Field service companies are key in many industries. They provide the hands-on services and skills that are required to allow equipment and systems to be set up and also maintained. A field service company is an umbrella term, and these companies might provide support and technical skill for a wide array of industries and devices.
It is likely that everyone on earth has interfaced with a field service company at some point in time, even if they did not know it. Anytime your internet is not working right, your devices in your home need someone to look at them, or you need support with connections for things like power and other essentials, you are working with a field service company to access this kind of assistance.
What do Field Service Companies Do?
Field service companies provide various essential services. The primary functions of a field service company are:
This is what people usually think of when they think of a field service provider. Technicians from the company are usually sent to customers’ addresses to install equipment and systems and verify that they are working correctly. This is the customer-facing side of the technician’s job, although they might also end up installing in locations where the customer does not meet with them and is notified later that the work has been done.
Installation services can be done for small devices and appliances or for more complex projects like power and internet. Installation can also mean lots of different things depending upon the complexity of the item that needs to be installed. Some companies deploy one team of technicians to do the original delivery and setup of devices and another team to finalize the necessary connections to allow the device to work.
All of these services have to be coordinated with customers prior to being delivered, which requires that teams are carefully scheduled and prepared to be sent to each location. The scheduling part of service provision is a key aspect of what field service companies have to do each day.
One of the other key roles of a field service company is providing maintenance services. These might be annual services that are scheduled years in advance to keep machines in great condition, or they can be corrective or repair services when something has stopped working or needs an upgrade. A field service company keeps track of changes and upgrades to the items that it has installed and notifies customers when these items need to be replaced, repaired, or changed out for newer items.
Maintenance is a key aspect of keeping any mechanical device in good condition, and you will need to be sure that any item that you have installed at your home or business is maintained through the right kind of skilled oversight. This is one of the key aspects of the field service provider’s role, and these companies create schedules every day for this kind of work to be done all over their service coverage area.
Repairs can be required for any kind of device or system that you have installed at your home or business. Many field service providers work directly with the company that made the machine in question to provide warranty-covered repairs as well as to ensure that recommended repair processes are used when an item breaks. Repairs are a big part of a field service technician’s daily tasks, and the skill and experience of these teams of employees make sure that customers are always supported when they need help with an item that has broken or ceased to work.
No field service company can survive without providing this kind of service, and this is often the work that is at the heart of what a field service company does every day. These calls can also come in on an emergency basis and can be handled as soon as possible if there is a need to get a critical item back to operating correctly again.
There is an educational aspect of the work that is done by field service companies when they dispatch teams of technicians to a job. Users or business owners might have questions about how to use the device or system in question, or they might need guidance to avoid a problem in the future. This is one of the important aspects of a skilled field service provider’s customer care, and it is one of the areas of support that many people do not realize they need.
Being able to help customers to use devices and systems correctly while also maximizing their benefit to the business or the home is essential. The skills of onsite technicians must necessarily range from technical skills to interpersonal communications skills and people skills.
Examples of Field Service Company Types
If you are still not sure what kinds of work field service companies do, these are some examples of companies that are in this industry space:
Telecommunications and the cable industry:
Technicians install cable, run phone lines, and provide support for devices connected to these connections as well in some cases. When you reach out to the cable company to get the internet to your home, for example, you are going to work with a technician from a field service company when the installation process is done.
Travel and mobile nurses provide in-home care and support for the disabled or the elderly. This is an area of the field service company space that many people are not aware of, but these companies fall into the same category as other field support-based businesses.
Technicians are deployed to repair and investigate leaks, connect customers to the supply of the utility, and more.
Postal and Packaging Services:
This industry depends upon delivering packages and items directly to the location of customers. This means that trained staff is tasked with onsite visits all day long, just like in other industries.
This is one of the field service providers that nearly everyone will need to call from time to time. HVAC technicians can install devices, install entire heating and cooling systems, and provide repair and maintenance support annually for these items. These kinds of technicians work in many different spaces as well, from residential to commercial jobs.
