How Field Service Management Apps are Revolutionising the Industry
12 January 2022
Field service management apps enable real-time updates on location and job statuses, electronic invoices, and improved comms between engineers and back-office.
Field service management apps have the power to revolutionise the industry by enabling data-driven decision-making and eliminating historically burdensome manual processes.
But businesses that continue using outdated legacy systems and manual, paper-based processes must undergo a digital transformation to stay ahead of the curve and avoid becoming obsolete.
This guide walks through everything you need to know about field service management apps.
👉Read on to learn more about how field service management apps can benefit your business, your team, and your customers.
But first, a quick recap.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY
Traditionally, most field service businesses relied on spreadsheets, whiteboards, outdated software and paper-based documentation to manage operations. Yet, while these traditional methods may have worked in the past, they just won’t cut it today.
In the digital era, customers demand transparency across the entire transaction, strong communication, a personalised experience and speedy services.
🔍In fact, 76% of people now expect companies to anticipate their needs and will decide to purchase goods and services based on customer experience (CX) alone.
Thankfully, tech advancements have made it possible to meet customers’ high standards.
By automating the entire process — from appointment booking to invoicing and payment — your clients receive super convenient experiences that will make them want to use your organisation time and again.
But that’s not all.
With talent shortages expected to disrupt field service companies within the next decade significantly, business leaders will be forced to innovate and think outside the box to ensure that they can still manage a high volume of work.
For instance, repetitive administration tasks like filling out timesheets slow down technicians and steal time away from them that could be better spent attending to bookings.
And this is where field service management software comes in. 👇
It automates such tasks, which frees up their time to complete more jobs without becoming burnt out.
With this in mind, let’s look at the main benefits a field service management app can provide.
HOW FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT APPS CAN BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS
Here are the top five benefits your business could enjoy by providing your technicians with a field service mobile application:
1. LIVE TRACKING AND REAL-TIME UPDATES
🔍At least 89% of today’s customers prefer to use an ‘Uber-like’ service to track field service technicians and receive updates on arrival times.
But, if your team has to rely on phone calls and texts from your technicians, providing such updates is impossible.
In contrast, when you use field service management apps, you can use GPS vehicle tracking to provide your customers with real-time updates on the whereabouts of their technicians.
It allows you to automatically send text and email alerts to your clients, including an estimated arrival time and a link that allows them to track the technicians live. So, never again will your customers be left disgruntled from waiting at home all day after being provided with a vague time slot.
Plus, apps for service technicians have the added advantage of enabling rapid communication to the back office via instant messaging, eliminating the need for time-consuming phone calls.
As such, your administration team has an accurate picture of what’s happening in the field and can make better-informed decisions when dispatching workers to jobs.
2. HAPPIER CUSTOMERS
Keeping customers happy starts with happy employees.
🔍In fact, 80% of field service technicians believe that access to a mobile application is critical to increasing their efficiency and effectiveness at helping customers.
Suppose you send your technicians into a job without providing them with essential information; it is much more challenging for them to complete the work correctly the first time.
Modern customers lead busy lives and won’t appreciate needing to make multiple appointments for a simple job. So, at worst, you could end up losing business as clients opt to use your competitors who were early adopters of field service management technology — and, therefore, better equipped to deliver satisfactory service.
With a mobile app you can stay ahead of the curve by seamlessly connecting your technicians and back-office team and enabling them to communicate in real-time.
For example: Your admin staff can allocate stock, equipment, and assets to each job, meaning your technicians will always arrive at an appointment with the correct gear to complete the job the first time.
Then, once the job is complete, your technicians can fill out all the necessary paperwork from their mobile devices and provide your customers with an electronic invoice straight away.
Clients will appreciate the rapidity of the service, alongside the straightforward payment methods, and your back-office team will have a complete digital record of all the documents for future reference.
3. MORE ENGAGED TEAM MEMBERS
🔍In contrast, economists at the University of Warwick have found that being happy at work makes people around 12% more productive.
So to get the most out of your team, you must consider ways to ensure they feel valued and have all the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
If you’re expecting your technicians to turn up at each booking with limited knowledge of the job and then fill out pages of paperwork before manually turning it into the office, you’ll likely find that your team is disengaged. Workers who aren’t engaged may struggle to deliver high-quality work and suffer from more accidents on the job.
However, apps for field service engineers are designed with your team’s needs in mind.
