Tips to Optimize Your Field Force Management: Best Practices in the Industry

Field service is one of the most competitive domains of business. No matter what service you are offering your customers, chances are at least one other company is vying for the same spot. And if you are new to the game, the stakes are even higher. In order to secure a spot, you need to compete with a business that has already made its mark and acquired a loyal customer base. So, you must ensure some competitive advantage for your brand and devise a strategy to stand out. One of the most effective yet rudimentary ways to achieve this is to improve your field force management.

While people apply several methods to boost field effectiveness, research indicates that field force automation has been the biggest force driving productivity in service-based organizations in recent years. Businesses now utilize various digital tools and software programs to enhance their workflow. Automated features in business management software systems function in a variety of comprehensive ways. For example, companies use field force management software to leverage scheduling tools to ensure maximum productivity, cloud storage for database management, and mobile technologies to closely check what’s going on at different job sites.

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As technology keeps evolving, the service industry is also gearing up for new trends and striving to adapt for competitive advantage. In this process, market practices are also constantly changing. If you are to ensure maximum productivity in your business, you need to make sure you are also following the best practices.

This guide is the result of thorough research on market trends and practices pertaining to current field force management practices. By reviewing and analyzing what leading field service organizations are doing to retain their places in the competition, we have put together some of the most effective strategies you can emulate to enhance productivity and boost revenue in your own business.

But before we delve into that discussion, let’s try to provide you with a brief overview of field force management and its objectives.

What is Field Force Management

Field force management (FFM), also known as field service management (FSM), is a subset of workforce management that refers to the management of resources utilized in remote locations, i.e., outside of the office. This may entail scheduling and dispatching field technicians, tracking company vehicles, creating estimates, conducting field sales, ensuring safety and compliance, accessing databases, and monitoring the field team’s activity in real-time. All these elements must then be integrated with the management of other on-site components, including billing, inventory control, and staff systems.

FFM best practices involve understanding market trends and utilizing suitable resources to maximize results. It also comprises effective communication between the field team and management, proper work delegation, assigning roles and responsibilities, and goal setting.

Failure to implement adequate field force management can result in customer dissatisfaction, low productivity, and unsafe situations. Because there are so many variables in field force management, many firms are turning to cloud-based field force management software to help track everything and ensure it all works well.

FFM software solutions enable field workers and office staff to collaborate in real-time. It is a field service operations coordination system that involves scheduling work orders, dispatching service technicians, tracking labor hours, job status, and invoicing.

What are the Objectives of Field Force Management

Field force management attempts to improve the performance of a company’s mobile workforce and increase field operations efficiency. It entails automating processes and making it easier for managers to track, assess, and support their teams’ performance.

Objectives of Field Force Management

A field force management system can ensure that the right person is assigned to the right job. Thus, you set the employee up for success by sending the nearest, most appropriate, and most prepared technician to do the job. This does not only help your technicians increase first-time fix rates, but also increases productivity, revenues, and customer satisfaction.

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Why Field Force Management is Important

Field force management is critical for any company aiming to increase sales and income. This approach allows managers to exert control over sales force team members. It is also utilized to ensure that experienced salespeople are organized and managed efficiently in order to offer the best outcomes.

It also ensures that a corporation can deploy resources properly to manage the sales process. This includes deciding how to split sales territory, defining objectives and quotas, managing pipelines, training and motivating sales staff, and tracking performance. Companies may monitor and analyze their performance more effectively with field force management to maximize their revenues.

Furthermore, field force management can assist in ensuring that clients are constantly satisfied with the services they receive. It enables businesses to manage their resources better, lowering overhead expenses and improving earnings. Furthermore, it can aid in the development of stronger relationships between field teams and their customers, resulting in greater customer service and a more favorable customer experience.

As a whole, field force management is an important aspect of every successful organization. It enables businesses to optimize their resources and revenue while providing improved customer service and satisfaction.

