Compare the Best Field Service Management Software to Log Job Requests, Communicate With Field Employees, and Improve Service Delivery to Customers

What Type of Field Assets Do You Want to Manage?

Field Service Management Software

Field Service Software enables managers and supervisors to quickly and efficiently assign their workers to specific field tasks. Essentially, the various tools found in Field Service Management Software allow businesses to provide efficient and exceptional service to customers. As well as streamlining employee tasks by assigning technicians, providing helpful resources on-demand, optimising vehicle routes, and logging jobs directly from a smartphone or tablet. After all, it seems only fitting that an industry so synonymous with mobile working should require a mobile field service tool to further enhance its operations.

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A Buyer's Guide to Finding the Best Field Service Management (FSM) Software

Buyer's guide

In a competitive landscape such as the delivery of services, making sure their team of field workers provide great service to customers is essential for businesses. As is maximizing efficiency, reducing costs, and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.

To achieve this, there are various tasks that need to be accomplished. Typical processes include tracking vehicles, logging work orders, assigning technicians, and managing job statuses. But, managing multiple field service duties at one time can be overwhelming. Particularly if these processes are being done by using pen and paper or spreadsheets. That’s where a Field Service Management Software solution can help.


What Is Field Service Management Software?

Utilised by managers and supervisors, Field Service Management Software is used to assign workers to field tasks while being able to monitor performances. Essentially providing the tools necessary to improve the efficiency of field workers and the delivery of services to customers.

Primarily used for scheduling work orders, dispatching agents, and tracking job statuses, typical Field Service Management Software features include:

  • Job scheduling
  • Vehicle and technician tracking
  • Remotely updating job statuses
  • GPS navigation to plan and optimize cost-saving vehicle routes
  • Storing job and payment logs
  • Digital invoicing
  • Reporting and analytics tools

Although 52% of businesses still use pen and paper, spreadsheets, and whiteboards, the use of Field Service Management Software is on the rise. Most notably due to the increase of Software as a Service (SaaS) and affordable pricing models.

Field service management software vs. manual field service processes

Whereas the deployment of field service tools was only common in large mobile operations such as utilities, waste management, healthcare, and telecommunications, it has now become an attainable tool for smaller organizations offering services such as plumbing, landscaping, pest control, and window cleaning.

The use of a field service management tool can result in a number of benefits that have a positive impact on the delivery of services, including:

  • Increased job completion percentages
  • Reduced fuel costs with route optimization
  • Improved communication between off-site and on-site employees
  • Reduced delivery delays with vehicle and technician tracking
  • Better accountability provided to customers with real-time job status tracking
  • Increased first-time fix rate (FTFR) with mobile access to on-demand resources
  • Improved customer retention rate

Who Uses and Benefits from Field Service Software?

Field Service Software is used to connect, assign, and dispatch workers to field tasks in the quickest and most efficient way possible. The various features offered by a typical FSM solution allows it to be used by anyone working in the field service sector. Particularly those businesses that find themselves regularly moving from onsite to offsite locations.

That includes field services such as:

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Energy providers
  • Landscaping
  • Pest control

As well as being a versatile tool that multiple field service providers can use, Field Service Software can also be utilised by numerous personnel within a business. That means, not only is it used by managers to dispatch field workers but it is also used by field staff, office staff, customers, and fleet managers.

For example, in a field service operation such as plumbing, various staff members can use Field Service Software in different ways; managers use it to assign workers to offsite field tasks, office-based workers use it to provide customers with real-time location updates, accounting employees use it for invoicing, and field workers use it to access information such as boiler manuals and inventory updates.

