Installing a product is just the first part of the job. Maintaining a customer’s assets and keeping them compliant is a whole other story…
Customers don’t just want a great service when it comes to installing their chosen product; whether it’s an entirely interconnected fire-prevention system, or installing CCTV cameras, their assets need to remain functional and compliant to the required standards. If not, you could find yourself liable due to negligence, which damages not just your business’ wallet, but your reputation, too.
From recording and keeping track of an asset’s location, to being able to see the details of the work that’s been done on previous appointments, as well as knowing when the next service is due: it’s your responsibility to stay on top of asset management.
That said, this is definitely a case of ‘easier said than done’, especially without the right tools to help you out. Even then, keeping assets compliant can be a tricky business. After all, if you’re responsible for large commercial properties (like office blocks, or housing associations), it’s true that even one client might have 10s or even 100s of assets scattered across a single location.
Understandably, asset management only gets more complicated when you take on additional clients with bigger contracts. Fortunately, you’ll likely be wise enough to already have a method of recording the assets you’ve installed, but it may be the case that you want to become more proficient at asset maintenance and management. Adopting an integrated, automated solution will help you to track, record, and manage asset data so you can optimise the way you maintain compliance.
Obviously, you want to avoid frustrated, unhappy customers if you can help it. Preventing a breakdown (rather than only fixing after the fact) will help you achieve this. It makes your own schedules far more predictable and means not having to deal with complaints, refunds, or worse, loss of contracts, or even your business failing overall.
So, you know the risks of not keeping customer assets compliant, but you may be unsure of how to take the next steps toward automation. Ultimately, then, we come back to the question: how do you keep your customer assets compliant? To help answer that, we’ve covered 3 expansive points for you to consider:
- Develop a Planned Preventive Maintenance strategy
- Make use of Automated Mass Scheduling
- Communicate with your Customers
The most important thing when it comes to the maintenance of an asset is for you to ensure that it’s delivered in a timely manner.
There's a few things that will help you keep track with this, particularly through a combo of both Points 1 and 2. So, first: you need to develop a Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) strategy.
It’s certainly true that no client would prefer you to care for a product only when it breaks down...no, they’d rather it didn’t break down at all. While reactive maintenance will be inevitable (you’ll know from experience that no product is foolproof), the best way to care for an asset is to put in the effort to maintain it; thus making it less likely it’ll break down in the first place. To deliver great care, you’ll want to be able to keep track of:
- Asset Location
- Asset History
- Certification History
That’s where planned preventive maintenance (PPM) comes in. After all, certain products are legally required to be serviced at least annually, but recommendations for other products—such as fire prevention systems—should be bi-annual, or even have quarterly inspections. This is especially true for larger buildings which contain lots of assets, and so inevitably there are more opportunities for things to go wrong.
If your business is set up to take care of a customer’s assets, then you may already have prepared an maintenance strategy on a smaller scale. However, if it’s something you’re building toward when looking to take on larger contracts, it’ll certainly help you to elevate your strategy with an automated solution. After all, your aim is to keep their equipment functioning and compliant to the legal requirements: particularly when it comes to maintaining Service Level Agreements that may be setting a new/increased standard for you contract with a customer.
With that being said, if you work with software that can handle PPM schedules and contracts your business will be capable of more efficiently tracking each and every asset that you have installed for your customers. As a result, it will alleviate a lot of the unnecessary burden created by excess administration tasks. This increased efficiency will also carry over to the customer; if you're efficiently dealing with maintenance tasks, you’re reducing the amount of downtime which could potentially impact them negatively.
Ultimately, by being able to easily see job history, engineer notes, and scheduling (more on that below) on one screen, you’ll be able to better record, track, and deliver calculated, efficient maintenance. This, of course, is a fantastic way to help you keep a customer’s assets compliant and ensures that parts are replaced, fixed, or otherwise maintained to the levels needed.
Mass Scheduling can be easily linked to enhance your PPM as well, particularly if you’re making use of automated software. This, of course, has a positive effect on asset compliance too.
After all, it’s all well and good being able to track and see when an asset needs to be checked, but if you can elevate this by having a system that also automatically schedules that maintenance, you’ll be improving the efficiency of your business and keeping up with regular maintenance, as contracted with your customer. You’ll have targets, deadlines, and appointments needed for hundreds of assets and if you system can streamline the way you organise and book appointments, it will go a long, long way to helping you keep a customer’s assets compliant.
With automated mass scheduling, you have the opportunity to book appointments well in advance of their due dates.In doing so, both you and the customer gain the peace of mind of knowing that an appointment has been secured. This not only saves you time, but gives you the scope to be able to effectively plan ahead for other things too, freeing up the schedule should it come to having to deal with reactive, emergency appointments, or other tasks which might require more in-depth customer care.
Automated Mass Scheduling, again, is all about freeing up your time and improving the overall workflow for your business. You’ll be aware that automation will influence the day-to-day workflow of your engineers and office staff by reducing time spent on manual tasks, and decrease your costs by utilising fewer resources (particularly time), and let you reinvest it elsewhere.
One particularly great benefit of automated mass scheduling, particularly if it’s working in tandem with job management software, is how it keeps your business functioning in real-time. With actions that including service reminders, instant notifications, and synchronising of data, your engineers and office-staff will always be in-the-know when it comes to dealing with appointments.
Of course, this makes it far easier for them to access the information they need, when they need it, all culminating to allow them to deliver a higher quality level or service and fulfil your maintenance contracts to the best of their ability.
It makes sense to keep in touch with your customers when thinking about asset maintenance. Of course, they want to know that their assets are compliant, but they also don’t want to be bombarded with messages and reminders too. While safety and security is a priority for them, they came to you as a solution. So, that being said, you need to be able to keep them in the know, but also ensure they’re confident with the work you’re doing and feel protected and safe.
Service reminders are a great way to keep in touch with a customer and let them know not just when an appointment is due (and so giving them the foresight and opportunity to schedule maintenance at a time that works for them), but also receiving confirmations for scheduled appointments, cancellations, updates, etc. With automation lending a hand, your communication will only improve.
Certifications are a big part of compliance, so it makes sense to be able to communicate certifications with ease for your customer, too. Just in the same way you might send them a booking confirmation, job estimate, or final invoice, you can update with automatic confirmation that an asset has been assessed and remains compliant to the standards needed.
Customers will appreciate the ease with which they get this important piece of information and inspire confidence in the service you provide. Without much hassle at all, it demonstrates your commitment to the job, and provides them with everything they need.
By improving the way you manage your business: implementing a PPM strategy, making use of mass scheduling, and improving your communication, you’ll find yourself in a much more comfortable position when it comes to keeping them compliant. This is particularly true for fire and security businesses who are working on (or building up to work with) bigger contracts with customers on a much larger scale, with lots of assets
This, of course, carries over to you too: by fulfilling an asset’s compliance, it means you’re fulfilling the terms and conditions of your own contracted agreements with the customer. In essence, you’re ensuring your own compliance too.
For more hints and tips, be sure to subscribe to our business blog. We post weekly, so you won’t want to miss out on our regular updates, advice, and free resources too. For example, if you’re wanting to track your SLAs with your customer, but not yet using an automated tool to do this, we’ve prepared a spreadsheet to help you out. Download your copy below!