Field service management (FSM) is the practice of coordinating and optimizing field service operations that are performed off-site and out on the field. Common examples include installation, repair, maintenance of equipment, site audits and inspections, outdoor customer support, periodic assessment of machinery at different locations, and regular field visits and consultations. Field service managers are responsible for scheduling, dispatching, and managing an organization’s field service technicians, tracking their job status and performance, and monitoring field resources.
Field service management is a multifaceted process that includes operations such as:
Field service management (FSM) software allows businesses to oversee all the aspects of field service operations. FSM software enables field service providers to automate job scheduling and dispatching, process work orders, monitor task progress, and completion, optimize routes for field technicians to reach job sites faster, manage SLAs and contracts made with customers, track inventory, generate invoices, collect payments, and much more.
Technicians and service engineers can use their mobile devices and tools to access field service management software delivered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. FMS software’s mobility allows them to execute more field jobs without worrying about manually sending reports to the back office or transferring faulty equipment to the service provider’s headquarters. The software updates technicians about upcoming schedules and offers all the required insights to complete each job. For instance, a field technician can view on their FSM app’s dashboard:
By 2024, the global field service management market is expected to double its value. Several factors contribute to the industry’s growth, such as:
As customers fervently seek unique and personalized service delivery, field service companies are adopting automation and digitalization to enhance employee productivity, reduce workforce costs, and improve overall operational efficiency.
Technology implementation and automated systems allow service providers to seamlessly navigate scheduling, planning, and dispatching processes, which are the crucial components of field service management. Service companies adopting FSM software are successful in reducing the number of business years required to attain positive ROI.
Mobility-powered FSM software enables service providers to make better decisions, supervise field operations from anywhere, and deliver timely customer service.
Energy and utility companies handle huge volumes of time-sensitive work orders, deliver uninterrupted service, maintain vast networks and equipment located at multiple sites, ensure code compliance, minimize outages, manage complex crew scheduling, and constantly monitor the geospatial data generated by remote assets.
FSM software allows utility companies and energy providers to organize work schedules and judiciously dispatch engineering experts and technicians to inspect the equipment, attend to repairs, and review resources. The software reduces the manual effort involved in monitoring and collecting vital data from remote equipment.
Equipment installation, maintenance, and management are vital responsibilities of service businesses. Client-owned equipment and tools rented out by service providers need to be examined and serviced regularly for improved and stable performance.
FSM software allows service managers and technicians to stay on top of equipment installation and maintenance jobs. The software offers a reliable record-keeping system by storing details such as serial numbers, warranties, sale date, default vendors, and installation date for each component that makes up the equipment. Service providers can set preventive maintenance schedules and link them to their technicians’ work orders. Tracking warranty details prevents businesses from overcharging clients, thus reducing the volume of customer complaints.
HVAC companies operate in a highly oversaturated and volatile market. Mechanical engineers, building service engineers, technicians, and contractors should be consulted and onboarded before implementing customized HVAC systems. Manually tracking all the installed HVAC systems, documentation, and customer support is only next to impossible.
FSM software is a versatile solution that simplifies the process of HVAC management through the automation of mundane processes and real-time monitoring of HVAC technicians and installations. The software enables better coordination and collaboration between geographically scattered HVAC technicians and back-office teams, automates work order scheduling, tracking, and reporting, streamlines inventory management, and mitigates the complexity involved in addressing customer needs.
Fire safety is an emergency service where every second counts. Technicians must reach accident scenes faster and handle risky situations with the available tools and information. Safety compliance is another time-consuming area for fire safety contractors. Carrying out safety audits and inspections and eliminating the factors leading to fire hazards can be daunting.
Fire safety software can eliminate the pressing challenges discussed above. Automated scheduling can quickly dispatch technicians to inspection and work sites. Mobile checklists allow technicians to conduct inspections promptly and digitally record and transfer all the required information to their back office. When a customer calls in to inform a smoke alarm malfunction or a faulty fire extinguisher, the FSM software allows customer service reps to record all the critical information tagged to the work order. This enables technicians to quickly fix the problem without wasting time on data collection.
Pest control industry faces sudden spikes in activity, particularly based on seasonal demands. Success depends on faster turnaround times, adequate availability of pest repellants, tools, and protection wears, and rapid identification and destruction of pests that inflict the customer’s premises.
Field service management software allows pest control companies to enhance their fleet management, automatically match technician skills with incoming jobs, stock the right set of tools to complete each job, execute pest treatments and post-treatment inspections, prioritize work orders, and make timely interventions. Online pest control checklists allow technicians to rapidly disinfect afflicted premises. Access to service history helps them understand the type of pests they will encounter.
Office buildings, shopping centers, salons, spas, hotels, and restaurants should regularly prune and decorate their landscape to enrich the aesthetic value, presentation, and ambiance of their premises. The growing utilization rate of machinery, complex governmental regulations, changing service demands raised by customers, and shortage of creative landscaping artisans make landscaping business management more challenging.
Field service management software allows landscaping businesses to balance the time window, machinery, and skilled employees successfully. This is achieved through automated scheduling, a paperless office, customizable dashboards, GPS tracking for route optimization, and a clear display of reports. FSM software enables landscaping businesses to handle the entire process from sales to invoicing cost-effectively.
Changing customer expectations are giving rise to several new trends in field service management, such as self-service opportunities, contactless payment, adoption of advanced technologies, mobile experience, and so on. A quick rundown of the five trends in field service management.
