How Geofences Improve Field Service Management
“Hello. Just checking in to see if your service rep is on his way. Our appointment book shows he was supposed to be here 25 minutes ago. Can you give us an ETA?”
Not exactly the type of call any field service business wants to get. And that’s the polite version. You obviously never want this one, either:
“Where is your #@$%&* technician?”
In fact, if you can’t immediately figure out where your field employees are at any given moment, even this call below would put you in a tricky spot, even though it’s not the least bit confrontational:
“Hi, your rep is scheduled to be here at 11am. Could you do us a favor and give us a ring when he’s about 20 minutes out? We’d like to set up the equipment for him, but we don’t want it sitting out there any longer than necessary because it’s going to be in people’s way.”
These are all great reasons—among a zillion others—to have the telematics system to monitor your service techs’ whereabouts at all times. GPS fleet tracking technology lets your company deliver far better customer service, not to mention make your own staff much more efficient.
It also explains why, when the research and review site Software Advice surveyed companies that hire field service businesses, they found a big majority of those companies were more likely to select providers that could track their fleet vehicles.
Geofencing: Your Secret Weapon for Field Service Management Customer Service
Using a GPS vehicle tracking solution to stay up-to-the-minute on your field employees’ whereabouts is great. But you can add a whole other layer of efficiency and customer service (not to mention prevent those angry customer calls) with geofences.
Imagine creating a geofence, for example, around a job site where your employees are going to be working for the next few weeks. You can then set up instructions to send your team alerts whenever one of your techs crosses in or out of the fence line.
Here are just a couple of ways a geofence can help you improve your field service management:
1. Help your customers get ready for arriving field service employees.
Let’s say your customers want to know when your employees are about to arrive at their site, so they can begin preparing equipment for your techs’ work, or readying a shipment for your driver to pick up.
With a geofence, you can trigger an automatic alert for your team (or your customer directly) as soon as your employee crosses into the area. This can save the customer from preparing too early and waiting around, or having to scramble to get ready as your employee knocks on their door.
2. Improve your field employees’ punctuality at customer sites.
Thanks to the truism that what gets measured gets improved, just knowing your company has geofenced a jobsite—and someone is watching—will encourage your field employees to take their scheduled arrival and departure times more seriously.
This means you can take on jobs with much more confidence that your staff is going to be arriving on time each day for that customer.
3. Document proof of your employees’ time on site, for billing and Service Level Agreement (SLA) purposes.
If you’ve got employees working at a single location for a prolonged period, keeping track of their times at the job site (versus when they’re away for a lunch break, for example) can become a tricky and time-consuming task.
Plus, if you’re relying on your employees’ self-reporting on a handwritten time card, that won’t help you with a customer who challenges your invoice’s billable hours.
With geofences, you can automatically capture and record the moment each vehicle enters and leaves the fenced area. This will help your own team make time card tracking easier and more accurate, and give you documented proof of your field service techs’ time for billing and SLA purposes.