How to Turn Field Service Operations into a Profit Center

Moving your field service division from a cost center to a profit center takes a clear vision, leadership, and help from a few new tools.

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    Field service technicians are the face of your company. If your organization treats them as only break/fix support staff, it misses countless opportunities to pivot field services from a cost center to a profit center.

    Field service techs are often your most often-seen brand ambassadors. They are your company’s most consistent on-the-ground presence with many of its customers. Your executives and sales staff can schedule as many senior-level meetings and shake as many hands as they want. Still, if your organization’s regular face time through its field services is lacking, you very well might not get that contract renewed or upsell that high-potential new customer.

    Is turning field services into a profit center realistic? If you treat the change as a rigorous, strategic process that needs appropriate planning and resources, absolutely. This article explores how you can do that, starting with changing your company’s mindset about field services, then leveraging existing capabilities in new ways, and investing in new technology that can get you past the tipping point.

    When Are Field Services Cost Centers or Profit Centers?

    Many organizations consider their field service divisions as just another cost center. A cost center is a necessary part of a business, when it comes to budgeting and strategic planning, whose operations are considered to always net negative in costs. They don’t generate revenue. And when cost centers generate incidental revenue, they typically don’t have control over how it is used.

    Experience a Day in the Life of a Field Service TechnicianExperience a Day in the Life of a Field Service Technician

    For example, human resources, information technology, and, traditionally, field services are all necessary business units that don’t generate any revenue. Instead, they support other units, like sales, production, or software development, that do. Those are treated as profit centers.

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    Essential Steps to Transition Your Field Services from Cost Center to Profit Center

    Transitioning your field service division from a cost center to a profit center can be challenging, but it can be done. It takes a clear vision, leadership, careful planning, and help from a few new tools.

    Velosio has experience helping many businesses transition their field services to profit centers. We’ve seen many succeed and distilled the lessons these companies have learned into several key actions we think you should follow. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you touch each of these milestones, your transition process will be far more likely to succeed.

    Understand the unique value of your field services

    To make meaningful changes to your field services, you must first understand their value proposition—what your company’s field services do better than anyone else’s. If you don’t have a value proposition, your customers have no reason to choose you over the competition.

    Do you have the fastest response time? Lowest first-time fix rate (FTFR)? Superior customer service resources? Maybe you have an aspirational value proposition—something you can achieve with a little extra assistance.

    Shift your organization’s thinking about field services

    Shifting from a cost to a profit center takes significant structural changes, but those are only possible if you change your organization’s thinking and culture around field services. First, foster a growth mindset in your field service team and among your other teams when they work with field services. People must look for growth opportunities, not just mitigate expenses and serve other business units.

    Connect field services to sales and marketing

    You understand the value field services can deliver to your customers, you’ve shifted that team’s thinking to frame what they do as profit-seeking, and now you need to involve your sales and marketing teams. First, get their leadership teams in touch with each other. They must communicate regularly to ensure their efforts are in sync, working towards common profit-making goals.

    Help field services become customer-centric

    Some field services teams are stuck in a cost center mindset because they only think about repairing hardware and software. They get a work order, go on site, and once the mechanical problem is resolved, they think their job is done. To become a profit center, field services must put the customer first. For example, instead of asking what hardware is broken, ask what business problems they can solve for the customer.

    Perhaps the customer is only asking for their medical instrument to be repaired. However, they may have a backlog of patients because they only have one instrument available and don’t think they have the budget for a second.

    Field services technicians may be the only ones who hear this from the customer. They can then get the customer in touch with sales, who can help procure a second refurbished instrument. As a result, the sales team reduces excess inventory, and the customer’s business becomes more effective. All because field services found a win-win, customer-centric solution.

    Put data in your techs’ hands with mobile technology

    The shift from cost to profit center often means shifting from reactive to proactive field services. Proactive field service requires technicians to have access to vital work information in the field, like live work order updates, schedules and routes, inventories, documentation, and knowledge bases. Use tablets, smartphones, and other mobile handheld devices to put this data at your technicians’ fingertips.

    Business Leaders Guide to the New Digital AgeBusiness Leaders Guide to the New Digital Age

    Encourage collaboration

    Your field service technicians, sales staff, and other personnel need easy-to-use, real-time collaboration technology to find new opportunities. For example, if a junior technician sees something they don’t know how to deal with on the job, they need to be able to get fast answers.

    Dynamics 365 Field Service includes a messaging service so everyone can collaborate when they need a second opinion. It also includes remote assistance tools, so junior techs can send senior colleagues a live video feed of the problem they’re working on onsite.

    Optimize everything

    Profit centers need to be efficient. Optimize your field service operations, from dispatching to scheduling, procurement, and invoicing. Automate as much as possible.

    Dynamics 365 includes automated route and calendar optimization that helps you fit as much work into the day as possible. As a result, your field service technicians will have more face time with more different customers. They’ll have more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell services they see your customers need.

    Velosio Can Help You Turn Field Services into a Profit Center with Dynamics 365

    Field service software, like Dynamics 365 from Velosio, can help you optimize your field service operations and align them with your business’s sales and revenue-generating initiatives. So, if you’re ready to turn your field service division into a profit center, contact Velosio about Dynamics 365 for Field Service today.

    Field Service Role Based GuideField Service Role Based Guide