Posted on 10/11/2016

12 Best Practices for Better Retail Service ManagementWhether you employ your own service technicians or use third-party contractors, one of your retail chain’s biggest challenges is managing your service process efficiently.

But meeting the challenge is worth it. Grocery and other retail chains that streamline their service management processes can reduce costs in a variety of areas, resulting in:

  • Less internal administrative overhead
  • Fewer overcharges for services not reported
  • Less liability or regulatory risk for refrigerant leakage and safety hazards (e.g., slippery floors, spoiled food)
  • Reduced revenue loss from service interruptions
  • Reduced customer loss from poor shopping experiences

Improve Efficiencies with Contractor Management

Your stores contain a variety of equipment. Each store uses many contractors – plumbing, lighting, refrigeration, HVAC, etc. Some of these contractors may only be authorized to work on certain equipment or in certain geographies.

When managing a network of contractors becomes too complex, grocery and retail chains can turn to contractor management systems. These systems streamline processes and improve efficiencies in many ways, including:

  • Generating work orders automatically, and then dispatching them to the appropriate providers
  • Enabling contractors to report their work against open orders
  • Enabling managers to track a contractor’s response to maintenance events
  • Recording all maintenance costs
  • Automating the accumulation, review, and payment of approved invoices

Contractor management systems reduce duplicate work orders, unnecessary service calls, invoicing errors, and inaccurate time reporting. Ultimately, these systems help you get the right technicians on-site faster to resolve issues and make preventive maintenance easier.

Improve Your Service Processes with 12 Best Practices

Beyond a contractor management strategy, consider these 12 best practices to improve retail service management.

1. Ensure your internal team is proactively involved in preventive maintenance and completing work on time, and measure their productivity to reduce inefficiency and waste.

2. When negotiating contracts with external contractors, use data and benchmarks to get competitive quotes and the best prices.

3. Automate invoice processing with triggers set to reject invoices that don’t meet preset rates and logged hours.

4. Ensure all warranty information is tied to each piece of equipment and utilized when service is needed.

5. Maintain comprehensive equipment-level data to help schedule planned service and predict maintenance.

6. Enable management of accruals by ensuring data is comprehensive and accurate to verify all work charged has been completed.

7. Streamline your service approval process to avoid delays when problems arise.

8. Configure automated email, text, or other alerts to notify service personnel when equipment fails.

9. Reduce the layers of financial reviews to cut delays. Automate the auditing process where possible, with manual steps used only to clarify whether billed work matches work that was done.

10. Integrate accounting processes to speed up invoicing once work is completed.

11. Enable the use of mobile devices for contractors to access asset data and reduce the time required to resolve issues.

12. Centralize the storage of quotes and estimates, and make sure they are tied to specific equipment data to streamline the process.