Field service jobs are evergreen but tough. It involves many variables outside the direct control of the business. However, inefficiency in field service management can lead to customer dissatisfaction and even loss of customers. But good FSM software can help field services businesses overcome almost all challenges. Here’s a detailed study on the top five ways FSM software can help tackle the most common challenges of field service.
Most field service businesses grapple with scheduling challenges.
Businesses that evolve organically continue with their manual whiteboard or spreadsheet methods. As the company grows in size and volume, they soon find scheduling demands overwhelming. When the customer requests last-minute schedule changes, the entire schedule gets disrupted. A service technician calling in sick has the same effect. If a job gets delayed, the downstream jobs assigned to the field agent get delayed.
Catering to emergency jobs often involves reassigning technicians already allocated to other jobs. Such reallocations wreck prepared schedules. All such instances are commonplace in any field service operations.
Even without such exceptions, matching jobs to the right field agent is tough. The scheduler must ensure the field agents assigned to the task have the skills and expertise to do the job. They also have to cross-check the inventory and ensure the availability of tools and spares for the job. The appointment should not get in the way of the field technician’s off-hours or holidays. Finally, the schedulers must group jobs by location so field agents do not have to backtrack. When field agents spend more time on the road, their productivity decreases, and customer wait time increases. Such a situation cause higher employee turnover and reduced customer satisfaction.
FSM software automates scheduling and dispatch. The suite links to the company’s skill repository and shortlists qualified agents. Next, it ascertains the availability of the technicians depending on their off days, jobs already assigned, and so on. The suite also integrates inventory management and validates spare availability. It then plots the field technician’s route to ensure minimal travel time and cover the maximum number of sites in a shift.
Best-in-breed software integrates with maps to streamline dispatching. The map guides the technicians through the best routes, saving time, reducing fuel costs, and improving efficiency.
End-to-end automation makes the process instant and accurate. The field service management software helps service companies avoid embarrassing situations such as missing appointments or, worse, not assigning a field agent to a work order.
Often, field agents have no reliable way to communicate with their head office in real time. Relying on chat messaging apps and telephone calls hamper smooth and streamlined operations. When the business grows, managing multiple locations and technicians becomes difficult.
FSM software offers many benefits not available using piecemeal or generic collaboration tools.
The home service software provides all work-related information in one place. Robust APIs link to third-party databases related to CRM, accounts, and more to enable the free flow of information.
All information in one place:
One of the biggest challenges of field service is the opaque nature of operations. Keeping track of all technicians’ activities to ensure they remain productive is difficult. Field service work takes place outside the watchful eyes of the supervisor. The field agents are often on their own, with no support, backup, or monitoring.
FSM software provides real-time visibility into field operations. The app linked to the suite leverages the smartphone GPS to track the agent’s real-time location. Managers can monitor agents’ live location and job status and give reliable updates to waiting customers. They may even allow customers to track the assigned agents in an Uber-like way. Also, they can intervene if they notice a lag on hold up to nip any issues in the bud.
The field service software offers centralized control. Managers can control multiple locations and technicians.
Integrating inventory management makes sure equipment remains in good working condition. The software can schedule maintenance and repairs to keep equipment in top condition, and pre-empt breakdown,
Many field service businesses underestimate the challenge of data entry and reporting. When field agents have to do the paperwork, they waste time on unproductive work. Their next-in-line work gets held up, and customer waits time increases. Also, when field agents translate their field notes to forms or rely on their memory, the chances of errors are high. Such errors can have serious implications, especially when the reports are part of compliance mandates.
The best FSM software offers ready-made forms and the option to upload customized digital forms. When field agents work through these forms and checklists, they follow a strict rigmarole and comply with all procedures. Digital forms allow capturing data within an approved range. Field agents can capture data, upload images and videos, and get electronic signatures.
Automating routine, repetitive tasks, and paperwork:
Data security is another underestimated challenge facing most field service businesses. Any breach impacts the company’s reputation and can pave the way for ruinous regulatory fines.
The field service software keeps data safe. The cloud-based storage ensures anytime, anywhere access, with full traceability of who has accessed the data and when. The data, stored in secure servers with encryption, provide total safeguard.
A robust FSM software such as ReachOut offers all the basic features to streamline field service operations. The enterprise edition provides advanced options that enable customization and innovation. It offers a platform to co-opt new technologies, such as AI and IoT, and leverage data analytics to identify new growth opportunities. Deep insights improve the quality of decision-making.
Today, companies face huge pressure to optimize operations and cut costs. The investment in ReachOutfield service management software pays back quickly through improved efficiency, streamlined communications, scalability, reduced operational costs, better employee productivity and morale, and improved customer satisfaction. Connect with us today to learn more about ReachOut and how it can benefit your service business.