The ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) is a well-documented phenomenon that has affected almost everyone at some point in their life – “if I don’t go to this event, what will I miss out on?”. An INC article from Nir Eyal does a great job of explaining it - It’s a constant fear across every demographic – everyone wants to be connected and be part of exciting experiences. It’s a ‘fear’ constantly used in advertising to tug at the concerns of consumers – Sonic even FOMO to advertise their chili dogs (as if chili dogs are a once-in-a-lifetime experience you should be excited about)
In the world of software, FOMO exists in a different format – rarely is software going to be a life-changing, exciting experience. However, for business owners and decision makers, there is often a fear of tying themselves to a particular software product due to a belief that something better is out there. The concern that they’ll sign up for a product, only to find out in a year that a better product was available or technology has advanced significantly. The concern that the product will not fit their workflow, leading to incredible frustration and slowing down their business.
These concerns are real, and have validity – we have all been subject to buyers’ remorse at some point in our lives, everyone has dealt with at least one software system in their life that created more headaches rather then solving problems.
However, at the same time – perfection is often the enemy of progress. Rather than choosing a system which would improve efficiency and productivity even with slight hiccups, decision makers often scour endlessly for the ‘perfect’ program – leading to no progress at all. The fear of the wrong solution leads to no solution and no progress.
How can decision makers overcome the fear of missing out and choose the right system for their business?
Understanding Key Requirements
In our ServiceBridge blog post, “Do I Need Custom Field Service Software”; we discussed that “it is unlikely that there’s a perfect product; no matter what you choose, there will be some adjustment”.
And, perhaps the most important quote in that post: “Don’t look for the perfect platform, look for a platform that solves specific business problems”.
Often companies approach the software selection process with a laundry list of things they want it to be able to accomplish. This leads them down one of two routes – pursuing a custom-built program that requires significant resources to accomplish; or choosing a software provider and being disappointed with their choice from Day 1.
In a way, purchasing software that’s going to run your business is a lot like purchasing a home. Rarely do you get everything you want at the price you want.
Typically, you have a list of wants – which, through your buying process, different software packages will check different boxes on the list. It comes down to a combination of who has the most features, and what features are the most important to you.
For every field service company, these requirements will be different – for some, a great scheduling and dispatching system is the key priority, for others, work order documentation is king. But these needs are driven based off business problems – you’re ultimately purchasing software due to a pain point, because you want to improve some aspect of current process. Those pain points and problems should guide your journey – think about the key issues your team faces, and ensure software addresses those points. Everything beyond those key points could be considered ‘nice to have’.
One of the biggest concerns for field service companies is investing heavily in a system that will become outdated in a few years time – sinking resources into a program, making it a key part of your company’s procedures, only to have to go through the same selection process, onboarding, and installation process when you find it’s outdated and not up to current standards.
Furthermore, your business’ requirements may change in the next few years – through expansion, new services, new legal requirements for your industry, and other externalities. Investing in a system only to find it doesn’t match your needs in the future can prove frustrating.
The rapidly changing state of both business and technology have fueled the adoption of software-as-a-service providers such as ServiceBridge.
The old model of software often led to frustrations when technology changed – being server-based, installed once and then left on the system. With server-based programs, updates are few and far between; and upgrading the system can require downtime. Furthermore, as we discussed in our “Failure of Server-Based Software” post, your business is responsible for maintaining the server the software is hosted on, and responsible for all backups of data.
So what businesses are left with here is having to maintain software that isn’t being updated. The lure of legacy-based programs to decision makers is a lower license cost – typically a one-time fee compared to monthly or annual charges for software-as-a-service.
SaaS programs such as ServiceBridge and select competitors release updates on a rolling schedule – typically on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, not only adding new features but ensuring the software meets the latest technology requirements. When the new version of Android rolls out, or a new iPhone is released – your software automatically upgrades to work with it.
If you’re evaluating field service software to manage your business – especially a business with plans for growth and expansion – it’s critical to have software that can grow with your team and adapt to evolving technology. A software-as-a-service product provides you this flexibility.
Also, consider the terms of your engagement with the software provider. SaaS products generally have a monthly or annual contract; meaning that your business can end the engagement in a given period. Many legacy software providers don’t have this benefit and require longer licensing periods, locking you into their system for a longer period.
A common complaint by field service software buyers is that ‘this software doesn’t fit the workflow’. The business doesn’t want to implement a system that doesn’t mesh with the way they do business – understandably so.
What is often overlooked by business owners is that the current workflow is built on around an outdated method. Workflow is absolutely going to change when you go from paper methods to a digital method, or from a legacy software program to a modern software-as-a-service model program.
With any significant business change, there is going to be resistance from some of the team and a learning curve that must be overcome. There’s no way around it – this is the reality of implementing any new system.
What’s key throughout this process is tying the system to tangible benefits, and tangible improvements. Far too often, a new system is put in place by management without explaining to their team the reasoning behind the choice, and not explaining the benefits to the team. This leads to reluctant users who make onboarding difficult, and may not use the feature to it’s fullest extent.
In our blog on “Creating Tech-Savvy Field Technicians”, we explore methods and techniques that business owners and decision makers can use to help their team adapt to new software. The biggest key to getting the team on board, and ultimately making full use of a new system, is promoting the benefits and providing rewards. Show the technicians and managers how this software will make life easier, set goals for adoption of the software along with rewards. Getting everyone involved and using the system allows you to figure out the unique properties of that software, and ultimately improve the workflow and get to the end result you want to see.
“Better a diamond with a flaw, then a pebble without” – Confucius
“Perfect is the enemy of good”, “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress” – whichever version of the phrase you prefer, the idea remains the same. Far too often, we let the idea of perfect get in the way of moving forward.
For field service software buyers; often so much time is spent seeking the ‘perfect’ solution rather than adopting a platform that solves key business problems and is a “90% solution” that does almost everything they need; that they’re losing money and standing still on their long search while their competitors are implementing tools and becoming more efficient.
As we covered in our “Making Service Calls Profitable” post – field service software with tools such as route optimization has the power to save significant money, time, and resources across your team.
The perfect solution -might- be out there for your business – but the time, resources and energy required to obtain it may put you at the back of the pack by the time you implement it. Choosing a solution that solves problems today makes your team more effective and helps you generate more revenue now.
Do you have the time to wait for a perfect solution? The fear of missing out may be keeping you from moving your business forward.
Perfection is often the enemy of progress. Is your search for the perfect field service management solution stalling the progress of your team? Here’s how to move forward.