Reducing and optimizing truck rolls
Truck rolls are a standard part of the job in field service. While remote diagnostics/troubleshooting have come a long way, at least 1/3 of service calls still result in a truck rolling out to a site, whether for a new installation, repair service, or preventative maintenance.
The problem with truck rolls today is many times the technician doesn’t have the best picture of what is going on at the customer site. As a result, they may be sent out to a situation without the proper equipment, scope of work, or skills needed for the job which can lead to unnecessary follow-on truck rolls. Today, many service providers simply chalk up additional truck rolls into being a necessary part and cost of doing business. With scarcity of techs, rising labor costs, and rising input costs such as gasoline, not to mention truck rolls as also being a potential instigator of customer churn, service providers can’t simply blindly absorb these costs going forward.
While recently at the Electronic Security Associations conference, one of the speakers shared an interesting piece of information - according to the Technology Service Industry Association, truck rolls cost between $150 to $500. When you add in indirect costs and opportunity costs, not too mention recent increases in labor and fuel costs, it is easy to imagine how the actual cost is easily $1000 for a single truck roll. Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, these are real costs that add up quickly. While you cant eliminate truck rolls, there are a few ways you can help make sending field technicians out as efficient as possible:
- Preparation - This starts with the second the work order is created - how much information can you capture about the product, the problem and any of the surrounding environment that might be impacting the product (such as existing wiring or environmental conditions) so you can make sure that the right technician goes out with the right part at the right time. Remote service technology can even help customer service teams get remote eyes on site with the end customer, when they need to see and document a problem.
- Smart Scheduling and Routing - New scheduling technology can automatically dispatch jobs to the right technician based on past history, skills, location, tools, and availability. The technology can also help prioritize calls and schedule the correct resource. When a truck roll is necessary, our teams might be local experts, but that doesn’t mean they know about traffic, road closures or even the most fuel efficient route. GPS technology doesn’t have to be seen as big-brother’ish - it can help teams schedule the appropriate amount of jobs that can reasonably get done within working hours, without frustrating the tech or boring up fuel economy. Just make sure it is transparently used in this spirit, and your field team will learn to appreciate this just like GPS in their personal lives.
- Execution - This is the last mile, when your team has to actually get the work done. While many times, the job goes according to plan, several times per week it will not. In this moment, training doesn’t help because training only covers when things go according to plan. Checklists can help cover some common deviant use cases, but there are still moments where only experience can get you through. In the event that your tech on site doesn’t have the best experience on your team, you want to make sure he or she can leverage your best tech through visual assistance tools. Video instant messenger or video walkie talkie applications make it efficient for techs to help one another, without requiring them to search between texts, emails and phone calls. These same project collaboration apps can help document jobs as well as tribal knowledge, building a collection of best practices as the team continues to use the product.
At the end of the day, innovative unified collaboration solutions such as Griot can help you address communication breakdowns in your field service processes, optimize your truck rolls, and alleviate unnecessary strain on your business without requiring huge investments in new tools or a complete change in how your field technicians operate.