Contracting is a complex business with plenty of room for risks. The good thing is that the right mobile platforms can help manage these risks and, in fact, reveal workplace opportunities. Below are some of the most common challenges field service companies face and ways that mobile technologies can help.
Missed sales opportunities in the field With FIELDBOSS, mobile devices can be configured with a recommendation field request capability to leverage field staff who are customer-facing and in the best position to find high margin out-of-contract service or installation opportunities. Recommendations that are generated in the field should go directly to the sales team, yet field staff can also be incentivized to make the effort. A streamlined feedback loop from field to sales will reduce the amount of money that is "left on the table."
Lower than expected service margins Higher than necessary labour costs on service calls can lead to a lowered service margin. Consider leveraging platforms like Microsoft Teams to confer with more senior individuals in the company when you run into trouble, so the job gets done right the first time. As well, mobile apps often have augmented reality features that give the service technician even better direction on how to perform a task, and many come with electronic check lists to ensure work is done to manufacturer or contract specification.
Unexpected collection risk Invoice collection obstacles arise for a variety of reasons. These can include disputes over whether a service call is included under maintenance, who was responsible for the service call in the first place, and if the maintenance was completed; as well as risks such as billing lag or missed invoices. The right mobile solution can allow for real-time updates of service activities, thus permitting invoice approvals to happen almost immediately after work is complete. Field staff can also use mobile devices and apps to keep track of tasks and other service call data so that customer invoices are to the specification of the customer and invoices are not questioned.
Lower-than-expected maintenance contract margin Mobile devices can be custom-configured to make it simple for staff to identify work that falls under the terms of the maintenance contract but was not accounted for when pricing it, resulting in lower-than-expected maintenance contract margin. These details are valuable when the contract is up for renewal and you want to show your customer what it is costing to service their account. Non-billable jobs under a maintenance project can be created from a separate work order associated to that project. A history of completed jobs and maintenance activities can be displayed which helps in reducing risk for any future jobs.
Customer litigation A comprehensive audit trail of all service call activities with proper documentation that includes pictures and time stamps reduces the risk of customer litigations – particularly if those customers know that they will be facing an organized defense.
Penalties and fines With increased regulation and governments searching for new sources of funding, the potential for fines and penalties are more prevalent than ever before. Field mobile apps can be configured to utilize mobile checklists and to address the most common noncompliance risk factors including missed dates or documentation.
Health and safety risks Adding dynamic checklists to your mobile solution allows field staff to prioritize and document health and safety procedures before the commencement of work performed including PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements and regulatory safety processes.
Equipment warranty compliance risks Contractor mobile solutions should include a history of completed and non-completed work for equipment via the location, project, or maintenance contract. Field staff who have access to up-to-date information will help ensure a higher rate of accurate work completion the first time as they can see what service worked and did not work at that specific location or on that specific piece of equipment. Furthermore, user notes can be added to equipment to ensure quicker communication between field and office users or – more importantly – when multiple field staff collaborate on the same piece of equipment.
Poor service efficacy Mobile apps that include access to documentation are beneficial in both determining any issues and simply completing the job at hand. Being able to see up to date documents for a variety of equipment allows for a lower risk of a job not being completed within the allotted time frame. To that end, an effective mobile solution should allow office staff to upload documents and attach them to equipment records, allowing the technicians on mobile to see and understand the job.
Staff morale and turnover Like any high-performing professional, top field staff are particular about the job aids they use, particularly when it comes to factors such as operating system (OS) type, mobile device brand, and form factor. Many do not want to feel that they are being tracked, and they do not want to look incompetent in the eyes of the client, their co-workers, or management. The right mobile app is configurable, allowing them to view their connection to the office as an asset to make their jobs easier and to have management be aware of the good work they are doing. Configurability is critical as it enables users to tailor the mobile device to their needs, eliminating one less reason for job dissatisfaction.
Contact FIELDBOSS for more information about how you can leverage mobile software to mitigate risk in your Contracting business and provide the best service possible to your customers, while increasing your business profitability.
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