Field service managers have it tough: They need to meet customer expectations, harmonize the work of field technicians with office processes, and, most importantly, turn a profit for the company. Not surprisingly, 73% of field service organizations say that they’re still struggling to achieve revenue growth.
Increasingly, field service organizations are turning to software to help them grow their business. But how exactly can field service management (FSM) software address the many challenges field managers face?
Not every field service organization requires comprehensive enterprise asset management software or product lifecycle management software to run their field service operations, but, according to Gartner (full report available to Gartner clients), many organizations are unsure how end-to-end field service management solutions cater more specifically to that sector.
Furthermore, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution for field service organizations. Each facet of field service management is unique, and often multiple software solutions are required to target each function and challenge.
Finding the right software to solve your business’ most pressing challenges will help field managers ensure its revenue continues to grow. Below are five of the most common field service management challenges and software options that can help overcome them.
5 common field service challenges and how software can help
1. Effectively scheduling your entire—dispersed—workforce
If workforce scheduling has become cumbersome and inefficient, certain FSM tools contain scheduling functionality to prevent issues such as job incompletion, overtime costs, and customer dissatisfaction. Effective scheduling also helps to organize and prepare for PTO and technician crossover.
The benefits of scheduling optimization include:
- Reduction in productivity gaps
- Increased visibility into your technicians’ job progress
- Reduced time spent traveling to locations, obtaining supplies, and per service call
- Increase in job completion and customer satisfaction.
Solution: Software with comprehensive scheduling functionality
Ai Field Management is a field service management solution with strong scheduling features. Ai Field Management’s scheduling feature uses an intelligence augmentation algorithm. The algorithm uses a cumulative rating score based on the specific job type, zip code, time, and technician schedule to help you quickly choose the best person for the job.
The resource calendar displays the schedule by technician and is color-coded by job status. Schedulers can send job information to technicians in the field from any device, which the technician receives via the app or SMS.
Technician calendar view (Source)
2. You’re not capturing accurate information from the field
Gone are the days of extensive manual data entry, but coordination between in-field technicians and operations managers continues to be a struggle. Manually transferring information from paperwork gathered in the field can lead to duplicate entries and errors.
By enabling your workforce to capture data in the field that can be synced directly into your back-end systems, organizations can:
- Record accurate and timely job information such as time spent, parts needed, and expenses.
- Store important information such as customer signatures and before/after pictures of the work site.
- Eliminate masses of paperwork, and therefore prevent loss of paperwork, duplicate entries, and human error.
Solution: Software with mobile capture features
Field EZ helps technicians capture customer information instantly, including billing and invoicing information, customer signatures, and barcode scanning for parts. You can update the status of an issue by uploading photos or attachments and gather feedback.
This feature also enables technicians to have detailed client and product information on hand. This functionality combined with integration and syncing with a variety of ERP systems eliminates the need for paperwork transfers, in turn reducing duplicate and manual data transfers. Users can access all data using Field EZ’s offline mode.
Signature capture and barcode scanning mobile functionalities (Source)
3. Your technicians are underprepared on the job
How many times does one service call turn into two (or more) calls because your technicians didn’t have the necessary equipment, weren’t fully informed of the extent of the job, or were unable to provide accurate quotes because they lacked information about the job in hand?
Using mobile devices to assist with service calls, technicians and field managers are able to:
- Reduce the time technicians spend sourcing parts
- Track jobs and job history to prevent return visits
- Provide onsite quotes and estimations.
Solution: Software built for field technicians
Workiz is a Field Service Management solution with mobile capabilities, which makes it a tool for both managers and technicians in the field. Workiz’ mobile app enables onsite estimations, quotes and invoices, and onsite mobile payment collections.
Technicians are able to view schedules, update jobs, create invoices and collect signatures, and update customer records from the job site. Managers are able to track their technicians with GPS, which streamlines job scheduling and dispatch.
GPS tracking and client and schedule information (Source)
4. You spend too much time trying to reach operational utopia
Operations management in the field service arena is a mammoth task: You’re chasing invoices and contracts one minute, tracking service histories the next, and on top of this, your technicians are leaving you piles of paperwork to sort through at the end of each day.
With so many operational processes to track, field managers who employ a solution that streamlines them feel the benefits of:
- Reductions in customer dissatisfaction
- Improvements in the billing process and time spent collecting payments.
Solution: Software with strong operations management functionality
For those of you in the cleaning services industry, Zenmaid is a solution with a heavy focus on customer service and operational management. Its integrations with accounting solutions such as QuickBooks and Stripe improve the billing process and eliminate manual transfer errors. Zenmaid also facilitates operations by offering automatic booking, email reminders, and follow-up.
5. You don’t know how your business is performing, or where to improve
The last piece in the field service puzzle may be an analytics solution that helps direct your efforts and investments to the right places. Although you may not realize it, small issues in your organization can not only grow over time, but can also trickle down to other areas of your business. You may also be able to save money in unexpected areas, or improve in areas such as time or fleet management.
Using a robust analytics solution, field managers can:
- Access key organization-wide metrics on business KPIs such as service call completion, average time of repairs, average time between equipment failures.
- Predict potential issues and plan for them accordingly.
- Enable notifications that can trigger certain actions when issues arise.
Solution: Software with strong business analytics
simPRO is a job management tool for field teams that enables organizations to collect data and generate insights related to business efficiency. simPRO allows you to collect data on leads, response times, work status, and profit to generate reports and track your business’ performance. These reports can be scheduled ahead or can run whenever you need them.
Read on to discover
- Check out our full catalog of field service management software
- Use our field service management scorecard tool to help you create a shortlist of solutions that best match the features you need
- Read our handy checklist on how to choose field service management software that’s right for your business.
The software products in this article were selected because, at the time of publish, they were the five most highly rated products on the GetApp catalog with at least 20 reviews.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.