Benefits of Optimizing Field Force Management

Optimizing field force management strategies offers numerous benefits for service companies. Here are five key advantages:

    • Increased Productivity and Efficiency

By optimizing scheduling, route planning, and task assignment, field force management strategies enable service technicians to accomplish more in less time. Streamlining workflows and reducing travel time between appointments maximize productivity and efficiency, allowing businesses to serve more customers with their existing resources.

    • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

Optimized field force management ensures that technicians arrive promptly, are well-prepared, and are equipped to effectively address customer needs. This leads to shorter wait times, faster problem resolution, and overall improved service quality, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    • Cost Reduction and Resource Optimization

Efficient scheduling and route optimization minimize fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear, and unnecessary overtime expenses. By allocating resources more effectively and reducing idle time, businesses can optimize their operational costs and improve profitability.

    • Real-Time Visibility and Decision-Making

Implementing field force management solutions provides real-time visibility into technician locations, job statuses, and performance metrics. With access to actionable insights and analytics, managers can make informed decisions on resource allocation, prioritize urgent tasks, and proactively address potential issues before they escalate.

    • Empowered and Engaged Technicians

Optimized field force management empowers technicians with the tools, information, and support they need to excel in their roles. Clear communication, streamlined processes, and access to relevant data enable technicians to work more autonomously and efficiently, fostering a sense of ownership, pride, and engagement in their work. This, in turn, leads to higher job satisfaction, reduced turnover rates, and a more motivated workforce.

How to Optimize Field Force Management

Today, technology can provide you with an overwhelming amount of data. If you are to assess your business performance considering each and every data point you can gather, it will be an impossible task to figure out the exact areas that need development. But more importantly, it can confuse you and make you lose sight of the bigger picture.

This is no different for FFM optimization, either. To this end, you need to identify the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of your business and work on them. By reviewing leading field service organizations and analyzing their practices, we have identified four major KPIs that play the most crucial role in optimizing field force management.

These include:

First-Time Fix Rate

The percentage of jobs performed successfully on the first try is known as the first-time fix rate. This KPI is significant because it has a direct impact on the costs of your business and highlights the performance of your team.

If an employee needs multiple visits to the job site to complete a job, this is not a good indicator, and you must investigate the cause of the poor performance. Some of the most common reasons for recurring visits include a lack of access to necessary information and inventory, a lack of expertise, or being oblivious to the client’s needs. As a result, it is critical to regularly monitor this KPI in order to make the best use of your resources.

2. Field Team Performance
Field Team Performance

Your field service personnel are the unit on the move and are in charge of providing great customer service at all times. As a result, you must regularly check this KPI to determine which members of the team are performing well and which are falling behind.

You can discover the causes of low performance and create training programs to address the difficulties. You can also use push alerts and real-time information sharing with field personnel to empower them in the field.

As such, administrative tasks divert attention away from sales and might deplete the resources of your field team members. It is critical to eliminate administrative tasks in order to optimize their time. This allows your team members to focus on the actual task rather than time-consuming admin duties. A robust field force management solution can assist you in organizing and managing the KPIs mentioned above by automating admin tasks and sending essential client data to field personnel via a mobile app.

3. Skill Matching
Skill Matching

Suppose a service organization does not use the proper field force management tactics, an inexperienced technician may be deployed to do the service regularly. This not only results in poor service quality and work completion delays, but it also forces the technician to confront the customer and inform them that he or she cannot provide the desired service. This could have a catastrophic impact on the value and reputation of your brand. To avoid this, you must ensure you are assigning the right technician to the right job, one with enough experience and expertise to complete the job on time.

The most effective way to do this is by using technology. The best field force management system comes with a smart scheduling and dispatching tool to ensure that the proper resource is assigned to the right job. You set the technician up for success by sending the nearest, most appropriate, and most prepared technician to do the job. Happy technicians are more likely to fix client problems, increasing productivity, revenues, and customer happiness.

Customer Experience

customers will only continue to choose your brand if they are satisfied with your services. That is why assessing customer satisfaction is essential for developing long-term relationships with your customers.

Remember that in order to convert your customers into brand ambassadors, you need to nurture your relationships by providing experiences that exceed their expectations. As a consequence, you will dramatically increase your sales and have a beneficial impact on your company’s bottom line.

