Move Your Mindset from Reactive to Proactive

Field service providers should have a proactive mindset and business strategy to move your business forward.

Table of Content

    Many field service providers choose to stick with a reactive approach to business. And there certainly is enough work for them to find out there. But you must have a proactive mindset and business strategy to move your business forward.

    Proactive field service businesses anticipate their customers’ needs and emphasize preventative maintenance. If they do their jobs right, the customers won’t know anything was ever wrong until they review their service reports.

    When discussing proactive field services, many assume you only talk about digital transformations—implementing a technology-driven change in your organization. Of course, technology is important, but you can’t buy a new product, plug it in, and hope for the best. That is the opposite of proactive business. Instead, you need to change your company’s culture and mindset.

    This article explores why field service providers should pivot from reactive to proactive thinking and explains many of the benefits they can expect to see doing it.

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    Why Switch From a Reactive to a Proactive Field Service Business Approach?

    Reactive service means waiting for something to go wrong and then springing into action to fix it. It is important to note that being reactive doesn’t mean being unprepared. The distinction is in where you emphasize taking action. In this case, in response to a problem.

    Proactive business strategies emphasize preventing as many problems from arising as possible. The emphasis here is on taking action before something rises to the level of a business problem.

    You’ll always encounter unforeseen problems you need to react to. Proactive field service simply emphasizes serving their customers more through preventative maintenance programs, scheduled upgrades, and servicing smaller problems that have the potential to become worse if left unchecked.

    A proactive approach puts you in charge

    One of the main benefits of a proactive approach is that your company makes the decisions. If you’re sitting around waiting for a customer to call in with a problem, you have much less say over how and when you fix it. But if you’re maintaining that equipment on a set schedule, you can modify and adjust as you see fit. You maintain more control over how you carry out service.

    Leverage both proactive and reactive strategies

    As we’ve mentioned, it is impossible to be 100 percent proactive. People in field services are very familiar with Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Something out of your control, outside of your predictive planning, will cause a problem for your customer that you need to fix. And you need to be ready when that happens.

    Prep materials, equipment, training, and business practices that allow you to respond both proactively and reactively to customer problems. For example, develop a preventative maintenance program for a client hospital’s medical equipment. But also have technicians on call should a critical heart monitor or ventilator need immediate repair or replacement.

    How to Shift to Proactive Field Service Operations

    You do not need to take all these steps at once. Instead, it is often best to pick one and get it right before moving on to another step. Being proactive is often all about momentum.

    Automate business operations

    Many field service providers needing help to shift to a proactive mindset are stuck with too many manual processes. They simply do not have the time to get ahead of their current reactive workload.

    Look for ways to automate your more time-consuming work, like scheduling, dispatching, processing work orders and invoices, and tracking marketing campaigns. Field service management software can automate much of this work.

    Many of these tasks straddle business units and involve more than one field service team member too. An added benefit of using field service software is that it gives all staff a single, collaborative platform. If you do not have to wait for feedback because it is mediated before proceeding with these tasks, you can move work along much faster.

    Monitor performance metrics

    If you do not have hard numbers to assess your performance today, it is hard to make proactive changes tomorrow. You need key performance indicators (KPIs) you can track that help you assess how efficiently your technicians and team as a whole are performing. Two of the most popular metrics in field services include first-time fix rate (FTFR) and time to resolution (TTR).

    FTFR measures how often your business can resolve a problem the first time. It is a good proxy for efficiency, as high FTFR means your technicians do not need to waste time on repeat visits and use extra materials. TTR is also intuitive and another good proxy for efficiency. It measures how long your team takes to resolve a problem after a customer contacts you. If you have been conducting good preventative maintenance on your customers’ assets, your TTR should drop over time. This leads to our next recommendation.

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    Conduct regular maintenance

    Preventative maintenance is at the core of proactive field service operations. You want to shift what you spend your time on away from reactive break/fix work towards proactive maintenance. That takes time and a lot of effort upfront, but it is an investment. It will start paying dividends over time the more you can sit in the driver’s seat and keep your customers’ equipment running rather than scrambling to fix it.

    One of the greatest challenges in making this switch is juggling maintenance schedules. Field service management software, like Dynamics 365, can automatically generate maintenance schedules, assign them to technicians, and automate daily itineraries. That makes it easier to fit preventative work into already-crowded troubleshooting work orders.

    Focus on customer feedback

    Metrics and monitoring are incredibly valuable, but field service is still a service industry. What your customers think matters most.

    Communicate with them regularly, get their feedback, and address their concerns. You may need to modify your preventative maintenance schedules so they are more visible, so your customers see what your technicians are doing and appreciate its value. Your customers might also identify problems that are not visible in metrics alone. Get ahead of those concerns when customers report them and proactively address them whenever possible.

    Help customers help themselves with self-service tools

    Another way to get ahead of problems is by allowing customers to self-schedule work with you. Customers may know they need servicing by a certain date but need an easy method to let you know. Help them be more proactive, and you won’t be stuck reactively fitting work into your schedule.

    Give customers self-service tools to get appointments on your calendar. Dynamics 365 can automatically notify dispatchers and technicians when a customer submits their own work order. You will be able to respond immediately, and the system will assign it to a technician with the proper equipment and materials allocated in no time.

    Velosio Can Help You Shift to a Proactive Mindset Using Dynamics 365

    Velosio helps you work proactively by leveraging Dynamics 365 for Field Service. You will gain access to robust scheduling and tracking automation. If you are ready to help your technicians get ahead of problems and establish a proactive mindset business strategy, get in touch today.

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