Field Service Management Software: Everything You Need To Know
27 March 2023
This ultimate guide to field service management software shares benefits, best practices, and case studies.
Field service management software promises big things: more efficiency, productivity, and growth, all with less work. In fact, some businesses are using field service software to boost growth by up to 80%.
For field service management businesses, this type of software offers an exciting opportunity for greater efficiency, cost reduction, and enhanced customer service levels.
And while moving from manual to digital job management may seem daunting, with the right advice, it’s easier than you think.
In this guide, we explain everything a field service business needs to know about field service management software and how you can use it to your growth-boosting advantage.
- What is field service management software?
- What is an example of field service management software in action?
- What does going paperless mean for field service businesses?
- What are the benefits of field service management software?
- 6 common mistakes with field service management
- The top 3 field service management best practices
- Case studies: field service management software in action
- Scale and grow with field service management software
What is field service management software?
Field service management software is a platform whose main purpose is to automate operations. Generally, these include repetitive, albeit essential, tasks such as job scheduling, job tracking, vehicle route planning, invoicing, and much more.
When used correctly, field service management software allows you to efficiently and effectively manage more jobs with fewer resources – all without having to sacrifice the quality of your work.
And with streamlined workflows, you can achieve more, faster. 🚀
What is an example of field service management software in action?
Now that we understand what field service management software is. Let’s look at a real-life example.
Imagine a customer calls to book a new job. And as soon as they call, your call handling system displays who is calling before you even pick up. As you answer the call, you can bring up their records through a quick search on your cloud-based field service management software.
From here, you can access past jobs, service histories, their location, and even things like any outstanding invoices. You can use this information to provide a highly personalised experience to the caller by chatting through past jobs etc.
You then key information into the schedule, allocating the job to an appropriate engineer.
An email is then automatically sent to the client, with full details of the job and an expected time of arrival. You can edit this if needed too.
As we’ve just seen, field service management software can help you to easily manage jobs and provide outstanding customer experience with minimal effort.
Perhaps that’s why leading field service businesses say field service management software has increased their productivity by 70%. This is because field service software eliminates the headaches of paper-based processes and leverages tech to simplify and scale operations.
But what does going paperless really mean?
What does going paperless mean for field service businesses?
Let’s be honest here, paper-based field service management can feel comforting. It’s tangible. But holding on to what you may consider a safety net can massively hold your business back.
Here’s a snapshot:
Ultimately, more and more field service businesses are moving to digital systems to meet today’s customer demands.
So, what do you need to do?
Here are 5 steps to take your business paperless:
#1: Capture: Bring all paper-based processes into a field service management software solution – like job scheduling, CRM, fleet and stock management.
#2: Integrate: Connect all systems together – with software integrations like Xero, Sage 50, what3words, and Google maps, you can streamline operations.
#3: Process: Improve your workflows – digital worksheets provide real-time visibility of job statuses and updates. So no need to wait for an engineer to come back to the office. Plus, no delays, double keying, or stationary/postage costs.
#4: Access: Get documents anytime, anywhere – when out in the field, engineers need to access documents in just a few seconds so they can complete risk assessments, check site plans, and more. With 24/7 access to digital documents, you can say goodbye to lugging around lots of different paperwork or forgotten documents.
#5: Collaborate: Get entire teams on the same page – even contractors can access job scheduling to complete minor reports and get customer sign-off.
Field service businesses that have followed these steps have seen a reduction in waste fuel, fewer unnecessary journeys, reduced wear and tear on vehicles, and so much more.
Want to learn exactly how all this boosts business efficiency and cost savings? Take a look at this blog: What does going paperless mean for field service businesses?
What are the benefits of field service management software?
The field service industry is expected to boom over the next few years. In fact, by 2026, it’s expected to grow by almost 12%.
But what we’re seeing is that businesses that adopt field service management software solutions actually almost triple this growth. In 2022, JWH Tanks saw growth increase by 35%!
So, how does field service management actually do this? Here are just 6 ways to give you an idea:
#1: Optimise operations – through automating scheduling and dispatching, real-time tracking and communication, and mobile access for field technicians, so that back-office teams and customers get live updates.
#2: Boost productivity – and optimisation, which leads to higher first-time fix rates and an increased number of jobs completed each day – without needing additional resources.
