What is a Truck Roll?
A truck roll is when a technician is dispatched, via truck or another type of vehicle, to address a technical issue such as maintenance, installation, or rearrangement.
The problem posed by truck rolls
Field service organizations rely heavily on truck rolls to reach customers; however, truck rolls are often counterproductive. Dispatch-heavy organizations like digital service providers report 25% of truck rolls as non-value added (NVA) and an immense waste of resources. Truck rolls are expensive, with the average truck roll costing up to $1,000 USD per the Technology Service Industry Association. A truck roll’s cost can reach significantly higher if the dispatch is at night or if the technician is working overtime.
Expenses associated with truck rolls can be broken down into three main issues: operating costs, labour costs, and opportunity costs.
On top of being costly, truck rolls pose countless inefficiencies:
- Low first contact resolution (FCR) rate
- Higher repeat visit rate
- Negative impact on customer satisfaction
Organizations have begun adopting digital tools to reduce costs and to optimize truck rolls.
The digital transformation of the field service industry, led by AR remote assistance technology, has been instrumental in reducing dispatch rates and lowering truck rolls. The result is a win-win for organizations. By utilizing the following five practices, organizations have significantly decreased operation costs while boosting customer satisfaction.
1. Adopt Visual and Interactive Support
Augmented reality’s ability to improve a company’s performance has led many, like Samsung, to implement AR throughout their entire remote assistance ecosystem. With wide-ranging remote assistance implications, the field of augmented reality is estimated to grow from USD 10.7 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 72.7 billion by 2024. The time to invest is now. However, what exactly is remote assistance AR, and how does it boost a company’s productivity and customer satisfaction while reducing avoidable friction?
What is augmented reality remote assistance?
Augmented reality remote assistance is an emerging technology that allows experts to visually interact with customers or field agents. Augmented reality improves remote assistance by allowing computer-generated data such as text, image, or video to be superimposed on a real-world environment. The simplest form of AR is a tablet in the hand of a technician, however, AR tools include workwear such as smart glasses.
How AR remote assistance reduces truck roll
Augmented remote assistance connects a call center agent directly to a customer, skipping the need for a dispatch. Traditionally call center agents have used audio to interact with customers, however, with this cumbersome approach, agents are unable to provide the full scope of service needed to manage more complicated tasks.
With AR remote assistance, agents are able to see and interact with the customer’s environment, giving the agent more case-specific information. A more informed agent is a more capable agent. The more an agent can learn about the situation the more efficiently they can target solutions. By connecting with a customer via real-time video, agents are able to provide instructions with a higher level of precision, enabling them to demonstrate more technical problems to the customer.
With this depth of customer service, certain work orders that would typically require a technician dispatch, can now be handled quickly by the customer, guided by an agent, from the comfort of their own home.
AR remote assistance improves technicians capabilities
AR remote assistance can also be used to improve a technician’s capabilities in the field. Consider a technician in the field who needs to fix a transformer but doesn’t know how. The tech could either open up a manual and troubleshoot, which has a low probability of resolving the issue, or the tech could request a specialist to be dispatched, resulting in truck roll expenses.
With AR remote assistance, that same specialist could walk the tech through the issue visually, step-by-step. The specialist could even interact with the user’s image, highlighting specific parts of the asset. This process cuts truck roll costs by enabling fewer technicians to tend to each issue.
Workwear AR remote assistance technology, such as smart glasses, allows technicians in the field to receive and execute step-by-step instructions hands-free. This increases each technician’s efficiency and speed, lowering the need for a specialist dispatch.
2. Archive Expert Knowledge
In business, knowledge is power. By using AR remote assistance, organizations can spread expert knowledge throughout their employee chain faster and more efficiently than ever before.
The field service industry faces high employee turnover rates. Within the last year, a reported 11% of professional service employees left their job. Field work is demanding, often prompting specialized technicians to retire at a premature age. Because of the above-average employee turnover rate, many field service organizations have issues retaining expert knowledge.
AR remote assistance solves the problem of knowledge loss through employee turnover. With AR remote assistance, organizations can archive experts’ knowledge and seamlessly share it with any technician in need. The ability to easily share expert knowledge with technicians has important implications for decreasing truck roll.
Accessible knowledge decreases truck roll
It’s all too common for rookie technicians to struggle to solve a problem on the first contact. After all, they lack experience. Such mistakes are as costly as they are common, and often result in a specialist being dispatched or additional visits. With AR remote assistance, rookie technicians become instant experts, dramatically increasing their field capabilities. The increased efficiency of rookie technicians leads to higher first contact resolution rates and decreases the need for repeat visits.
BCG reports that in their client work, relatively inexperienced technicians have used AR remote assistance to complete tasks that they have not worked on before, at a comparable speed to specialists. To complete a similar task without AR remote assistance, novice technicians would need weeks of training. Similarly, the error occurrence would rise sharply, and the chance of a repeat visit would be significantly higher.
