How to reduce and optimize truck roll in field services

How to reduce and optimize truck roll

How to reduce and optimize truck roll in field services

Truck roll has a negative impact on the business of maintenance and field services. It can be very costly and affect your productivity and customer satisfaction. The costs and impacts of these trips are often underestimated. We propose to look at the impacts of truck roll for field services players, to analyze their real costs as well as some good practices and solutions to help you optimize or even avoid it.



What is a Truck Roll, and Why is it Necessary?


A truck roll is defined as a service call made by a technician who travels to a customer’s location to repair or troubleshoot an issue with a product or service. The technician brings all the necessary equipment and tools with them in a truck, hence the term “truck roll.” Truck rolls are common in industries such as telecommunications, cable and internet service, and appliance repair. The technician typically performs diagnostic tests and repairs on site, or may need to replace faulty equipment.


Truck rolls are necessary when an issue cannot be resolved remotely, or when the customer needs in-person assistance with a problem. They are common in industries such as telecommunications, cable and internet service, and appliance repair, and are often necessary to restore service or resolve issues that cannot be fixed remotely.



The negative impact of truck roll in field service


In field service, truck roll is an essential part of the job. Each time a customer calls to report a problem or schedule an intervention (inspection, preventive maintenance, new installation, breakdown, emergency, etc.), a technician is dispatched.


Generally, here’s how a request for technical assistance works:

  1. A customer calls customer service to report a problem
  2. The customer service representative may be able to provide brief troubleshooting advice in the event of an emergency
  3. If the advisor considers it necessary, a request for on-site intervention to solve the problem can be initiated
  4. A technician is dispatched to the site


By following this process, an average of 40% of requests require truck roll. The problem with this method is that the technician can only rely on what the customer has described and without having a clearer picture of the situation, the technician may go out on a call without knowing exactly the extent of the problem, and the skills and equipment needed to solve it. This can have several consequences such as:



Unnecessary travel


In many cases, the technician is able solve the problem in less than five minutes, so the truck roll was unnecessary since the problem could have been fixed remotely.



Low First Time Fix Rate


In other cases, the technician does not have the skills or parts to solve the problem. According to an Aberdeen Group report, 25% of truck rolls require at least one additional trip.




Additional interventions


According to Aberdeen, a situation that is not resolved at the first intervention requires an average of 1.6 additional trips to reach a resolution.



Low customer satisfaction rates


Customers are increasingly demanding and expect that a failure on a machine or equipment will be solved as soon as possible. It is often this promptness that will make the difference between a satisfied customer and an unhappy one.



Rising costs


An truck roll is always expensive and even more so when a single roll is not enough to solve the problem, when the distance to be covered is important or when it must be done during non-business hours.



How much does it really cost a truck roll


Companies often downplay the actual expenses they incur when dispatching a technician. Various reports estimate that the cost of a truck roll can vary between 100€ and 400€ depending on the type of intervention, the expertise of the technician and the distance of the trip. In reality, taking into account labor, time spent and the cost of vehicle wear and tear, the Technology & Services Industry Association estimates that the actual cost of a single trip is much closer to $1,000.



This cost is determined by three factors:


  • Labor: No matter if the job is done by an employee or a subcontractor, the biggest source of cost will likely be labor. You’ll need to consider wages, payroll taxes and other professional expenses (insurance, tool costs, etc.) to get a total monthly cost. Concerning the time spent, you can of course invoice the intervention to your customer, but you will only invoice the actual time spent at client’s site. Add for example the travel time (30 minutes on average), then the time needed to fill in all the documents at the end of the intervention. Non-billable time that you need to add to your labor costs.


  • Vehicle: Direct vehicle costs include fuel, maintenance, insurance and depreciation. The more the vehicle is used, the more maintenance is required and the faster it depreciates. According to an AAA report, for a maintenance technician who drives an average of 15,000 miles per year, you will spend $10K per year per vehicle.


