Biggest Mistakes IT Channel Providers Make
In a fiercely competitive service ecosystem, IT service providers are constantly striving to secure their rank. While it’s not always easy to kick old habits, in this saturated industry there’s no margin for error when it comes to running a service operation. In order to succeed, your organization has to be on top of its game. Here are five of the biggest mistakes your tech service business may be making:
1. Not Embracing an On-Demand Workforce
A recent Service Council survey found that 71 percent of respondents expect to face a field service talent shortage in the next 10 years. Therefore, it’s no surprise that independent contractors—1099 labor—are quickly becoming a popular choice over full-time W-2 workers.
This flexible workforce offers a wealth of advantages. Instead of spending time and money hiring and training a new employee, why not hire based on the specific task you need completed? Adjusting staffing on demand allows contractors to get to work immediately.
While there are pros and cons to using independent contractors in any business—less daily oversight, and more workers coming and going versus increased flexibility and expanded geographic coverage—this model may prove particularly useful for IT service providers, as contractors are responsible for providing their own equipment and licensing, which can help cut costs.
2. Using Outdated Management Methods
A growing service team calls for evolved management techniques. Outdated practices such as spreadsheets or point solutions won’t get you far when there is a wealth of field service management software to choose from. Even something as simple as utilizing mobile devices will eliminate the need for dispatchers directing field techs to their next appointment. Software as a service (SaaS) is a popular cloud technology that offers numerous advantages over on-premise solutions.
With a click of the mouse, your team is not only connected with each other, but with customers, as well. Providing customers with access and a clear view of the company can help enhance customer satisfaction–and increase sales.
Most SaaS solutions are subscription-based, which helps to keep day-to-day costs low while offering flexibility and customization. Rather than employing a full-time IT staff to manage software, SaaS vendors shoulder the burden of providing software upgrades, managing security, and performing maintenance.
3. Relying Too Heavily on Third Parties
The cost pressure associated with managing a business can often force service organizations to bring tasks in-house with the hope of improving margins rather than expending value. In fact, 45 to 50 percent of the world’s workforce will be an independent worker by 2017–quite a large talent pool to choose from.
On-demand marketplaces allow you to review top talent in the contractor market, so you can source labor directly, rather than paying a third party to do the work. Sourcing talent from these marketplaces may not only help improve margins, but it can also lead to future growth. Expanding a global team of contractors means more business won, and more clients served.
4. Failing to Centralize Your Field Service Operations
While tools and software can be helpful, using too much technology can do more harm than good. Consolidating management of field service techs onto one platform allows for consistency, clarity and dependability. Ideally, a cloud-based, end-to-end freelance management platform can help you find, manage and pay contractors, in addition to keeping tabs on your core workforce—all from one simple dashboard.
When hiring contractors through a freelance management platform, you can easily review and rate workers, which can help you source techs you can rely on in the field. This technology can also help simplify management by centralizing communication; techs can check in on assignments, and confirm when they’ve completed a task.
5. Not Arming Your Workforce with Mobile
Customers are always looking for faster, better service, and mobile is key to arming techs with the information and tools they need to be successful in the field. There is a plethora of mobile workforce applications, and if mobile technology is implemented effectively, it could have a measurable impact on operational efficiency as well as customer experience and profitability, according to a mobile field service study from the Aberdeen Group. 80 percent of surveyed field service organizations said they plan to make service faster and more efficient by implementing the use of mobile tools.
The use of mobile allows techs to accomplish key tasks before, during and after visits, the study reported. Using a mobile device or tablet, techs can review the service issue, take a look at past history and view a customer’s location before their visit. On-site, they can take pictures, add service notes and connect with resolution experts. Post-visit, techs can use mobile applications to record expenses and parts used, and create follow-up appointments.
Today’s tech service space is cutthroat, and these mistakes can truly make or break current and future business. It’s important to embrace new technologies that can help you hire, manage and grow a reliable workforce. All the tools and knowledge you need are out there; all it takes is a little ingenuity and willingness to evolve in order to be successful.
Check out our new report, “Navigating the Perfect Storm,” to learn how today’s IT service providers are using an on-demand workforce to thrive in a turbulent service world.