3. Use Ticket Tracking
On average, 40% of field service tickets call for truck roll dispatches, out of which 25% are found to be non-productive. In many cases, a field technician will find that a site visit was not needed to fix the problem, resulting in a no fault found (NFF) dispatch. This is a costly waste of time and resources.
By using advanced ticket tracking, organizations can identify NVA service truck rolls and cut their associated costs. However, what exactly is ticket tracking and how can it be leveraged to cut back on truck roll?
What is ticket tracking?
A help desk ticketing system is a customer service technology that collects and tracks all customer support interactions from various channels—phone, chat widget, email, and social media.
Predictive ticket tracking slashes non-value added dispatches
In order to reduce dispatch rates, organizations should use customers’ ticket information to identify the top five to ten NVA truck roll issues. These are often issues that can be solved by remote assistance. For example, after multiple NVA dispatches regarding a specific issue, an organization might mark future tickets for said issue as ‘no dispatch required’. By using advanced ticket tracking, organizations can establish filters that segregate the high percentage, non-value-added truck roll work orders.
Filters could include metrics such as:
- Customer truck roll history
- Complexity of problem
- Type of service call
As a result, any work order with a high percentage NVA truck roll is instantly identified and filtered to remote assistance teams, avoiding the need for a dispatch.
The benefits of preemptively eliminating non-value added truck rolls are immense. By optimizing truck rolls through advanced ticket tracking, a leading digital service provider in Europe was able to decrease NVA truck rolls by 27%, while increasing first time fix rate and decreasing arrival time. The same organization experienced a 20% decrease in field service operation cost leading to 2.6 million Euros in savings per year.
4. Maintain Service History Logs
A customer will often be serviced by multiple technicians over time leading to discrepancies in service and an overall lack of service continuity. However, by saving the customer’s ticket information and sharing it with each technician dispatched, service continuity is never lost. This increases familiarity with the specific customer, boosting satisfaction. It also optimizes the field service by providing the technician with as much user-specific information as possible.
Consider a customer who has a broken treadmill. A technician is dispatched to fix the treadmill, yet, is unable to troubleshoot the issue. This results in additional truck rolls, repeat visits, and a disgruntled customer.
Now consider if a detailed log of the customer’s entire service history had been shared with the technician in advance. If so, the tech would have known that two years ago, the customer had the same issue fixed. The tech would also have access to step-by-step notes on what was previously done to fix the treadmill. By effectively sharing the customer’s service information, the repair job was fast and only required one visit. The result is reduced truck roll and a customer who feels valued.
A knowledgeable field service force who can connect with the customer is imperative. In the United States, only 38% of people said that the customer service employees they talked to understood their needs, leaving much room for growth. Organizations that can improve their understanding of the needs of their customers will see an increase in satisfaction and more robust business growth.
5. Track Performance Metrics
By identifying and tracking performance metrics, organizations can reduce massive marginal costs that often go unnoticed. Operational and intervention metrics allow organizations to create a data-driven approach to optimizing inefficiencies. Such metrics can provide detailed insight into labour and operating inefficiencies such as windshield time – the time a technician spends driving to and from the site – and excess numbers of escalations.
The advantage of tracking Key performance indicators (KPIs) is that it eliminates the cumbersome task of analysing data on a dashboard and then having to figure out how to best leverage the data. By standardizing KPIs, consistent and effective courses of action can be implemented based on the data.
Important KPIs to track:
- Time to diagnosis
- First contact resolution (FCR)
- Time to resolution
- Number of escalations
- Technical dispatch rate
- Average handling time
KPIs such as first contact resolution can be the difference between turning a profit and revenue loss. Aberdeen Group’s 2013 field service report showed that organizations with an FCR above 80% experienced a 6.2% increase in revenue compared to those with a sub-80% FCR who suffered a 2% decrease in revenue. Keeping track of live data and setting KPI performance targets will improve efficiency and profit margins.
Summary: The benefits of optimized truck roll
The fixed operational costs and opportunity costs of truck rolls add up, gradually sapping revenue and productivity from organizations. This burden is easily avoidable. Agents use remote visual support platforms to guide customers through issues with an unparalleled amount of detail, avoiding the need for a dispatch. If a dispatch is eventually needed, AR remote assistance transforms any technician into an expert. This allows any technician to resolve issues that would previously require one, or more specialists, in a single visit.
In this day and age, quality customer service is what differentiates businesses and drives growth. By implementing AR remote assistance, an organization’s speed, knowledge, and convenience, the hallmarks of consumer satisfaction, increase dramatically. Additionally, boons to customer satisfaction such as long service windows are shortened or eliminated.