Posts Categorized: Economy

How to Run Your Service Business Efficiently and Remotely

Growing a service business and achieving your goals involves overcoming significant challenges, uncertainties, and fierce competition because of marketplace changes and other unforeseen circumstances.

Today’s customers expect fast, reliable, and top-shelf services, and if you are not meeting their expectations, your competition is going above and beyond to do it. Few companies can remain open and competitive in today’s cutthroat field service environment without properly managing their resources, time, and costs.

Still, many companies manage functions and coordinate tasks manually. Unfortunately, they find it challenging to keep up with companies that use management software. With tech-savvy customers increasingly expecting their jobs to be completed quickly and effectively, field service management software becomes a must-have workforce management tool. It can help you automate your business for greater operational efficiency, superior customer service, and profitability.

ServiceDemand helps service business owners and contractors face their trade challenges and improve their operational efficiency with capabilities that rival other large tech-enabled businesses. Having a flexible strategy and investing in superior field service management software will make things simple for you.

In this post, we look at managing your service business from anywhere in the world and the essence of using field service management software.

Managing Your Service Business

Some of the popular solutions recommended for growing your service business include the following:

  • Data Tracking: Know how money flows through your business, track your productivity and job profitability, manage your workforce, and other essential data metrics.
  • Customer Nurturing: Build relationships, exceed expectations, get more online reviews, solve issues, and foster word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Accountable Marketing: Measure your company’s success by return on investment.
  • Cost Calculation: Stay hyper-aware of your business spending.
  • Proactive Execution: Better your business today for a productive tomorrow.

Every service company wants to deliver the best service, meet and exceed customer expectations, and get referrals and repeat business by offering exceptional services. What do you want whenever your service professionals go into the field to serve customers? Whatever services you offer, your answers align with the following:

  • Confidence that customers feel your company can tackle the job and everything is under control from the first contact to invoicing and payment. The results should also show it.
  • Confidence that your service professionals have the best support, tools, and planning whenever they go out and throughout their service call.
  • Confidence that your company remains on top of each service visit, and you can track everything that happens in the field remotely, without having to call in every hour for updates.
  • Confidence that you deliver the best service and meet the highest standards while reducing your operational costs through efficient management of all aspects of the job such as scheduling, project planning, on-the-job back-up, parts management, and invoicing.

Field service management software can help you manage your business from anywhere in the world and realize all the above goals and more.

Field Service Management Software

Field service management (FSM) software (or workforce management tools) refers to tools that allow service-centric enterprises to increase their productivity and achieve all their project goals efficiently. It delivers exceptional on-site service through request tracking, personnel management, and enabling total visibility of service delivery cycles.

Some of the features of FSM software include:

  • Contactless payment
  • Work order management
  • Inventory control
  • Smart routing
  • Job planning
  • Real-time communication
  • Advanced scheduling and dispatch
  • Fleet tracking
  • Real-time analytics and reporting
  • Customer management
  • Contractor management

FSM software helps you streamline all of the above operations and more on one multifaceted platform. Adopting the software, service SMBs (HVAC, electricians, roofers, appliance repair, locksmiths, etc.) can help you reap the benefits of field management software.

FSM software like ServiceDemand are cloud-based systems that enable business managers and owners to plan, schedule, execute, and review services delivery to clients. The goal is to ensure uniform, repeatable, and professional services while driving cost benefits through improved labor management.

ServiceDemand is a platform technology that performs many useful and complex functions. It mediates an end-to-end process that improves and empowers the experiences of employees, contractors, managers, and customers.

Data intake, analytical engine, and machine learning are a few of the core tools that ServiceDemand has integrated into its service platform to achieve goals like management empowerment, productivity, and user satisfaction across the board. Platform technology is a new and revolutionary operating model for service businesses that catalyzes a changing mindset, operational methodology, and organization as a whole.

