5 Reasons to Invest in Field Service Technology
20 December 2021
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a damaging impact on many field service companies across the country. However, despite the ongoing disruption, the industry is predicted to surpass a global value of £2.9 billion by 2025 as demand for skilled field service technicians remains high.
But, to survive in a post-pandemic landscape, field service organisations must innovate to maintain long-term commercial viability. Investing in technology will set your business apart from the competition and keep you ahead of the curve as customers look for more modern, convenient services.
In this article, we’ll explain what field service management (FSM) software is and why it’s a must-have for businesses that want to grow following a period of economic turbulence. We’ll also share the top five ways that a field service platform can benefit your company.
What is Field Service Management Software?
Field service management (FSM) organises and enhances all work performed outside the office. However, around 52% of organisations currently manage their operations using error-prone manual methods and inefficient legacy systems.
Although traditional methods of overseeing your field-based workforce may get the job done eventually, they are incredibly time-consuming and often lead to various costly errors. For example, suppose you’re using an old in-house system or a spreadsheet to run your operations. In that case, you may find that you have poor first-time fix rates, booking clashes or delays, dissatisfied customers and low productivity levels.
In a post-pandemic world, field service organisations can’t afford to be complacent about their ways of working. To stay ahead of the curve and thrive during times of economic turbulence, you must look for innovative ways to keep your business running smoothly.
That’s where field service technology comes in.
State-of-the-art FSM platforms can revolutionise and streamline your current processes, giving you more visibility and control over your business than ever before. Better still, you’ll be able to improve productivity, provide better service to your customers and boost your bottom line simultaneously.
Plus, the most cutting-edge platforms provide an integrated app that aids in seamlessly connecting your back-office staff, field technicians and customers. FSM mobile apps put vital information in the palm of your workers’ hands, enabling them to do the following:
- Communicate with your back-office staff in real-time
- Access the CRM (customer relationship management) system
- Complete electronic vehicle walkaround checks
- Log expenses in seconds
- Capture photos and signatures
- View available stock, parts and equipment
- Carry out risk assessments and view method statements
- Fill out and submit timesheets
With your entire workforce more connected than ever before, you’ll be able to run a smoother, more competitive operation.
How Field Service Technology Benefits Your Business
1. Enhanced Levels of Employee Productivity
Almost three-quarters (72%) of people who experience low stress levels at work say they have access to technology that enables them to work productively. Furthermore, 64% of people believe that automation can reduce workload and stress.
However, when your team’s ‘to-do’ lists are filled with monotonous tasks and pointless busywork, you’ll likely find that productivity levels decrease as your employees become less engaged in their work.
To keep your workers engaged, you must consider how technology will liberate their time to spend on more motivational activities that contribute directly to business growth. Field service management technology moves your entire operation onto one easy-to-use platform, giving your staff the ability to manage a customer’s booking — end-to-end — in just a few clicks.
By using your team’s time more effectively on business-critical activities, they’ll be able to complete more tasks, provide your customers with a better service and boost your bottom line.
2. Happier and More Loyal Customers
Unsurprisingly, businesses that prioritise the customer experience outperform those that don’t by an astounding 80%. Customers have high expectations, so if you aren’t taking the time to consider their needs, they’ll be less inclined to use your company again in the future.
But, how can field service technology improve the customer experience? To answer that question, we must look at the aspects of a business that are most attractive to customers:
1. Speed of Service
For 70% of customers, speed of service matters the most. Investing in technology is paramount to eliminating all inefficiencies that slow down your team. For example, field service management platforms remove the admin-heavy aspects of managing a customer’s booking and liberate your team’s time to focus on getting the job done well and to a high standard.
2. Good Communication
Only 14% of customers say they’re happy with current business communications. No one wants to have to chase down important information by waiting on the phone for hours to speak to a representative, so you need to keep your customers in the loop at regular intervals using less time-intensive communication methods.
Field service management platforms can pull through client data directly from the CRM (customer relationship manager) and place them into company-branded email templates before sending out automatic communications at the most vital points of the buyer journey. Consequently, your customers will never have to wonder where their technician is or waste time chasing them up.
Just under half (46%) of all customers will abandon a company if they don’t seem to be knowledgeable. But, with field service management technology, you can rest assured that everyone in your business will have all the information they need to hand, wherever they are.
For example, your back-office staff will have access to a robust system that includes everything — from booking details right up to invoices and payments — so they have a comprehensive record of each customers’ service history whenever they need it. Additionally, your field-based workforce can access the same information from their mobile devices, meaning they have the most up-to-date intelligence on each job and are equipped to answer any customer queries.
