On the other hand, statistics show that a company with good customer service policy can expect to have as high as 75% of its sales coming from returning customers. Since service industries are evolving themselves into customer centric from product centric business models, it is imperative that the customer be happy.

So how do you ensure operational efficiency and a satisfied customer?

You start by picking the best suited person for the job. You ensure that the representative you assign is capable, that he is in reasonable proximity to the job location, taking into account the commute time, among other things.

Assigning the right field service expert is crucial to good customer experience. No two jobs are exactly similar and neither are any two persons in their ability to solve an issue. The onus is on the  field service manager to know the unique skills of each employee and discern the most suitable resource for the job. Of course, with increasing digital transformation tools for field service management, job scheduling can be automated to a large extent.

Since face to face interaction with the customer is part of their job, a field service professional must have good bedside manners. They also must know to value the customer’s time. To this end, a representative need to be equipped with complete knowledge of the issue and the required parts so that they can have a better chance of fixing the problem at the first go. Also, customers will place more faith in a professional who appears to know what they are doing.

First-time fixes save the customer any further inconvenience, and they also save the company a great deal of time and money which could otherwise be used to attend to other jobs. A report by Aberdeen suggests that if the average first-time fix rates for a company is above 80%, the customer satisfaction goes up to around 90%. On the other hand, with a first time fix rate of below 50%, customer satisfaction nosedives to below 50%. Most often, it is due to poor customer experience that companies fail to retain customers. Fixing problems the first time helps build trust with the customer, promoting the idea of the company’s reliability and building its goodwill.  

Despite the best of efforts, some problems are just not solved in one visit. In such instances, the field service manager would do well to assign the same person for the second, and perhaps subsequent visits, as the first time. Customers tend to feel more comfortable around a representative that they have already met before and the problem is faster diagnosed and solved when the two communicate better with each other. Often, a customer will be less inclined to be difficult and demanding when they become familiar with the representative.

The field service management tools facilitate a professional to schedule the work with a mix of both high and low priority jobs so that if an emergency service request comes in, they can reschedule a low priority service visit and attend to it. Prompt addressal of the customer’s complaint is a determining factor in customer satisfaction. Capital Equipment Manufacturers (CEMs), for example, will always require immediate attention in case of unexpected failures. In such a case, a technician will have to be swiftly assigned, prioritizing their skill set and previous history of first-time fix rates, and rescheduling other low priority jobs to allow availability.

Service visits are important. They are one of the few personal interactions between the customer and the company, and given the direct influence of customer satisfaction on the bottom line and the goodwill of the company, it is paramount that they be agreeable and pleasant to the customer.  

– Sristi Gayen
FieldEZ Technologies Pvt Ltd

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