When you use field service apps to help manage your operations, it records every interaction you have with your customers. This means, your technicians will be able to see a detailed report of the job requirements, so they have all the information they need to carry out the work effectively.
In fact, engineers can complete all paperwork directly on their mobile devices and immediately send it to your back-office team. For instance, they can fill out their timesheets and send customers invoices as they go.
In a nutshell: The right technology eliminates the need for engineers to hand paperwork into the office at the end of the day, reducing the margin for error and freeing up more time to attend extra bookings.
As an interesting side note: Paperless processes don’t just benefit your field-based team. Your business also benefits from increased productivity behind the scenes.
When you use mobile apps, you eradicate the time-consuming admin tasks that have long plagued office staff. Your back-office team will appreciate the simplicity of seeing customers’ files on one easy-to-use platform, leaving them with more hours to focus on tasks that can help grow and develop the business.
4. RAPID TROUBLESHOOTING AND IMPROVED HEALTH AND SAFETY
🔍The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that UK businesses lose approximately 38.8 million working days each year due to work-related illness and injuries.
Aside from potentially damaging your reputation and causing harm to your workers, health and safety blunders can cause severe delays and impact your entire organisation.
Ready for the good news?
With the right technology, you can minimise the risk of illness or injury. For example, field service management apps enable you to set up mandatory workflows and risk assessments that technicians must complete before they can begin the work or fill out their timesheets.
If your technicians come across a hazard that could jeopardise the project, they can immediately alert your back-office team. They’ll then work with the technician to safely mitigate the issue and get the work back on track.
And by making health and safety a priority, you’ll lose fewer days to illness and injury, and your team will be able to carry out their work without worrying about their surroundings.
5. MAXIMISED SCHEDULE AND ABILITY TO RESPOND TO EMERGENCY CALL-OUTS
🔍Finally, half of all fleet managers believe that the ability to quickly reroute field technicians for emergency jobs is the most crucial factor to their success.
Keeping everyone updated on schedule changes comes in close behind at 48%.
But, if you don’t have an effective communication channel between your back-office team and field-based workers, it can be tricky to contact the necessary individuals and inform them of changes to the schedule…
Not to mention that information can be misinterpreted or cause confusion that leads to missed or delayed appointments.
Picture this: Let’s imagine a customer has just called with an emergency job, but your office is using a spreadsheet for job scheduling. Your team would need to manually work out who is local to the customer and call each technician to see if they can cover the work.
In addition to being a lengthy process, it could have a knock-on effect on your other bookings and cause customers to become frustrated.
Instead, when your technicians have access to a field service management app like BigChange, they can see any schedule changes in an instant. Your back-office staff will be able to locate the most relevant technician local to the emergency job and re-allocate other bookings to those with availability.
To sum up: Everyone can continue with business-as-usual, and no appointments will be impacted due to the schedule change.
FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT APPS ARE A WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT
🔍According to data from Verizon Connect, meeting customer expectations is the biggest challenge for 56% of field service companies today. For 38%, scheduling and dispatching inefficiencies present the most significant obstacle.
Clearly, traditional methods of working aren’t working anymore.
Reliance on legacy systems, spreadsheets and paper-based processes cannot keep up with the rapid pace of the modern workday. Nor can they provide the level of service required to delight your clients and keep them returning to your business in the future.
In order to survive and thrive in a competitive landscape, field service organisations need to ensure their engineers have access to the latest and most accurate information. Fortunately, field service management apps provide workers with everything they need at their fingertips.
From detailed information on the customer’s booking, to pre-assigned stock and digitised paperwork, your technicians will be able to spend less time on time-consuming tasks and, instead, focus on doing what they do best.
ARM YOUR ENGINEERS WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS
Allow your engineers to see all job information in one place.
With the BigChange Mobile App, your field-based workforce will have everything they need to deliver excellent service.
Engineers can share real-time updates on location and job statuses, guarantee on-time customer payments with electronic invoices, and enhance communication between technicians and your back-office.
All from the palm of their hands. Discover more here.
If you still have unanswered questions, take a look at the most frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do field service mobile apps keep service standards high?
With a mobile app you can control every job step-by-step to ensure nothing is missed. You can respond rapidly to customer requests and ensure back office support is always on hand – with everyone connected all in one place.
How do mobile apps improve risk assessments?
Field-based teams can review method statements, carry out risk assessments, and complete vehicle safety checks, all with electrical sign-off. You can even set rules so jobs can’t be started until workers have completed the right checks.
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