Written by Cydney Myers
In field service, truck rolls are a standard part of the job. Whenever a customer calls in to report an issue or schedule a service, whether it’s a checkup, preventative maintenance, a new install, an emergency, etc., and a technician is dispatched and sent on-site – a truck is rolled.
Depending on the size of the service company, the typical process for scheduling a dispatch may look something like this:
- A customer calls in or visits the service provider’s website to report the issue and describe the situation.
- The customer may talk to a customer service rep when describing the issue. At this time, the rep may be able to offer brief troubleshooting tips in the event of an emergency.
- If it’s determined that it’s necessary to send a technician on-site, a ticket is created, and an appointment is scheduled.
- A technician is dispatched to the site, and a truck is rolled.
Following this process, an average of 40% of service tickets call for an on-site technician visit. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t always paint the clearest picture of the task at hand for the technician being sent on site. And as a result, they may be sent out blindly to a situation without the proper equipment, scope of work, or skills needed for the job.
And if the truck roll is deemed unnecessary or results in a second truck roll or call back, many service providers often chalk it up to simply being a necessary part and cost of doing business.
The “Necessary” Cost of Doing Business
When calculating the cost of a single truck roll, it’s common for service providers to lowball the actual expense they incur each time they send a technician on-site. Reports often claim that the average cost of a single dispatched truck can run between $250 to $500. In reality, once labor, time, vehicle maintenance, and additional resources are factored in, the Technology & Services Industry Association estimates that the actual cost of that single truck roll can run much closer to roughly $1000.
At the end of the day, no matter how you calculate the specific price tag on rolling a truck, the end goal is to have a positive return on investment. And with upwards of $1000 on the line, it’s in a service provider’s best interest to ensure that every truck roll is necessary, efficient, and profitable.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Recent reports have found that approximately 25% of truck rolls are non-value-add (NVA) or avoidable truck rolls, negatively impacting each service provider’s bottom line.
Preventing Non-Value-Add & Avoidable Truck Rolls
When operating any business, expenses are inevitable. The key is to ensure that the operating expenses you incur result in a positive return on investment. In field service, the cost of rolling a truck is a necessary expense. But as we found above – not every truck roll is necessary.
For service providers looking to improve operational efficiency, cut costs, and scale their business, minimizing non-value-add and avoidable truck rolls is a great place to start. Truck roll optimization can help you achieve this goal by ensuring that each truck roll is necessary. The technician sent on site has the tools, resources, and insight needed for the job, and the dispatch results in a completed service and happy customer.
- Utilize remote diagnostics tools to better understand the scope of work and determine if a site visit is actually necessary.
Implementing a technology solution to enable virtual, interactive, and visual remote diagnostics is a valuable resource that can significantly reduce second truck rolls and callbacks. By allowing your techs to virtually assess the task at hand, determine if a site visit is truly necessary, and identify necessary parts and equipment that may need to be ordered ahead of time – you’ll save your team and customers time, money, and potentially avoid a trip on-site completely.
- Streamline a technician’s time on-site using automated checklists – ensuring each job is done right the first time.
When it’s determined that a truck roll and site visit is, in fact, necessary, it’s important to verify that every technician follows the correct procedures and processes during the visit to ensure that each customer receives quality service. Digital tools that allow you to convert traditional manual checklists into streamlined and automated workflows for technicians to follow while on the job will allow you to fully optimize their time on-site while monitoring and visually documenting work quality and completion.
- Document completed jobs using a centralized system of record
Reviewing previous jobs can be a huge asset to technicians on the job. Oftentimes, a technician will be dispatched to a repeat customer to service a unit that another member of your team may have previously worked on or even installed. Giving the on-site technician access to the previous technician’s notes about the unit and customer and detailed history about the specific piece of equipment will help them better understand the job and piece of equipment – potentially avoiding a second truck roll.
- Decrease second truck rolls by 40% by utilizing live and interactive video calling for on the job training, troubleshooting, and support
Given the ongoing labor shortage, you may be working to scale your team and train a new set of greener technicians. And while on-the-job challenges can arise for even the most skilled technicians, newer, less experienced techs may face more challenges on the job – resulting in a call for help while on location. Rather than dispatching another truck on-site, costing you additional time and money, virtual assistance and augmented reality tools can remotely connect newer technicians with more senior team members for faster training and troubleshooting while on the job.
- Give your techs instant access to a virtual library of unit information, manuals, wireframes, and additional documentation
Knowledge and information are key to truck roll optimization. One of the best ways to improve a technician’s time on-site is by ensuring they have the resources and information needed to complete the task at hand. In field service, technicians are often required to work with a wide range of units and equipment and understanding the ins and outs of every specific unit is no easy feat. Arming your techs with instant access to an easily searchable library of manuals, diagrams, wireframes, training videos, etc., will save them valuable time on the job.
It’s very common for field service providers to think that second truck rolls and NVA dispatches are inevitable and “necessary” costs of doing business. But this isn’t always the case. Innovative technology solutions can help you proactively address issues in your field service processes, optimize your truck rolls, and alleviate unnecessary strain on your business.
Cydney Myers is the Marketing Manager for XOi Technologies.
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