Why contractors need a field service management system
Here are five truths about plumbing and mechanical service businesses.
Change isn’t always easy, especially for service businesses that are already dealing with aggressive competitors, demanding customers, shrinking margins and a whole host of productivity issues. With everything else going on in a business owner’s day, evaluating which business software solutions to purchase ends up on the back burner.
The truth is that many of the issues taking up a business owner’s valuable time every day can be eliminated by just these kinds of solutions. For service companies, the difference between having a field service management solution and not having one can be considerable.
Let’s go over five truths about field service management.
1. What is the cost of indecision? One question to ask a business owner faced with inefficient old practices is, “What is the cost of doing nothing?” A business can continue operating as-is, despite the inefficiencies it may be experiencing.
It also is possible to “Band-aid” some issues, such as simplifying a paper work order form to keep the information better organized or asking technicians to drop off the day’s work orders back at the office at the end of each day to ensure faster invoicing.
However, in the end, it probably never feels like any efficiency issues are resolved. The old way of doing things with a few Band-aids is still the old way of doing things.
2. What are the risks? Businesses using paper and clipboards to manage jobs aren’t just risking slow payment from customers, inaccurate job information, lost work orders, etc. They’re missing out on the deep business insights available when all customer, worker and job information is digitized and available as real data that can easily be analyzed.
Suspicions about where a business is losing money or time can either be confirmed or newly discovered. “Who are really your best customers?” “Which of your workers is the most or least productive?” Answering these questions becomes easy when access is available to the real data your business generates.
3. Pardon the interruption. One assumption many business owners make about bringing in a new software program, such as field service management, is that while it may bring positive changes to the business, it will come at the price of lost time and work as employees get up to speed on how to use it. Training field workers and office staff is essential to the adoption of any new system, which is why it’s critical for business owners to raise the issue with any potential vendors right away.
The first step when searching for a vendor should always be to find out what the onboarding process — communicating the information to employees — looks like before taking the next step. The right vendor will have a scalable, thoughtful approach to training that gets staff and technicians up and running with minimal impact to business operations.
4. Easy does it. Of course, training is only part of the process of adopting a new system. If the software is poorly designed and isn’t flexible enough to meet the company’s needs, all the training in the world won’t help.
Asking for a live demonstration of any software will allow everyone in the company to experience it and see how they would navigate through the system. Having the ability to create a quote, create a job and schedule an appointment provides technicians and staff with an opportunity to ask questions and better understand the process.
5. The new way of doing things. Once the vendor is selected and the onboarding is complete, companies will begin to experience the benefits of the software immediately. They will see the impact from the first job when an existing customer calls and the dispatcher schedules an appointment within seconds, without having to call anyone.
Having instant mobile access to job details will ensure technicians can efficiently complete the work, receive sign-off or create a new quote for the next job on the spot using a mobile device. Long gone are the manual processes that slowed business performance.
Now is the time for automated processes that give control back to business owners.
To see the 5 Truth of Field Service Management please click here.
About the author: Mike Raia is the senior director of digital strategy and emarketing at FieldAware, a field service management company catering to small- and mid-sized businesses. Raia has worked in the field service software industry for five years and in Web marketing for more than a decade.