How to Run Your Service Business Remotely

1. Data Tracking

ServiceDemand’s field reporting software allows service business owners to analyze essential data that their technicians and contractors collect on each job plus every in-office customer interaction. You can then use data analytics reporting to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and see which aspects of the business perform well and which need improvement.

As a service business owner, you must know how your business performs daily. You need to know how many calls you receive, what percentage of those calls you convert to booked jobs, how many jobs you close in the field, the rate of customer satisfaction, what revenue the jobs generate, and your return on investment (ROI).

You can then use the data to make informed management decisions moving forward. Otherwise, you are just guessing.

ServiceDemand allows you to track your operational activities and tailor your reporting dashboards to display KPIs and metrics that mean the most to your business. For instance, it is essential for business owners to know their gross profit on all the work they complete because if your margins are not good, then growth can cripple your company due to increased operational expenses.

ServiceDemand can go as far as helping you know your break-even price per hour, based on your cost of doing business. Service companies only get paid for tasks they complete and not when they drive to a job, train technicians, or talk to customers. Therefore knowing your billable hour efficiency (BHE) allows you to track your downtime and lost person-hours per call to enable you to price your services appropriately.

2. Manage Your Business with Technology

Today’s customers expect to book services online, digitally sign contracts, and receive information via email for their records. What’s more, with Mobile Asset Service Management, techs can travel with all the information available in the office, access it in the field, and update it on-the-go. They can also review service history, create quotes, and close-out jobs from their smartphone or tablet.

The right technology allows service companies to streamline their processes and run more efficiently. In turn, process optimizations will minimize operational costs and improve your bottom line.

3. Remote System Operations

The FSM software is remotely operable, which means employees, contractors, technicians, partners, and admins can operate the system anywhere and in real-time. Things like repeat trips to the office, numerous update phone calls, canceled appointments, double booking, and unsatisfied customers no longer characterize field trips.

FSM software solutions allow your technicians to access and update information in the field. ServiceDemand has gone a notch higher with its browser capability, giving users access without going through a private network or VPN. All you need to access the platform is an internet connection and a device.

4. Make Happy Customers for Life

Customer referrals and repeat business can make or break your business, especially when your business involves being in customer’s homes. Customer satisfaction is always crucial, and making them happy and satisfied with your services and delivery gives you repeat business and referrals.

5. Prepare for the Future

The service industry changes every day, and failure to adapt risks your company lagging. Always look ahead to ensure that your business grows and remains profitable and be mindful and on the right side of market disruptors, which currently include voice search, 5G network, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Amazon Home Services.

Why Choose ServiceDemand?

ServiceDemand brings your entire field operation and management under enhanced control. Since the FSM software is completely scalable, it works with any company size, from a small local service outfit to a nationwide multi-site operation with a large staff and customers.

ServiceDemand offers efficiency gains, cost control, increased profitability, customer satisfaction, staff motivation, and improved performance. Heroku cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) hosts ServiceDemand, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) supports its scalability. Therefore, your service company does not need any additional or special servers and hardware.

As a web-hosted SaaS platform, ServiceDemand does not require any additional integration software such as ERPs, CRMs, or ticketing platforms. Other capabilities of the platform include:

  • Enables job photo upload and archiving in the field using any mobile device
  • Allows fleet tracking with a superior GPS feature that shows you where all your vehicles are 24/7
  • Enables efficient payment processing with it’s a unified system of managing your payments, payroll, finances, and cash flow
  • Supports email automation to enable you to communicate with your customers and other stakeholders effectively
  • Cloud storage support gives your team remote access to files, documents, and information and allows the uploading, sharing, and organizing of paperwork

Want to learn more about ServiceDemand? Get in touch to schedule a free personal demonstration or receive a detailed tutorial of the platform’s features and capabilities.

Keywords: field service management software, field service software, field service scheduling software

Gig Economy

The landscape of our business economy has changed drastically over the last decade and even more so in the last few months. After millions of layoffs and many brick and mortar establishments at risk of bankruptcy, it might be time to shift our focus to what lies ahead. People across the globe are asking themselves where they fit in and businesses are sure to follow suit.