Providing a delightful customer experience, however, is a tough ask if you are using archaic field force management techniques. Especially if you are still relying on paper-based methods for your operations, it becomes an even greater challenge. The primary reason is that paper-based methods always involve the risk of manual errors and mismanagement. But if you switch to automation, not only does your operation become more efficient, but it also gives you freedom from mundane, repetitive administrative tasks so that you can focus more on your customers.

Leveraging Field Force Management Software

As evident from the analysis, managing these KPIs using pen and paper is an impossible task. Dispatchers quickly become overburdened with an increasing number of jobs and technicians. With an increasing number of customers and tasks to do, things can quickly become chaotic. When we combine the administration of inventory and spare parts by the same individual, we have a recipe for disaster.

Furthermore, your field technicians waste valuable time on activities that could have been avoided. Driving extra miles from one site to another due to poorly organized chores in the plan or unexpected cancellations of visits that produce gaps in the schedule—this is just the tip of the iceberg.

All of these time-consuming activities detract from overall productivity. The issue is not a lack of organizational skills on the part of your key staff; rather, they are simply lacking the necessary tools to help them boost their productivity, namely, a solid field force management software solution that can handle process automation.

Field force management software is a more advanced version of field service management. Companies use it to give their field workers work and keep track of how well they do it. With the field force management app, field forces can talk to each other in real time and stay in touch with important tools and help while they are out in the field. The goal of this software, which is only for outdoor workers, is to automate the process and make it easy to track and monitor the work of field employees.

Benefits of Field Force Management Software
Benefits of Field Force Management Software
    • Increased Productivity of Your Field Force

The goal of a field force management app is to help employees be more responsible by keeping track of their work time and progress. This will make field workers more productive and trustworthy. Field force management’s biggest benefit is how much it improves effectiveness. Workers in the field should be self-motivated and focused enough to focus on the tasks they are given.

    • Enhanced Flexibility and Efficiency

With a standardized approach to field force management, your business can increase its efficiency and flexibility manifold. Tools such as a field force management app let you, as a manager, see exactly where and what your field workers are doing at any given time. This means that if any of the workers have problems, they can be managed and fixed quickly. So, your field workers become much more productive because the app lets them respond quickly to customer needs instead of taking too long to finish field service tasks.

    • Real-time Tracking Of Field Forces

One of the best things about the field force management tool is that it lets you keep track of your field staff in real time. You can keep an eye on your team’s actions without having to worry about anything with the app. Remote tracking lets businesses keep an eye on how their field workers are doing.

The app for managing a field force often uses live tracking to keep track of the routes workers take and the clients they visit. The app’s real-time tracking lets you see how the employee is doing from a bird’s-eye view. You can get regular updates on how an employee is doing, which will force you to make changes to your business plan.

    • Instant Access to Data and Real-time Analysis

Software applications for managing field forces are now getting smarter as well. They can just use FFA, which stands for “field force automation,” to automate many of the more difficult jobs that field force managers have to do. The real-time data that these smart systems receive makes them possible. However, what they do with that data is usually what makes them smart.

Information-based assignment of work may be the most recent improvement in field team management. This means that the field workers will have to be assigned to each new task. It doesn’t do this by chance, though. Instead, it assigns work based on where your workers are, how much free time they have, how their current job is going, and other factors. Field force management tools can not only adapt in real time, but they can also help you plan for the future of your business.

Wrapping Up

Once you switch to automation and sign up for field force management software, your dispatchers can devote all of their attention to more challenging situations, and field personnel are no longer bothered by downtime. You will save time, money, and, of course, a headache!
But signing up for a new software system should not be another cause of your headache. So, choose something that aids your problems, not adds to your existing burden in terms of installation, maintenance, and training of the staff. The best field force management software in this regard is Field Promax, hands down! It has the most user-friendly interface with an almost zero learning curve. Plus, you get the assistance of one of the world’s most amazing customer support teams, helping you every step of the way.

Originally Published at:- FIELD PROMAX (Field Force Management)