Probably the number one complaint we get from readers about cable and phone service is how the guys never show up when they’re supposed to, or even they day they’re supposed to. As roving lone tech support cowboys, is it a case of the mice will play when the cat’s away? Look at how much more efficient field agent service techs got when managers did ridealongs in this McKinsey study. The company was able to recover 2.3 hours of lost productivity and increase jobs per day completed from 6.3 to 8.5. Inside, how the company recovered even more lost productivity by implementing a new dispatch system capable of on-they-fly scheduling…
Having identified the opportunities, senior managers needed a better understanding of the field technicians’ daily routines. This extra visibility–and a more flexible and dynamic dispatch system–were the cornerstones of the cable company’s transformational program to improve productivity in the field and address key quality issues, such as the punctuality of technicians, waiting times for customers, and getting jobs right the first time. Using improved routing software and making better use of mobile phones, the teams in a pilot study established command centers that provided real-time visibility into the schedules of the field workforce. They also implemented innovative staffing and routing techniques designed to meet customer demand more successfully. The command centers helped field force managers to learn where technicians were, when they began and finished assignments, and whether a test signal had been sent back through the cable network to confirm that an installation was successful or a problem had been fixed. In addition, managers learned (in real time rather than afterward) when employees were ignoring policies; as a result, the company could immediately take corrective action, such as telephoning customers.
The impact was dramatic: 18 months after the company launched the program, technicians were completing an average of 8 jobs a day, compared to 4.5 previously; the average waiting time for an appointment with a technician had dropped to 1.2 days, from 5; and labor costs had decreased by more than 30 percent, since less work had to be outsourced to external contractors.
Comcast should read this study.