The Hidden Costs of Return Visits

Have you ever had a technician come to your house unprepared to do a job?

Meet Heather, a 40 year-old woman, whose furnace burner went out in the middle of winter. Because her house was built in 1910, there was no way to install a standard unit and still get the ductwork up to code. Her only option was to replace it with a high efficiency unit. So, she called and ordered the new unit and the next day, eight guys showed up to install it.

Just as they were almost finished installing the furnace burner, they realized that they were short a couple parts so they would have to schedule a return visit. When Heather called to schedule it, the dispatcher told her that they were booked a week out. With no other options, Heather agreed to an appointment at 1 pm the following week. Then she went out to buy a space heater so that she didn’t freeze to death in the meantime.

One week later…

At 11:45am, Heather got a call from Josh, the HVAC tech, who said he was outside of her house. Even though Josh was an hour and 15 minutes early to the appointment, Heather left work to let him in because she didn’t want to risk the chance of him leaving.

When she got home and they walked into the house, Josh didn’t even remember why he was there in the first place..

Josh: “Uh, what am I supposed to be fixing? They just scheduled me here at 1pm but didn’t tell me anything else.”

Heather: “They didn’t give you any paperwork?”

Josh: “Nope”

With no other options, Josh called his dispatcher, Sheryl, to try and find the paperwork that he needed in order to know what he was there to fix. Sheryl assumed that the paperwork was somewhere in Andy’s truck since Andy was the team lead during the initial installation. The dispatcher told Josh to hold on for a minute while she tried to get ahold of Andy who happened to be working in a basement with no service. After 12 minutes, Sheryl got ahold of Andy but only to find out that he didn’t have the paperwork. Once again, Sheryl told Josh to hold on while she tried calling the other 7 techs who had been there the first day.

After 18 minutes, she finally got ahold of four of them and had each of them look in their trucks. After at least 15 minutes, the missing paperwork was found. The tech who found it then had to explain the document over the phone to the dispatcher who then called Josh and told him. Seems like a game of telephone, doesn’t it?!

Well, to make matters even worse, it turned out that Josh didn’t even have the right parts with him in his truck so he would need to drive to his supplier to buy them. Long story short, he returned 35 minutes later and completed the job in 25 minutes. A job that should have taken 25 minutes ended up taking 3 hours, costing the HVAC Company an extra $419.42 and making a customer extremely upset.

Cost with Paper Forms vs. Cost with Automated Forms

Blue = Cost with paper forms
Red = Cost with automated forms

Going Paperless: Digitizing Your Work Order Forms

As we see in the story above, not having the right paperwork can get pretty expensive for all characters involved. Just think about all of the time and money Heather, Sheryl and Josh could have saved if the document had been digitally accessible across numerous platforms.

Field workforce automation is a cost effective way for field technicians to communicate with each other throughout the entire process of a work order from start to finish. Technicians can access customer and work order related documentation in real-time, free from the hassle of tracking down the multitude of paper documents in order to do their job. If the document Josh needed had been available digitally, he would have shown up prepared with the right tools to do the job in a regular timeframe.

field squared demo request

Image Source: Antoine Dautry on Unsplash