Heavy engineering, mining, and manufacturing:
These kinds of industries require field service providers to make sure that machines and devices are in good working order and can be used safely on a daily basis.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of work that field service companies do for customers in their service area. Nearly every kind of industry utilizes the skills of a field service provider in some fashion, and without these services, many essential functions within the industry would not be possible.
What Are the Requirements of Any Field Service Company?
Field service companies have to provide a variety of different kinds of customer support and service. Most of these companies will be tasked with largely the same set of expectations regardless of the industry that they work in.
1. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is critical to the functions of these kinds of businesses. Customers report issues, requests, and other demands directly to the field service company in some industries, but they might also report to another entity and then ask for the field service company to send technicians to the customer’s location. The field service tech will need to make sure that repairs are done, diagnosis of problems is handled, and everything is explained to the customer.
This can be a huge commitment in some industries, but this is the expectation of the job of a field service technician. There are very few industries where there is no customer contact during jobs.
2. Provide Repairs and Maintenance
The bread and butter of these companies’ income is usually the work that is done to provide repairs and maintenance to installed assets at businesses and people’s homes. Technicians will be deployed to provide a wide array of services that help keep machines and devices in good working order. These might be routine tasks, or they might be more complex work done to diagnose problems and provide assistance to customers.
3. Offer Data to Consumers and Businesses
Part of the agreement between the field service company and the customer is sharing important data about the usage of devices and also about ways that companies or customers could save money or improve user experience. Upgrades, offers to make changes to save money, and other kinds of notifications and data will be shared between the field service company and the customer. This can be very helpful for both entities as it can ensure that good customer service is easy to provide.
4. Emergency Services
Some items and systems cannot be offline or malfunction for long without risking the safety of consumers. Emergency services and being on-call during times outside of normal business hours are key aspects of the field service company’s work. Emergency care is very critical in some industries specifically, but almost all field service entities will offer this kind of support to their customer base.
5. Remote Assistance as Needed
Some industries allow technicians to provide remote assistance to customers for simple kinds of issues. This can be a big benefit if the company’s service area is very large and turnaround times for onsite visits are lengthy. While this might not be feasible in all industries, there are many kinds of field service businesses that can offer at least some remote assistance to consumers.
What is Field Service Management?
Field service management is a key aspect of the field service company. Without this essential part of the business process being handled at a home office location, field service technicians would not have the time or the ability to head to jobs and get their work completed to ensure customer satisfaction. This is the other half of what makes for a successful field service company, and management processes are just as important as onsite visits.
Field service management is often done with the help of advanced field service software tools that allow the management staff to schedule visits, keep customers in the loop about work that needs to be done has been scheduled, and which also help with billing and invoices. These kinds of business solutions also streamline clocking in at jobs, providing notes and information about completed services, and staying in touch with teams that are on the go all day long and unable to come back to the central office until the end of their shift.
Field management services include:
Field Service Scheduling
This part of the field service management process is critical to the success of any company of this type. Field service scheduling allows technicians to know when and where they need to be all day long, and customers can call in to see where they are on the schedule during any given day. Scheduling processes should also take into account the amount of time needed for each job and the tools and materials that will be needed to provide services.
This is one of the areas where a field service management software solution is the most helpful to a field service company. The information that is contained inside the application will tell scheduling staff how long each kind of job takes on average and what kind of truck, equipment, or tools will be needed to complete the work in question. Sending teams to jobs that they cannot work on just wastes time and fuel and can lead to customer frustration as well.
The scheduling process has gotten easier for field service companies over the years as more and more technology has become available to make sure that teams can check in from afar. This saves a lot of time and energy and makes sure that everyone in the business knows where technicians are throughout the day.
