Simplifying estimates and invoices will improve your field agents’ productivity
Today’s turbulent business environment has not spared a large number of businesses including field service. The COVID-19 pandemic has kindled more challenges than opportunities. So, it’s become imperative for field service businesses to make efficiency improvements and cut costs. They also need more productive employees and delighted customers to survive in the new normal. A key area of focus to meet this goal is to optimize your estimates and invoices. These activities do not contribute to the bottom line but remain a core, indispensable activity.
Here are five good reasons to simplify your estimates and invoices and how that can transform your field service business.
1. Efficiency Considerations
One of the most successful mantras in business is “KISS” or “Keep it Short and Simple.” Simplifying estimating and invoicing improves efficiency, and furthers lean principles.
Lean enterprises run a tight ship to keep costs in check. They prefer their workforce to spend more time on the field and less time preparing estimates and invoices. Simplifying estimates and invoices will reduce the time and effort spent on these activities.
Paper estimates and invoicing are inefficient. It involves error-prone manual calculations and cross-references. Customers who get these estimates or invoices may set it aside for reconsideration. These documents soon become obsolete or a non-priority, as customer needs change.
Simple, automated invoices generated by the field service management app spare field agents from carrying work home. Delays in generating invoices may lead to errors, as some items fall through the crack.
A field service management app like ReachOut makes it easy to track and follow-up automated estimates and invoices. It allows your field agents to:
- Retrieve an estimate and follow up with the customer for the work order.
- Pull up an unpaid invoice easily, and collect payments through credit cards or other contactless options.
2. Cost Considerations
When the pricing system is complex, it becomes difficult for agents to prepare estimates and invoices. A simple estimate expressed in hours or a standard piece-rate makes things easy.
Automating the estimates and invoices through a field service management suite reduces hassles. Electronic invoices generated through field service software allow customers to drill-down line items and get clarifications.
A smart field service software like ReachOut offers automated estimation and invoicing features. The customer may generate quotes that fit their budget, by applying various permutations and combinations.
3. Flexibility to cater to ground level situations
There is always a significant time gap between the estimate and invoice. When the actual work takes place, it may differ from the estimate. The on-site technician may find some extra work unavoidable, or the customer may request some additional work on the spot.
Routing estimates and invoicing through the field service management suite improves flexibility. The customer and the field agent may access the simplified estimate through their mobile apps, and co-opt changes as needed. The field agent may communicate with the back-office through the app, and get approvals. On work completion, the field management suite auto-generates the invoice. The system draws in inputs from the estimate, and details of actual work completed. The field agent verifies the invoice and sends it to the customer, for instant payment.
4. Coping with the pandemic-led crisis
Field service businesses grapple with changes every year. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the pace and depth of change. Reduced business operations, contactless services, and extra focus on hygiene increase overheads. Also, with many establishments forced to work with fewer employees, paperwork piles up. Any shortcuts to record-keeping can lead to grave mistakes.
Increasing costs is not viable in a depressed economic situation. The only route open for enterprises is to cut costs by making processes simple. Since the large majority of non-operational tasks belong to estimating and invoicing, it’s advisable to make these areas the prime target for simplification.
It’s equally important to integrate the field service suite with the CRM, inventory management, and other enterprise systems. As soon as a customer makes a request, the field service management suite gathers the details of the work. The FSM app collates customer information, inventory details, and details of other resources needed to do the job. These details go into an auto-generated and near-accurate estimate.
Automating invoices through the field service software allows field agents to generate the invoice as soon as the task is complete, through their mobile field service app. The FSM suite emails the invoice to the customer. The field agent may accept instant, contactless payment from the customer through the app.
5. Improved customer satisfaction
Simplified estimates and invoicing improves customer satisfaction. Standardized rates for each service make the estimates predictable, thereby increasing the customers’ trust and satisfaction.
Simplified invoice, without ambiguities, but still offering details, impress the customer. When customers find it hard to locate specific expenses or details in invoices they put the bill aside for clarification, delaying payment. The support agents end up with unnecessary clarification and follow-up work.
Field service businesses are in a boom-phase. But more work can be as damaging as less work. Enterprises can seize new opportunities only when they become flexible and adaptable. A robust field service management suite like ReachOut helps greatly to achieve these ends. Contact us to understand how ReachOut simplifies invoicing and estimating for your business.
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