Let’s say you’re the service manager of a medium-sized construction equipment distribution company—we’ll call it ConEquip Inc. You’ve been an employee at ConEquip for over 20 years and you’re invested in the success of the organization, not only because it affects your livelihood, but because you genuinely care about the health and well-being of the business. You’ve been working hard lately, putting in overtime at the office, managing on-site visits, etc, but even with the extra work, your numbers have been slipping.

Your reliance on break-fix orders and excel sheet scheduling aren’t working anymore and instead of contributing to the company’s overall bottom line, you’re lucky if the service department breaks even. What’s the problem?

Times are changing and if you’re still managing to the same strategies and goals you did five years ago, it’s time for a makeover! You recognize the need to revamp the current state of the service department, so you approach your CEO with a plan to make service and customer loyalty a bigger priority in the company. In order to do so, you explain, you’ll need to turn the service department from a cost center into a profit center using additional resources and improved strategies and tools.

Thankfully, your CEO agrees and gives you the go-ahead to make whatever adjustments you see fit to build service into its own profit center. You can hire who you need, invest in the tools and software to make it happen, and put new plans and strategies in motion. AWESOME!! Now what?

Revamp your KPIs

Your first step to modernizing your business and transforming the service department from a cost center to a profit center is setting up specific and ambitious key performance indicators (KPIs) to guide your goals and decisions.

Here’s our vote for the 5 most important KPIs for service managers and how to manage them:

1. Grow year-over-year service revenue

Increasing revenue is every organizations’ ultimate goal. But it doesn’t just happen overnight. In order to successfully manage this KPI, it’s vital that you follow through on the goals you’ve set and invest in the right tools to help you track and meet them.

For example, if you want to ensure yearly growth, you need to break down the goal and measure weekly, or even daily, revenue. With the use of an all-in-one field service management system, your employees will be able to analyze revenue sources through a cloud-based service portal, which will alert you when service margins are slipping so you can take immediate action before the problem gets out of control.

2. Improve service quality and field performance

This one is a little tricky to track, which is why you’ll need to take deliberate steps to effectively measure and manage this KPI. The best tool you can use to track service quality is a mobile inspection application that requires field technicians to evaluate and document their safety and performance in the field. You’d also be able to collect customer survey information to measure how customers evaluate your service quality.

3. Increase customer retention rate

Today’s business environment is customer-centric in almost any industry and if you’re not able to give customers what they’re looking for at a reasonable price, they’ll find it somewhere else. Industry research consistently reflects that service customers look primarily for two things from their service organization: 1) first-time fix and 2) accurate ETA windows and timely service. With tools like field service scheduling software to track technicians’ status, location, parts, and skill set, companies are able to schedule the closest technician with the right parts and skills to make sure the job’s done right and on time.

4. Shrink the time from order to billing

Common sense dictates that it’s better to get paid faster. When you have the resources to schedule a work order, complete the job, bill the customer, and get paid quicker, you can focus your efforts on other areas like sales or managing KPIs. Field workforce automation software integrates applications and software to track work order information so you can respond quicker, perform better in the field, and build a connection with satisfied and loyal customers.

5. Increase percentage of jobs scheduled through service contracts

Establishing consistent and renewable service contracts is arguably the best way to stabilize your service organization. Start by equipping your technicians with mobile field service technology, which is a great way to jump-start your service contracts engine because mobile apps keep technicians up-to-date and provide access to customer and asset information. While on-site, techs can see customer warranty, contract, and service history records, which give them the necessary information to sell new contracts or renew an existing contract.

Use Data to Drive Decisions

As you implement these new strategies into your operations, you’ll have limitless opportunities to collect data. Do it! Data collection and analysis is the only way to know whether you’re meeting your goals and reaping the benefits of your field service software investment. Some examples of areas to collect data include

  • Customer surveys
  • Service quality inspections
  • Drive time
  • First-time fix rates
  • Work order lifecycle length
  • Technician performance
  • New sales and upgrades

Data displayed in easy to read service portals makes it easy for service managers to see what’s going on in their organization and make adjustments when the numbers aren’t where they should be. Customizable widgets provide access to the areas that are most important for each organization and make it simple for service managers to track their goals and manage to KPIs. If you’re still making business decisions by guessing what’s best, it’s likely you’re missing some key steps and insights required to get it just right.

Conclusion: Fast Forward to the Future

Sweet Success! You did it! After revamping the service department at ConEquip by establishing new KPIs, investing in field service software to help you manage them, and tracking your progress and goals through data collection and analysis, you’re finally seeing the sort of revenue and progress you’ve been working towards for years. Now, don’t stop here. Continue pushing your service department to new goals and implement new technologies to stay ahead of your competitors. Thanks to your initiative and determination ConEquip’s service department is more productive and profitable than ever…I think it’s time for a promotion.

Originally Posted By Joanna Rotter