The field service industry has gone through over the past couple of years.
Some of the main pain points are logistics, resource management, time and task planning, and team administration.
A fast and effective solution to all these challenges is field service management (FSM).
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about field service management solutions, field service software, and what to expect from service providers.
Let’s dive right in!
What Is Field Service Management?
Field service management is the process of overseeing and directing a company’s mobile resources (equipment, field technicians) that are operating on client premises.
A good example is telecommunication companies. Field service technicians who work for comms companies are responsible for carrying cables, routers, and other equipment and material outside company property in order to service clients.
To make this possible, comms companies hire operation managers to take over the entire field service management process. From scheduling and route optimization to planning tasks, dispatching equipment, and overall project management, these managers have to deal with a lot of moving parts. Their main concern is to improve operational efficiency and empower each service technician to do their job as best as possible.
Each field service team needs an FSM support framework in order to deliver exceptional service:
- Locate vehicles and resources
- Asset management
- Advanced scheduling and dispatching work orders
- Billing, accounting, and other back-office tasks
The Importance Of Modernizing Field Service Operations
Before we move on and see how a field service management software can help these operation managers achieve their goals, it would be beneficial to understand the progress achieved by the field service business in the past couple of years.
It’s not long ago that field service management simply meant that each field service technician had to periodically check in with the back office from the job site to report progress, status, roadblocks, etc.
The new reality is that successful field service businesses are the ones that understand and embrace the benefits of mobile technology. Field workers have to visit multiple job sites in a single day and they need to be autonomous and empowered to do their job. Communication between head office and field service practitioners should happen through a cloud-based system.
Enter field service management software.
A field service management software is the perfect solution for bringing your cutting operational costs and modernizing operations altogether. Field service software centralizes essential data such as service requests, service history, company details, employee scheduling, driver logs, inventory management, and more.
By embracing the mobile field service evolution and supplying field service technicians with mobile devices, you are eliminating manual processes, decreasing human error possibilities, cutting overhead or administration costs, as well as improving communication.
All technicians have to do is log in to their field service app and get real-time, offline access to the information they need. No phone calls, no back and forth with the office, no miscommunication – just an easy-to-use mobile app that keeps everything in one place.
The Impact Of Field Service Software
What many field service businesses will tell you is that a big part of their success depends on how you manage your resources.
According to research, over 45% of field technicians don’t have sufficient tools for their work. Advanced technologies such as machine learning are moving processes along rapidly, but many companies still manage their operations manually.
Manual work causes delays, reduces productivity, and translates to poor customer experience.
This is where field service management software can help you mitigate these risks and achieve end-to-end field service automation:
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Mobile field service should be work like a Swiss clock. Customer expectations are super high and include zero downtime and immediate technical support amongst others.
A field service management software can help expedite business operations, reduce human errors, and improve customer satisfaction and even more importantly build customer loyalty.
A flexible field service management software automates operations and provides an accessible information flow among team members, departments, and customers. The centralization of data and automation of communication is highly beneficial when managing a big group.
Every authorized team member can access the database with necessary details about the client, locations, requirements, and tasks. With less time spent on admin tasks, teams will increase productivity and the service delivery will be noticeably faster.
When you provide mobile-first tools, service technicians carry the knowledge base and digital tools they need with them, reducing the time spent communicating with the back office. The mobile capabilities of a modern field service management solution elevate service efficiency.
A mobile workforce needs a mobile solution, it’s as simple as that.
FSM software displays an employee’s location and helps estimate time and routes better. The tracking feature increases your employees’ security and credibility, not to mention, customers’ trust.
Real-time task assessment
Immediately after the task is executed, clients can sign and rate your employee work quality. For instance, a brief survey to evaluate the service performance. Real-time task assessment gives a better perspective on how your company is operating.
Since field service operations are very dynamic, companies must alternate between scheduling work orders and operations, resolving issues, administration, and everything else.
FSM software provides smart scheduling based on your team’s availability, location, and previous work history.
How Does FSM Software Work?
And FSM technology automates all the processes a standard field service company does every day.
Typically, FSM tech solutions are mobile, allowing employees to use the same devices they’ve been using in their daily operations to maintain constant connection so everything can be tracked in real-time.
For example, if you’re a manager or owner of a plumbing company with some vans and employees, this is how an FSM tech solution would work:
- The system would alert employees about a new work order and provide them with all the information and client history.
- Then it monitors which employees took which van and tools.
- Simultaneously, the central database shows available tools.
- The following work order is then sent to the available employees to pre-select the available vehicles and tools.
- Throughout the process, information about energy/fuel consumption, productivity, first-time fix, and all other metrics are retrieved, stored, and analyzed.
- Information is passed on to the relevant departments (e.g., accounting).
- Since everything is automated, there’s no need for workers to do anything manually.
- Everything’s simply available at the click of a button. Available to visit a client? Click ‘yes.’ Job completed? Click ‘finished.’
FSM software solutions come in all shapes and sizes and typically provide the following functionalities:
- Dispatching, scheduling, and task delegation
- Work order management
- Real-time analysis of mobile work status
- Reduction of overhead costs and paperwork
- Increase in first-time-fix rates
- Increase in productivity and efficiency
Benefits Of Field Service Management Software
A professional field service management software has many benefits for a field service business.
Firstly, it enhances customer satisfaction.
Since it’s much easier to coordinate tasks, customers are reached in less time. And if there are any potential problems, you can quickly identify them through features that allow you to monitor task statuses and comments.
Suppose you’re offering a field service that covers different areas of expertise. In that case, you can also set up a system to assign tasks to technicians who have the necessary skills for a particular problem.
Secondly, good FSM software will increase employee satisfaction.
Since activities are automated, employees of all types (both technicians and back-office employees) can focus on optimization instead of administrative work.
With these tools, you can automate routine tasks, freeing up your employees to do what they do best: provide stellar service.
Finally, it’s much easier to scale your business when you have accurate insights into the business process.
From real-time tracking of location and assets to customer history and job status, you can run your operations more smoothly. If a problem occurs, reassigning tasks is a matter of a single click. These systems also facilitate improved inventory and quality management.
And since they aggregate historical data, you can use them to make better decisions for each customer, employee, and business goal.
What To Consider When Choosing A Field Service Management Software Provider
The first thing you should consider is integration with your existing systems.
If you’re already using tools for ERP, customer relationship management, inventory management, sales, or any other aspect of your field service operations, take a look at the degree of integration each tool (and your future FSM tool) offers.
Typically, all of these solutions offer direct integration with major software and API or third-party integrations (such as Zapier integrations) that can also be set up.
Ideally, you’ll be able to ultimately connect your systems to a central database and reduce the number of data silos at your company.
Predictive maintenance is also one of the most critical factors. You want to reduce costs, and this aspect of some FSM tools can help you detect warning signs even before a problem has happened.
Frequently Asked Questions About Field Service Management & FSM Software
Yes! FSM software pricing typically varies from freemium ($0) to upscale solutions with a higher price tag.
However, the functionalities can be used by everyone and typically vary according to the number of users, meaning that you’ll be able to reach your business goals even if you’re not running a big company.
With FSM, everything is neatly tracked, displayed, labeled, and assigned according to the method you choose. So if you want to make sure that the inventory that came in first goes out first, you absolutely can.
It does, as it offers more transparency. You’re able to see the availability of all the resources you need to conduct field operations.
The best FSM software is the one that suits your business needs, team size, and market. There are thousands of solutions available, all you need to do is to assess them before.
Want to see your field service company thrive? Request a demo and we will contact you to talk more about Frontu FSM benefits for your business.