Field service managers need to do more than ever before to keep their organizations afloat. Ensuring that customer expectations are met, and the work of field technicians and office processes are harmonized, all whilst ensuring the safety of staff and turning a profit are just some of the targets that field managers need to meet. Yet 73 per cent of field service organizations say that they’re still struggling to achieve growth in revenue.
But how effective is field service management software in addressing 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 many organizations are unsure how end-to-end field service management solutions cater more specifically to that sector.
Challenge #1: Effectively scheduling your entire workforce
In the field service industry, it can be difficult to meet every customer expectation. Your technician has every intention of arriving at their location on time, but their previous job ran over by half an hour, and they can’t leave a job incomplete. But it’s not the first time one of your technicians has left this particular kind of service call late, and therefore impacted other jobs and customers.
While you’re still using manual methods to plan your technicians’ service calls, you’re unlikely to notice these kinds of patterns or trends.
If workforce scheduling has become cumbersome and inefficient, certain FSM tools contain scheduling functionality to prevent issues arising 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:
- Reductions in productivity gaps; increased visibility into the whereabouts and job progress of your technicians can reduce the time they spend traveling to locations, obtaining parts, and time taken per service call
- Increases in job completion and customer satisfaction.
Challenge #2: You’re not capturing accurate information from the field.
Gone are the days of extensive manual data entry, but despite cloud-based software eliminating the need for field service managers to copy paperwork from the field into their CRM, ERP, or billing and invoicing system, 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 made.
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.
- Record job information such as customer signatures and pictures.
- Eliminate masses of paperwork, and therefore prevent loss of paperwork, duplicate entries, and human error.
Challenge #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 about 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 misdiagnosis.
- Provide onsite quotes and estimations.
Challenge #4: You spend too much time trying to reach operational utopia.
Operations management in the field service arena is a mammoth affair: 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 and keep on top of, 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.
- Fewer equipment failures due to proactive service and maintenance tracking.
Challenge #5: You don’t know how your business is performing, or where to improve
Maybe the last piece in the field service puzzle is effective analytics 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 have a trickle-down effect on other areas of your business. You may also be able to save money in areas you’re unaware of 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 e.g. complete/incomplete service calls, the average time of work, the average time between equipment failures.
- Predict potential issues and plan for them accordingly.
- Enable notifications that can trigger certain actions when issues arise.