Field Service Dispatch
The dispatch team at any field service company will stay busy all day handling calls and looking to see if a team can be sent out to handle emergency or last-minute jobs. This part of the scheduling necessities of field service companies can be tough to handle without modern software solutions. Thankfully, now that scheduling and tracking tools have advanced so much, it is easy to make sure that dispatch is done rapidly and accurately. Teams will have no trouble knowing where to head next if they have been called out on a short-notice job, and dispatch can make sure they collect customer information and details before sending teams to any job.
Dispatch can be a stressful and complex job, but field service companies are adept at handling these kinds of tasks. Keeping up with customer needs is one of the things that field service companies do best.
This part of the management needs of any field service company is handled by a specific team of workers. These people know what kinds of supplies and tools need to be on hand at all times to ensure effective care of customer needs. They also know which kinds of tools need to be sent out on each kind of job and might be tasked with stocking trucks and vans for the technicians who work for the company.
Inventory management that is done properly will prevent delays in service being done for customers, and this is a key aspect of a well-oiled machine in this industry. Even in niche spaces like the healthcare niche, someone has to stock healthcare supplies to be given to those going out on calls. There is no field service industry space that does not require that someone is tasked with quality inventory management.
Work Order Management
The field service industry often creates orders to guide the billing processes for clients. These orders might include estimates of the costs involved in a job, or they might be exact for simple tasks where only a few routine items need to be taken care of. Maintaining the accuracy of the work orders associated with jobs is key to being able to bill clients correctly and promptly.
This is usually its own unique job role within these kinds of companies. This is because work orders are often adjusted and changed during the process of working on the resolution of jobs. When unexpected repairs or work is needed, this must be added to the work order before the client can be billed for the service. Being able to manage this kind of information tracking is a big part of the demands of the management side of this industry.
Some field service companies provide most of their labor to customers based on a contractual relationship. These contracts might last for a year or more at a time. This document guides what the technicians and company agree to take care of, and it outlines the costs of this relationship between the business or customer and the field service company.
When the needs of the customer change, the contract must be updated to reflect this change. Incorrectly drafted contracts can lead to disputes and other kinds of conflict with customers. Field service companies are always wise to be sure that their contracts are up to date and correct. The contract management part of this industry might even necessitate the involvement of lawyers from time to time to ensure that contracts are created correctly and are legally binding between the company and its clients.
Challenges of Field Service Company Jobs
These kinds of jobs can be quite challenging for a variety of reasons. Scheduling conflicts can arise on a nearly daily basis, and these are often the biggest bottlenecks for these companies. Scheduling challenges can be effectively managed through the use of scheduling tools and management software. Various software solutions now exist which can help these companies to deploy technicians reliably and effectively on a daily basis.
Other challenges that can arise are related to having the wrong tools when you arrive on-site or not having enough team members onsite when large jobs need to be handled with care. These kinds of routine issues require the attention of a variety of different departments at these companies. Overcoming problems related to job performance often requires effective communication between departments. Modern technology has made many of these tasks easier for everyone, but correct business processes can also help to make sure that mistakes are not made. Communication between customers and technicians is also key to taking care of client accounts correctly.
Operational cost management is also essential, and many companies constantly have to analyze where they are getting their supplies from and seek ways to look for more affordable solutions. Trying to prevent having to hand off costs to customers can be essential when it comes to running a successful field service company.
The complexity of the tasks necessary to manage these companies can often define which companies provide excellent service and which companies are not up to the task of providing effective care for customers. As more and more technology solutions come onto the market, these kinds of business challenges have become easier and easier to alleviate.
Field Service Companies Are Critical in Many Industries
There are many industries that count on the work of field service providers to make sure that installation, repair, and various other tasks are correctly handled. There are so many kinds of businesses that could not operate without the support of field service entities. Managing this kind of company is another aspect of the industry, and careful management backed by revolutionary software products is required to manage and maintain a field service company that delivers results.
If you have ever called a technician of any kind to your home, or if you have received home visits from someone with the technical skill of any kind, you have worked with a field service company. These companies are critical to the provision of service and support across many different niche markets, and they are the backbone of the skilled support work that is done all across the country.