If you’re struggling to give your contractors what they need for a successful field service visit, you’re not alone. According to Salesforce research, of the 33% of frontline service workforces who employ contractors, 80% of decision makers say contractor management is a challenge.
The reason? You don’t have technology that gives you visibility into their skills, experience, and availability. Finding the right platform makes it easy for your field service contractors to access the information, tools, and resources they need on the job from anywhere. Staying with outdated technology is frustrating for both of you — damaging your productivity and cost efficiency.
“Sending the wrong technicians or not providing the right ones with what they need can wreck your reputation with your customers and contractors,” said Kevin Rourke, a principal solution engineer at Salesforce. “Both have the flexibility to choose who to work with again.”
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With the field service management market expected to grow to an estimated $8.06 billion by 2028, effective contractor management is more important than ever. This starts with the right field service management solution and best practices to ensure visibility and your contractors get what they need to be productive, efficient, and cost-effective.
Let’s look at how to set your contractors up for success with your business and in the field.
What is contractor management?
At a high level, contractor management is overseeing the work done by outsourced workers. But it’s more than that in field service, where all job requirements — from skills to locations — are different.
This is where field service management comes into play, allowing you to seamlessly integrate contractors into your service model.
From a single digital platform, you can see their skills, experience, certifications, availability, location, cost, proficiency, and more — all in one place. You get the visibility you need to always send the right person for the job. You save on costs because you don’t waste time searching around for a technician who meets all requirements or sending a truck with the wrong technician for the job.
In their mobile devices, your contractors also get exactly what they need — customer data, job details, asset history, and tasks — to resolve issues the first time. This boosts their efficiency and productivity so they can take on more jobs from you, if they choose. Plus, your field service mobile app makes it easy for them to report back upon job completion.
Your contractors’ managers can also benefit from a field service app, allowing them to use the same interface and features as full-time dispatchers.
Customers get the same great service no matter who is dispatched to them. “And you know who provided the service and what happened at that appointment,” Rourke said.
The right technology can help you retain contractors
Your contractors may work with other field service companies besides yours. Make sure they always have a great experience using your field service management platform, so they consistently accept jobs from you.
In addition to leading with empathy, make it easy for your contractors to want to use your field service management technology.
“You have to think about it from a contractor’s point of view,” Rourke said. “They may work with three or more different employers. So you need to help them get invested in learning the system you want them to use.”
Here are five ways to set contractors up for success and keep them loyal to your business.
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1: Effective onboarding and training
Get your contractors up to speed on your field service management technology with on-demand, virtual, or in-person onboarding and training. Demonstrate system features step-by-step, like how to use appointment assistance to let customers know they’re on their way.
You can create a digital checklist with quick tips, such as how to submit invoices. Help them regularly sharpen their skills by recommending courses that keep them up to date. Taking the time to onboard and train your contractors will help keep them engaged.
2: Up-to-date contractor information
With a strong contractor management platform, you can confirm that contractor log-in credentials work. Otherwise, you risk them losing interest in using your field service management technology.
This also includes making sure their name, contracting company, skills, experience, location, availability, certifications, proficiency, and other important details are correct. Proactively checking for glitches and errors gets your contractors on the right path to use your solution. It also ensures you have the right data to properly assign them.
3: A way to set their availability
Understand your contractors don’t work nine-to-five. They control their own schedules, so their availability may be sporadic. They can use shift management to set up blocks of time based on when they’re available for work. This helps them balance their commitments and lets you know their schedules in real time.
4: An understanding of the benefits of your field service management technology
Let contractors know what’s in it for them when they use your field service management solution. They can view updated customer data, job details, and asset performance history, helping them to efficiently achieve first-time resolution and high marks from you and the customers.
They can also log job updates from their mobile devices, even when they’re offline in a remote location. They’ll get paid faster, since your dispatchers get this information as soon as the contractors are back online — and you’ll save money on operating costs.
5: Clear, concise job information
You should be clear about what is needed for a successful visit in every job order. Include task title and description, customer and business name, timeframe for completion, job priority, and required tools.
Clarity helps you reduce costs and boost first-time fix rates. With this visibility, you’ll send the right contractors and avoid unnecessary service calls — helping your sustainability efforts, too. Your contractors have exactly what they need to be productive and efficiently complete the job the first time.
A better contractor management platform can improve efficiency
The most efficient and productive field service teams rely on field service management technology for effective contractor management.
Following best practices sets your business and your contractors up to get the most out of your field service management platform. You can deliver exceptional customer service for every job and strengthen contractor relationships — all while reducing operating costs.
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Kevin Rourke, a principal solution engineer at Salesforce, contributed to this blog post.