From the earliest days of business computing, software has made the way we work more efficient. Companies who adopt these new software tools gain a competitive advantage over those who don't. We are far removed from the days when simple spreadsheets revolutionized the way we work, but software is still giving early adopters an advantage over the competition. Today's field service environment is no exception. Businesses in the field service industry now have powerful software at their disposal that will allow their entire operation to run more transparently and efficiently than before. Adopting a field service management solution will allow your business to remain competitive as such software becomes more commonplace. Let's take a look at what field service software is and what it can do for you.
There are many moving parts to a modern field service operation. From creating the initial estimates to assigning workers and tracking their progress, through to invoicing the customer and accepting payment, field service management software takes control of these moving parts. By becoming an all-in-one solution for the unique needs of the field service industry, and by combining modern technologies and algorithms, field service software can improve the efficiency of your operation and provide you with actionable insights about how your business functions.
In the same way that accounting software became like an extra employee, helping to automate and make sense of a business's finances, field service management (FSM) software is like an extra employee doing all the hard work of managing your field service operations. It automates complex decisions and unifies all the relevant information about your business into one convenient platform. Good FSM software will also integrate nicely with existing CRMS, ERPs, or other software tools a business may use in order to make further automation possible.
Now that you have a general overview of FSM software is, let's take a look at some reasons you need to incorporate it into the technology stack at your business.
The traveling salesman problem is a well-known optimization question designed to find the quickest route between a set of cities. When calculated by humans, it serves little purpose in the field service industry. Unlike the cities in the traveling salesman problem, you don't know the places your workforce will need to travel to ahead of time. Instead, you must adapt on the fly and dispatch your workforce to incoming jobs as best you can. Just as computers can calculate the traveling salesman problem nearly instantly, FSM software can find the optimal workforce scheduling and dispatch orders so your employees spend more time helping customers and less time traveling. These workforce optimizations mean more money in your business's bank account at the end of the day.
A more properly utilized workforce isn't the only way FSM software will help keep money in your bank account. Managing a field service company spans across a wide range of disciplines, and FSM tools are there to help with all of them. With a quality FSM solution, you'll be able to more effectively manage inventory on parts, keep your assets properly maintained and running at peak performance, recommend high-performing upsells to customers, and benefit from automation across every aspect of your company that will lead to a more productive workforce.
Aside from problems that are specific to field service, good FSM solutions also cover state-of-the-art business intelligence tools that will make it easier for your management team to understand how the business is operating and which areas need to be improved.
For branding purposes, it is best if every customer has the same experience, or close to the same experience as possible. You don't want some reviews praising you for doing one thing and others complaining that you didn't do that thing. With every field service agent drawing from the same mobile software, driven by the powerful analytics of an FSM system, they'll know exactly which products should be recommended, which maintenance plans are available for each customer, and which procedures should be followed when talking to the customer. Field service software takes the guesswork out of being a field service worker so your employees can focus on what they do best: solving customer problems.
Contactless care is a requirement during a pandemic, but even beyond that, it is a more efficient way to work with customers. When everyone can deal with paperwork on their own time, nobody is inconvenienced. With contactless customer care powered by your FSM software, you'll be able to send quotes to a customer's device. From there, they'll be able to accept the quote and even sign off on completed work and complete a post-job survey all without having to deal with an in-person employee. Perhaps more importantly to the customer experience, the tools will tell them exactly what to expect when their field service worker arrives and who that worker will be. This is of great benefit to both the customer and your workers, as everyone will be on the same page when it is time for the work to begin.
Having a single software solution that brings together previously disparate parts of your operation has the added benefit of bringing all your information into one centralized location. This means more information for data-hungry machine learning algorithms that power today's business software. It also means that you'll be able to generate reports with more information and do so much quicker than you could before. Perhaps the greatest benefit of having all your information in one place is that it makes getting an overview of your operation much easier. The dashboards of your field service management software will give you information on all aspects of your business, aiding in greater transparency and more informed business decisions.
The software will also let you know how long each employee takes to perform a given task and give you other meaningful analytics that will provide transparency into your business. To give one example, you may discover that one employee routinely takes two hours to do something that everyone else finishes in one. This could mean that the employee needs further training on that task. Getting them that training will help improve their efficiency and increase the productivity of your team as a whole.
As an exploding industry, there are now many field service management solutions on the market. As industries around the world adapt to the fourth industrial revolution, brought about by the power of big data and machine learning, field service professionals are looking to do the same. ServiceDemand is a high-quality FSM solution that will give you the powerful features you need to streamline your field service business and increase revenue. Let's take at just a few of the things ServiceDemand can do for you:
Customer management — Customer relations are a big part of a business's success. ServiceDemand will be there from the initial contact to the payment of the invoice. You'll always be able to see at a glance where in the process a customer is and have complete control over everything you need to ensure that customer's satisfaction right from within the dashboard.
Contractor management — Part of running an efficient operation that keeps customers happy is dealing with contractors. ServiceDemand provides the same level of management for dealing with contractors that it does for dealing with customers. You can find everything you need to build and maintain successful relationships with your contractors is all in one place.
Parts and asset management — Your field workers can't be effective without the parts and tools they need to do their jobs. ServiceDemand keeps the parts you need in stock, without the needless expense of overstocking, with automated control over orders, inventory, and deliveries. Any tools or assets that need servicing are tracked, and reminders are sent so there's no avoidable downtime.
Automated scheduling and dispatch — With field workers traveling around your area on jobs that take various amounts of time, it isn't always easy to know the best employee to dispatch to a job. ServiceDemand will use advanced algorithms to maximize the efficiency of each of your field workers on an individual level and better manage logistics company-wide.
Complex job planning — From creating the first proposal to receiving the final invoice, a lot of planning goes into doing a job right. Regardless of how complex a job is, ServiceDemand will help you break it down into manageable chunks and then track it as each stage progresses. Throughout the job, powerful analytics will aid you in making decisions and automate tedious processes for you so you can spend more time wowing your customers.
Mobile device support — With all your employees connected to the system and able to interact with it through mobile devices while they are out in the field, you'll cut down on paperwork and give everyone in the company the ability to instantly communicate needs and problems with anyone else. All this in real-time using a platform that empowers you to meet those needs and solve those problems.