Typical Features Found in Field Service Management Software

Although Field Service Management Software can be built to match a business’s specific requirements, there are some features that are found in all types of FSM solutions. Typical features include:

Scheduling and Dispatch

By digitizing scheduling and planning, service managers are able to assign technicians in a way that not only reduces costs but also increases the likelihood of a first-time fix. There are several tools that make the use of a mobile platform essential when managing a team of field staff, including:

  • A real-time calendar view to know which technicians are available and when
  • GPS navigation and route planning to calculate how close a worker is to a specific job
  • Instant access to a technician’s labour rate and job knowledge to highlight preferred staff

Vehicle Tracking

The ability to track vehicles in real-time enables office-based staff to see how far their contractors are away from a potential job. This allows them to efficiently assign the right worker and avoid any delays in the delivery of services to a customer.

Coupled with a fleet management integration tool, vehicle tracking can also provide updates on driver behaviour and live GPS tracking to optimize routes and save on fuel costs.

Mobile Access

Deploying mobile access in the form of smartphones and tablets allows office-based staff to easily connect with workers in the field. Field staff are also able to create jobs, update work orders and statues, log hours, and process payments without having to wait until they’re back in the office to do so.

With a mobile solution, field staff will have access to back-end systems, trade tools, spare part inventory, and knowledge resources. All of which can assist them in completing a job without delays. Effectively improving first-time fix rates (FTFR) and delivering greater service to customers.

Digitized Invoicing and Payments

With the use of a mobile device, field workers are able to receive payments as soon as a job is complete. This helps reduce the time-consuming process of chasing payments from customers.

A team of mobile workers can also create professional invoices on-demand and either print or email them to customers. As well as having the technology to collect a customer’s digital signature.

Inventory and Spare Parts Management

Among the various resources available on-demand to field workers is real-time inventory management. This provides a holistic view of what inventory is in stock and ready to be used if a technician requires a spare part to complete a job. If a part is not in stock, workers have access to the supplier’s catalogue with the ability to place an order and track its delivery.

How to Highlight Your Current Field Service Management Processes

The level of understanding of your current processes has a direct impact on how efficiently you choose and implement Field Service Management Software.

Whilst most field service managers have a visual image of their services, we highly recommend mapping out all your field service management processes and responsibilities. To have a greater understanding of the processes you’re responsible for, ask yourself:

  • How do your customers log service requests?
  • Are service requests converted into work orders for your field-based workers?
  • How do you plan and schedule field jobs? Is it by priority, technical availability, spares availability, or completion time?
  • How are you relaying information regarding your field service tasks to your field-based technicians and engineers?
  • How do you know the status of each work order? Is it by the customer, job status, or billing?
  • How does your office-based team process service requests and information?

To state the obvious, an FSM solution is only going to improve and automate your current field service process. Therefore, if you only have a loose understanding of your current field service processes, it will be difficult to envisage how Field Service Management Software is going to enhance your services.

Once you have identified your current field service process, the next step is to outline any gaps or challenges in activities. We recommend that you categorise these gaps into three groups:

Logical Service Management Gaps

  • You may not be setting clear service level and completion expectations when requests are logged by customers. For example, most companies tend to set a completion time for their services. But, setting a shorter and more accurate first-time fix rate can result in greater customer satisfaction.
  • You may not be assigning technicians and engineers to the right job based on availability, availability of spare parts and inventory, expertise, and hourly rates.

Informational Service Management Gaps

  • You’re not collecting comprehensive information about the location of a job and your services.
  • You may not be collecting the identifiable unique asset identification number of assets that need to be serviced.

Ease of Service Delivery Gaps

  • You may not have a single data access point for your office-based employees and in-field workers. Instead, you’re providing information through email, on a mobile app, and on a spreadsheet. Which can make life difficult for your service team.
  • A less structured approval process to start, progress, and complete service jobs.

What Field Service, Workforce, and Commercial Outcomes Do You Require?

Being able to quantify the outcomes that you want from a field service management solution is beneficial for both you and your service teams. For instance, it can help you to:

  • Amplify your confidence and clarity in buying a new tool
  • Help you relay the outcomes of investing in a Field Service Management Software to your management
  • Define milestones to monitor the deliverables of your FSM tool

Most leading field service businesses will set clear goals for their services and in-field workers. For example, if you receive 300 requests per month, your total service management costs will be £400,000. The average service time would be 90 minutes. But, with a field service management system in place, you may set a target to reduce your field service costs to £300,000. You may also want the average service time to come down to 60 minutes.

