Editor’s Note: Fluid Services and Fred’s Appliance Service have kindly allowed TWICE to share their blog post on how to transition field service staff. We’ve posted an excerpt from the original blog post, and you can access the entire article here. It’s full of advice, examples and can help make your transition easier and more effective.
Since the start of 2019, Fred’s Appliance Service has been a completely remote operation. Meaning that the entire staff work from their homes and we do not report to a central location, this includes the field staff and the support staff.
There are a number of reasons why Fred’s Appliance decided to transition to a remote model, but due to recent events, we’re not going to spend a bunch of time going over the pros and cons of working from home. Instead, we want to give some tips and high-level guidance for what you need to review at your company and some of the tools that Fred’s Appliance has used to make this transition happen.
Part of our challenge of creating a guide like this is that every field service company operates a little differently and each has its own sets of unique challenges. At Fluid, by providing one on one consulting, we have been able to give companies more specific first steps on what needs to be addressed to get their team one step closer to working remotely.
And that’s the big point to take away from this guide. You will not be able to implement everything we list in one day. Fred’s Appliance has been making small changes and improvements over many years to get their team all working from home every day. But you have to start somewhere!
OUR STARTING POINT
To give us a starting point for this guide, we are going to use a fake company called ABC Appliance Repair.
- ABC Appliance Repair runs in Springfield (the city in the Simpsons, not a real Springfield)
- ABC has been in business for over 30 years.
- ABC has 15 technicians running appliance repair calls
- An ABC technician on average runs 7 calls a day.
- ABC has one brick and mortar location in downtown Springfield
- All support staff report to the location to perform their jobs.
- All invoicing is done on paper
- All field staff report to their main location twice a day.
- Once in the morning to pick up the parts and paperwork related to their jobs that day.
- And once more at the end of their route to drop off parts and the completed paperwork for that day’s route.
So with ABC, for any employee to perform their job, it’s required to visit the brick and mortar location in downtown Springfield every day.
At Fred’s Appliance, the technicians rarely visit the brick and mortar location for Fred’s, which is actually Fred’s Appliance Academy, so only for specific training sessions. Eliminating this daily commute is one big reason that a Fred’s seasoned technician is expected to run 10 calls a day. That is 3 more a day than our ABC example company.
Take 3(extra service calls per day) x 15(how many technicians at ABC) = 45 jobs a day are being missed at ABC
Take 15(how many technicians at ABC) x 7(how many jobs on average an ABC technician runs per day) = 105 jobs a day at ABC.
ABC is just burning revenue every single day by forcing the 2 commutes per day per technician. So let’s breakdown areas to review at your company to get your technicians being dispatched from their homes.
FIELD STAFF CHECKLIST
The first priority is to get the field staff out of the building altogether before tackling your support staff. The technicians are the revenue generators of the field service business. The more time they can spend in the field fixing appliances, the more money the technician and company can make. Outside of training opportunities to improve their skills, a field technician needs to be… in the field.
At Fred’s, the support staff only physically sees a field staff member a few times a year, typically company meetings and gatherings. The team is in constant contact with each other using technology but the need for face-to-face dialogue is not necessary to provide an experienced technician with their daily routing information and parts.
Challenges to Address with Field Staff
- Dispatch Software
- Special Order Appliance Parts
- Truck Stuck Parts
- Part and Core Returns
- Collecting Cash and Checks
- Truck Repairs and Inventory Accountability
- Technician Tools and Supplies
- Field Staff Communication
- Field Staff Motivation
The article continues on by giving in-depth advice, but there’s so much information contained in the guide that we’ve only uploaded an excerpt of the Fluid Service article. Click here to access the rest of the information on the original post.