Field Service providers (plumbers, HVAC providers, utilities, and electricians) everywhere are asking how they can modernize their workflow to compete in industry 4.0.
In fact, businesses across a variety of different industries are looking to uberize their workflows to compete in the new "gig economy". A CSG study published in 2014 showed that 89% field service customers desired an “Uber-like” tool that provides them with more transparency into the field service provider.
However, “uberization", a term that refers to a business model in which services are offered on demand through direct contact between a customer and a supplier, as Uber and Airbnb have done successfully, doesn’t work for field service providers. Generally, uberization requires developing and providing an in-house exclusive community and infrastructure upfront. This is a difficult business proposition in the field service industry, where skill sets, experience and even familiarity with the customer matters a lot. Rather than offer a tool to connect independent-contractor technicians with customers, field service providers need a tool to connect their customers with the right technician, monitor supplies, and allocate resources. All in real-time and under their own brand umbrella.
However, field service providers haven’t been able to match the pent-up demand in a way Uber has achieved for taxi hire and Airbnb has done for accommodations because they lack the tools to do so. Below are some key considerations to consider when moving towards "uberization" of a field service workflow and how the yaswedo platform can help you jump start your journey.
A Focus on Transparency
Customer satisfaction is the undisputed top metric for field service providers.
Some important dimensions of customer satisfaction in today’s world include: (1) Speed of service and (2) Greater visibility into the elements of a bill. More than 60% of customers are put-off by long wait times between field service appointment booking and the actual service. Additionally, many field service providers often complain that bill disputes are a primary cause of reduced revenue and customer satisfaction. As field service providers charge based a combination of time spent and materials used, capturing tasks associated with a time spent and materials used would go a long way to increasing both revenue and customer satisfaction.
Merely offering visibility into whether the technician is at any given point of time is not enough. It doesn’t help if the customer is made aware that the technician is slacking, or held up at one place for hours on end. The challenge before service providers is to optimize or balance field service team schedule to best meet business and customer demands. Here, the technician needs a tool to keep in touch with his team to optimize time spent on a particular job or on a particular task.
With greater transparency comes great responsibility. The deployment of tools that allow the field service provider to capture the nearest available technician with the appropriate skills or expertise for the job in question in order to assign the best technician who can attend to the service call at the earliest possible time, helps in a big way.
End Siloed Communication
For enterprises that can afford them, siloed communications tools and data repositories are used to “uberize”. These enterprises spend money on developers and consultants using ad-hocism integrate and “uberize” various facets of their operations. As we spoke to our beta users, we found them using a mix of different tools to manage their operations.
One large field service provider that we spoke to had resorted to a combination of Samsara tracking of their vans in LA combined with Slack for communication with Drivers. Finally, batch of assignment was done in-app so we could track progress. However, reporting was very rudimentary done in Mode SQL and later in Tableau. The field service provider payed for each tool individually and hired developers to integrate them. While such a solution may meet the needs of a large enterprise, the licensing costs of the tools, alone, would render such a solution infeasible for most field service providers. When one considers the technical issues associated with such a solution including the cost of upkeep it quickly becomes apparent that a better solution is needed to meet the needs of most field service providers.
Smaller field service providers such as plumbers, landscapers, electricians simply rely on individual message threads, and calls to keep track of their workforce. Generally, one provider told us that all team communication go through him (the manager). He explained that typically, one specialist texts or calls the manager to provide details on the current job status, progress, time spent, etc., and then it is the manager’s responsibility to communicate this to the rest of the team and reallocate resources as necessary. This is particularly hard when everyone is working and it’s not hard to imagine that such a situation will, naturally, lead to things getting forgotten, work being delayed, and supplies being wasted. In other words, customer dissatisfaction and churn, and finally loss of revenue.
Customers expect service providers to adopt the latest innovative and cutting-edge technologies. However, most field service providers invariably play catch-up with technology. There is still considerable opacity with regards to the status or the particulars of the field service specialist, time spent and hence the cost of a task. Likewise, dispatch and allocation of resources leaves a lot of room for improvement.
Field service providers are now forced to embrace a quantum leap in technology, considering that Uber, Lyft, doordash, and taskRabit have raised the bar for customer expectations significantly.
Smart businesses give priority to streamlined communications, dispatching, and resource allocation when opting for a technology upgrade. Generally, streamlined communications reduce waste and increase efficiency. Moreover, streamlined communications within a team allow field service providers to reduce cost overruns, improve resource allocation, increase team coherence, and improve efficiency.
Live tracking of a field service specialist’s location is already commonplace. Today’s customers demand more, with many of them wanting more transparency into their bills. As such service providers who offer live Information about the service they provide and more stand to gain a significant competitive advantage over their competitors who do not offer such options, or offer inferior options.
Facilitating these changes is not easy and requires an overhaul of the field service backend systems and even fine-tuning operations, to achieve seamless sync among disparate systems which power these operations. Done right, it delivers unprecedented customer satisfaction, which in turn enhances the value of the brand manifold.
Use yaswedo to jump start your uberization journey
yaswedo is an all in one front-office solution and dispatch center that gives your business and team the power of an enterprise level backend system like the ones used by Uber, doordash, postmates, etc.
The yaswedo platform allows you to uberize your existing workflows by dispatching jobs in real-time, providing real-time feedback to your supervisors about how the job is going, and increasing collaboration amongst your team. No more wasting time trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do or waiting for your supervisor/employee to get back to you about job details or waiting for someone to respond to your text or phone call while you sit at the job site unsure of what to do and where to go next. With yaswedo you'll instantly be connected to your team and receive up to the minute updates when important details about your job change.
We designed yasmen as a companion app to yaswedo. Give each of your specialists yasmen so that you can monitor their activities, dispatch them to jobs, share attachments and collaborate on jobs. All in real-time. Use yasmen to complete your jobs quickly, efficiently, achieve greater customer satisfaction, reduce bill disputes, and increase revenue.
We look forward to seeing how you use it to enhance your business and meet your goals. In short, use yaswedo to create jobs and dispatch your employees who use the yasmen app. A how to use guide is located at: https://www.yaswedo.com/how-it-works. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a live demo feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.