3. Better First-Time Fix Rates
Did you know that high-first time fix rates directly correlate with customer retention levels? Yet, second visits are a frequent occurrence for many field service organisations. Here are some of the most common issues that prevent workers from being able to complete a project on the first appointment:
- Incorrect or unavailable parts: 29%
- Customer or asset unavailable for service: 28%
- Improper diagnosis at time of dispatch: 19%
- Technician didn’t have the required skills: 15%
- Resolution was only temporary: 8%
Fortunately, field service technology has the power to eradicate the obstacles that cause low first-time fix rates:
1. Unsuitable Parts and Temporary Resolutions
With a field service management platform, you’ll have complete visibility over your inventory, enabling you to see quantities of stock in real-time, regardless of location. Furthermore, your back-office staff can allocate items directly to jobs, so your technicians never have to worry about arriving at an appointment with the wrong gear.
2. Unavailable Customers or Assets
Today’s customers lead busy lives, so you must provide them with the freedom to make and amend their bookings via an online portal, which many field service management platforms include.
By removing the need to sit on the phone to speak to a representative, you’re making it more convenient for customers to handle their appointment times and ensure they give you plenty of notice when they need to re-schedule. As a result, you’ll likely find that the frequency of customers being unavailable on the day of a booking significantly reduces.
3. Technicians with the Wrong Skill Sets and Improper Diagnoses
Although it’s essential to keep technicians’ travel times to a minimum, location isn’t the only factor you should consider when assigning workers to jobs. In fact, skill sets and qualifications play a large part in being able to deliver outstanding services.
If your technician doesn’t have the right skill set to diagnose or fix an issue, chances are they won’t be able to resolve the customer’s dilemma during the first appointment. The good news is that field service technology provides a way to guarantee the right people attend the right jobs. Using real-time data, the system analyses every technician available to match them up with the appointments they are best qualified to complete and simultaneously optimises their routes.
4. Enables Your Technicians to Attend More Appointments Each Day
In 2020, a quarter of field service organisations were using spreadsheets for job scheduling. The rest relied on whiteboards and other equally inefficient manual methods. Therefore, it’s no surprise that managing technicians’ schedules presents a significant challenge to many businesses.
But, with field service management technology, you can optimise your workers’ routes at the click of a button. Using an intelligent scheduling assistant, the system suggests particular technicians for each job based on their location, skill set, vehicle type and job constraints.
By reducing the amount of time your workers spend on the road and ensuring that they’re adequately qualified to carry out the work during the first appointment, you can free up more time for them to attend additional jobs each day.
5. Improves Your Business’ Financial Stability
Worryingly, since the beginning of the pandemic, late payments in the UK have escalated by 23%, putting significant strain on field service businesses countrywide. Consequently, companies have had to consider new ways to get paid on time and avoid the harmful financial repercussions of late payments.
Field service technology digitises the entire invoicing and payment process to make for a seamless transaction between you and your customers. Once your technicians have completed their jobs, they can instantly generate invoices from their mobile devices and send them to your customers in a matter of seconds.
As soon as your customers receive and approve their invoices, they can then pay using a range of straightforward online options, meaning that they can send funds to your account on the same day. Modernising the invoicing and payment process means that you won’t have to wait days — or possibly weeks — for payments before chasing them up. Instead, you will have a steady cash flow which will help to boost your bottom line.
Investing in Technology is Your Best Bet to Standing Out from the Competition
75% of organisations that have adopted field service technology have benefited from improved employee productivity and customer satisfaction levels, leading to better ways of working and increased profits. Therefore, investing in technology is a smart move for those that want to bounce back stronger than ever in a competitive, post-pandemic market.
Field service management technology makes it simpler than ever to manage your business. With a platform like BigChange, you can do the following:
- Accept customer bookings
- Assign and dispatch workers
- Track vehicles, assets, stock and equipment
- Take payments and invoices
…and more, all on a single easy-to-use platform. Simplifying your ways of working and finding ways to reduce the workload for your team will liberate time to attend extra bookings and take on other tasks that contribute directly to business growth. Remember, your existing staff are your most valuable asset, so you must put their time and skills to good use.
Transform Your Business and Boost Your Bottom Line with BigChange
Save valuable time and stay connected to every aspect of your business with 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 easy to plan, manage, schedule and track your field-based workforce and transport operations.
Plus, you’ll be able to make the most of our dedicated, expert support.
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