While this festive time of the year is the peak season for Field Service Businesses to make revenue, few would disagree that the holiday rush can sometimes be too stressful to handle.
With homes packed with holiday guests, overtaxed drains, exerted electrical systems, tired ovens or dishwashers and compromised security systems are not uncommon. This means, as a field service supplier your phone would be ringing endlessly, no matter how badly you have wanted this much deserved break to be a peaceful one.
So how do you make sure that you don’t just survive the holiday rush, but come out as a winner at the other end?
We might have just what you are looking for! So, read on!
1. Make automation your holiday buddy
With the christmas bells ringing already, you don’t want your holiday spirit drowning in a sea of paperwork. With everyone waiting for you over the dinner table, manually calling each technician about what they need to work on, handling time sheets, working out your quotes and invoicing can be too much of an uncalled-for trouble.
To make the most of this time, you need to make your workflows as efficient as possible. This calls for doing away with the paperwork during the holiday rush and automating some of the tasks that you were otherwise doing at snail’s speed.
2. Plan better with job scheduling
Everything is better if you know in advance what tasks you have to complete, when and by whom!
Without this knowledge, your jobs can be all over the place. You not only end up wasting precious business hours, but also invite customer wrath and put your business reputation at risk!
Effective job scheduling with i4T Business allows you to allocate jobs based on live GPS tracking so you don’t waste your technician’s time travelling from one property to the next.
This also lets you assign jobs to technicians based on their availability during the holiday rush as well as their skill level to perform a certain nature of job.
Most importantly, with a calendar view, you can easily make changes to your schedule to quickly respond to change of plan due to instances such as a technician stuck in traffic, a previous job taking more time than expected, supply delays and so on.
3. Talk to subcontractors well in advance
A big question at this time of the year is: Should you get seasonal hires on board to manage holiday field service delivery?
It’s a good ideas to increase your capacity to handle the influx by knowing which sub contractors you can count on during the holiday rush.
You don’t want the opportunity to make more profit go by just because you are scarce on man power. There might be plenty of solo tradesmen looking for quick jobs and extra cash during the holiday season.
Make sure you have thoroughly checked your sub contractors for background and credentials, before adding them to your i4T Business database. You don’t want to find yourself in hot waters, because of a job gone wrong due to someone else messing it up.
Once you know who is available, it’s easier for you to schedule work as soon as a request arrives.
4. Clearly communicate your availability to everyone
Just the way you might be scrambling for resources during the holiday rush, property managers handling service requests from tenants find themselves in the same boat.
It is a good idea to send out an email to the property managers you work for and your regular residential and commercial clients to let them know about your availability.
Things you can send out in the email before closing include:
- Holiday greetings
- Days you will be closing
- Opening and closing times during holidays
- A simple system for them to place emergency service requests such as i4Tradies
Also consider communicating the same through your social media channels as well as through your website. Revise your auto-replies in your emails, voice mail and website chatbots.
5. Clean the backlog
Nothing can be worse than saying ‘No’ to new customers, because you already have your previous jobs to take care of.
Good service provided in the hour of need, can turn your holiday rush clients into long-term loyal customers and you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity.
So, try to finish off as many odd jobs you have going on at the moment, in order to make capacity for the influx that is about to occur.
This means taking a proactive approach. Closely look at your schedule and see if some of the dates can be pushed earlier a little to make room for more work later on. Reach out to your customers, to check their availability and finish as much work as you can, before the holiday rush.
6. Don’t let supply shortage come in the way
It is a good idea to talk to your suppliers and get an idea about which materials might run out of stock during the peak season. Also, check with them about any rate changes, so you might budget out to pre-order now, rather than later. This will also save your customers from ultimately paying for your shrinking margins.
Pre-ordering can also be a smart move since when customers are looking for suppliers left, right and centre, you might be able to quote them before your competitors, since your van is pre-loaded and you already know your costs.
7. Empower your holiday volunteers
Everyone wants to be with their families during this time of the year. However, you couldn’t get through the holiday rush without the helping hands of those who have been considerate enough to volunteer.
As a token of appreciation, remember to incentivise and empower your team to perform their best.
Here are some tips on how to empower your Field service team for the holiday season:
- Avoid technician burnout by scheduling and assigning only so many jobs they can handle in a day.
- Allow customers to rate the service provided by technicians in order to know top performers during the season and reward them accordingly.
- Facilitate smooth flow of communication between the office, the technician and the customer to increase efficiency and eliminate room for error.
- Invest in employee training to deal with the large amount of service requests coming in.
8. Invoice early and clear your dues
To celebrate the festive season fully, you need money!
But that’s not the only reason! You need to be on the positive side of your cash flows to stock up on supplies for the seasonal influx, clear your office bills and pay salaries to your employees before they go on a break.
Also be considerate about the suppliers you owe to. Make sure to clear all the payments due so they too can have a great holiday with their families.
9. Take your business to your holiday destination
Keep on top of your business with increased visibility on your processes with i4T Business.
- Stay connected with your team
- Get real time notifications on every single job; and
- Jump back into the picture to take back control if a certain day calls for it.
This is only possible with a cloud based system that lets you handle work from anywhere, anytime
10. Step back and analyse past performance
As you get ready to deal with the spike in service requests this holiday season, it’s time to pause for a while and look at what worked and what did not. Analyse how things went last year during the holiday rush. If you are already using a field service management platform like i4T Business, it will make it easier for you to identify common problem areas and find ways to improve.
- The nature and number of jobs you completed
- The way you handled customer interactions
- Communication flow between employees
- Response time to service requests
- The employees who volunteered the last time around
- Service quality and customer satisfaction level
- How much revenue you generated
The busiest time of the year does not have to be the hardest as well!
With some advance planning, clear communication and the right technology to help you out, you can ace your game during the holiday rush!
With a few days still to go before we hear the bells, it is a good time to weigh your options and look for ways to manage your business better for the seasonal influx. Signup for i4T Business 14-day free trial and check out for yourself, how it will add more efficiency and transparency to your workflows in the much anticipated holiday rush!
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With our cutting-edge technology and in-depth knowledge of how the Field Service Management sector operates, the i4TGlobal Team loves to share industry insights to help streamline your business processes and generate new leads. We are driven by innovation and are passionate about delivering solutions that are transparent, compliant, efficient and safe for all stakeholders and across all touch points.