4 top tips for choosing a field service management platform

February 6, 2022

Choosing the right field service management software can make a significant impact on sustainability. We recently published some research that said one in five Brits (20%) will only hire tradespeople who have clear environmental initiatives, highlighting the importance of businesses being green.

Sustainability in field service management protects the environment, boosts return-on-investment, and generates revenue. But how do you get started?

The field services industry is experiencing rapid growth. In fact, statistics show that one in five UK businesses rely on field service teams to deliver their services. AND, there are more than 1.2 million field services businesses in the UK. 

Plus, a shocking 44% of UK workers say their company’s office technology is ‘woefully outdated’ and causes them to waste just over a quarter of each day on pointless administrative tasks. 

This has left many field service management companies looking for ways to innovate both to stay competitive in the market, as well as maintain staff productivity throughout the business. 

Field service management platforms (FSM) can provide the perfect solution for meeting changing customer expectations and for increasing profitability across the business. However, selecting the right one for your business and its unique requirements can feel like a daunting task. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Although there are plenty on the market to choose from, they’re not all created equally, and there are particular features you should be on the lookout for when making a decision. 

Things such as:

  • Integrated mobile apps. According to 54% of field technicians, the industry’s biggest bottleneck is not having access to pre-work site data.
  • Intelligent scheduling assistant. Scheduling and dispatching difficulties are the main challenges for field service organisations.
  • An asset manager. Around 43% of small businesses don’t track their assets and inventory effectively, opting instead to rely on paper-based documents, spreadsheets and legacy systems — all of which are prone to errors. 
  • Online invoicing and payment features. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, late invoice payments have skyrocketed in the UK by 23%.

In this article, we’ll explore these top four platform features you should expect to find when looking for field service management software. Read on to learn more.

Top 4 field service management software features to look out for

Let’s take a closer look at the key features you should be looking out for when choosing the right FSM platform for your business. 

  1. Mobile functionality 

Having a mobile app or cloud based technology isn’t a luxury for today’s FSM technicians. It’s a necessity. To ensure that your business is running as efficiently as possible, you must give your team everything they need to do their jobs.

With a mobile app, not only will your engineers have access to pre-work site details that removes any obstacles that could stand in their way, but they can also do the following:

  • Communicate with your back-office and share their location
  • Access the CRM (customer relationship manager)
  • Log expenses
  • Capture photos and signatures
  • Complete DVSA-compliant vehicle walk-around checks
  • Carry out risk assessments and follow workflows
  • View stock and equipment availability
  • Issue digital invoices and accept online payments
  • Fill out timesheets
  • Log and track jobs, job progress, and job completion

…All from the palm of their hands (well, mobile device).

By eliminating unnecessary paperwork, unnecessary travel to jobs, and additional journeys to the office, technician’s productivity will be improved, providing them with time to attend additional appointments in the day. You’ll also enjoy greater customer satisfaction and an improved bottom line for the business. 

A mobile app provides technicians with access to real-time communications so they can stay updated with current, previous, and future jobs that can save them time and create a better customer service and experience.

  1. Intelligent scheduling 

Job management is such a vital component of running a successful field service business that you can’t just hope for the best. After all, your schedule is responsible for ensuring the right people are in the right place at the right time.

Therefore, you should look for a field service management platform that includes an intelligent scheduling assistant. By using this assistant, your back-office team will be able to do the following:

  • Assign and dispatch workers to jobs based on their locations
  • Traffic information, skill sets, vehicle types, qualifications and job constraints at the click of a button
  • Schedule the right people to the right jobs with ease
  • Set and track deadlines

With better job scheduling and ensuring that the correct person has been allocated for each job, you’ll be able to improve your first-time fix rates, impress your customers and increase your profits simultaneously. Better still, your back-office team won’t be burdened with any additional work as they can do it all with a click of a button!

  1. Asset Management 

Human error, whilst unintentional, can eat into your profits and prevent you from taking on more ambitious projects that would directly contribute to company growth. As such, having a reliable asset management system in place is essential.

Being able to effectively manage your inventory can help your business in the long run. 

Finding the right field service management platform means you’ll be able to:

  • Scan and sign inventory in and out of storage 
  • Check real-time inventory levels
  • Receive recommendations on when to restock 
  • Have access to accurate, real-time data

A good field service management platform will allow you to keep track of stock and allow engineers to use their mobile devices to scan items in and out of storage. By digitising your inventory and linking it to your central system, you’ll have access to accurate, real-time data that gives you the power to make better long-term business decisions instead of reactively ordering stock. 

Learn more about the importance of managing your inventory effectively here.

  1. Digitise invoicing and payments 

Unpaid invoices can stunt your cash flow, leaving you unable to meet vital operational expenses. For businesses to thrive post-pandemic, you must consider ways to streamline your invoicing and payment methods for a more rapid process.

Arming your engineers with a mobile app that’s linked to your central field service management platform doesn’t just help them get the job done, it also gets you paid on time. Once they’ve completed the work, each engineer can generate an electronic invoice and send it to your customer in minutes. 

Then, the customer can pay for the service using a range of convenient online methods on the same day. Aside from involving less paperwork, online invoicing and payments significantly reduce the chance of late payments, meaning you’ll always have a healthy cash flow.

The benefits of having an online invoicing and payments features, include: 

✅ Tracked payments

✅ Same day payments

✅ Electronic invoices 

✅ Customers have quick access to invoices

✅ Easy methods of online payments for your customers

✅ Reduced number of late payments

✅ Better customer experience

Key takeaways 

For your organisation to stay ahead of the curve and bounce back stronger post-COVID, you must look for ways to modernise your technology and streamline workflows.

The right field service management platform eradicates time-consuming activities and paperwork from your team’s day. As a result, everyone will have more hours each week to do what they do best, and your bottom line will enjoy a boost.

At BigChange, our secure, cloud-based software helps you track and control every job, from quotation to payment, on a single platform. Everything you need to know will be at your fingertips, making it super easy to:

✅ Plan 
✅ Manage
✅ Schedule 
✅ Track 

Plus, you’ll be able to make the most of our dedicated, expert support. If you want to read more, we wrote about reasons to invest in field service management software here.

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