If you are reading this I can already tell that you are sick of spending hours putting quotes together, tracking which employee is working on what, sorting out the paperwork on weekends and maybe even spending more time on the tools than you would like.
This is a story I’ve heard more times than I can remember. But I’ll tell you what; the journey from being a great supplier to becoming a great business owner doesn’t have to be so hard, with the right mindset and the right systems in place. It’s simply an ART that you need to master. Why do I call it an ART? Let’s find out:
1. Autonomous team building - Running collaborative, self-managed teams
Running a one-man show is just about doing the job. Running a team? Well that’s a different ball game altogether.
As your business grows, you realize that you cannot be at 10 different places, doing 10 jobs a day, at the same time. You need to hire people and delegate tasks. With tight schedules and endless work to be completed, you need a system in place that gives more autonomy to teams that can manage jobs on their own, with minimum oversight needed.
The first step in achieving this is to equip your teams with the tools they need to work independently but not alone. With a self-managed team, once a job has been assigned, there should be no need for you to keep calling to check on progress. The teams should be empowered to directly communicate with property occupants and with other members, start and finish jobs on their own, and contact you only if there is an issue that needs your attention.
The second part of running a self-managed team is to simplify the reporting process. Despite the fact that your employees are working independently, you’ll still need to keep track of daily progress, due dates, payment collections and any problems that arise in between. That’s only possible if there is a system which employees can use to report back to the main office.
2. Relationship nurturing - Repeat customers that act as brand advocates
Not knowing what your customers want from you can be stressful. But for customers, hiring someone they know nothing about, can be even more so.
In my experience having worked with hundreds of service providers, most of the Property Occupant -Field Service Supplier disputes arise from mismatched expectations on time, quality and cost, which in turn results in payment retention, bad word-of-mouth or a poor customer review.
The key lies in customer focus. The best way to avoid this is to set out expectations before the work begins. And this goes for both the customers and the business owners. Sending a detailed written quote and getting it approved by the property occupant is where you start.
Keep customers informed of any changes in the time, scope or cost of the job and once it’s completed put a system in place that makes it easy for them to pay on the go. Collect feedback and act on it to deliver a better service next time. This is how you nurture relationships and can even turn difficult customers into loyal brand advocates.
3. Time management - Stop working harder, start working smarter
Not enough time in the day is the story of every Field Service Supplier running their business. From daily team meetings to taking calls, sending quotes, overseeing tasks and sending out invoices, it’s never an all-done-now-I-can-relax moment for you. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Scheduling tasks well in advance using a Field Service Management software can give you foresight into what your week is going to look like and also gives you the freedom to make slots for emergency jobs in between the days with ease.
Additionally, you can move from manual invoicing to a cloud accounting system that sends automatic feeds to the system when a job is completed and invoices customers electronically. This will cut out the hard work from managing your business replacing it with smarter ways to achieve more in less time.
Over to you
Team management, time management and customer relationship management continue to be the leading issues Field Service Suppliers struggle with when they expand from being solo to a registered Field Service business with a small team.
With technology already transforming the lives of Aussie Field Service Providers, helping them become great business owners, it’s about time you contemplated what aspects of your business can benefit from new technology out there making waves for so many and which ones are still better off the old-school way. The choice is yours.
Here’s a video for you to see how one supplier whom I had the pleasure of working with, transformed his entire business from being a novice in technology to a master, with a customer focus and the right system to help him along the way.