Setting Your Field Service Management Goals

Field Service Management ParametersCurrent SystemTargets for New Field Service Management Software
Number of Service Requests Per Month300300
Service Cost Per Equipment5.5% of the total equipment cost per annum4 to 4.5% per annum
Equipment Life6 Years7.5 Years
Total Service Costs£400,000£300,000 to £320,000

As you have decided to implement a new way of delivering your field services, we strongly recommend using this milestone in your team to understand what type of behavioural changes and team enhancements you need to focus on in order to amplify your service delivery.

Your team is going to exchange information differently with a field service management tool. They’re also going to communicate differently with a field service management system.

So, before embarking on any system changes, it is highly recommended that you have clarity on what level of training and coaching your field service team will require. Allowing employees and in-field workers to adapt to working with the new software.

Identify FSM Software Features Needed to Meet Your Service Management Requirements

All field service management tools will be packed full of various features and capabilities. But, there may be some features that you want to prioritise above others in order to reach your field service goals. Because of this, it’s useful to have clarity on both the generic and process level features that you want from your new solution.

Ideally, having an understanding of your current field service processes and the gaps you need to rectify should act as a foundation for the features you require. It’s also important to identify what your core requirements are. For example:

  • What data do you plan to import data into your Field Service Management Software?
  • Do you need to integrate your FSM software with an existing in-house tool?
  • Do you need data feed from your accounts software or any external feed?
  • Are you wanting to improve collaboration between in-office employees and in-field workers?
  • Do you need to improve your work order and service request management?

Here’re some typical functions that field service managers and businesses require from a field service management tool:

Cloud-Based Service With Mobile Access for Technicians

Typically, cloud-based software refers to data being hosted on an external server that can be public, private, or a hybrid between the two. In this model, you rent the software and the space to hold your service data.

Most businesses opt for cloud-based software due to low upfront costs. This Software as a Service (SaaS) model allows you to access field service data at any time, anywhere, from a mobile device. This is crucial for allowing in-field workers and technicians to access data in real-time when on a job.

FSM software with mobile features

Most mobile field service engineers and teams have access to devices such as tablets, mobiles, and laptops. But, whilst the job and work order information is available on mobile devices, getting the balance right between information overload, concise information, and type ability/readability needs to be constantly revisited. Listed below are key parameters that you may want to consider when deciding on the features for your mobile service technicians:

  • Job access on tablets, mobiles, and laptops
  • Health and safety checks
  • Job progress and completion features
  • Spare parts traceability, return, and shipment
  • Job completion reports

As well as a cloud-based software option, other types of field service management tools include:

Web-Based FSM Software

This can be installed on a cloud model or on your own servers and is accessible through the web.

On-Premise FSM Systems

These are installed on your own servers. This architecture is mostly preferred over a web-based model for its extra security features.

Easily Log Field Service Requests

How you log service requests depends on both the nature of your business and your customers. For example, consumer service requests tend to be volume-driven, with low-average service costs. With Business-to-Business (B2B) services, the level of information you need to capture in order to plan and schedule field services can be complex.

Here are a few conditions that are likely to help you define your service request features:

  • Effectively organise service requests logged by customers
  • Filter jobs logged by condition and time-based parameters
  • Identify jobs logged due to service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Identify jobs logged due to condition monitoring
  • Being able to issue service certificates and reports

Planning and Scheduling Service Jobs

Here are a few typical service management conditions that allow you to define your features list:

  • Jobs planning and scheduling by availability, expertise, and service type
  • Calendar layout options to review plans and schedule
  • Calendar options to book technicians based on availability and hourly rates
  • Incorporating the availability of external technicians
  • Planning based on spare parts availability
  • Scheduling parts delivery
  • Route planning
  • Fleet management