  • Opportunity cost: your service technicians are often also in charge of profitable tasks for your business such as installing new equipment. When you dispatch a service technician solve a problem that can be fixed in less than five minutes, these are often referred to as No Fault Found (NFF) jobs. At the end of the day, there are probably many more profitable and productive things you would rather have your team do.


Do some simple math and you’ll see why it’s important to reduce truck roll to increase your profitability. If you don’t know the exact cost of each truck roll, start with an estimate.


Monthly cost of interventions
Number of truck rolls per month * Cost per truck roll = cost in $ per month

Loss of productivity
Nb of truck rolls per month * Travel time = non billable hours per month

Losses due to unnecessary interventions
Nb of NFF truck rolls * Cost per truck roll = losses in $ per month



How to reduce truck roll


The activities of any company inevitably lead to expenses. The key is to ensure that the operating expenses you incur result in a positive return on investment. In industrial and field services, the cost of a truck roll is often a necessary expense. But as we’ve seen above, these trips are often very expensive. Consider the following solutions to reduce truck roll costs or to reduce time to repair when truck roll is required.



Use visual assistance solutions to better understand the problem when the customer calls for technical support


Implementing a visual assistance solution like Apizee’s, which provides interactive and visual remote diagnostics, is a valuable resource that can help you optimize and significantly reduce truck roll. With visual assistance, your technicians can diagnose the problem remotely and guide the customer through a simple troubleshooting process. You will save time and money for your team and your customers.



Optimize field service technician time with customized inspection checklists


When field service is required, it’s important to verify that each technician is following proper procedures and checkpoints to ensure that each customer receives quality service. Apizee’s visual assistance solutions allow you to add digital inspection checklists to complete the various checkpoints. The technician can also document the compliance of each checkpoint by taking pictures and logging the media associated with each point. In case of doubt, the technician can also call upon a remote expert.



Improve your first time fix rate with real-time video


Even the most skilled technicians can face difficulties in the field. Visual assistance, enhanced with collaborative features and augmented reality (annotations, document sharing, remote snapshots), allows technicians in the field to collaborate with remote experts to achieve faster troubleshooting. This way, you avoid additional truck roll and increase customer satisfaction.



Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Rolls


1. What advancements in technology or customer service are likely to impact the way that truck rolls are conducted in the future?


There are several potential advancements in technology and customer service that could impact the way that truck rolls are conducted in the future. For example, the use of remote diagnostic tools and advanced repair techniques could reduce the need for truck rolls in some cases. Additionally, advances in customer service technology, such as online scheduling and tracking systems, could make it easier for customers to schedule and manage truck rolls, improving the overall efficiency of the process.



2. How will changes in the telecommunications or other industries that rely on truck rolls affect the demand for these services?


Changes in the telecommunications and other industries that rely on truck rolls could have a significant impact on the demand for these services. For example, if there is an increase in the number of customers subscribing to internet, cable, or other services that require truck rolls, the demand for truck rolls could increase.



3. Will there be more emphasis on remote troubleshooting or repair, or will truck rolls continue to be a necessary part of the process?


It is likely that there will be an increasing emphasis on remote troubleshooting and repair in the future, as advances in technology make it possible to diagnose and fix many issues remotely. However, truck rolls will still be a necessary part of the process in many cases, particularly when an issue cannot be resolved remotely or when the customer needs in-person assistance.



4. How might changes in regulatory or safety standards impact the way that truck rolls are conducted in the future?


Changes in regulatory or safety standards could have a significant impact on the way that truck rolls are conducted in the future. For example, new regulations or standards related to the use of specific types of equipment or procedures could require technicians to alter the way that they conduct truck rolls. Additionally, changes in safety standards could impact the procedures that technicians follow during truck rolls, such as the use of protective equipment or the handling of hazardous materials.



Apizee’s visual assistance solutions can fully address the issue of reducing technician truck roll and are already being used by many companies in various industries. Our team is ready to assist you in the implementation of visual assistance for field service. Feel free to contact us to learn more or to get a demo.


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