Field service management is defined in many ways by many different sources. Simply put, it is a system that helps to track the various components of a field service company’s operations. These include customer management, scheduling, dispatching, work orders, payment collection, and the mobile employees themselves.
Field service management software is a software as a service (SaaS) platform, generally cloud-based (accessed via a secure website login, rather than on an installed system). Though it is estimated that more than half of field service companies are still using manual methods, the benefits of automating field service management shouldn’t be ignored.
Why Do You Need Field Service Management Software?
As a field service company, one or more of these experiences undoubtedly may seem familiar to you:
Having to turn down a new job because you didn’t have a way to quickly see the locations and timing of scheduled jobs
Losing time and business because of incomplete or lost paperwork orders and poor communication
Waiting on payment from a customer for days, or even weeks, after their job was completed
Spending extra time manually managing payroll and reconciling your accounting
These scenarios are frustrating and can be limiting – they eat away at your ability to be efficient, to improve your customer experience, and to grow your business. If you’ve found yourself dealing with these headaches, it is probably time to start exploring your field service management software options.
Challenge #1: Limited Visibility Into Your Schedule
Paper, whiteboards, and other similar methods for scheduling jobs are only as reliable as the last revisions that were made. Scheduling can be a juggling act – new calls come in, previously scheduled jobs cancel or reschedule, employees call out sick. Manual processes make these types of changes even more complicated, sometimes impossible, to accommodate.
Field service management software removes the guesswork and extra time that paper and whiteboards require when changes happen, giving you flexibility and accuracy through real-time visibility. Features like optimized scheduling, routing, and dispatching allow you to take on additional jobs, rather than pass them up.
Challenge #2: Disconnect Leads to Dissatisfaction
The bar for customer expectations continues to be set higher, driven by the mobile, on-demand world in which we live. When you consider that as much as two-thirds of a company’s revenue is derived from repeat business, exceeding those expectations becomes even more important.
Muddled communication can create problems for any company, but especially field service businesses, where technicians in the field may or may not regularly check in with the office. Relying on paper work orders to communicate job details is not exactly ideal. Recording is a slow process that can take hours, but also introduces risk that relevant information is left out. In a worst-case scenario, the order gets lost altogether. Electronic work orders connect your office and your mobile workers in real time, ensuring that both sides are in alignment on the job, including specific tasks/to-do lists, installed inventory, and job progress.
Equally as important is customer communication. Tools like appointment reminders, ETA alerts, and customer portals, all features of field service management software, help you to establish and maintain accountability and trust with your customers, creating repeat business opportunities.
Challenge #3: Waiting (and Waiting) to be Paid
A recent study showed that most small businesses in the US wait 21 days to get paid, with cash flow issues forcing one out of every four to shut down, placing even greater urgency on getting paid on time.
Paper invoicing introduces the risk of human error through discrepancies with payment rates, time to complete the job, and the cost of any additional parts or equipment. Conversely, field service management software makes it easy for you to quickly and accurately invoice your customers. Coupled with electronic work orders, invoicing features do the calculating and generating for you, while the ability to collect payment both on-site and online reduces turnaround time.
Challenge #4: Stacking Up Hours Managing Your Accounting
Toward the top of the list of time-consuming tasks, you’ll find payroll and accounting. Requiring constant attention, they can pile on additional hours to each day, while also potentially creating disastrous results if not handled properly. A simple mistake, like transposing a number or attributing a customer’s payment to the wrong job, can wreak havoc on your business.
One of the biggest efficiencies field service management software creates is with your time. Digitizing time cards makes it easy for employees to log their hours, while simplifying the approval and reporting process back at the office. Many platforms also integrate and sync with popular accounting software, greatly reducing the time spent entering invoices and payments, as well as the potential for human error.
Challenge #5: No Way to Know How to Grow
Growth comes in many forms – it could be creating more repeat business, acquiring new customers, or expanding your services. But figuring out how to best grow your business can be difficult when you don’t have actionable data at your fingertips.
Field service management software gives you access to historical information about things like jobs, customers, and performance. Some have reporting features that make it easy for you to see trends in where your business is coming from, areas of strength or weakness, and revenue generation over time. The software simplifies pulling this information that otherwise might take hours, or even days, to compile from paper and random spreadsheets.
What’s the Bottom Line?
When considering the headaches most field service companies endure, field service management software helps to address each one of them. You’ll save time, get organized, get paid faster.
But if you take away only one thing, it should be the power that the software gives you to better your customer experience and subsequently grow your business. No matter the size or type of your company, using it will help you to get rid of problems that could cost you repeat business.
Ready to learn more about incorporating field service management software into your business? Let’s talk!
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