Having Visibility and Control of Your Office-Based Teams

Service coordination, cooperation, audits, and inspections are just some of the key areas that office-based service teams lead. Here are some of the key tasks of office-based service teams that may help you to define your features list:

  • Accessing service information and technician information
  • Assigning and reassigning jobs
  • Ordering spare parts
  • Calendar scheduling
  • Billing
  • Invoicing
  • Logging calls and service notes

Reporting, Analytics, and Work Order Management

Leading service teams leverage Field Service Management Software by using it as a common repository for their entire team. They set it up to capture and relay data effectively, then use the service data to draw insights and trends. Ultimately making transformational service level decisions on data.

Here are some of the typical areas that may help you to refine your service reporting requirements:

  • Service incidents and status by each customer
  • Job completion metrics by each technician
  • Profitable service jobs
  • Loss-making service calls
  • Adherence to service level agreement
  • Threshold ordering for parts
  • Spare parts management
  • Vehicle servicing management

How to Shortlist & Compare the Best Field Service Management Software

Whilst most field service management tools look and feel the same, there are nuances in them that can make a big difference. For example, some systems will prioritise ease of logging service information, while some will focus more on mobile planning and scheduling.

We recommend reviewing the entire Field Service Management Software marketplace and shortlist at least five tools that match your core requirements.

Once you have your tools shortlisted, it’s then vital to develop a granular understanding of each system. Ask yourself:

  • Does the product match your core requirements?
  • Is the product used within your industry and would it be a good industry fit?
  • Will it be easily implemented within your current workflow?
  • Do your team, employees, and in-field workers need to be trained to use the system?

At this point, we recommend cross-referencing the deliverables you want from the tool with the price of the tool (use a budget calculator) and project the return on investment period.

Ideally, you’ll want to reach clear value statements. For example, you know that you can spend up to £23,000 per year on Field Service Management Software because it will save you £38,000 per year and you’ll recover your investment in nine months.

This type of clarified thinking helps to drive confidence and speed of decision making on purchasing and deployment.

Getting Buy-In from Decision-Makers

After you have seen an initial overview of each shortlisted system, you should then arrange an in-depth product demonstration for each field service tool.

It’s highly recommended that you collaborate, communicate, and involve all decision-makers during each product demo. Here are some key points that may help you to evaluate the fit with your requirements:

  • Is the tool easy to use?
  • Can the field service tool hold your data and replicate the desired service workflows with minimal training?
  • Review each feature that you have listed from Step 4 during the demo
  • How well is the service management system used in your industry?

As buying decisions are emotional, quantifying the logic to buy a tool that is going to be used in your organisation for the next three to five years is important.

Field Service Management Software is an automation factor to deliver your field service processes. It will amplify good data and well-thought-out processes. But if the data is not accurate and the processes are not well thought out, then it will just be another software tool that acts as a junk data collector.

Implementation, in many ways, is much more important than the solution you choose. A well-implemented, average service software will easily beat a poorly implemented, good service tool.

Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing an FSM Solution

Most field service software buyers make the mistake of not speaking with existing customers of their chosen software product. Speaking with a couple of customers is always recommended, as it can give you validation on the product, implementation and support.

Licensing conditions need to be clearly understood. If you are buying cloud-based software, you are renting the software and the space to hold your data. You’ll want to make sure you know what happens to your service data after you stop paying the rent, or what happens if you decide to switch software at a later stage.

Most UK-based products come with support included in the pricing, yet it might be an idea to cross-check support terms (technically known as a service level agreement) with the selected vendor.

If you are considering an open-source field service management product, you’ll have to have a clear understanding of how you are going to install the product, how you are going to configure it and how you are going to get support.

Knowledge Guides for Using Field Service Management Software and Tools

How to Streamline Job Management for Gas Engineers With Field Service Software

20th Mar 2021

Achieve higher customer retention rates & generate greater revenue with the right Field Service Management Software for your gas engineers.

