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How Can Field Services Benefit From Business Software Apps?



Featured image: How Can Field Services Benefit From Business Software Apps

The field service industry has been slow to keep pace with others when it comes to utilizing available technologies. Smaller organizations, in particular, are prone to sticking to traditional practices that no longer cut it in today’s world of heightened customer expectations. 

These days, field service businesses have an abundance of tech tools to choose from. Apart from the usual communication and productivity apps, managed service providers offer tech solutions that significantly increase efficiency. There are also industry-specific business software providing a suite of features that can handle a multitude of operational tasks.  

This article discusses the many benefits the field service industry can reap from business software apps.   

1. Increasing productivity 

One of the main challenges in the field service industry is optimizing workflows. A disorganized workflow is a common hindrance for field service businesses, as this leads to dispatching inefficiencies, which then turn into schedule overlaps. Field service business solutions address this issue with logical features, including: 

  • Online booking: After clients accomplish online job forms, the system alerts the manager, who can then check staff availability, schedule, and dispatch accordingly. These can all be done remotely and with an automated email and text alert for both employees and clients. 
  • Automated admin work: Because job orders are done online, all related admin stuff gets taken care of. This can include sending quotes, coordinating team members, and noting job details. The efficient flow of information removes the need for multiple exchanges over the phone or email and stores all relevant information in a central space.  

A field service business software makes it easy to organize workflow across the entire operations. Employees can see updated schedules on their mobile devices, view job order specifics, and even get optimal routes to clients. Meanwhile, managers can easily view team progress, allowing them to assign the right jobs to the right people. Easy access to all operational information results in a more efficient workflow across the organization.   

2. Eliminating repetitive tasks 

As alluded to earlier, field service software can automate time-consuming administrative tasks. This can include the following: 

  • Estimates 
  • Invoices 
  • Follow-ups 
  • Alerts and reminders via email or text 
  • Reports 
  • Sorting duplicate entries 
  • Generate optimal routes 

For example, Jobber’s business software for plumbers has a receipt scanner that takes photos of receipts and attaches them directly to the expense log. Office admin can view this in real-time, allowing them to monitor each expense and who should be reimbursed. You can even attach a unique accounting code to every expense, adding convenience to accounting and payroll. This information is also fed into the system and used to generate reports automatically.  

Furthermore, automating job orders and feeding them into the system avoids costs due to miscommunication. It’s easy to get details lost over the phone or lengthy email threads. By having the job details for everyone to see, technicians can avoid missing out on tasks customers paid for. Conversely, technicians won’t mistakenly provide service you might have difficulty billing for later on.    

As you can see, the number of tasks these business solutions can automate adds up to a lot of time saved doing admin work. In the field service industry, time is a valuable resource better spent on attracting more jobs and growing the business.   

3. Optimizing resources 

When you have an optimized workflow and automated processes, you can make the most of your resources too. For example, field service software can have a GPS waypoint that generates the best route for employees. This allows managers to make quick adjustments to job assignments. If a job is finished earlier than expected, you can assign another nearby job instead of dispatching another technician.  

In addition, you can integrate existing tools with the software to streamline your processes even more. For instance, syncing your accounting tools can allow the field service software to generate necessary financial reports. It even has integrations for your other communication channels. This means your customers can book jobs via platforms, such as your Facebook page.  

So, you’re not only able to optimize your operations and human resources, but you’re also able to make the most of the digital tools you already have.   

4. Reducing operational costs 

operational cost illustration

An efficient workflow means you can minimize unnecessary expenses. As discussed above, field service apps can automate several administrative duties. This results in savings from office staff salaries. Combine this with the reduction in transportation costs from having optimized routes and the incremental savings from digitized documents, and you can see a significant decrease in operational expenses. Moreover, the time and job tracking features ensure your billable hours are accurate, as team members can clock in within the app when they start and finish a job.   

Field service software can reduce costs on training and recruitment as well. For example, managers can build performance profiles for technicians. These profiles are constructed by tracking the following: 

  • Work orders completed in a day 
  • Types of tasks completed 
  • Number of calls serviced  
  • Customer satisfaction 

These metrics can highlight what types of training would benefit the realities on the ground and do away with useless theoretical training. They also help inform requirements when you need to onboard new technicians.  

Additionally, field service apps can help optimize inventory while reducing stockouts and overstocking. Technicians can input what materials are used for jobs, which can automate restocking. This real-time inventory management ensures you can service job orders accordingly and aids cash flow handling.  

5. Enhancing customer satisfaction 

When it comes to customer satisfaction, offering convenience from start to finish is crucial. That’s what field service apps allow you to do. You can eliminate missed calls and frustrated customers, as they can request an estimate or work directly from your website and other communication channels. And because you can send quotes for customer approval shortly after they book online, you can get back to potential clients faster. This gives a customer-centric approach to your field service business.   

The ability to add notes and attachments to job orders also ensures you get instructions and special requirements down to a T. This information will be stored in the software’s client management system, meaning you have every customer’s preference on file. This allows you to personalize your service and continually impress customers.  

On top of that, the best field service apps provide a self-serve portal for customers. This allows them to request work, confirm appointments, approve quotes, and pay invoices—all online.   

6. Offering data-based insights

man viewing a virtual dashboard

Field service software bring the benefits of analytics to the industry, taking the information gathered from customers and turning them into meaningful insights. Business owners can leverage these insights to inform decisions and continually improve services. 

For example, you can also collect data from the customer contact points you use, such as calls, emails, and web inquiries. This data allows you to offer popular services and craft strategic promotions to encourage cross- and upselling. Further, field service apps can enable the business to study operational data, like: 

  • Number of callbacks per job 
  • Orders not serviced 
  • Percentage of orders not serviced 
  • Retention rate 
  • Average invoice age 

Data can show, for instance, the number of unserved orders trending upward or that the business is taking longer to collect money than it should. These insights can lead to decisions, such as hiring more technicians or onboarding a billing manager.  

More importantly, data analytics can help the business prepare for the future. Managers can see trends and changes that occur seasonally or annually and plan accordingly. These can lead to insights that can include: 

  • Factors affecting operational expenses 
  • Factors driving employee productivity and efficiency 
  • Customer data to inform sales and marketing strategies  

The longer the system is in place, the more information it can analyze. This results in a more streamlined workflow over time, with strong operational areas amplified and weaker ones enhanced. Again, this serves as a win for the business and its customers.  

Final words 

The continued evolution of business software is a transformative tool for businesses in the field service industry. In a world defined by on-demand content and speedy deliveries right at consumers’ doorsteps, the field service industry can operate at par with the best in the world with the help of tech solutions. 

For smaller businesses, this is an excellent way to jumpstart your operational modernization. Your employees and customers can thank you later.  

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