The field services are notorious for delivering an underwhelming customer experience when using legacy or paper-based methods for managing fleets, routes, and appointments. Technicians may arrive on the job unprepared and must make multiple trips to the job site. In these scenarios, management is often out of the loop until technicians get on the phone or return to their home office.
And customer satisfaction is just one aspect of field service management. What about the quality of life of your technicians and office staff? And what about other considerations, like inventory management, scheduling, billing, invoicing, record keeping? The list goes on and on. There are countless tasks that take up employee time and create the potential for errors when using a paper-based system for managing these various tasks.
The good news is that technology has come a long way. The field services industry has started adopting cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver a better customer experience, lower costs, and reduce churn.
Are you ready to ditch the clipboards and go digital? If you’re wondering how to convince your stakeholders that field service management solutions and software are the way to go, study these benefits closely before presenting any ideas you may have about them.
Field Services Management in a Nutshell
Field services management is the process of scheduling and assigning jobs to field technicians, communicating with them while they’re on-site, and recording and storing data from jobs performed. Field service management software offers a streamlined system designed for running and managing your field services business. FSM software can handle:
- Inventory tracking
- Driver Monitoring and safety
- Work order management
- Service history tracking
- Fleet maintenance scheduling
But while FSM systems can make life easier for managers and technicians, getting stakeholders to accept these upgrades can be tricky. After all, your company already handles these tasks; it just does them in a less efficient way. Appealing to your stakeholders means focusing on another important aspect of FSM systems: saving money.
Here are the top 10 benefits of field service management software:
The old ways of running field service-based businesses are rife with inefficiency. Have you ever lost a customer due to a scheduling error on the company’s end? How about all that paperwork, invoicing, and manual inventory tracking? FSM systems bring all these processes together in an organized, streamlined manner, keeping your field service business running smoothly. Best of all, you get to eliminate one of the most common causes of inefficiency: human error.
- Lowered Costs
In many ways, costs are closely linked to efficiency — or lack thereof. Every bad route your drivers take, every extra hour spent doing work that can be automated, and every customer lost due to scheduling mistakes cuts into your profit margins. With an FSM system, you take full control of your operations, including GPS tracking and navigation for your entire fleet. With this kind of monitoring, you can keep a much closer eye on your entire fleet, ensuring that drivers and technicians are making it to their appointments on time and able to use contingency routes when roads are blocked. The combined result is less time taken to manage customer needs — and that means significant savings for any FSM business.
- Improved Driver Safety
Your drivers log a significant amount of driving time every year. All that time on the road navigating and going from one job to another can lead to driver burnout. With smarter and more effective routing, your drivers won’t have to rush from jobsite to jobsite. And through the use of GPS tracking and electronic logging devices (ELDs), you’ll be able to see who your best drivers are and who could use a little more training.
- Satisfied Customers
At the end of the day, happy customers keep your business running. Technology tailored to the needs of those in the field service management industry makes it easy for you to pair repeat customers up with the same technicians, building connections, and creating loyalty with your customer base. Having a client’s work order history ready at the push of a button allows your field technicians to complete jobs on the first trip, too.
- More Productive Technicians
FSM technology gives your technicians access to vital information directly from their smartphone, tablet, or other smart devices, eliminating the need to visit the office. Dispatchers can instantly update their work orders in a pinch, allowing even greater flexibility. What’s more, your technicians will get to jobs faster when they use GPS and ELD technologies, as they offer rerouting and contingency routing when there are accidents and road closures. The combined result is a more efficient fleet and a more productive overall operation.
- More Reliable Data
When your field technicians manually record information, the component of human error comes into play. The more work orders and invoices your company produces, the higher the likelihood is of an error occurring. FSM software allows for the accurate collection, storing, and reporting of data. And because it is cloud-based, field managers won’t have to worry about continually backing up large amounts of data — manually or otherwise.
- Better Inventory Management
Depending on the nature of your field service business, you may handle a lot of inventory. Manual inventory management is an art very few people can master. Overstocking or stockouts happen in most service companies that manage inventory without some kind of software or other solution. Additionally, inventory management systems track your company’s inventory and the inventory of your suppliers. FSM software can spot price fluctuations and parts availability, so your technicans are always prepared with the parts and other items they need for their appointments.
- In-Field Payment Processing
If your company is still using a paper-based billing system, get ready to say goodbye to these outdated invoicing and payment processing methods. FSM software allows every technician with a smart device to become a mobile payment processor. Instead of dealing with long, unpredictable billing cycles, your technicians can collect payments the moment a job is complete. You’ll find that customers actually prefer being able to settle payments the day of the job rather than being billed later.
- Dynamic Scheduling
Scheduling used to be one of the most arduous tasks in the field service management industry. With dynamic scheduling software tailored to fleet management needs, your office staff will be able to schedule appointments, make adjustments, and update field technicians in a few simple steps. You can send text notifications to customers, update them on their technician’s ETA, and even inform them of exactly where en route their technician is. Rescheduling canceled appointments is easier than ever before when you use FSM software.
- Return on Investment
Every aspect of field service management software works in unison to give your company a solid ROI. Improved customer satisfaction reduces churn and boosts the overall value of each customer. Route efficiency, inventory management, and streamlined scheduling all help lower field service operating costs. And having so many previously time-consuming tasks now totally or partially automated lowers your technicians’ work hours and can even eliminate overtime hours.
Is Field Service Management Right For Your Company?
Azuga’s field service management software makes every part of the field service process easier for everyone, including customers, technicians, office workers, and managers. A strong FSM system, when implemented correctly, can provide enhanced productivity, improved customer experiences, and a reduced workload on your office staff. To learn more about how Azuga’s field service management software works, have a look at what we offer for FSM businesses of all sizes by clicking here.