The Connected Construction Professional Series: Construction Service Management Professionals

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If your construction firm has a service division, don’t let manual processes and clunky, legacy software systems hold it back; move to the connected cloud and stand out

Your company's service division can be a cash cow, but if it's being managed poorly and your techs don't have the right tools and information they need, there will be a lot of missed opportunities.

For many construction companies—especially if you’re an electrical, mechanical or other specialty contracting firm—a service division can be a vital part of your recurring business model. Sure, the big money might come when hired to work on a new construction project, but servicing, maintaining, repairing or even replacing the systems your company (or another) put in place to begin with can be a lucrative business on its own-keeping the cash flow steady even when those big projects aren’t rolling in.

But just how well are you managing your service division? Construction service management is one of the biggest areas of potential improvement in the industry as a whole. That’s because so many contractors are still using everything from manual pen-and-paper processes to email and spreadsheets to standalone, one-purpose apps to try and stay on top of service management contracts in the back office and quickly deliver for customers in the field.

The Role of Construction Service Management Professionals

The customer experience begins with at the call for service. If it's confusing, painful or burdensome, your company's reputation can take a hit even before work begins.

As a construction service management professional or construction service technician, your role is to keep the client happy—time and time again. Building a rapport with customers, based on delivering stellar service experiences is what builds a solid customer base. And with competition for the same essential services your company provides as fierce as it can get (other construction service contractors, retail service companies, warranty firms, handy people, and more), you can’t afford a slip up or honest mistake—even if the quality of the work your company is providing is far superior. Your clients want that combination of speed, accuracy, reliability, and a “warm and fuzzy” feeling like they’re getting a great deal…every time.

See if this anything in this scenario rings true for your current construction service management workflows:

A service call comes in to your dispatcher.

The customer notes that a system your company last serviced is malfunctioning. In fact, your tech was just out there doing the routine maintenance.

The dispatcher has to put the customer on hold while manually looking up the physical paper service agreement and check against work done, but this version shows the agreement wasn’t renewed. Explaining this to the customer, the customer provides the name of the technician and the date.

Your dispatcher places your customer on hold again, while contacting the technician. That technician confirms that yes, the agreement was renewed during the last maintenance visit, but it wasn’t filed yet and is still on another supervisor’s desk to be entered into another system for billing.

After a long hold, your dispatcher apologizes and gets a placeholder appointment scheduled, with a note added to check with all the techs to see who might have time to do an urgent call.

If your service techs are spending more time looking up information and processing administrative tasks than doing the actual work they're trained for, your service model is flawed.

After touching base with several supervisors via phone and email, a tech is identified a few hours later. He can come a little earlier than planned, but still not the same day as your client called.

The tech gets a basic work order assigned to him via email or his work order app, and he heads out for the job. Once there, he realizes that A) the repair work will take more time and materials than expected and B) the system should not have malfunctioned like this to begin with. But his work order doesn’t show all of the previous history at the job site. Nor is there a way for him to instantly check against warranties or get approval for additional inventory or parts purchases he needs to acquire while out in order to address the situation for the client—who has already been waiting.

After many calls to the back office and other techs, the work eventually gets approved and completed and it's determined that while most was covered under the service agreement and warranties for the client, a few small charges still remain that need to be signed for and billed. The technician hands the client a paper invoice, which the client is expected to pay within 60 days and takes his leave. The client is a little annoyed at the time it took and the confusion incurred along the way.

Your company’s service contract managers, dispatchers, and techs are the face of your company’s reputation and if they don’t have the modern tools to meet-and exceed-your clients’ modern demands, it could be a recipe for construction service management disaster. Next time, that client may choose not to renew their service agreement and/or look to another company with more modern workflows.

What Construction Service Management Professionals Want (and Need)

When armed with the right information, service technicians can get their jobs done quicker and more effectively.

Thankfully, modern connected construction technologies are changing the game, providing a single source of data truth and the real-time connected service management workflows to get the job done right, and right now. Contractors that have digitized their operations and moved their data and workflows to hosted cloud environments via connected construction suites are able to tie together their people, projects and processes like never before.

So, what does that mean when it comes to your role as a construction service management professional or service technician? It means digitizing, automating, and simplifying your service management workflows from top to bottom and delivering consistent client experiences that dazzle instead of disappoint. This includes:

1. Accessibility to Real-Time Data: Whether in the back office, or out in the field where your techs are doing the work and interacting directly with your clients, instant access to the real-time service data you need is a must in order to make informed decisions right now, not next week. Mobile service management apps are great, but if they’re not connected to and sharing the same data with your back office accounting, service management and even project management solutions, you’re going to be slow to assign work, bill, pull historical data, and more.

Connected service management technologies don't just provide information to techs, they allow techs to collect and input their own data and capture work done in real time.

2. Streamlined Service Management Scheduling and Dispatching: Trying to manage your service technicians’ time and workloads with manual processes or clunky software? Now that’s a challenge! Today’s connected construction software suites have intuitive scheduling and dispatch tools built in—ensuring the right tech is assigned to the right job every time.

3. Empowered Service Techs: How often do your construction service technicians have to call into your back offices for additional information, questions, or approvals? Don’t think your clients don’t notice this. Instead, empower your techs with the real-time, connected mobile work order technology they need to turn them from service techs into service managers—armed with the ability to look up any data they need in seconds, create new work orders from the field when needed, assign labor, equipment and material costs to jobs, manage tasks, and input data an images instantly to update records. This means more time to focus on the work and happier customers.

4. Unparalleled Customer Experiences: Modern, connected construction service management tools aren’t just for your techs and back office staff. They can significantly improve the customer experience as well. From electronic signature capture and digital approvals of work orders to instant billing to online customer service portals where your clients can make service requests, pay invoices, see job current progress, view specific work site or client history, renew or update service agreements and much more, today’s connected construction service management solutions are reducing the burden on your clients as well.

Why a Connected Construction Suite is Your Answer

Spectrum's Service Tech Mobile solution.

For everyone across the organization—and especially for construction service management professionals and construction service technicians—Trimble Construction One is the connected construction suite you’ve been dreaming about!

Trimble Construction One is a connected, cloud platform that drives productivity, efficiency, and accuracy at each phase of the construction project lifecycle. Leveraging cloud data and automated workflow capabilities, Trimble Construction One ties together all facets of each project, from estimating and bidding through project management to project closeout and delivery, and continual service and maintenance contracts in a single, collaborative working environment.

The Vista Field Service solution.

With Trimble Construction One, and its connected Vista Field Service and Spectrum Service Tech Mobile solutions for respective ERPs, you can shave hours off those cumbersome construction service management tasks that have been bogging your teams down each day. Boost both the speed and accuracy of your service division’s workflows, increase billing cycles to keep cash flow solvent, and wow your clients with service experiences that will build solid relationships, repeat business, and a stellar reputation.

Watch what a true connected construction environment could deliver for your organization:

Want to learn more? Connect with Trimble Viewpoint today for your own personal tour of how Trimble Construction One could reshape your construction organization.

Posted By

Andy is Marketing Content & PR Manager at Viewpoint. He has worked in the construction software arena since 2011. Previously, he netted multiple awards as a newspaper and trade media editor.