Field Service Management Software Basics: Benefits, Choices, and Industry Drivers
In the field service business, it’s critical to offer excellent customer service while operating efficiently to create customer loyalty and increase profitability. There’s a direct correlation between increased customer satisfaction and higher revenue. But how do you achieve this feat? Companies must invest in field service management (FSM) technologies to streamline operations and serve their customers in a more sophisticated manner. With a geographically dispersed field service team, it requires more collaboration and communication to get the job done efficiently while exceeding customer expectations; FSM software helps keep mobility on track and minimize paperwork. As more field service companies adopt FSM software, it becomes more important to “keep up with the Jones’”; contending with competitors and reaping the benefits that this technology can offer – from better usability to scalability as your business grows.
Benefits of FSM Software
FSM software, when integrated into the operations of a field service company, directly impacts customer communication and the experience positively. Beyond Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which many companies already have in place, the right FSM solution can enhance customer service and all-around efficiencies, positively impacting the bottom line. Some of the benefits of FSM software include:
Automation– with a platform that can pro-actively manage service contracts, generate preventative maintenance work orders, handle dispatch, provide dynamic scheduling capabilities, and adapt to changes throughout the day, FSM software leads to real-time efficiencies for the company and better field service mobility. Also, proactive servicing becomes a viable reality with automation.
Cost Management & Invoicing– keeping track of employee timesheets plus parts and services under warranty and special pricing contracts is key to managing the cost centers of a company. Since accurate information is housed in the software, manual research or tribal knowledge of employees (and human error) becomes a thing of the past.
Resource Optimization– the software intelligently helps direct technical support calls by optimizing field personnel. Making dispatch recommendations for the right technician or crews in the best job order will add daily efficiencies to the process and increase responsiveness time for customer jobs.
Communication & Process– the platform helps to manage coordination among employees providing service event visibility across the organization plus standardizing processes from dispatch to client invoicing. Enabling GPS with field techs helps track job site routes and confirm the time of arrival with customer notifications. Streamlining processes leads directly to increased profit.
Overall Efficiencies & Accuracy– with an automated, intelligent system, daily operations – from start to finish – will help deliver timely and effective service to customers. Managing inventory also becomes more accurate with an automated platform, leading to better decision-making regarding the supply chain.
Many FSM platforms provide flexibility and will integrate with established ERP solutions, enhancing the automated capabilities of the back-office for a company. When a company implements the right FSM solution based on the needs of the organization, efficiency and profits will increase. However, choosing the “right” FSM software requires research, alignment, and diligence.
Industry Disruption Affects FSM Software Selection
To complicate matters, there’s been a disruption in the field service technology industry over the past few years, leading to an overwhelming number of FSM software choices. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for executives to decipher between software solutions and determine which one is right for their business needs. It’s not enough to just choose any FSM technology; you must choose the one that’s right for your business goals and objectives. There are subtle differences between software solutions that can impact your decision, but knowing about those variations and understanding the effect they can have on running a field service business may make all the difference during implementation.
What’s the “Right” FSM Software?
Most FSM solutions can assist with the process flow for a field service business, including work order management (work order creation, schedule/dispatch, and mobility), but there are other factors to consider as well. Before an organization chooses an FSM platform, they must develop the strategic goals for the organization and expect to implement changes along the way with people, processes, and platforms. To choose the right FSM solution the first time requires aligning the service and IT strategy, engaging in an RFP process with several vendors, and understanding the variables across platform choices. Abiding by this process will benefit the company exponentially once the FSM solution is up and running.
For a detailed recommendation of how to best choose an FSM solution that’s right for your business, download Jolt Consulting Group’s White Paper here.