7 Reasons to Sync Up Information Between Your Field Agents and Your Main Office – 2019
Field service agents have the challenging job of balancing their professional skills with the interpersonal demands of a customer-centric role. To do this, they rely on the main office that’s organised, accountable, and communicative. Similarly, office managers and administrators rely on agents who are not only skilled but also efficient and well-organised.
Both office managers and field service agents benefit enormously from the ability to access, record, and communicate up-to-date information on the go. However, outdated paper or spreadsheet-based systems decrease efficiency in this area, constituting a major pain point for field service management. according to Software Advice.
The solution: streamlined, dedicated software that conveys to-the-minute cancellation, scheduling, payment, and GPS information between office staff and workers in the field. Not convinced? Let’s take a look at some of the most compelling reasons to sync up information between your field agents and your main office using a field service app.
1. Handle Customer Cancellations on the Go
Customer cancellations can add up over time. If your agents average a $150 invoice per home visit and have two last-minute cancellations per week, that’s $300 of lost revenue. On top of wasted revenue for the missed appointment, agents waste valuable time driving out to canceled customers’ locations if they don’t receive immediate cancellation updates.
With an app that allows instant communication between the office and agents, office staff can alert field service agents immediately of a cancellation. This helps in several ways:
- Helps agents save on fuel costs if they don’t have to drive to a clients’ location.
- Alerts the agent to be on the lookout for updated scheduling through an app.
- Saves the agent frustration while out on the road.
- Gives office staff options to re-schedule quickly.
2. Manage Inventory Quickly & Efficiently
On every call, your agents utilise products for their own needs, and may also sell products and materials to customers. With the right software, field service agents can indicate which materials, products, or supplies were used for each job. Not only does this help keeper workers accountable and organised, it also provides an invaluable resource for office managers.
Running out of needed supplies and inventory can significantly impact your business’s productivity and cause unnecessary delays. In addition, analysing each product usage in real time can help managers determine if field agents are using supplies appropriately. Finally, keeping track of inventory used by each agent provides valuable budgeting and ordering information for office staff.
3. Update Schedules on the Go to Save Time & Money
With an app that provides live job tracking, office staff can easily and efficiently manage scheduling on the go. When all new appointments and schedule changes are handled in-app, there’s no need for time-consuming voicemails or emails that get lost in transit. Agents will benefit from a more sophisticated and streamlined way to check their schedule while on the road.
Not only does this feature improve efficiency and communication, but it also provides a solution to last-minute cancellations. By immediately alerting field service agents of a cancellation, you open up a window for last-minute or emergency visits.
4. Enhance Customer Service
During a time when 86% of customers say they’d pay more for a provider with better reviews, top-notch customer service is more important than ever. Clients allow agents to come into their homes and expect a certain level of knowledge, expertise, and professional. In addition to technical information, your field service agent needs to have information on hand:
- Is there a special door or entrance to use?
- Are there any pets on property to be wary of?
- Does the client have any special requests?
- What is the client’s history with the company?
Though your agents are probably already well-versed in customer service, synced up communication between administration and agents means that up-to-date customer information and special requests are at your field agents’ fingertips. By personalising customer information and keeping agents updated, you can ensure that your customers receive the best care possible.
5. Use GPS Tracking to Manage Delays & Increases Punctuality
Out on the field, the work day doesn’t always go as planned. On any given day, field service agents on the go experience:
- Vehicle breakdown and needed repairs.
- Winter or inclement weather that shuts down roads.
- Extensive roadwork on a major route.
By tracking field service agents on the go, administrative staff can see where field workers are in real time. This opens up the lines of communication, so that agents can provide a clear explanation for tardiness or delays — and office managers can relay that information to customers, if relevant. From the agent’s perspective, this system ensures that any special circumstances or unintentional delays are conveyed to office staff. And GPS tracking provides real results: it can lead to a 95% increase in agents’ punctuality.
6. Streamline Payment Info to Keep Track of Client Payments
Without software to track invoicing and payments, office staff can remain in the dark about customer payments until a field service agent returns to the office. In paper-based systems, this often results in disorganised invoices. With an app that’s synced between field service agents and the office, your administrative staff can receive to-the-minute information on client payments:
- Did they pay their invoice in full?
- Do they still owe in full or partially for the job?
- Did they pay with a credit card, or with cash that needs to be tracked and accounted for?
Not only does this keep payments streamlined for both agents and office staff, but it serves the secondary purpose of helping office staff keep track of client behaviour. If you have customers who are consistently behind on payments, you might want to reassess these relationships for the future.
7. Enable More Information & Documentation at Time of Visit
For field service agents, it’s often crucial to keep documentation up to date with each visit. Your agent might need to take detailed photographs of a malfunctioning hot water heater, or perhaps document damage caused by a termite infestation. Whatever the case, field service agents should have a streamlined location to store this documentation — knowing that office staff will then be immediately updated on the specifics.
From the office staff perspective, this up-to-date documentation helps keep vital information collected in one easy-to-access location to that you can provide the best service possible to clients. In addition, you can use this documentation to keep track of what your field agents are accomplishing. Are they collecting all the information they need? Are they performing proper documentation? With synced-up communication, you’ll get a live glimpse at what and how your agents are doing out in the field.
The Best Software Solutions for Streamlined Communication
According to the latest Field Service Buyer Report from Software Advice, 60% of field service software buyers use tools like email and Excel spreadsheets to handle data. By switching to software that’s tailored to the needs of field service industries, you can ensure that your team is communicating brilliantly at every level.
At Call of Service, we create dedicated software for field service teams. Our solutions enable field service agents and administrative staff to stay connected, increase efficiency, and provide superior customer service at every step of the way. Want to learn more? Contact us today.