Today’s field service organizations are faced with internal and external challenges that imped efforts to maximize profits and achieve field service excellence. Budget constraints, volatile fuel prices, changing legislation and increased pressure to deliver higher levels of customer service are some of the obstacles eroding profit margins and deterring companies from investing in solutions that will optimize organizational performance.

The challenge

Customer expectations are increasing, forcing companies to deliver a greater customer experience if they want to remain competitive. Happy customers are critical to improving revenue streams, both because of their spending and because of their referrals to other prospects.

Field-based workers are the new company face since they are often the only ones to have direct contact with the customer. However, the cost of a workforce is a major expense and unlike their desk-based colleagues, mobile workers rarely spend time in the office, which means it can be difficult to monitor their productivity. Maintaining a cost-effective workforce is a major objective for field service organizations, knowing where their people and resources are, as well as their status and time on site, so they can make real-time decisions that help operations run smoothly.

The solution

Today’s field service companies regularly examine the way their business operates, looking for new and cost effective ways to deliver the competitive edge needed to be successful, while also maintaining their budget to deliver a strong Return on Investment (ROI).

Field Service Management solutions such as workforce management are excellent tools that help streamline business processes to boost productivity, reduce costs and ultimately meet and exceed strategic objectives. The initial investment can seem high, but investing more now can actually save money later, with some field service businesses showing a ROI within months rather than years of the initial investment.

Industry Findings

  • Sixty-seven percent (67%) of organizations indicate that they are investing in mobile tools and solutions as a key strategy to improve field service performance[1]
  • 96 percent of respondents believe employing more staff was not necessarily the answer to providing improved customer service but that the solution lay in improvements to the way organizations managed field service operations[2]
  • 80% of revenue is driven from current customers on existing products or new products and services. As a result, improved field service performance is seen as a direct means to improving revenue fortunes[3]

Field service success at the strategic level is measured in terms of customer satisfaction, retention and profitability. AberdeenGroup report that 57 percent of organizations indicate a poor first time fix is the top reason for customer complaints about field service work, closely followed by a field worker arriving late for an appointment. The loss of customers, or the additional cost associated with regaining or winning back unhappy customers, has a major impact on the profitability of the business.

Clearly, then, it is important that organizations maintain a holistic view of their field services’ utilization, productivity and performance. Field service managers must look at the total number of jobs completed per day per worker as well as the utilization of their field based workforce, such as the amount of time spent working compared to traveling or idle time. Ultimately, the more time workers spend in front of customers the more they understand customer issues, identify potential solutions, and discuss products and services that might enhance customer value while increasing organization revenue.

A workforce management system can help because it provides real-time job status of each mobile worker as well as alerts for managing productivity. If a job is in jeopardy of being missed, a workforce management solution can send an alert so others resources can be deployed.  Other capabilities include:

  • Optimizing and automating mobile work schedules
  • Communicating to mobile workers via a laptop or smart phone so they can view work details, provide current work status and receive work assignments without returning to the office
  • Monitoring arrival times, distances travelled, stops made and overtime usage
  • Comparing planned vs. actual work done per day/shift
  • Adjusting schedules and reassigning work

These benefits can increase customer satisfaction by increasing on-time service delivery and reducing the number of missed appointments.

To find out more about workforce management and other advanced field service management technologies, visit

[1] The Service Council: Connecting With Your World: Mobile Workforce Management survey, 2013

[2] The Road Ahead Report: The Future of Field Service Delivery, 2012