#3: Meet SLAs – with faster response times, better communication, and automated service bookings, you improve your competitive edge and boost win rates.
#4: Save money – by optimising travel times for mobile workers, fuel costs, and even inventory management (ordering only the stock you need for each job).
#5: Better business intelligence and reporting – track key service metrics like job completion times and engineer productivity in one visual dashboard with instant reports for better forecasting.
#6: Proof of service – with the ability to capture digital customer signatures and upload photos of completed work, you have proof of work completed (which you can easily access at a later date).
#7: Improved cash flow – through more accurate quoting and invoicing, generating invoices in seconds, and provisioning quicker payment options for customers.
In light of all this, it’s clear to see that one of the biggest factors in optimised operations is real-time data. This alone empowers field services businesses to improve job profitability.
📕Read more about the benefits of field service management software.
Common mistakes with field service management
So, we’ve covered some of the benefits. But what really pushes field service businesses to make the jump?
These are the key factors that act as a tipping point:
- Low first-time fix rates (this haemorrhages money and can be a cause for customers going elsewhere)
- Difficulty monitoring operational performance (without accurate data and analytics on everything from fuel used, miles travelled, overtime worked, and more, businesses are in the dark about how much each job costs and the profit margin)
- Poor communication (digital solutions make it easy for field staff and back-office teams to instantly update each other – like quickly filing reports or capturing customer signatures on the job)
These are just a handful of examples. We wrote a whole blog on the common mistakes with Field Service Management. Here, you’ll also find top tips to help you overcome these challenges. Heads up: field service management software plays a key part!
But first, let’s take a closer look at some field service best practices. 👇
The top 3 field service management best practices
Before we get into best practices, did you know, 66% of businesses believe that automation is essential to running their business?
To keep unnecessary admin down and reduce margins of error, field service companies are turning to field service management software because of its automation features alone.
Because it allows them to:
- Schedule and dispatch technicians efficiently
- Perform predictive and preventive maintenance
- Go mobile – for better communication, reduced paperwork and instant updates
We wrote about field service management best practices here.
But to sum it up, field service management software essentially allows you to keep ahead of competitors by providing customers with the best experience. Plus, your employees have the tools to do their job effectively, and it improves profits.
Literally, everything you need to efficiently manage field service operations is at your fingertips. It makes planning, managing schedules, and tracking performance all so much easier.
With these factors in mind, hopefully you are now convinced that field service management software is the way forward. But what do you need to look out for in a strong solution?
4 things to look out for in field service management software
Now, the tech you choose will decide whether your business benefits from all the factors we’ve just covered. Not all software is made the same. That’s why it’s important to understand what to look out for when choosing the right field service management software.
Before we get started, did you know: 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 is a prime example of why choosing the right tech is a must-have.
Let’s dive into a checklist of top features:
✅ Mobile app: This is a necessity, not a luxury. When the bulk of your resources are out in the field, you need them to be equipped with everything they need to do their jobs quickly. And access to cloud-based, mobile device-friendly software ensures this. Providing it enables them to do everything from logging expenses, completing DVSA-compliant vehicle checks, viewing stock and recruitment, issuing digital invoices, and more.
✅ Intelligent scheduling: This allows you to quickly and easily schedule the right field employees for each job – this is based on their current location, distance from their home, skills sets, traffic information, qualifications, and more. All at the touch of a button, rather than scanning through lots of information held in different places.
✅ Asset management: Stock management alone should be so much easier with the right tech. Look for solutions that allow you 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
✅ Digitise invoicing and payments: Stop unpaid invoices stunting your cash flow. With less paperwork and electronic solutions that track payments, look for a solution that can create same-day electronic invoices and allows for easy online payment methods.
Ultimately, the right field service management software needs to eradicate time-consuming activities and paperwork that put a drain on both your field staff and office team’s day.
Read more about things to look for in field service management software.
As we’ve just seen, finding the right platform is critical if you want to future-proof operations. So what key features do you really need? Let’s take a look. 👇
A quick peek at top field service management software features 🔍
With there being so many options out there, it can be a bit of a headache trying to compare field service solutions. Hopefully, this table makes things a little easier.
This is just a sample of the key features field service businesses use within our platform.
