A BT-supplied field force automation solution is helping Anglian Home Improvements to sustainably improve customer service.
Around a million people feel at home with windows, doors and conservatories from Anglian Home Improvements. As well as product quality, that’s down to great after-sales service. But Andy Browne wanted a better way to get the right engineer to the right job with the right information. BT Field Force Automation was the answer.
Now, the service team can be faster off the mark. They spend more time with home-owners and less time in the depot or behind the wheel. Customers love the extra attention. And Andy and the engineers enjoy the satisfaction of jobs well done.
Established in 1966, Anglian Home Improvements has grown to become the leading UK supplier of high quality replacement windows, doors, and conservatories. It offers a full range of services from design and manufacture through to installation. Anglian employs around 3,600 people and has built a loyal base of one million customers.
With such a large number of customers, Anglian needs a substantial after sales service operation to deal with repairs and modifications to its products. Its 65-strong team of service engineers operate from 25 regional depots right around the country. With more customers choosing Anglian every day, the workload for this team was increasing and the pipeline of service visits was beginning to build.
It was not cost efficient for us to employ more service engineers, so we needed to find a way to improve the way we worked to make more effective use of existing people.
Anglian saw that technology could provide the answer. Andy Browne continues: “We knew that if we could improve real time communications with our service engineers we could boost productivity. For example, we could save them time by avoiding the need to travel to the depot every day to pick up paperwork. Also, with dynamic job allocation we could minimise travel time between jobs.”
Anglian approached BT for advice, not least because BT has an enormous field force itself. “We felt more comfortable with the backing of BT,” explains Andy. “A big advantage is that BT is able to support a wide range of technology, so we end up with a tailored solution that best matches our specific needs.”
BT has provided Anglian with a comprehensive field force automation solution comprising a centrally hosted job allocation and control application, feeding information to handheld mobile computers. Connectivity is provided over a mobile data network. The fully managed service includes the installation of hands free kits for the mobile devices in company vehicles and user training for the engineers.
The handheld computers are loaded with the Wireless Delivered™ Live job management application and equipped with satellite navigation and an inbuilt colour camera. A dedicated BT service centre provides telephone-based 24/7 support to Anglian, with next day replacement of faulty devices under a three-year extended warranty.
We felt more comfortable with the backing of BT. A big advantage is that BT is able to support a wide range of technology, so we end up with a tailored solution that best matches our specific needs.
The field force automation solution allows Anglian service engineers to work more flexibly and receive all the information they need about a job at home or on the move. Once at a customer’s premises, additional technical information can be sent to engineers in real time if required. When a job is finished the engineer can complete the paperwork online and transmit it immediately back to the Anglian central control centre.
The solution also provides service engineers with email access and the satellite navigation application is configured to automatically provide route guidance from the engineer’s current location to the next job. Andy Browne says: “We commenced with a small pilot involving a few people to prove the concept but have now completed the rollout of the solution to all service engineers. BT did a great job and the whole thing went pretty much without a hitch.”
The BT Field Force Automation solution has made an immediate impact. Andy Browne observes: “Our service engineers are able to go direct to their first job from home each day. They only need to visit the depot once or twice a week rather than every day, and we have seen far fewer failed appointments. This is reducing ineffective time and cutting costs.”
Rather than only having details of the job in hand, engineers can now download up to five days’ work at a time, which is dynamically updated if arrangements change. This enhanced workload visibility is enabling engineers to bring forward appointments, subject to customer agreement, if other jobs are cancelled at short notice or a job finishes early. As a result the number of jobs completed by each service engineer per day has increased by an average of around 20 per cent.
Being online has improved communications in other ways. For example, service engineers can use the integrated camera to photograph an installation and transmit the image to the control centre so that an immediate decision on warranty repair work (or a quotation for remedial work) can be made there and then.
Our customer service has substantially improved and our pipeline of work has reduced from more than ten weeks to just a fortnight.
There are sustainability benefits too. Optimum satellite navigation-aided route planning, coupled with the avoidance of unnecessary journeys, is reducing driven miles and thus lowering carbon emissions. Andy Browne sums up: “The field force automation solution has delivered on its promise. Our decision to select BT to lead the project has handsomely rewarded us.”
With help from BT, Anglian is now looking to introduce enhanced facilities. For example, allowing engineers to order service items (such as replacement glass panels) online to further accelerate service delivery.