The other day, we met with a potential customer eyeing up field service software. The owner of the company had been investigating how to increase the efficiency of his business, to move from their current paper-based system to one that would allow them to spend more time servicing their customers, rather than tending to the admin that surrounds that servicing.
Was there a way to easily schedule a week’s worth of calls? Was there a way to capture information on a mobile device whilst at a customer location rather than input it once back at the office? Could the day’s visits be analyzed to see what parts were most used and needed to be kept in stock?
It’s a common complaint: how can growing companies get better organized at managing the entire process that follows a routine maintenance visit or a customer request for service?
As we went through the various options, we decided to put together the top 6 pain points we are often asked about. What can companies do to eliminate the time consuming manual processes of field service and transition to an automated system that can help increase efficiency and accuracy, and make a technicians job much easier?
What we’ve found with companies large and small is this simple equation: Happy customers = happy technicians = happy managers
Here’s our list of the top 6 biggest pain points for field service technicians:
1. Scheduling: Planning is Everything
One of the biggest headaches for field service managers is efficiently scheduling technicians. Software puts scheduling information in one place, and can be viewed by multiple personnel. Managers can track work orders throughout the day, and updates can be made in real time, allowing managers to dispatch technicians to emergency jobs that might arise in the day. Technicians can track their own schedules throughout the day, week, and month, while managers can get an overall view of scheduling that lets them understand better how long jobs should take, and what snags may be holding up a job. The software itself is as easy as dragging and dropping, while mapping helps to get to the customer.
2. Managing Your Customers Means Knowing Your Customer
How well do you know your customers? Field service software lets you organize your customers’ details -- from their contact details, to their service history, to their invoicing and payment history -- in a centralized, secure place. No more rummaging through files; no more missing pieces of paper. For your service technicians, this information can be easily accessed through a mobile phone or tablet, keeping them better informed and allowing them to get up to speed on a service job quickly. Moreover they can easily capture relevant customer and serving data and information on site.
3. Where Does The Time Go?
One of the traditional wild cards in managing workers in the field is time. How much time will it take to reach a customer? How much time will it take to complete the job? If another customer cancels a job, can the technician be quickly re-assigned to make the most of the day’s time? Field service software lets you easily track the time it takes to reach places, letting you re-route based on traffic patterns to minimize drive times, and re-route based on cancellations. It can help track the time it takes to complete a job, and help flag up why some jobs take longer than others. Moreover, managers and employees have a centralized place to manage timesheets, holiday or personal time off, and overtime.
4. Who’s Got the Right Form?
Digitizing work orders helps eliminate the pain of paperwork. With field service software automated work orders keeps the entire process organized from the minute a job is created to its invoicing. Work orders typically contain a minefield of information that properly gathered and organized can help managers make more accurate estimates of jobs, flag up the most common or recurring issues and provide the raw data that can be analyzed to seek out more efficiencies in the business. Because the forms are digitized, and filled in at the instant the serving is happening, accuracy of the data too increases.
5. Reporting: Analyzing Performance and Improving Service
There’s been a revolution in what field service companies have been able to track as they’ve turned to field service software. With paper-based systems, it was hard and time-consuming to glean all the trackable points of data needed to make more informed decisions about introducing new products or services, for example. But with field service software, tracking data and stats is much more easily done. Software can help unveil the patterns in your business processes that could unlock other areas of opportunity or help fine tune existing practices.
6. Invoicing: Quicker Payment Cycles
Last but not least, we come to invoicing. With field service software, creating invoices quickly based on digitized time sheets and work orders, should be as easy as compiling the job details, time spent, and the cost. With this centralized, accounting has a much easier job to bill customers.
These are the top 6 pain points we’ve found that our customers are keen to eliminate. What other pain points have you found in your field service company?