Pssst. BigChange has over 235 additional features built specifically to help field service businesses.
|BigChange||Other field service management software|
|Access Controls/Permissions||✅||Access Controls/Permissions||✅|
|Asset tracking||✅||Asset tracking||✅|
|Appointment management||✅||Appointment management||❌|
|Appointment scheduling||✅||Appointment scheduling||❌|
|Booking management||✅||Booking management||❌|
|Online payment||✅||Online payment||❌|
|Client management||✅||Client management||❌|
|Contractor database||✅||Contractor database||❌|
|Delivery tracking||✅||Delivery tracking||❌|
|Digital signature||✅||Digital signature||✅|
|Offline access||✅||Offline access||❌|
|Real time data||✅||Real time data||✅|
|Real time analytics||✅||Real time analytics||❌|
|Subcontractor management||✅||Subcontractor management||❌|
|24-hour customer support for all||✅||24-hour customer support for all||❌|
Now that you know what to look out for in a solid job management tool, let’s look at a few case examples of field service firms that are using BigChange to boost productivity and profits. 👇
Case studies: Field service management software in action
We’ve briefly mentioned a few case studies throughout this guide. But let’s look at a couple in more detail so you can see how field service management software helps field service businesses to grow.
🔍 Case study example: Future Group increases efficiency by 80%
Electrical services company Future Group has boosted productivity and is seeing an 80% increase in efficiency after implementing BigChange’s field service management software. How? The field service firm has virtually eliminated paperwork with customisable digital workflows, real-time vehicle tracking, and intelligent scheduling of field engineers.
Before BigChange everything was paper based; engineers would fill out paper reports which office staff then had to type up before sending out to clients,” commented Maddie Carr, Service Agreement Manager at Future Group. “This was time consuming and also introduced the potential for errors. We researched, and even trialled, other systems before selecting BigChange, deciding it was perfect for the way we operate”. Maddie Carr, Service Agreement Manager at Future Group.
Read the full case study here.
🔍 Case study example: Heatforce improves efficiency by 25%
National Heating company, Heatforce, leverages the real-time insight from its field service management software to improve scheduling, respond to call-outs faster, and provide customers with the detailed proof of work records.
“With BigChange, office efficiency has already increased by 25 percent. In addition, improved job scheduling means less miles are being travelled and productivity is up; especially as engineers don’t need to come to the office as often. We’ve also increased contract win rates thanks to the added capability BigChange gives us and, despite challenges of recent months, the system has actually enabled us to increase our profitability.” – Jake Maddocks, Director at Heatforce
Read the full case study here.
Scale and grow with field service management software
In summary, field service management software is a game-changer for any business looking to grow in 2023 and beyond.
Why? Because it allows field services to optimise business operations through automating manual tasks and reacting quickly thanks to real-time data. Like pivoting job schedules and rerouting field service technicians to attend emergencies or high-priority jobs.
Ultimately, with a closer eye on every element of field services, from stock, to job statuses through to invoicing, field services can see where they can reduce costs and boost revenue.
The biggest takeaway: If you’re looking to get ahead of the competition, you need to deliver what customers expect and deliver this in the most cost-efficient way. Keeping costs low for clients and ensuring you quickly get to as many customers as possible using the resources you have.
It’s about doing more with what you have – and doing it well.
Ready to find the right field service management software?
Or, you can dive straight in and book a personalised demo and our field service business pros can talk you through the top features that power business growth.
If you still have unanswered questions, take a look at the most frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is field service management software?
Field service management software is tech specifically designed to enable field service businesses to run much smoother. How? With the right tech, you can streamline every part of job management, from quoting, to ordering parts, to scheduling – right through to invoicing.
What is the best service management software?
The best field service management software has to be built specifically for this industry, like BigChange. There are several key things you need from the tech. For example:
- It needs to be developed with mobile applications as a priority, so that field service teams can access it from anywhere.
- It needs to easily integrate with other software like accounting to make everything sync up.
- And ideally, it should have a customer self-service portal so customers can access their account and rebook at any time.
What are the common features of field service management software?
Common features of field service management software include smart job scheduling, customer relationship management (CRM), inventory tracking, live job progress monitoring, invoicing, reporting and analytics – and so much more.
SIGN UP FOR BIGCHANGE NEWS AND RESOURCES
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you confirm you are happy to receive regular email newsletters from BigChange. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time.