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Now is the time to break free from the constraints of the current economy.

Many challenges exist, but so do opportunities for the shrewd and the bold. For the service industry, the key to renewal is greater productivity. Service providers must boost customer satisfaction, while keeping costs to a bare minimum. Here are some tips to make your company more productive, competitive and profitable and better equipped for growth:

1. Don’t let billing slip

Generate invoices automatically and make sure every chargeable job is invoiced. It’s easy to overlook an invoice, especially if the job is small. However, this is still lost revenue that you should be collecting. A manual invoice process is more prone to errors leading to slower invoice payment or even missed invoices. This can be the difference between being in the red and being in the black in a recession. When your invoices are generated automatically, your billing stays ahead of the game.

2. Know the value and cost of each contract

In these challenging times, you can’t afford to lose money on an unprofitable service contract.  Does each of your contracts actually cover the cost of providing service? Analyse the profitability of each individual contract to determine where the profits and losses are, so you can respond accordingly.

3. Boost worker productivity

Even small time savings from improved dispatcher and technician productivity adds up to big dollar savings & increased efficiency. When service call takers have up-to-date customer, contract and service information at their fingertips this decreases call-taking times & costs, and improves the efficiency of technician scheduling.

4. Work smarter to accomplish more with the same resources

Share information between departments. With a good system you can enter information once and integrate that information between the sales department, service department, parts department and contract administrators. This significantly reduces or eliminates repetitive functions and increases your productivity.

5. Automate your parts inventory

Service technicians need ready access to the right parts to be effective. But an overstocked warehouse can be money down the drain. A balance between parts supply and demand is key-a balance easily achieved through automation software geared to service company needs. A good automated system will reduce inventory loss and lower inventory carrying costs, adding up to increased profits.

6. Boost efficiency through mobile communications

A business that fails to communicate with its field staff and clients in real-time is at a serious competitive disadvantage. Nowadays, a variety of wireless, Internet and e-mail-based solutions allow for fast, accurate exchange of information. Fewer misunderstandings. More time for your staff to get things done. Watch your company’s productivity increase when you use remote solutions to free up valuable human resources.

7. Don’t let high fuel costs eat up your profits

With the high cost of fuel these days you are burning money by driving your paperwork back and forth to the customer site. Save money and speed up your billing cycle by having your technicians complete the work order in the field (even capture the customer’s signature) and enter it immediately into your system which can then begin generating invoices right away.

8. Plan your preventative maintenance wisely

Set-up your PM schedules according to the contract terms, then generate the jobs automatically when required. Plus, with a good service management solution the dispatcher knows what preventative maintenance is due when taking a service call, so it can be scheduled at the same time increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction. Revenue opportunity: Don’t forget the non-contracted customers. Set-up all PM’s in the system and call non-contract customers when a PM is due to generate added business.

9. Know your team

Does everyone on your team work as effectively as they could? Weak performers increase cost and reduce your customers’ satisfaction. Service software will give you the information you need about the productivity of each technician, including: average times to complete service calls, average response times, parts used, call-backs, and revenue generated per technician. Such information helps you determine the strengths and weakness of your staff so you can respond accordingly.

10. Pay attention to existing customers

A customer in the hand is worth two in the bush. It’s always easier to keep a customer you already have than find a new one. Service software will help you to anticipate your customers’ needs, improve responsiveness and reduce call-backs, thus maintaining a solid customer base.

Automation is much easier than many companies realise and the productivity gains are huge:

27%    improvement in worker productivity

19%    increase in customer satisfaction & retention

17%   increase in overall profitability

13%   increase in service revenues

 *Source: Aberdeen Group

All of these efficiency boosting tips above can be easily achieved through automation software geared to service company needs. Maximizing your service department with Miracle Service™ will make it more efficient and profitable and can deliver a quick ROI.

Information provided by Nexent Innovations. For more information on Miracle Service, visit www.miracleservice.net.au

Have a great week,
Peter