In recent decades field operations have evolved. While 2020 was the year of survival, 2022 continues to be seen as a growth year. Despite the ongoing global crisis, one cannot deny that field service businesses are reimagining how they operate on a daily basis. Field service teams require more oversight than traditional business management. With technologies, everyone in the organization can collaborate on a unified platform (mainly in a cloud-based system).
Do you remember some dispatchers and customer support teams working from home during the pandemic while technicians were still working in the field without returning to the office? This was possible only when those field service companies utilized remote field service management solutions to meet customer needs.
Moving to cloud-based field service management (FSM) solutions enabled businesses to provide customer services throughout the shutdown period and helped them expand their businesses by increasing productivity. Keep reading to know that a field service management solution can work wonders for your business productivity.
Challenges faced by FSM business
Have you ever recognized when your business is falling short? If you have faced the pain points listed, it is time to optimize your field service management.
- You have no access to information like whether a field technician is available for the following work order. You must call a technician every time to know his availability when you need to dispatch a technician.
- Your scheduling system gets screwed up and time-consuming. You update your online scheduling calendar and spreadsheets manually whenever a new schedule or update is made.
Your paperwork method creates a bottleneck for your operations. Your business cannot handle business processes manually.
Your business operation costs keep increasing, and you cannot find a way to reduce operational costs.
You cannot prioritize customers based on demands. And so, you are missing essential service contracts and dealing with service delays.
Your customer communication is lacking and creates confusion among customers, which hurts your customer satisfaction.
You are unable to measure your business success. Your current system is not helping you to track and compare KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Your current system is unable to scale up your business. Your business is not getting satisfactory ROI.
What is field service management?
Field service management manages various operations, including scheduling appointments, assigning and dispatching technicians, ensuring quality customer service, and meeting customer expectations. Various businesses like facility management, medical industry, security systems, and HVAC service use field service solutions to organize their operations.
In simpler words, field service management is a process of coordinating a range of field service operations. In past decades, field service businesses relied on low-cost tools such as a desktop system, basic spreadsheets, and a telephone.
But now, it cannot be possible to depend on paperwork and archaic tools as today’s customers are demanding better service from their service providers. As the field service industry keeps expanding and competitive, it is high time to adopt the latest technologies to stay on top of the industry.
An effective field service management system can streamline business operations such as:
- Manage work orders
- Job scheduling and dispatching technicians
- Quoting and estimating
- Route optimizing
- Tracking productivity of technicians
- Accurate invoicing
- Managing contracts and assets
- Reporting and analytics
Why should you invest in field service management software?
The right field service management software can help you with many benefits. Here are some significant reasons to invest in FSM software for hassle-free business management.
Field service management software helps manage and automate the entire field service workflow. From booking appointments to collecting final payments FSM software simplifies the fundamentals of business while also providing remote time sheets, location tracking, automated quoting and invoicing, as well as attendance and time tracking of employees.
This form of automation minimizes inefficiencies, allowing for increased productivity. Managers and technicians can streamline time-consuming and routine tasks, allowing them to focus on other essential functions like the productivity of field units, improving customer satisfaction, and resource allocation.
Improved customer service and satisfaction
Implementing a good FSM solution can help improve customer service quality, resulting in higher customer satisfaction. This is due to improved coordination between field technicians, managers, back-office staff, and customers. The correct technician can be assigned by the back-office team, based on skillset and available inventory. Faster, more flexible, and more responsive customer service will result in a better customer experience.
Reduced inventory costs
FSM software can perform forecasting using historical data. Current inventory can be compared against upcoming maintenance schedules to determine if parts will need to be ordered as well as predict periods of peak activity. This information allows for creating a roadmap for future ordering and replacement or moving parts from one tech’s inventory to another—minimizing the cost of reordering.
Complete transparency and visibility
The software allows you to track the location of field techs, view customer history, monitor job status, and gain access to the required information in real-time, giving you greater transparency and visibility of your daily operations. Real-time information visibility is also available to back-office staff, HR teams, stakeholders, and customers. Businesses will be able to see which field technicians are available and which are currently working on another job site, allowing for more efficient field service operations.
Regardless of size, FSM software can help businesses communicate with and manage their workforce better. Armed with a cross-platform product, today’s mobile workforce can benefit from improved visibility of day-to-day operations as well as the ability to automate time-consuming tasks. With this improved automation comes the ability to focus on the tasks that matter most—getting your employees where they need to be faster, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing productivity levels for your business.
If you rely on an outdated system for preventative maintenance scheduling, and service prediction, it can turn ugly fast. The system you believed would simplify your work life can become one more problem you need to work around—the best case scenario is dealing with double entry. Modern, purpose-built FSM software, however, provides a new level of predictability. Today’s software has AI and machine learning baked in. The predictive models it uses are far more accurate than products you might have used previously.
With the added benefit of integrating with software solutions that you are already using and improved reporting, communication between field techs and back-office staff facilitates updates to a centralized information repository so everything is kept consistent across platforms, regardless of where you access the information from.
With everyone up looking at up-to-date notes and inventory, it is that much easier to assess what maintenance or repairs need to happen and when. Increased uptime for your customer equals a better customer experience, and a realistic picture of inventory translates into cost savings for your business.
Field service is mobile by nature. And so, many businesses are turning to dedicated mobile apps to help simplify their work in the field. Providing each tech with an FSM mobile app has become key to many businesses’ operations strategies. Mobile technology allows techs to deliver services faster, and more efficiently than ever before, and that is great news for your productivity.
New work orders, schedules, optimized routes, checklists, and payment gateway can be pushed to a technician’s mobile device and then synced back to the cloud.
Whether online or offline, technicians can access the information they need from the mobile app. The mobile app represents an improved channel of communication for field techs and office-based dispatchers to collaborate and share updates. Paperwork becomes an unpleasant memory, an artifact of the past—today techs can have everything they need in the palm of their hands.
Get the most out of your field management software by integrating it with the tools and solutions you already use. With a host of integrations available off the shelf, there is no reason to treat your FSM as a stand-alone product. By integrating multiple solutions, you can avoid duplication of data and minimize data entry errors.
Data is synced bi-directionally, so regardless of which system the information is entered in, everything will be kept up to date—and consistent. Back-end information, such as technician’s information and customer data, can be synced easily by integrating through API keys.
Integrating your FSM software can open new gates for productivity. It reduces operating costs and decreases the turnaround time for work orders. Field service management with integrations can be thought of as an end-to-end solution, as it handles the entire service pipeline from start to finish. These built-in integrations often include accounting systems, but other integrations can include:
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Accounting and tax software
- Project management and human resource software
- Sales and marketing software
Tips to choose the best field service management software
When selecting FSM software, identify the industry you operate in, the size of your business, and if the software is scalable enough to grow with you. Most small businesses prefer software that can be customized to meet their requirements.
If you have a large company, choose the solution that integrates best with your existing CRM and ERP software. Integrating essential functions and information across a variety of software, as well as field service and customer support departments, can make all the difference.