Ways Field Service Improves a Partner's Speed to Revenue
Managing any business is tough – the constant pressure of chasing invoices, keeping costs under control, growing one's customer base, all whilst trying to deliver a great customer experience for existing clients and nurturing them to spend more. And with the persistent pressure to pay bills to staff and suppliers, speed to revenue (and hopefully profitable revenue at that) is critical for many partners. And finding every conceivable way to squeeze that payment cycle, invoice and collect revenue as fast as possible has given birth to a whole new segment of the finance industry.
Yet, for those partners that use a specialist field service partner as part of their customer go-to-market, there are 4 potential ways for the right field services partner to directly support that drive for speeds invoicing and cash collection.
1. The right field service partner uses automation to enable partners to place, track, upload assets and close off jobs faster.
Automation in field service is not inherently considered business-as-usual, yet its use can have a massive impact on speed to cash for a partner. If we consider the more traditional field-services approach where a client raises an issue, then this process is highly manual
A seemingly simple process has likely taken at least 2 weeks from start to finish, not to mention the potential strain on the partner-client relationship. And with that delay in both starting the process but closing off the job, it will likely see the partner invoice for the job about 3-4 weeks after the job was created.
And yet automation can dramatically streamline this process and improve the speed to revenue by providing tools that enable the Partner to provide pricing to a client within seconds, from a simple fixed price rate card of services and arrange the on-site visit for an engineer, from the pool of available engineers – a take that might have taken a few days is now reduced to taking less than 5 minutes: speed, certainty, visibility.
As the engineer is on-site, they can close the task there, immediately upload assets to close off the job and move onto the next task.
One can see that automating and providing better transparency to this process reduces the speed to cash from several weeks to less than a week, dramatically improves the interaction and certainty for both the Partner and the client – reducing the rate to money from 3-4 weeks to less than a week – a significant improvement.2. The right field service partner provides first visit resolution guarantees, closing out client issues faster.
Failure to resolve a client query the first time can be very costly for the Partner. Revisits to a client site can delay the resolution of the issue – let's say by 1-2 weeks – there is then the inevitable backwards and forwards to re-arrange access, agree on the incremental cost with the clients for the revisit (and that is not always an easy conversation) - let's say another week – and we are 3-4 weeks before we are issuing an invoice – a delay of about a month is about 8% of the year. More revenue and margin leakage!
Yet doing the job correctly, first time, makes all the difference when it comes to field service and isn't too difficult– revisits, missing or late-delivered parts, poorly arranged site access, all cost time and time is money (sorry, had to get that in). And yet, to compound matters, field service needs to support partners and offer a level of service that makes the job predictably easy – a first visit resolution guarantee.
There are no revisits, but a field service company that "owns" that client query from start to finish and doesn't leave the site until it is fixed – they do the right thing.
3. The right field service partner provides fixed-price support & maintenance pricing.
Certainty of pricing is something that all clients (and most partners) like. And when it comes to field service, delivering certainty around pricing – fixed pricing – coupled with guarantees will have a significant impact on a partner's ability to invoice and collect revenue.
Gone are the vagaries of "that job only took 1 hr 55 minutes, so why have you invoiced me for a 2 hour 25 minute call out" and the inevitable email trail and time associated with the Partner to client interaction. This backwards and forward to resolution, apart from costing both organisations margin that need not be wasted, takes time, hold up invoicing and may lead to a delay in revenue collection – 1 week of "backwards and forwards" to agree on the timing, 2 days to re-issue to correct invoice and agree that all parties have approved it, and the process is back 2 weeks from where it could have been – and those 2 weeks are about 4% of the year.
Now, imagine a world where there is a certainty of pricing and that the job is fixed. Gone is that debate about time on site; gone is the mystery about pricing – both parties are confident from the outset. The 2-week delay in agreeing on the invoice for processing (common in the old field services world) has been eradicated, invoicing is predictable and manageable, and bills can expect to be paid faster – 4% faster!
4. The right field services partner provides better market coverage, depth of skills and quality guarantees.
Field service is a function of skills, geographic reach and performance guarantees. And with this coverage, skills and certainty, comes an ability to improve the speed to revenue for a partner.
When we consider the use of field service to support speed to revenue, much of the debate will likely centre on not just having an engineer who can go to a given location, but one that does a great quality job (therefore ensuring the job is completed the first time) and does so with the minimal fuss or need for revisits to fix the issue that wasn't resolved initially.
Having a breadth of resource that can perform this high-quality service across the country, backed by predictable equality guarantees, means that jobs are completed faster, there is a reduced need for site revisits, and the call out tasks can be more rapidly closed off and invoiced faster that without this quality and coverage guarantee.
One can see that field service can significantly impact helping partners improve the speed to revenue through automation, service availability and quality guarantees, intelligent commercial pricing, and having the right people in the right place at the right time. Each of the benefits it delivers can improve speed to cash by anywhere up to 1 month, compared to more "old world" ways of behaving – and with 1 month representing about 8% of the year…that is significant and not to be ignored.