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How To Run Your Field Team More Effectively
When it comes to field team management, there are many things in play – and if you have either recently stepped into the role or just expanded your business and have more operatives – our collaborative blog, How to Run your field team more effectively, is for you.
Running a tight ship regarding field management means you must be on top of equipment tracks, emergencies and urgent requests, customer care, effective service, and schedules. And those things are just the start.
Making everything more efficient will mean streamlining all the processes in place now, removing things that aren’t working, and keeping customers and the team at the forefront of mind.
Are the processes you have put in place working? Yes, because you can cover more customers and see an increased profit. Below you will find where you can make a significant impact.
Run Your Field Team More Effectively
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The more significant percentages of callouts and customer visits will be responses to broken things that need immediate fixing. Not only can you improve profitability by scheduling maintenance callouts, but it will reduce the number of emergency callouts.
Emergency calls and requests are typically the ones that will throw off a well-set schedule, and once there is a single movement of a booked appointment, the rest of the week and the following week can change too.
Also, if all of your field operatives are busy on calls, the emergency must wait (unless it is dangerous). While there is no guarantee that preventative measures will stop all emergency call-outs, they can heavily reduce them.
Dispatchers and field managers have a task that requires quick response and coordination – if they need access to the proper communications and scheduling software, it makes it more accessible.
Platforms like BuildOps can make these tasks as streamlined as possible. Scheduling and monitoring solutions offer improved delivery times (and fewer flawed estimations), traffic for the field team, and optimized routing. However, you can modify most platforms to meet your needs.
The right tools and training will improve response times, improve the service that customers receive, and can even reduce the miles that the team clocks up since allocation will be more efficient.
Making sure you can access historical data is one of the ways you can start to create a forecast. You will know when customers need to book yearly or seasonal callouts.
There are a couple of events that you have no control over, like power outages, cyber-attacks, weather – or whatever you would consider an anomaly in your industry. However, in almost all cases, there will be some regular patterns that you can control better. You’ll know when you need more staff or a concentration available in a specific area.
Field team managers should regularly look at resource capacity planning – using previous data to help. You will be looking for some of the following (but not all will apply to all sectors):
- Average daily jobs
- Length of each task
- Incomplete or lost jobs
- Jobs fulfilled
- First-customer jobs
By tracking the data monthly, then running a comparison, you will start to see the patterns emerge. Scheduling software is one of the things that make this task easier – without it, you are relying on good paper filing and record books.
Technology offers customers and businesses to do almost everything instantly. While all-day call-outs used to be standard, customers are no longer happy to do that. Customers, for the most part, would like to feel like they are your only concern – which means they want access to information, time slots, and quick service – all at a reasonable price.
Implementation is essential for companies with fast or ‘the fastest’ response times as part of their service. When you have the proper scheduling platform and use all the information, you can ensure that your field team dispatches or that the customer can book the time quickly.
Not only can you make sure that you get someone to the job asap, but you can also make sure that it is the right person with the best skill set who is nearby and available. Real-time tracking, communication, and updates make this possible.
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Sales teams need actual figures to work with because it allows them to make promises and close deals. No matter how excellent they are, they aren’t in the field, meaning they need the information from the field team. Access to those figures is necessary for them to work extra hard. Interactions with your sales team could be in person, via phone, or online chat.
Ensure that you train the people in the field to look for missing products and services. Often customers will speak to the field team and ask questions, which they can then relay back to the product and sales teams.
Communication between the field team, products, sales, and management is vital to identify and manage all gaps.
It can also be interesting to give your field team some sales training so they can work on upselling and ask the right questions, renew contracts, issue new ones, and more. When sales have a complete overview of what the field team encounters and is capable of, it makes their job much more manageable.
We have covered how essential data is a few times, but the collection and analysis of data are vital. The right platform can quickly help you sort between data that needs to be analyzed and those that don’t – and anything that can’t be moved to the side. Data usable for forecasting and improving your services can be key collection points.
Here are some of the data collection points that you will have access to and analyze:
- Time spent on site
- Delivery logs
- Driver behavior
- Speed of services
From that, you will see which teams and employees are the most efficient, which might need more training, those that can handle more dispatches and more.
Looking for patterns in the services in the field means you can have individual schedules that benefit both the company and the employee.
In addition, keeping track of fleet data is an excellent idea to prevent booking a service out but the van or car cannot make the journey due to needing repairs or maintenance.
As well as all those data points, you will create a ‘fastest travel route’ too, meaning you can estimate a job from leaving the last job until completion, factoring in travel time too.
Using data to spot patterns means that your schedule will be optimized.
A lack of communication can be one of the most detrimental things with a field team. Lack of communication can mean field teams going to the wrong location, missing emergency notifications, or being unable to communicate with the office or sales team.
Mobile phones have increased communication between field teams and the office to a high standard, but more can happen between emails, texts, and calls. Tracking and real-time data mean that the office can make adjustments immediately, and the field team can get notifications from that too.
Since all the information is instant and stored on a cloud-based platform, everyone can see what is happening simultaneously.
It’s not just for the benefit of the office, though; when a field person arrives on site, they can assess the situation, report back, and request support or change the needed services.
With everything stored on the cloud, technicians and other field staff can quickly access previous records, services, product call-outs, and other notes.
Managing your field team might look like a monumental task, but once the right platform and processes are in place, it will quickly highlight all the areas you can make a difference. Use the data to adjust, better estimate the upcoming work, and encourage customers to book preventative maintenance.
While the focus might be on field management, you must always keep your eye on the ball regarding your sales team – they both feed into each other. Sales teams usually have tenacious personalities who want to chase the numbers.
From time to time, though, sales do dip, and often that comes down to either execution or effort – and if you find your sales team flagging, here are some tips to help: The Best Advice Sales Managers Can Give to Help Increase Sales.
In Conclusion: How To Run Your Field Team More Effectively
Not only can you make sure that you get someone to the job asap, but you can also make sure that it is the right person with the best skill set who is nearby and available. Real-time tracking, communication, and updates make all of the above possible and contribute to helping you run your field team more effectively.
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Sales Tips: Run Your Field Team More Effectively
- Teams are the backbone of companies, no matter their positioning in-house or in the field.
- At team meetings, request new ideas and ensure everyone has a say.
- Inquire what you may do better to inspire better camaraderie among the team.
- Host semi-annual team events outdoors when the weather permits.
- Request further input regarding what clients tell the team members privately.
- Research the latest technology for consideration of implementation.
- Review steps in place to improve efficiencies.
- Speak with clients to learn where you may improve overall.
- Ask clientele about their service satisfaction and whether they want to provide a testimonial.
- Celebrate Success!
Today’s insights are provided to help you achieve the Smooth Sale!
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