Seventy-EightThe number of steps it took CSRs to enter an order in their old system, a system that was hurting this client more than helping -
Software systems with a field service module have their place, especially if a business can be flexible with simpler processes to fit into what is usually more limited functionality. This client, however, had both specialized processes and a complex business model, which required a solution that was designed specifically for field service and had the ability to be customized to fit their needs.
The client was using a field service “add-on” offered by their ERP system provider, but it didn’t connect that data with the rest of the system. As a consequence, double and sometime triple data entry was required to complete processes. Additionally, the system was unreliable and prone to outages.
There was nowhere for CSRs to capture customer issues, let alone if or how the issue was resolved.
Field technicians had no access to the system, either to receive jobs assigned to them, or to order parts needed for service. Communication of scheduling had been delegated to a shared calendar and Excel files. Emails back and forth between field techs and service reps were extremely inefficient.
Paper service forms were being completed in the field – forms that often weren’t returned to the office. This hindered management’s ability to track resources used and identify problem clients who were decreasing profitability.
Bolt Data was hired for the implementation of a field service solution, including its integration to the client’s ERP system. After a week-long onsite kickoff, the project team realized the potential for change was enormous. In the following months, the organizational change that occurred touched all parts of the client’s business.
The solution we implemented encompassed:
• Case management functionality that allows for customer service to capture customer issues, comments, and questions, along with information and reporting tools for the rest of company to better understand product defects and more quickly resolve billing issues
• Location management where customer locations can be grouped, and service techs assigned, by specific geographical areas.
• Service scheduling using an interactive dispatch console, where technicians self-schedule work orders assigned to them by a specific service due date. Customer Service Reps are able to view and report on technician schedules to ensure that service is delivered on time.
• Technicians can enter parts requests from the field, which the office is able to review and approve, at which time an integration point sends them into the ERP system. Technicians can then see when parts have been shipped.
• Work Orders with processes for technicians to acknowledge when they’ve begun travel, arrived onsite, and completed the required work. Upon completion of work, labor hours, parts used, and travel expenses can be entered in the field and show up in the main system in real time.
• A custom preventive maintenance process was developed that gives CSRs a simple way to control the automatic creation of work orders. Along with work orders, dynamic parts orders are auto-generated depending on the equipment installed at a location.
• Using an included mobile app, technicians need only their iPad to view and capture all data associated with their work, even when offline. This includes service forms signed by the customer and other work related forms and site photos.
• Bolt Data delivered training sessions for the full system functionality to both the customer and field service staff, along with reporting functionality to the sales and finance departments.
By coincidence, the new system went live just a few months prior to a massive uptick in business for this client. Even though their client base almost doubled, they didn’t hire a single new service rep or technician because of new found efficiency. The customer service manager admitted that in the old system, just the onboarding of one of the new clients would have taken days instead of the few hours it now takes.
The office service reps were the first to feel the impacts the new system delivered. Instead of spending time processing emails and entering repetitive data, they now focus on delivering better service, which translates into higher customer satisfaction. Field technicians now have the data they need, including location and equipment data, to arrive at a site with confidence that they have the needed parts and knowledge to perform the work.
Soon, though, the ripples made in service were spreading throughout the rest of the company.
In the sales department, reps now had up to date information when trial installations were complete, so they could start closing deals more quickly.
In engineering, the product development and quality assurance teams can now pull from a whole new data set around issues and suggestions clients have for their products.
Finance finally has the granular data they were looking for around service and equipment per customer location. The team now works with sales when clients are requesting more services than were planned.
The executive team now has a visual dashboard to view the health of their service business, with easier access to a wealth of data, so they can continue to refine processes and increase profitability.
Prior to Bolt Data’s implementation of a customized field service solution, this business endured the shortfalls of field service “add ons.” With the power of this new relational database solution, data drives their processes, their product development, their service — their business.