4 Survival Tips for Field Service Businesses in 2021

Hundred dollar bills with the word "Surviving."
Featured image credit: MCCAIG/iStockphoto.com

If you’re in the field service business, you know already just how challenging it can be to sustain such an enterprise. But, as difficult as it already was, the onset of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has put field service businesses into even hotter water.

However, simply perishing is not an option. Business survival should be your top goal in 2021. You must be innovative with your business decisions and rise above the current situation. This guide will help you achieve just that.

Let’s take a quick look at four survival tips for field service businesses in 2021.

#1 Reach out to Your Existing Customers

This one is a given. For any business, the customers are everything. Whether you work directly with the end-user or sell your services to other businesses, this is a top tip for any field service business.

In fact, a study shows that during the pandemic people are more likely to use services from businesses they have worked with before and already trust.

So, rather than thinking of expanding your businesses, first, stick to your current client list and reach out to them when required.

Here are a few tips that might be helpful:

  • Categorize your existing clientele based on the reasons they generally use your services.
  • Reach out to your existing customers based on their interests to get them to repurchase or re-invest in your business.
  • Nurture your existing clients because word-of-mouth recommendations are still one of the most effective marketing strategies.
  • Offer freebies, especially to high-value clients. For example, include additional services and features or discounts that might attract your existing clients to keep using your services.
  • Update your current clients on the health and safety guidelines you’re following during this pandemic. Knowing that you’re concerned about their health and well-being will help them trust you.

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#2 Automate Business Processes

Automating processes can save time and increase efficiency by reducing the chances of human errors.

For example, last-mile delivery companies can use route optimization software to put their route planning on autopilot.

Such software takes just 30 seconds to plan well-optimized and fuel-efficient routes with accurate turn-by-turn-directions from one place to another.

Route planners even factor in traffic, weather conditions, sunrise and sunset times, one-ways, under-construction roads, left turns, weight and height restrictions, time windows, and more constraints.

This ensures your routes are always free from any constraints that can hinder your drivers’ productivity and so you can run hassle-free field service operations.

With a delivery route planner, you just need to add the customers’ addresses ( by typing, copying and pasting, or uploading the list of addresses), pick the number of drivers, and hit optimize. That’s it!

That’s not all a map route planner has to offer. Below are several other crucial features offered by such software:

  • Speed alerts to let you know when any of your field reps speed
  • Reporting and analytics to help you track your fuel expenses, average time spent per stop, total stops covered, and more
  • Customer alerting and notifications to let your customers know whenever their delivery is nearby

#3 Make Your Employees Feel Safe and Motivated

When it comes to a field service business, your employees hold as much weight in terms of importance as your customers do.

After all, they carry out your business operation hands-on in the field. And during this pandemic, your employees are risking their lives to work for you. Hence, it’s important to make them feel safe and incentivize them to boost their motivation for work.

Also, happier employees will do a better job of keeping your customers happy. Below are a few guidelines that can help:

  • Get your on-field workers tested and provide all the necessary protection they might need.
  • Develop safety protocols in the workplace according to government guidelines and the latest information regarding the virus from the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Arrange small training sessions for your staff to train them in appropriate pandemic and post-pandemic behavior. Apart from ensuring health and safety, this also makes your employees more relaxed and confident in their work environment.
  • Do not initiate drastic pay cuts. If finances are tight, it’s best to cut costs elsewhere.

For example, a route planner app can help you save on fuel and other transportation expenses; you can then use the savings to keep your field reps with you.

Also, a multiple stop route planner helps your field reps cover more stops or visit more customers than usual as it provides the fastest and shortest routes. This means you’ll earn more with the improved driver productivity. All this translates into more revenue and profits. Would you still prefer to let your employees go?

  • Plan for meetings and other ways of daily communication. Social interaction can greatly boost morale and motivate your employees to share the problems they might be facing.
  • Use a GPS tracking software to offer roadside assistance if any of your field reps gets stuck on the road due to a vehicle breakdown or if they face a road mishap.
  • Use a delivery driver app to identify the top performers and promote them to the next level or offer incentives. Also, offer guidance to the underperformers to help them do better next time. Your field reps will be happy to see you’re committed to their growth and will be motivated to do better.

#4 Go Digital

Taking your business online is the only way to survive in 2021 because the pandemic is still far from over and full lockdowns can again happen at any time.

While most businesses are already online, going digital doesn’t simply mean setting up a website or sending out emails; although these are integral parts. There are several ways you can use a digital platform, for example, you can:

  • Use targeted social media advertising to find more customers similar to your existing client database.
  • Start email marketing campaigns to keep your business on top of your potential customer’s minds.
  • Arrange staff meetings on digital platforms so the conversation can keep going even if physical contact is prevented.
  • Use a digital platform to connect and collaborate with other businesses. This can lead to a healthy networking opportunity and building contacts.

Hope for the Future

Amidst the fog of uncertainty what people often fail to see is the opportunity lurking behind. A difficult time for businesses frequently means a changing market and only those businesses which can adapt to the changes will survive and thrive.

Listed above are the four most basic survival tips for field service businesses in 2021. However, this is only the start of your journey of transformation.

Get creative and take on this challenge by re-working your strategies. Hopefully, your field service business will overcome this stressful time and thrive in the near future.


Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.