Getting smart with field management software [and how to compare which is best]
Being a field service manager is one of the toughest there is.
Trying to meet customer expectations, arrange the work of your field staff, manage costs efficiently, and turn a profit for the company all at the same time.
A lot needs to be accomplished for this to be successful.
Unsurprisingly, many field service organizations (FSO) search for technological solutions to up their game. A field service management software (FSMS) is one option to consider for businesses who wish to grow their revenue.
Field service management software and its key features
How FSMS can benefit your field service organization
What to consider when choosing from different software providers
What is a Field Service Management Software (FSMS) [and its key features]?
Field service management is a system for coordinating end-to-end actions in a field service organization. At a basic level, that includes scheduling assignments, dispatching and tracking employees as well as their labor hours and task statuses, and invoicing.
Examples of industries using field service management are:
healthcare (mobile nurses)
property maintenance (landscaping, home, and office cleaning)
telecommunications and cable industry
As manual management of field services proved to be time-consuming and provided opportunities for numerous errors to occur, technology took its place.
FSMS can be used on-premises or as a hosted or cloud-based system. The pricing is usually dependent on the company’s size, number of users, planned data usage, and overall business needs. Some vendors offer a monthly or yearly payment plan, while others allow companies to pay per task or user.
The core features in the best field service management programs are:
Task management & optimization
Route planning & optimization
Notifications for employees and customers
Real-time fleet tracking
Failure and fleet analysis
Digital documents (with signing and photo/video capture option)
Unraveling the benefits of field service management software
This means that the majority of FSOs are still using manual methods that are frankly obsolete in today’s modern field service industry. Customer expectations are higher than ever (HubSpot), so companies who wish to outrace their competition should get on board and start automating their processes.
Let’s take a closer look at how FSM software can benefit businesses:
#1 Reduced costs
Fuel is undoubtedly one of the most significant cost items for field service organizations. The simple math is that the less you drive, the less you spend money on fuel. For that, optimal driving routes need to be planned.
While many fleet managers still plan routes manually, it is evident that this takes much time and usually doesn’t give the best results. Field service management software uses GPS navigation integration (Google Maps, Waze) to plan the most optimal driving routes for each employee automatically.
#2 Increased customer satisfaction
70% of organizations will mention consumer satisfaction as a primary benefit derived from implementing FSMS by the year 2020 (Gartner).
It is safe to assume that people are spoiled by Uber-like apps that show the location of the driver or their delivery. It has become a must-have feature for field service providers who wish to earn a five-star rating from their customers.
With a field service management app, you can send notifications to clients about the expected delivery or service with the presumed arrival time and an HTML tracking link. The appointments can easily be rescheduled by the customers if need be, giving them the freedom they expect from modern field services.
Another way to make your consumers feel like number one is to make sure your field workers are well aware of the client’s background and their specific needs.
Using a field service application allows distributing tasks between technicians according to their specific skills and providing them with vital information about the client’s records. Workers can prepare for the job faster and have all the tools needed to provide top-notch service.
#3 Improved document management
Field service workers complete a lot of paperwork during the day. It can be quite tricky to store the documents safely and deliver them back to the office at the day’s end.
Using a field service management app allows employees to complete documents on their phone or tablet and store them on a cloud-based system. Digitalization also eliminates the requirement for massive filing cabinets and prevents data loss.
#4 Increased flexibility
Having an opportunity to monitor what is happening in the field in real-time can make a huge difference in field service management.
FSM software uses GPS-tracking to locate vehicles or employees’ phones and assigns urgent tasks to the nearest available worker.
Real-time updates on employees’ current statuses allow tasks to be re-assigned when a higher priority job occurs, or a job cannot be completed on time.
#5 Faster invoicing
We all like getting paid, but every FSO that collects and calculates data about work done manually knows how frustrating and time-consuming it is.
Using FSMS, employees can send out all necessary documents with a digital client signature and attached photos to the office staff directly after finishing the task. Invoices can be generated almost immediately and sent to the client via email.
Tips for selecting the best field service management software
Finding the right software to overcome your business’ biggest hurdles might be intimidating.
Fortunately, we have put together 8 suggestions to help you find the best possible FSMS for your business:
Determine the key requirements
After identifying your businesses’ areas for improvement, you will need to ensure that the vendor offers the features required to solve them.
There is rarely a one-size-fits-all software for field service organizations, so often, multiple solutions are required to target all the challenges.
Try to find an FSMS that mostly meets your demands. Consulting the vendor’s specialists might be a good idea, as many software providers offer custom solutions for a small fee.
Prioritize yours (and other’s needs)
Be precise about the processes you want to change and discuss them with your front-line and back-end staff.
While you might have a clear vision of what needs improvement, your field workers are the ones who will mostly be using the new system.
Pay attention to the authority
Choose a vendor who is experienced in working with businesses in your particular industry.
Many software providers have a case studies section on their homepage, where they describe how customers have benefitted from implementing their software to their companies. It is an excellent chance to gather new ideas on improving your business processes.
Plan from the start
Restructuring your business operations or even making small changes will take time. It is crucial to keep in mind that while things might be a little uncomfortable at first, having a proper plan from the start will make a difference in the long term.
You should have a clear and realistic vision of how much time and commitment from your end will it take for the new system to be fully operative.
Make sure the solution can be integrated
A good FSM software integrates seamlessly with other systems you use.
Look for a vendor who offers API for a quick and easy integration process. Your IT team should not have a problem setting it up with the instructions provided.
Choose a service provider with ambition
Your ultimate goal is to grow your business revenue, and the software provider you choose should assist you to do the same.
When deciding which vendor to work with, ensure that they have a product development team committed to producing new software releases that meet the interests of your future company increase.
Also, keep an eye on the latest trends in FSMS evolution.
Smart software should support all the major operating systems so your employees can use an app on their phone or tablet for daily work.
Try it first for free
Before making the decision, ask the vendor for a demo or register for a free trial period, giving you a chance to get to know the product and its functionality.
Learning about the features that the vendor offers will help you understand if the product could boost your business.
Make sure the vendor provides customer support
It would be best if you were not left alone in implementing the new system for your business.
Reliable vendors provide you with all the necessary help you might need and resolve problems promptly when they arise.
Help might come in the form of consultations, video demos, or staff training to help them better comprehend the new software.
A successful field manager needs to think smart. To remain competitive, it is more critical than ever to use technology not only to crush the competition but to reduce business costs as well.
For businesses that wish to grow, field service management software is the answer.
It’s essential to keep in mind that choosing the right vendor is just as important as deciding to start automating processes.
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