Those who once believed they would work with the same company or industry for the entirety of their career now have the opportunity to reevaluate. What we know is, automation is coming. One might ask themself what they can offer that cannot be automated. While no one ever wants to find themself unemployed or on the verge of closing shop, both parties can decide, moving forward, what they have to offer in this new wave of economic shifts.

Part of the shift we will see is the growth of what some are calling a ‘gig economy’. A gig is defined as a short or long-term job that lasts until the task or project is complete. It’s not permanent employment, its contract work. This new employment model is redefining how companies engage with both employees and customers.

This model brings with it an endless opportunity with new platforms popping up left and right seeking people to engage in freelance work on many different levels. These people can choose to do it as little or as often as suits their needs and even treat it like a full-time job, filling their schedules with a few hours of work from different companies. Think of companies like Uber and Lyft where a person can work for both on the same day; earning their money once individual transports are completed. Gad Allon, the director of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania, estimates this economy to grow to $2.7 trillion by 2025.

Previously the employment model looked like this: Constant employment where you interview for a job, get hired, show up, and work as they laid out in their expectations. This is contract work in extended form. But as we stated before, the traditional models are shifting. We are all familiar with companies like Uber, Lyft, and GrubHub. When consumers use these companies they are essentially renting assets owned by the contractor. They pay for a one time service and the contractor gets paid for the task.

This new model of employment covers many kinds of jobs, from plumbing to mechanical work to babysitting. People with specific skill sets may find themselves working for multiple company’s at the same time and these companies don’t have to pay employees benefits like health insurance. Furthermore, as we move toward a world where more things are becoming automated, businesses will be seeking those who can do what computers cannot; without needing to employ them full-time.

Just how big will this shift to a gig-economy really be? It’s hard to say. Matthew Bidwell, a Wharton management professor recently stated in a New York Times article, “The future is likely to be somewhat different to how it is now, but there is no clear trend at the moment that I think tells us how work will play out in the futureā€¦I don’t think that the gig economy is the future of work,” Bidwell adds. “It is a vibrant niche in the economy and will likely continue to be one but I believe it will not grow to dominate the economy. Most companies need some stability in their workforce. There is value to having the same people show up every day, who know each other, know the company, and how to do the work. Many employees also value the stability of a regular, full-time job.”

It’s probably safe to assume that the future of work will be a mixture of both models of employment; permanent and contract. The good news is, any increase in the gig economy also impacts earning potential for so many people who have recently found themselves unemployed during this economic standstill. “The gig economy can be a great thing for giving people more flexibility and options to make money,” notes Bidwell.

And in fact, we already see many businesses are using a hybrid model; where they have their full-time ‘permanent’ employees and utilize contractors simultaneously with more and more businesses moving towards the contact model. Because of this, they will likely start looking for updated ways to manage these types of employees.

Let’s paint a picture. Everyone relies on the services of some kind. Now, more than ever those services are often delivered in the field (aka, brought to our home). When you order something from Whole Foods, the person delivering the groceries is not likely a Whole Foods employee. You would also be safe to assume that even the software used to place and manage that order is not part of Whole Foods infrastructure. It’s likely a third party supplying the software and another separate entity making the physical delivery.

As more and more companies shift to this type of operation, they will want to ensure customer satisfaction and overhead costs are not sacrificed. One way to do this is by building their own software to manage things like field service productivity, asset and project management, preferred contractors, etc. Companies like ServiceDemand offer cloud-based software that helps companies link team members, customers, and projects together. With custom dashboards to optimize workforce, ServiceDemand assists in automation to sell more goods and services as well as to measure success.

An ability to monitor and streamline so many moving parts will be imperative to the survival of their infrastructure and efficiency. Watch carefully as the economy shifts this direction, we can expect to see an increase in automated Field Service Management as well.