Elevate Your Mobile Workforce Management with Field Service Tools

16th Mar 2021

Discover the four essential tools that service managers need to elevate their mobile workforce and improve overall customer satisfaction scores.

How Field Service Engineers Benefit From The Right Software Tools

28th Aug 2020

Know the impact that a field service engineer has within your business and how field service management software improves efficiency.

How to Choose the Right KPIs to Monitor Your Field Service Workforce

30th Sep 2020

Understand the benefits of using Key Performance Indicators and the KPIs you need to set up for your field service management processes.

How to Increase First-Time Fix Rate (FTFR) to Boost Field Service Customer Satisfaction

30th Sep 2020

Learn the importance of a high first-time fix rate and how your field service business can achieve the FTFR industry average of 80%.

How and Why IoT Is Enhancing the Field Service Sector

17th Sep 2020

See how the rapid advancements in technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are helping businesses to increase profitability, improve customer service, and make significant improvements to their field service operations.

How Small Businesses Benefit From Field Service Management

21st Aug 2020

You may not be aware, but field service management (FSM) tools are a great investment for not only large companies, such as utility and energy providers, but for small businesses too.


Field Service Management Software FAQs


What Is the Best Field Service Management Software?

Choosing the best field service management tool is subjective and depends on the features that you require to improve your field service processes. When choosing an FSM solution, it’s important to remember that what may be the best solution for one organisation, may not necessarily be the best choice for your field service activities.

Factors that you should consider when finding the best field service management solution include:

  • Industry fit

  • Number of in-field employees

  • Field services that you provide

  • The type of software you need (cloud-based, on-premise, etc.)

  • Your budget for FSM software


What Are the Benefits of FSM Software?

By automating your field service processes with FSM software, you’re able to improve efficiency throughout the workplace and maximise productivity. As well as this, other benefits of deploying an effective Field Service Management Software include:

  • Quicker invoicing and payment

  • Increasing customer retention

  • Dynamic and instant scheduling of work orders

  • Control travel costs with route optimisation

  • Track and monitor equipment in real-time

  • Monitor stock levels of inventory and spare parts

  • Quicker contact with your workforce


How Can Field Service Management Software Improve Job Management?

Job management is the approach taken by businesses to simply get the job done. This involves office-based and field workers executing all tasks within the job cycle to optimize and improve a business’s workflow; from quotes and estimates to timesheet management and invoicing.

The processes involved in job management are most commonly performed manually. This includes managing communication between employees in the office and workers in the field. As well as inputting data into various spreadsheets and tracking emails sent back and forth between clients and customers.

Not only is a manual job management approach time-consuming, but it can also stunt the growth of a business’s workflow operations.

That’s where a computerized cloud-based tool can help.

With the use of various features and capabilities found in Field Service Management Software, a business’s job management processes can be entirely digitized. This can benefit businesses in a number of ways, including:

  • Streamlining workflows

  • Capturing accurate data in real-time

  • Easing collaboration between office-based and field workers

  • Sending instant job quotes to customers

  • Accessing job data and schedules from mobile devices

  • Improving scheduling abilities

  • Instantly actioning reports


What’s the Difference Between FSM and Mobile Workforce Management?

Although sometimes seen as interchangeable, the differences between field service management and mobile workforce management (MWM) are vast. For starters, one caters more towards field workers and the other towards mobile workers.

Mobile workers are employees whose jobs and tasks take place away from the office. Types of mobile workers include health care specialist, trainers or service providers, and home contractors.

Field workers, on the other hand, are employees that have been tasked with delivering a specific skill; usually technicians and engineers. Field service workers travel to sites to either maintain, repair, or install specialized equipment and systems.

Because of these differences between mobile and field workers, the management processes for both types of employees vary.

