How Praxedo helped Nexecur reduce its average billing time
from 1 month to less than 24 hours
We accelerated our billing times considerably, from 1 month to 24 hours, which allowed us to minimize collection issues.
Tell us a bit about NEXECUR and its business
Nexecur was founded in 1986. The company is now a subsidiary of Crédit Agricole Group. It targets residential customers, businesses and the banking industry. The company now covers the entire country and has more than 130,000 customers in France.
Our technical team consists of 250 field technicians located in 6 large regional offices run by regional technical managers. Our regional teams include installation technicians and technicians that specialize in maintaining electronic security systems.
This geographical distribution allows us to be closer to our customers so we can respond quickly. That’s our strength in the market.
What was the initial problem you had with service management?
We had various initial problems that made us look at field service management software.
Improve communications between the back office and technicians
First, we had a communications problem. We wanted the information exchanges between our back office and our field technicians to become more streamlined and reliable. We were losing a significant amount of information between the two groups. We wanted a solution that would allow us to reduce, or even eliminate, these information losses so technicians would have all of the information needed to successfully complete their tasks and answer any questions while they’re at customer sites.
This meant we wanted a solution that would give technicians direct access to the service history for customer equipment without having to call the back office to get those details.
Accelerate customer billing times
We also had a billing problem. We wanted to automate the capture and retrieval of field data as much as possible to optimize the way we deliver aftermarket service.
Our billing times were too long. We had to wait to receive service reports from each technician. They were sent by mail, which took a few days. Then the back office had to re-enter the data into our billing system. Technicians were manually taking notes, which could lead to errors, omissions, unreadable reports, and so on. In short, it could be several weeks between the time of the service call and the time the customer received their bill.
Our operations could be greatly improved. That’s why we decided to move to paperless service management and equip ourselves with a dedicated solution.
We issued a call for tenders and spoke to several specialized providers. Finally, after evaluating multiple solutions, we chose Praxedo for a number of reasons:
- The flexibility of the tool, which allows custom development such as creating our own forms for each type of service, with our specific fields, our responses in drop-down menus, checkboxes, etc. The Praxedo solution adapts very well to our business needs.
- The openness of the Praxedo field service management software, through webservices that allow the software to interface with and communicate with the different components in our IT ecosystem, without having to depend on Praxedo or an integrator. The connection is easy for us to create on our own, at a lower cost.
We chose Praxedo to meet field requirements
Internally, we involved the business side of our operations, the field technicians, the billing department, and of course our IT systems management, in choosing the software and adapting the Praxedo solution to our needs. This allowed us to map our data flow from A to Z, from the back office to the technician and from the technician to the billing department. This gave us a clear view of how we should set up and deploy the solution in stages to more and more of our teams of technicians in different regions.
In the end, the Praxedo tool was very quickly adopted by our different teams, especially because technicians were involved in the process of selecting the solution. In addition, this was a response to a request from them that had been around for some time. They immediately saw the relevance of using the Praxedo solution in the field right away.
How are you using the Praxedo field service management software at NEXECUR and what are the benefits?
Connecting Praxedo with Microsoft Dynamics
To get an overview of how we use the Praxedo solution at Nexecur, we first need to explain that we connected the field service management solution to our Microsoft Dynamics ERP. The two systems interface through webservices that Praxedo provided. Our IT department simply had to plug the Praxedo solution into Microsoft Dynamics. It was a fast IT project to complete and we didn’t need to use an integrator so the cost was lower.
Seamless scheduling between our ERP and Praxedo
That being said, I would say that our service schedulers use the Praxedo solution without using it. This is because the Praxedo solution is connected directly to our Microsoft Dynamics ERP through flows we developed thanks to the Praxedo webservices.
So, schedulers work in our current tool and have nothing to do in the Praxedo solution, everything is automated. The schedules are sent in real time from Dynamics to Praxedo. It’s completely transparent to the scheduler. They have no extra work to do. On the contrary, it really improves their situation because when the technician indicates his work at a customer site is complete, the scheduler automatically receives a notification through the scheduling interface.
Real-time monitoring of field activities
This allows those in charge of dispatching at Nexecur to truly monitor an aftermarket service technician’s progress in real time throughout their work day. No need to call them or send messages. Everything is visible.
On the other side, we have the technician who receives information through his Praxedo mobile application and who can automatically return his reports to the back office as he completes his service calls.
All service information is in the technician’s mobile application
The technician receives his work order, the contractual history with the customer as well as a history of the service already completed for the customer. It’s a real benefit for the technicians because he has information that allows him to understand the service context, he knows exactly which faulty equipment he needs to service and he can concentrate on the essentials without having to start from scratch when he gets to the customer equipment.
Field-to-office trips are significantly reduced
In addition, because the technician receives all of this information right in his mobile application, he no longer has to return to the back office for administrative reasons. He just returns to the office from time to time to load up on supplies. Using the Praxedo solution allows us to save a large number of useless office/field trips and to increase the time service technicians spend in the field — and therefore their productivity.
Better tracking of spare parts stocks
When it comes to managing our spare parts, the Praxedo solution also gives us a real advantage over our previous situation. Now, everything technicians use in the field is tracked in the mobile application. Technicians have to list the parts that were used before validating their service report.
This avoids the oversights, and as a result the hidden costs, for our installation activities and our aftermarket service. All parts information is fed into our Microsoft Dynamics ERP, which allows us to have better inventory tracking.
The Praxedo solution has enabled us to improve the quality of communications between our back office and our technicians in the field.
Real improvements in billing and customer relationships
I would also like to emphasize the huge improvements we’ve had in payment collections thanks to the Praxedo solution. In our aftermarket service for alarms, we had a lot of money owing from our customers. This problem was mainly due to the fact that invoices were sent three weeks, or even a month, after service. With the Praxedo solution, we’re able to send the invoice the day after service. This is a real plus in aftermarket service. The customer sees the technician, uses an electronic signature to sign the service ticket in the application, then receives the invoice with the completed service report the next day.
Suddenly, we’re much more responsive and streamlined, we’ve significantly reduced our collection problem and, at the same time, we’ve really improved the quality of our customer relationships.
And if you had to summarize Praxedo in 2 key words?
To sum up the Praxedo experience at Nexecur, first I will talk about better internal communications. Once again, this field service management software really makes life easier for us, in terms of dispatching and schedule tracking and in terms of the technicians who have all of the information needed to succeed in their tasks and make their service reports more reliable.
I’ll finish with the subject of billing. I don’t know about your other customers, but Praxedo has really allowed Nexecur to become much more responsive in terms of the services we deliver. We really accelerated our billing, from 1 month to 24 hours, which allowed us to minimize collection issues. We have clearly entered a new era in this very critical area. For that alone, I strongly recommend using the Praxedo field service management solution.