The cut-throat business environment has engulfed field services as well. Too many players chase a few customers, leading to pressure on margins. Side-by-side, talent is scarce. The millennials are not keen to take over the boomers and Gen X’s field jobs. Technology grows rapidly, but enterprises with limited budgets struggle to catch up. Upstarts who invest in the latest technology gain a significant first-mover advantage. Such advantages often come at the cost of entrenched incumbents who carry on with their legacy systems. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains. The associated digital-first culture stresses field service businesses facing sudden, disruptive change.

Going digital is a panacea for field service businesses facing the above challenges. Digitalization of workflows through an integrated field service suite improves process accuracy, boosts efficiency, and speeds up things. The platform updates itself at their end, and co-opt the latest technology advances in their suite.

Mobility complements digitalization. When enterprises host their data and applications in the cloud, they can function round the clock. They become resilient to handle most disruptions. They get the capability to respond to customer queries or new inquiries instantly. Supervisors and managers access resources from anywhere to make instant decisions while multitasking. Field agents access alerts, notifications, and additional information on their smartphone apps.

1. Effortless Scheduling

A reliable and seamless scheduling system streamlines scheduling. It boosts process efficiency and avoids the risk of missing out on appointments.

Manual scheduling is stressful and error-prone. Digitalizing the process offers the scheduler automated calendar views of upcoming jobs. Linkage to skills depositories makes explicit the skills and certifications of field agents.

An automated digital system considers factors such as level of qualification, and distance to the following worksite, to assign the best technician to the job.

Read more: Accelerate Business Productivity with a Scheduling & Dispatching Software!

2. Fast Dispatching

Dispatching using digital tools ensures the field agents reach the service location using the best routes with the right tools.

A good field service suite integrates with maps to plot the best way to the technician’s worksite. Unfortunately, the best route is not always the shortest route due to traffic congestion or other disruptions.

Integration with inventory ensures the agents reach their worksite with the right tools. It avoids rescheduling and revisits.

Speedy dispatches ensure field agents spend less time on the road and more time servicing customers. As a result, efficiency, speed, productivity, and customer satisfaction improve manifold.

3. Streamlined and Efficient Data Collection

Going digital through a mobile-enabled field management suite streamlines processes. It speeds up things and improves efficiency.

Digitizing data makes it easy to access information when a customer calls in or the field agent visits the premises. Agents do not waste time and energy collecting information—APIs and integrators aggregate data from back-end databases. Field agents access the information through intuitive dashboards through smartphone apps.

Digitized forms enable automatic data capture. The forms use the smartphone’s camera, geolocational, and other capabilities to capture data and generate reports. Auto-generated reports dispatched through email save the field agents time. As a result, the entire system becomes faster and more efficient.

4. Automated Workflows

Going digital automates the workflow and speeds up things.

Supervisors track the field agents in real-time, using the smartphone’s geolocational capabilities. Traditionally, the opaqueness associated with fieldwork hampers supervisors. However, with the real-time insights offered by digital tracking tools, supervisors may intervene when they spot a lag to speed up things.

Digitization orchestrates the various processes in a field management ecosystem. Consider a cleaning company. With an integrated digital suite, the inventory gets updated on completing a work order. The system arranges for reordering the used supplies, ensuring the businesses do not face a stock-out situation.

Automated billing and payment collection improve the cash flow and eliminate the need for following up on payment. When the field agents mark the work as complete in their smartphone app, the back end generates the invoice and emails it to the customer. The field agent’s smartphone app integrates with payment collection portals such as Paypal. They may collect the payment before leaving the customer’s premises. Back-end systems such as payroll, accounting, and CRM update instantly. As a result, the company saves loads of manual work and time.

Read more: Four Ways to Generate a Professional Invoice and Get Paid Faster

Going Digital: Idaho Backflow’s Experience

Idaho Backflow epitomes the benefits of adopting digital and mobility solutions for field service management.

The company had fourteen years of experience in backflow testing to ensure plumbing systems supply clean, uncontaminated water. Property owners get their systems tested periodically, meaning repeat customers who expect prompt service.

Managing schedules using manual forms and Excel sheets created inefficiencies for the company. Of course, a dedicated application always supported backflow testing. But transferring data from paper-based forms to the application was a time-consuming, arduous task. And after all the trouble, the software did not allow custom reports. Using Google Calendar for scheduling the 30-odd tests done in a single day was becoming untenable. In addition, Google Calendar had a complex interface and did not integrate with multiple accounts.

The company signed up with ReachOut Suite for digitizing its field service operations.

ReachOut immediately enabled more efficient schedules and eliminated infeasible assignments. Integrated visibility into technicians’ calendars makes assigning new tasks and rescheduling tasks easy. Neat calendar views offered the managers daily summaries and control of upcoming schedules. ReachOut’s inspection management modules standardized and simplified scheduling inspections and audits.

ReachOut’s ticketing system made workflows and information retrieval seamless. When customers make a request, the system generates a ticket. Field agents refer to the connected customer and service history details. Then, they go to the worksite equipped with complete information.

Stylized digital forms enabled field technicians to gather field data effortlessly. Field agents could access these forms using any mobile device or tablet—the forms self-populate information into work status reports. ReachOut forms eliminated data entry errors and saved two hours a day!

ReachOut field management suite allows field service to embrace the latest digital and mobile technologies. The robust software delivers big-time efficiency, cost, and time savings and helps enterprises gain a competitive edge.

Talk to our experts to know more about ReachOut services and how it can assist your business.

Digitize your field service operations from scheduling to invoicing with ReachOut. Connect your technicians with the companion mobile app to execute jobs and reduce paperwork in the field. Try ReachOut now and give your customers the fast and quality service they deserve.

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Ashmitha Chatterjee

Ashmitha works with ReachOut Suite as a creative writer. She collaborates with the Digital Marketing team to deliver engaging, informative, and SEO friendly business collaterals. Being passionate about writing, Ashmitha frequently engages in blogging and creating fiction. Besides writing, Ashmitha indulges in exploring effective content marketing strategies.

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