Managing the cost of service delivery is a challenge for service-oriented businesses, in part because of the external variables and influencing factors that can suddenly drive up costs without warning.
This makes financial projections difficult and can lead to devastating financial consequences for enterprises that fail to plan for the unexpected.
1. Use Apps to Find the Lowest Fuel Costs
There are a few different apps that enable users to find the most affordable gas stations within their local vicinity. GasBuddy is probably the most well-known among these apps. With a crowd-sourced, community updating system, users contribute to the database by entering gas prices at stations they encounter. Users who need to refill can quickly find the gas station with the lowest current prices without driving needlessly around the area.
2. Optimize Field Scheduling
Inefficient scheduling practices can lead to unnecessary expenses in several ways. Failing to prioritize dispatching based on location and availability, for instance, results in lost time and increased payroll costs in relation to revenues. It can also drive up fuel costs by causing field staff to re-fuel more frequently than they would if their appointments for the day were located in close proximity.
3. Invest in Your Field Agents
It’s been proven that investing in training and career development opportunities can actually boost bottom lines. Motivated employees who feel valued tend to be more invested in their jobs, are more productive, and provide better service. These initial investments pay off in quality of service and customer satisfaction, as well as foster positive morale.
4. Minimize Overtime
Overtime charges can easily throw a wrench in the company budget. While it’s sometimes unavoidable, overtime can be circumnavigated in many instances with more effective scheduling. Often, overtime results from a lack of broad visibility during the planning process. Field service scheduling software can help overcome these challenges by identifying overtime scenarios and alerting schedulers, as well as offering the best alternatives based on company-defined rules and parameters.
5. Reduce Travel Time
Another cost factor influenced by poor scheduling, travel time isn’t a profitable activity for field service teams – it’s an expense. But you can reduce these costs by optimizing schedules to prioritize location proximity and plan multiple calls and appointments in a smaller area. This can be done by allocating field agents to different segments of your service area and assigning tasks to those agents by default, unless another conflict prevents it. In these cases, an analysis of the adjacent field agent’s availability often reveals an agent who can handle the request with minimal travel time.
6. Improve Task Completion Times
Delays can happen for any number of reasons – traffic, encountering problems at the customer’s location that are unexpected, and field workers finding that they don’t have the required parts to complete the job. Real-time shift scheduling enables field teams to readjust their schedules based on these delays. Other team members can be reassigned to appointments to compensate for another worker’s holdup due to an unanticipated event.
7. Analyze Trends and Make Data-Driven Decisions
Constant growth is a hallmark of today’s most successful enterprises. Thanks to software applications and technology that makes it simpler to collect and analyze data, these companies are able to drill down to significant trends, identify key drivers of success, review newly implemented processes against key performance indicators (KPIs), engage with customers more effectively, and more. Investing in software with built-in data analysis tools will help you turn all those numbers into meaningful, actionable insights.
There are several effective ways to reduce service costs. Most are not difficult to implement if you’re armed with the right tools. With software companies providing innovative solutions to enable smarter decision-making and more efficient resource allocation, a truly lean enterprise is within reach that leaves more time and resources to take care of customers.