Why Outsourcing Field Services Boosts Efficiency and Expertise

Why Businesses Outsource Field Services

Outsourcing field services has become a popular and effective option for many businesses. When it comes to addressing remote network issues or needs, handling it in-house might not be the most sensible choice. Sending capable employees to locations across your footprint can be costly and time consuming. It is also most likely not the best use of your employees' time, keeping them from more important core operations.

A better option is to hire a field services partner to handle this for you, for the following reasons:

  • Resources: Most branch business locations do not have folks on site who can address technical issues when they arise. And even for simpler network problems, it can be disruptive to bother on-site personnel to help with the fix when they need to focus on the business at hand. Field Service partners have a network of technicians that can assist you. Your business can count on them to dispatch qualified technicians where and when you need them.
  • Time: There are only so many hours in the day, and sometimes it feels like not enough. Your employees should be focused on meaningful initiatives, not on managing technicians in the field. This is where a field services partner comes in very handy. They handle everything from scheduling a qualified technician to ensuring the scope of work is completed in full. Your employees are left to focus on what matters most, growing your business.
  • Expertise: When a critical component of your infrastructure goes down, you need it fixed ASAP. You also need to feel confident that the person doing the fixing will not break something else in the process. An effective field services partner selects technicians based on their experience and expertise. They also make certain the technician has a clearly defined scope of work so they are equipped to resolve the issue quickly and correctly.

Selecting the Right Field Services Partner

As with any network vendor, you want to make sure you select one you can trust. The right partner will begin by getting to know your business and your network environment. They will be experienced and able to provide examples of projects they have done that relate to your potential network needs. They will be willing to provide customer references if requested. In short, they will be competent, thorough, and treat your network as if it is their own. The following are important attributes to look for in a field services partner.

Project Management

For a field service dispatch to be successful you need two key individuals -- a qualified field service technician and a dedicated project manager. The dedicated project manager is your single point of contact for all dispatch-related matters, serving as the main liaison between your team and the field service technician. They are responsible for the successful planning, execution, and completion of dispatches.

Responsibilities include:

  • Coordination and scheduling of the dispatch for a date/time that works for all parties
  • Review and verification of a complete and detailed Scope of Work (SOW)
  • Support for the technician while on site to address any questions or needs
  • Check in and check out of the field service technician on day of dispatch
  • Gathering of documentation and/or photos post dispatch

The project manager provides clear and timely communication, ensuring that everyone is kept informed and on the same page throughout the dispatch. They are committed to delivering a successful outcome and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the dispatch is completed according to expectations.

Hands-On Approach

Expanding on the above, an effective field services partner will be highly involved with each dispatch to make sure appropriate expectations are set and your team is not burdened along the way. The project manager will be very hands-on, with the intention of making each dispatch a success within the anticipated timeline and budget. The following are specific ways in which the project manager works toward this goal:

  1. Scope of Work (SOW): Prior to scheduling a dispatch, the project manager reviews the planned SOW to ensure it is clear and complete. Any gaps are filled in prior to dispatch. The finalized SOW is provided to the field service technician in advance so they can prepare accordingly.
  2. Technician Check-In: On the day of the dispatch, the project manager confirms the technician is at the correct location and reviews the SOW with them. If applicable, the project manager makes certain the technician has located the correct equipment that is in scope for the dispatch.
  3. Technician Support: Throughout the dispatch, the project manager is available for any needs or questions that arise. No matter how much is known about a network prior to dispatch, there are almost always unknowns that are discovered while on site. The technician is the hands and eyes in the field who relies on the project manager to talk through findings and discuss any potential modifications to scope. The project manager shares the relevant information with the customer and confirms any adjustments real-time so that work can proceed without delay.
  4. Technician Check-Out: Prior to releasing the field service technician, the project manager verifies the SOW has been completed in full. The project manager also makes sure the technician has provided any related deliverables (network device inventory lists, required photos, screenshots of link status, etc.). Depending on the scope of the dispatch, the project manager may also confirm certain things with the customer, such as device connectivity, prior to checking out the technician.
  5. Billing: The time and materials involved in a field services dispatch are carefully reviewed by the project manager to make sure you are billed correctly. Billed items are clearly labeled so you know exactly what you are paying for.

Transparent & Correct Billing

Billing is one of the most important aspects in determining if you can trust your vendor. You want a partner who is upfront about all potential fees related to the planned work to be done. Depending on the size and scope of a project, a site survey may be recommended as a first step. Conducting a survey ensures requirements are completely identified so that all related costs are estimated for you from the beginning. The subsequent invoice you receive should be close, if not identical, to what was estimated.

For field service dispatches or projects in which scope is modified or enhanced along the way, the field service partner will share any changes to the anticipated billing. This allows you an opportunity to approve or disapprove of scope modifications before the work is done. This in turn prevents any undesirable surprises when you receive the final invoice for the dispatch or project.

Related, the final invoice will be itemized, with time and materials clearly labeled so you know exactly what is factored into the total billed amount. This gives your team the ability to easily review and validate the fees incurred. If you have any questions regarding the invoice, the field services partner will promptly address your inquiry and resolve any errors uncovered. Their level of responsiveness to your inquiries and their commitment to resolving any errors should reinforce your trust in them as your partner.

Next Steps

As you can see, hiring a field services partner to support your business is valuable for many reasons. It's just a matter of making sure you hire the right one. s2s Communications is an MSP that has years of experience handling network issues and projects of all sizes and scopes. We are happy to chat through your needs to see how our team can help. Customer references are available as well. Contact us at [email protected].

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