Spend any time with the higher-ups of large, enterprise field service companies, and you’ll hear them constantly discuss metrics and analytics. Big data, data analysis and dashboards have become essential tools for monitoring field service metrics for these enterprise businesses.
But, did you know that in-depth field service analytics tools are just as available to small, independent service business owners like you?
I know what you’re thinking … field service analytics? Can I afford that? Do I have to be a data expert? Where do I even begin? Luckily, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to field service analytics and the abundance of data and insights you can leverage to improve your business. To get you started, we highlight three key metrics you can track using the analytics capabilities of your field service management (FSM) software.
The application of these tools and monitoring of these metrics can uncover operational inefficiencies that you can remedy for an immediate positive impact on revenue.
(Click on a link below to jump to a section.)
What Is Field Service Analytics?
Field service analytics includes any data capturing and analysis you’re able to carry out. As a small field service business, you’re likely not doing much analysis (if any at all).
In fact, our research shows 70 percent of field service companies aren’t even using a formal field service management (FSM) system, which is the main engine of data gathering and analysis.
You could technically still do data gathering and analytics, perhaps via Excel or other manual methods … but it’s going to be complicated and time consuming.
Jumping into in-depth, impactful field service analytics requires capabilities found in formal FSM software. An FSM system automates data gathering and analysis, as well as visualization, presenting it in easy-to-read reports and dashboards.
The benefits of the insights gained through such analytics are immediate and highly impactful for operations, on-site management and back-office decisions.
But, why? How? In short, because data analytics highlights crucial metrics and offers transparency into every facet of your business. This transparency leads to improvements that directly impact your bottom line.
The Very Real Benefits of Field Service Metrics
Field service metrics are agreed upon performance measurements. As a small service business owner, you may think you have total insight into your employee and operational performance. This simply isn’t the case, though, without the granularity and transparency that detailed field service analytics provide.
As William McNeill, analyst with research and advisory firm Gartner, says, field service analytics enable your small field service business to create “both internally focused and externally focused metrics that will be measured.
Examples include problem resolution time, jobs per day and customer satisfaction.” (This content is available to Gartner clients.)
The notion of creating both internally and externally focused performance measurements is an important one. This showcases how the analytics capabilities of your FSM system can be used to improve employees’ work in the field and customer interactions, while also creating greater internal operational efficiency.
The nearly 85 percent of enterprise service companies using or planning to use field service analytics are doing so for good reason. The same survey uncovers some needle-moving return on investment (ROI) generated from field service analytics.
Of the enterprises surveyed that are using field service analytics:
- 80 percent saw increased technician efficiency
- 60 percent saw improved cost tracking
- 50 percent saw heightened dispatcher efficiency
These enterprise statistics mesh well with findings from our own survey of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) from the field service industry. Our study found that by using a FSM platform and its analytics components, SMB field service companies can see major financial return.
Three Metrics That Can Positively Impact Your Revenue
While the data above shows the benefits of using field service metrics, which metrics should you be using? We’ve outlined three metrics that can provide immediate impact for your small business.
Plumbing jokes aside, contract leakage is a very real thing, especially for small service businesses operating without a FSM program. Contract leakage refers to missed customer charges as a result of contract coverage confusion on the part of technicians.
“Leakage is the ‘free stuff.’ It’s the lost revenue that should be paid by the customer, but you’re giving it away without realizing it. If the tech doesn’t know when the coverage period cuts off or what parts are covered in that contract at the time of service, guess what? It’s a free-of-charge service call, and you’re losing revenue.”
Dave Hart, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation at Servicemax
The remaining two metrics we’ll cover are jobs scheduled and jobs completed. According to a report by field service software provider Clicksoftware, these metrics are closely related, but they monitor activity across two separate business units and track distinct business performance.
For this metric, your operations team (including dispatchers and any other team members that might schedule jobs) are monitored on their ability to successfully harmonize customer demand with technician capability. In other words, are your dispatchers creating realistic, achievable schedules for technicians?
The metric used for quantifying the accuracy of these schedules is a proactive one.
“Proactive metrics are those used during the planning process. They raise questions such as ‘How many jobs will we need to schedule?’ and ‘How many resources do we need on hand?’”
Clicksoftware, “Key Metrics for Measuring Your Field Service Business”
Jobs Completed Per Day
The jobs completed per day metric hones in on the performance of your actual boots on the ground. A reactive metric can be used here to measure the performance of technicians.
“Reactive metrics are results-based, actual figures coming from the field. They answer questions like ‘How many jobs did we complete?’ and ‘How many resources did we actually require?’”
Clicksoftware, “Key Metrics for Measuring Your Field Service Business”
What Do You Do Next?
Now that you see the importance of field service analytics for creating and monitoring field service metrics, what are your next steps?
- If your small business falls into the 70 percent operating without any FSM software, your first step is to find the best system for your operation. Most field service management systems offer some form of analytics. The two at the top of our list are:
- Once you have your FSM system in place, you can start gathering and monitoring data to get a baseline understanding of your performance. From there, you can then set performance goals and decide which metrics will help put you on the path to reaching these goals.
- You’ll definitely want to be transparent with your employees about the analytics implementation and performance measuring process. This is something you need your employees to greet with open minds and optimism, as opposed to seeing it as an authoritarian measuring stick.
- And finally, once everything is in place, enjoy the revenue-boosting benefits the analytics and metrics will surely provide.