Having an extensive footprint for a company is a matter of perspective. What is broad for a mid-market company may be only a small portion of locations for a global enterprise.
Yet, regardless of industry, these different businesses share a need. When resources aren’t available, when a project requires specific skills, or when a team member can’t get to a location to remediate an issue, each of these businesses benefits from having an IT Field Service Partner.
Field services can help a business scale up quickly to complete a multi-site install, manage set up of tens or hundreds of workstations, or be available to assist, on-site, with an outage or problem. Working with the right partner can save you money and prevent your team from losing ground on key business initiatives.
The challenge isn’t in knowing the value of field services for a company. It’s in finding the right partner. Because if a field service partner can’t complete a project or remediate an issue, they aren’t lifting a burden, they are adding to it.
The question then shifts from “Do I need field services” to “How do I find the right partner?”
What to Look for in a Field Service Partner
There are five key characteristics that set a great field services provider apart from the rest.
Obviously, a field services company must have technicians who can be dispatched to work an issue or complete a project. Some projects can be completed with a competent technician with a general skillset. Others, however, require extensive experience. Anyone with a history in IT can tell you that it’s hard to know when a straightforward project will turn into one requiring the skills of an expert.
Your field services partner shouldn’t make it difficult for you to complete installs or diagnose issues - but if a technician is sent out with the wrong skills, that’s precisely what will happen.
Instead, when choosing a field service partner, look for one with a deep bench of highly experienced technicians. This will help ensure that your projects are handled by technicians with the right skills, and your incidents are remediated quickly and without extensive back and forth.
It would be nice if all projects could be completed on an extended timeline, when resources are available, and without pressures from the business. That’s simply not realistic, however.
That’s why one criteria for the right field services partner should be responsiveness. Can they provide a technician - the right technician - where you need them, when you need them?
If the answer is no, consider closely what your need is. Is it worth working with a less than responsive partner when you’re trying to keep your team from being pulled from their current projects? The first break-fix incident or the first time you have to stop a critical project to install a data drop should make the answer clear.
Tied closely with responsiveness is reach, especially if the business is national or global
A field services partner should be able to quickly respond with the right technician anywhere that you need them to be, even if that is tomorrow and halfway around the world. This may be less of a concern if your business is regional, only. However, if you have plans for expansion, take the extra step to find a field services organization that you won’t have to replace as your business grows.
The last two criteria will set the best field service partners apart from all of the rest. The first is their process.
For many, a large project will involve a project manager, a coordinator, and technicians. However, as the projects get smaller or involve fewer technicians, they may drop resources, abandoning the idea of project management and coordination as the number of technicians approaches one.
This leaves ensuring that the ticket’s requirements, execution, communication, and success all rely on a single person - the technician.
Instead, a high-quality field service partner will give every project white-glove treatment. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a small cabling job or the installation of an entirely new network center with testing and turn up services, the addition of project management allows one person to collect, understand, and clearly communicate the customer’s needs, allowing the technician to focus on the job at hand.
5. Quality and Consistency of Outcomes
Unsurprisingly, the combination of all of the previous points results in quality outcomes, every time.
A field services company should be able to share with you their first dispatch completion rate. The industry average is only around 80 percent.
They should also be able to share with you data around customer satisfaction and customer turnover. Obviously, the higher the number on all three of these data points is, the more solid the team is that will be handling your field services.
The Choice is Yours
Don’t forget that the choice you make is one that will have an impact on your own team’s productivity and how rapidly and effectively operational projects and incidents are handled. The wrong field services company will delay projects, push deadlines, and increase the issues associated with break-fix problems.
The right field services partner, on the other hand, will save you time and money, and will keep your team focused on mission-critical, strategic projects that keep the business competitive.