Typical Mobile Workforce Management Features

Workforce management tools are built with a greater focus on customers and employees. With a customer-centric approach, features of a mobile workforce management system often focus on:

  • Flexible scheduling

  • Real-time work order alerts and notifications

  • Seamless reporting

  • GPS location tracking

  • Proof of delivery and payment

Typical Field Service Management Features

Field service management systems are designed to focus on the maintenance, upkeep, and installation of physical products. This hands-on approach is found in most asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing, utilities, and infrastructure. Features typically include:

  • Job scheduling and dispatch

  • Quote management

  • Contract management

  • Work order management

  • Spare parts inventory tracking

  • Mobile inspection checklists

  • Reports and analytics


How Can Field Service Management Software Benefit a Field Service Technician?

In a world that is dominated by the expectation of exceptional customer service and on-demand services, the role of a field service technician is fundamental for most industries. Whether that be maintaining infrastructure, repairing equipment, or installing security protocols.

Although the field service management sector is growing year-on-year and becoming increasingly important for businesses offering various services, there are still challenges facing the industry. Most notably, the slow adoption of modern management tools. This results in challenges such as:

  • Manual data collection

  • Slow service and response

  • An ageing workforce that is reluctant to change

  • Poor customer service

  • Reduced customer retention rate

But, as more and more field service companies shift to a paperless system such as Field Service Management Software, their operations begin to improve. Particularly the operations of field service technicians that have access to an FSM tool.

With a mobile field service management tool, service technicians can edit, upload, and access data from anywhere. Resulting in benefits such as:

  • Increasing first-time fix rate by analysing previous service reports

  • Accessing a shared calendar to operate on a more efficient schedule

  • Adopting a completely paperless system by collecting digital signatures and invoices

  • Identifying and meeting key SLAs

  • Viewing a real-time inventory of spare parts


Is a Field Service Management Tool Necessary for Small Businesses?

As a small business with 5-10 in-field service technicians, it’s common to question the need to upgrade your old system to a new one. Although costs may be a factor in your decision, businesses that go ahead and implement a form of Field Service Management Software tend to enhance productivity throughout the workplace.

Benefits that a small business can gain with the introduction of a field service tool, include:

Gaining an Overview of All In-Field Technicians

Although you’re only responsible for a handful of technicians in the field, keeping track of them is crucial to making sure work orders are carried out successfully. With a field service management system you’ll be able to monitor your workers remotely. This lets you see data regarding time spent on jobs and how many work orders are performed in the day. As well as tracking employee routes with the use of GPS trackers.

Tracking Equipment and Asset Inventory

There are problems facing the management of inventory across all types of businesses offering field services, no matter what the scale. But, as equipment can be expensive to replace, it’s crucial that smaller businesses with less of a budget should be tracking their valuable assets. By doing so, you’re also able to ensure appropriate maintenance to mission-critical assets and avoid downtime.

Collecting Data in One Centralised and Accessible Database

No matter the size of your operations, coordination is key to making sure services are delivered successfully. To ensure this collaboration, the use of a centralised database that can be accessed by both managers and employees is essential. Within this repository of data can be field worker profiles, work order schedules, contact information and asset documentation.


Will a Cloud-Based Field Service Management System Best Suit My Service Delivery?

Choosing a cloud-based field service management tool over other available types, such as on-premise, offers a vast range of benefits for all business sizes. The introduction of cloud-based and web-based software tools has revolutionised how organisations run their operations. And, field service management is no exception.

Here’re just some of the many benefits to choosing a cloud-based field service management system:

More Manageable Costs With a SaaS Solution

A Software as a Service (SaaS) solution is ideal for businesses looking to implement FSM at a reasonable cost. By opting for a cloud-based solution there will be minimal upfront costs. As well as no purchase of expensive infrastructure and no need to rent space to fit an array of servers. Most modern SaaS solutions also offer an easy-to-manage and no-contract payment structure that can be paid in monthly instalments.

Real-Time Information Regarding Assets and Field Workers

You’re able to track and collect data regarding your workers and services in real-time. Data can include worker locations, work order statuses, asset performance and customer history. With this data stored in a cloud-based system, it can be accessible to any business employee at any time from anywhere.