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. Implementing digital technology and field service management software into your field service processes can benefit all types of small and medium-sized (SMBs). Such as improving efficiencies and the overall effectiveness of your workers in the field.
What Field Service Management Challenges do Small Businesses Face?
Plumbing and electrical engineers, painters, landscape gardeners and care worker agencies are all examples of small firms that have technicians or agents operating in people’s homes or other premises.
A key challenge is getting the right field service worker to the right place at the right time. This includes making sure they get to their destination quickly and cost-effectively. Factors to consider for this include:
- Optimal route planning
- Tracking time spent at a job
- ensuring that as little time is wasted as possible
According to Field Service News, 50% of service hours are frequently lost in travel time. This is even before an engineer arrives on-site. The more productive field workers can be, the more work orders/jobs you can accept. This then results in more revenue from your operations.
Data, however, poses a different challenge. When it comes to data, you need to think about:
- The best and most reliable way to store data
- How to access work orders
- The legal implications of handling customer data
- Accessing inventory data and reports when in the field
Ideally, data should be stored centrally and made accessible to those that need it. It should be synced in real-time too, across multiple devices and locations.
Seamless communication is another aspect small businesses need to focus on. Customers don’t want to have to explain the job required in detail to a technician after going through it with a service manager at the head office.
Customers also want instant solutions to problems. They don’t want to wait for the technician to get back to the office for updates on parts and pricing.
The list of field service management challenges that small businesses face can seem endless. But, many can be overcome through the implementation of tools such as field service management software.
Can SMBs Use Field Service Management Software?
Software of this type can be used for any type of field service business. Especially those wanting to unite their office employees and field workers.
The right FSM tool can automate your processes such as the scheduling and dispatching of jobs. As well as achieving better management of field workers and customer service activities.
But, unlike an enterprise, a small business needs an affordable and scalable solution. One that doesn’t require too much investment upfront and can grow with the company.
Several field service management tools tick the box in this regard, being cloud-based, flexible, software-as-a-service (SaaS) models.
4 Benefits of Field Service Management Software for SMBs
The typical features found in a field service management tool can offer value to most SMBs. Including route optimisation, GPS tracking, job scheduling, inventory management and analytics.
Some solutions offer built-in invoicing and CRM modules too, as well as the ability to integrate with existing systems.
With such a variety of functions, come many benefits for small businesses. Such as:
Reducing in-field expenditure
Field service management software gives you a holistic view of all fieldwork activities. You can effectively match the right worker to the right job. While taking into account the skill set required, the location of the job and the staff that are already out in the field.
Through efficient route planning, you can get field workers to their next job quickly. This allows you to effectively minimise a worker’s fuel consumption. This has a direct knock-on effect on productivity. Meaning more jobs can be done per day to maximise profits.
Faster payments from customers
With mobile and cloud capabilities, field workers can access and update an FSM tool from their mobile device. They can update work orders, capture photos of finished work, update inventory with parts used and enter the exact time spent on the job. The customer’s signature can also be obtained as proof of job completion. 52% of small businesses worry about unpaid invoices, but invoicing as soon as the job’s done can speed up payment. With field service management software, invoices can be triggered as soon as a job completion notification is received.
Improved Customer Service
Customer expectations are rising. The right tool can help meet and exceed customer demands, translating into better all-round service. In fact, 70% of field service management organisations cite customer satisfaction as a primary benefit of implementing FSM software.
With software, customers can be sent details about the worker who will be visiting them. They’ll also receive notifications when they’re on their way, as well as aftercare service messages. Technicians can play a more hands-on role in customer service by having the job information and resources at their fingertips. The office can prepare the technician for the work required by attaching notes and customer-submitted photos to work orders. As well as providing schematics and any technical documentation that may be needed.
Information like this can help technicians fix the job first-time. First-time fix rate is an important metric to monitor and improve, as it has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and business profitability. Research shows that best-performing companies boast an average first-time fix rate of 88%.
Better Organisation and Workflows
Field service management tools help to improve scheduling and dispatch workflows. It removes the need for paperwork -along with human errors – and ensures that there’s no overlap between jobs.
Scheduling can be done in real-time, allowing you to prioritise urgent assignments as they come in. As well as change plans when needed. FSM automates other workflows too, such as invoicing, routing and customer relationship management. All customer data and information relating to fieldwork activity can be centralised. As a result, the data becomes more organised. For example, you can store job notes, past work history, job photos, billing history, invoices, quotes, contracts and contact information.
Is Field Service Management Tool Right for Your Small Business?
If you need to improve scheduling and dispatch operations, maximise the productivity of your field workers and are striving to deliver better customer service, this type of software can help.
Rest assured that small businesses, like enterprises, can make use of field service management software. SMBs will see cost reductions, faster payments, improved workflows and an increase in customer satisfaction.
Before you start researching the best tool for your business, check out our Field Service Management Software Buyer’s Guide. It covers some important considerations that are worth thinking about as you explore your options.