Recently, a potential client interested in field service software rang me up to discuss his options. The business he worked for was a large white goods company with a workforce of 500 field engineers and 800 installers. Much of their daily work was still very much paper-based, and the manager knew that in order for his division to be more efficient, cost-effective and proactive, they needed to move to an automated system. Based on that visit, I’ve compiled the top 10 reasons why companies should digitize their field service business.
1) Create A Workflow That Flows
If you’re using a paper-based process, you know how difficult it is to create a seamless workflow for the day that your entire team can see and share. Digitizing the process puts the entire workflow in one place: service calls are captured and prioritized; technicians are assigned and dispatched; completed jobs are recorded; and managers are alerted of any issues.
2) Schedule In Real-Time To Maximize the Day
Juggling schedules on paper is one of the biggest time-wasters in any field service company. Using scheduling software lets companies easily capture, sort and prioritize service requests to quickly dispatch their field service staff. Managers can monitor jobs and quickly locate technicians. Running ahead of schedule? Delayed by traffic? Managers can dynamically reschedule technicians to ensure their efficient reallocation.
3) Empower Your Technicians with Mobile Apps
With mobile apps linked to your company databases, technicians have all the information they need in their hands. Field service staff can access the information they need in real time on customer history, parts, routes, and inventory that lets them do their job more efficiently.
4) Keep Your Focus on Your Customers
Today’s customers have high expectations of service. Their satisfaction doesn’t just impact your ongoing business, but in today’s social environment, it impacts potential business. A digital solution means that your entire staff has access to the customer information they need, letting them easily track their contacts and see a complete picture of their service history, value of their contract, important expiration dates, warranties and service contracts.
5) Allow Your Customers to Self-Serve
Field service software can also let you empower your own customers with customer pages or portals. Your customers can self-serve when a problem occurs by entering in a request for service, filling out details of their issue and requesting ideal service days. They can also keep track of their own service history, and search and browse for additional products or services related to their equipment.
6) Document Inspections in the Field
Documenting field service inspections for those in highly regulated industries is a must. But even for those in less regulated industries, electronic documentation with photos or video can show that a job has been done correctly and within a proper framework. With mobile apps, technicians can easily capture their work on the job, and ensure that it’s synced in the main system to avoid time-consuming data re-entry.
7) Capture Data To Give You a Full Picture of Your Business
One of the most valuable aspects of digitizing your workflow is the added ability to capture data that will allow you to analyze and optimize your entire field service business and maximize your profitability. Metrics can, for example, show you the quickest drive routes based on past times, the most time-consuming jobs, the most efficient workers, technicians who up-sell more services or products, and the most profitable service requests.
8) Get Alerted to Expiring Contracts & Preventive Maintenance Schedules
Setting up alerts for preventive maintenance schedules and expiring service contracts can help field service companies stay on top of the business they already have. Predictive maintenance is often one of the highest revenue generators for field service companies, while ensuring that service contracts are kept up to date will protect existing business and ensure busy customers never experience a break in service.
9) Sell Additional Products and Services
Field service software can help companies identify opportunities to sell additional products and services. Technicians, for example, could be prompted at the close of a job to upsell products that could enhance a customer’s equipment, or tweak the service contract to provide more predictive maintenance.
10) Get Paid Quicker
Generating invoices can be a lengthy process, especially if companies are waiting for paperwork or receipts to be submitted. Companies can dramatically speed up their invoicing process through automation. Instead of weeks, it can take minutes to generate an invoice from a job that has been electronically captured, documented, and approved by the customer.