Field service software has come a long way in the past few years. The right platform can help even small businesses improve and optimize their activities on a daily basis, managing field staff while tracking performance, and even improving customer relations.
Historically, non-enterprise businesses have been hesitant to leverage this type of software for fear of complexity and cost. Modern service software, though, can be just as beneficial for even the smallest operations as it would be for major companies with 100+ employees.
Put differently, field service management software may just be what puts your HVAC, plumbing, roofing, electrical, or appliance repair business over the top. That’s especially true in the current environment, which has caused many businesses to revamp their daily practices to remain safe while providing excellent field service. Join us for an in-depth look at what modern software has to offer, and how you can benefit from it.
What, Exactly, is Field Service Management Software?
The basic definition is simple: field service management (FSM) software describes any platform that helps this type of business optimize their business activities. That might include scheduling, quoting and billing, customer relationship management, and even performance monitoring.
At its best, this type of software offers significant benefits in the field service industry, ranging from increased efficiency to reduced operating costs and more. There’s even a case to be made that every business needs field service software.
4 Timely Benefits of Modern Service Software
As mentioned above, we’ve discussed the general benefits of modern service software in previous articles in this space. So let’s dive deeper into the four advantages that remain true regardless of the time, but have become especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting change in business operations.
1) Transition to Paperless Operations
The field service business traditionally relies heavily on the paper trail. Fliers and postcards can promote its offerings and promotions, while quotes, invoices, bills, and other printed materials drive the functional side of customer communications. The right platform, though, moves these communications to a digital alternative.
Through field service software, you can launch email-based communication plans to promote your business and reach your customers. Meanwhile, you can integrate paperless billing and scheduling that further reduces paper-based touchpoints. Through the right apps and programs, you can effectively stay in touch with your customers and send important notes without relying on printing and mailing.
That’s especially relevant in light of current COVID-19 research, which suggests that the virus may survive for a limited time on paper surfaces. Moreover, going paperless can be a significant cost-saver in a time when budgets in the service industry are becoming tighter. With the right FSM software, you can minimize risks while improving your balance sheet.
2) Engage in Contactless Payments
Naturally, service businesses have taken pains in recent months to avoid close-proximity contacts with their customers to reduce the possibility of infection on either side. Contactless payments can play a major role in reducing these close contracts and increasing safety.
Traditionally, most field service operations have accepted payment in one of two ways;
- In-person, with cash, a check, or a credit card handed from customer to employee. This poses a major potential safety risk.
- Remotely, with the customer providing credit card numbers that an employee on the other side of the line can add to the computer. This poses a major data security risk.
FSM software offers a third alternative: the ability to pay via email or text, keeping both information and people safe. The payment occurs and is logged in real-time, without engaging in any of the above risks.
3) Leverage Modern Collaboration Tools
The close contact conundrum mentioned above also comes into play when service personnel has to work in a customer’s house or apartment. In that case, it’s almost impossible to avoid close contact with someone else’s property, leading to significant health risks.
Now, imagine a platform in which you can use modern collaboration tools to avoid some of these concerns, without losing on your business’s customer service or efficiency. With the right FSM software, you can use platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to communicate with customers without having to share a room.
These collaboration tools, of course, offer significant benefits beyond the current pandemic as well. Being able to video chat with your customers means potentially reducing the need for an in-person visit, solving simple problems remotely and reserving physical appointments for more dire situations.
4) Integrate Safety Checks
As mentioned above, a necessary part of the modern service business has become ensuring the safety of operations on the still-necessary visits. Even with collaboration tools like video chats, some of these visits will remain essential. Modern service software, though, allows for a more protected operation thanks to safety check opportunities.
The communication in this case is internal. Platform operators can build reminders into individual service events, reminding their technicians to stock and wear PPE gear. Other reminders can mention the need for social distancing, as well as following other best practices that the pandemic has made necessary.
How to Find the Right Field Service Management Software
All four of the above benefits are both timely and lasting. While they undeniably apply in the current conditions, they also have long-term value in a variety of situations. Of course, that’s only the case if you can find field service management software that’s optimized for your business.
Finding that software depends on your situation. You can ease the process, however, by asking a few questions that narrow down the selection:
- What’s your budget, and can you find software within your budget range?
- How experienced are you with running software for your service business, and how complex could the software be for an easy implementation?
- What features are necessary, or at least desired, to improve your operations? Some research on typical features can go a long way towards answering this question.
With these three variables in mind, you can find FSM software specifically designed to improve your business, both now and in the long-term future. You’ll reap the rewards of finding a platform that helps you both modernize and optimize your operations.