Self-service portals strengthen the communication between service organizations and customers by effectively capturing customer concerns and requirements. Field service agents can update data in real-time using their mobile app, customers can share maximum details to support in-depth field assessment, and service managers can clearly set the goals for technicians. Self-service FSM software helps sync and manage the expectations on both sides.
The utilization of currency has declined in B2B transactions since the onset of the pandemic. Mobile payments and digital wallets offer more convenience and safety than cash or physical cards. Contactless card readers, secure online payments via field service mobile apps and self-service portals, and integrated third-party payment gateways such as Stripe and PayPal enable faster cashless payments. Cashless transactions reduce the health risks occurring due to physical interactions.
Field service standards are changing in the post-pandemic era, with more organizations adopting safety protocols and contactless capabilities to prevent their customers and employees from getting exposed to health risks. Contactless service appointments, direct dispatch of field service personnel from their home to customers, Augmented Reality powered video calls, and hybrid work options are a few approaches followed by leading field service companies.
Data collected by FSM software over a period of time will allow technicians to identify the root of a problem before it escalates. For instance, a detailed repair log stored by the software enables HVAC technicians to intelligently schedule customer visits, regularly check the device for leaks or blotches, and prevent unexpected equipment breakdown. Installation and service history collected for each customer will turn into actionable insights, which will go a long way in powering predictive maintenance.
Optimizing job scheduling is of paramount importance, especially when the field service industry has to rely on an aging workforce. Automated job scheduling allows service providers to leverage AI and rules and dispatch the closest and most experienced technicians without disrupting existing schedules. Automation simplifies overwhelming back-office operations, such as managing customer expectations, confirming appointments, reorganizing schedules, tracking inventory, submitting invoices, and accommodating last-minute emergency service requests.
FSM companies grapple with several business challenges that could hold back their growth. Field service management software helps service businesses to solve the most common challenges such as juggling multiple responsibilities, processing stacks of paper invoices, matching technicians to the right jobs, parts inventory, and fleet maintenance, among other pain points.
Field service management software with GPS tracking ensures that technicians execute their schedules efficiently and cost-effectively. Service managers can view their technicians’ routes and job status and check the number of hours logged in. This will improve the trust between technicians and managers and avoid operational chaos. As technicians spend more time on the road and in the field, GPS tracking and electronic logging features in the FSM software assure the safety of technicians and alert administrators if anything goes wrong.
Sending the field service crew to the work site with the right tools and information is important for completing the job on the first visit. If you see a rise in the number of follow-ups or customers venting their concerns to your staff repeatedly, it’s time to reconsider your style of work. FSM software ensures that a technician visiting the customer’s location is provided with the right information, including the current status of the equipment to be serviced, customer service history, warranty details, and anything that expedites the fix.
Manual documentation eats up precious time and leaves room for costly errors in field service management. Digitalization of paper-based processes allows service managers to generate and track work orders in real-time, process invoices digitally, alter schedules on the go without disrupting technicians, and improve overall business efficiency.
Investing in a cloud-based, mobility-powered field service management software offers your business access to unique processes, tools, and considerations that will improve your competitive advantage. Here are the top benefits of employing FSM software:
Choosing the best field service management software requires you to evaluate your business needs and analyze the essential functionalities offered by the FSM tool. Below are a few tips to help you zero down on the best FSM.
Understand the needs of different players and stakeholders partaking in your business – customers, back-office administrators, service managers, and mobile field agents. Identify the bottlenecks to be solved and the gaps to be filled. This will enable you to personalize the software based on your needs.
If your service business caters to specific verticals, on-premise software would be more cost-effective and simple to use. However, standalone FSM tools are becoming history. The SaaS delivery model integrates your business management system with essential tools such as CRM, ERP, HRM, accounting, invoicing, and help desks to bring more relevance and context into your communication and service delivery.
Modern FSM software provides complete context about a customer’s conversations across different channels from a single view. Helpdesk agents, technicians, and customers don’t have to swap multiple tools or windows to collaborate. Omni-channel capability is a must-have for the success of field service businesses today.
Choose a mobile field service app that can navigate customer destinations, add field notes, capture and record service pictures and videos, access service checklists, log in expenses, clock in appointment times, and collect customer signatures and feedback post the service.
Before choosing a field service software vendor, examine their previous case studies, analyze their reputation in the market, ask for references, and test the quality of their support center.
Ensure the implementation of a field service management software doesn’t affect your business with longer downtimes and significant changes to your existing workflows. Your workforce should be able to acknowledge the software and get started with it quickly. It should be easy to implement, train, and use.
Field workers should be able to update their work status while fixing a problem, record what went wrong and where resolutions are falling short, and suggest ways to streamline the approach in the future.
A successful field service management strategy comprises digital technology to maximize efficiencies and connect the mobile workforce to customers and the back office. Field service management software helps uncover incredible growth opportunities in worker productivity and customer satisfaction and improves your bottom line. Technology adoption ensures your business gains a competitive advantage against disruptors claiming a larger market share.
Want to get rid of fragmented customer experiences, rising inefficiencies, and increasing costs that are making you less competitive? Switch on to ReachOut Suite and hit the mark in no time. Harness intuitive, cloud-based, mobile-first, field service management technology to captivate customers and drive revenue.
Try out a demo of our FSM suite or connect with our team for a quick walkthrough of ReachOut’s exclusive features.