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How Field Service Management Software Alleviates Common Business Pain Points

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> How Field Service Management Software Alleviates Common Business Pain Points

Did you know that, as of 2020, around half (48%) of your competitors are still using manual administration processes and antiquated legacy systems to manage their field service operations? 

In today’s modern world, where technology has integrated itself into almost every aspect of our lives, outdated ways of working aren’t going to cut it. Customers expect streamlined, rapid experiences, which is tricky to provide if you’re still using the same methods you did ten or more years ago. 

Since so many businesses are yet to enjoy the benefits of automating their workflows, it’s the optimum time to be an early adopter of modern technology and stand out from your competitors.

In this article, we’ll explain what field service management software is. We’ll also discuss some common field service problems and how technology can alleviate them.

What is the Purpose of a Field Service Management Platform?

Field service management (FSM) technology replaces outdated manual administration processes and clunky legacy systems to unite your entire operation on one easy-to-use platform.

With a field service management platform, you can handle the entire end-to-end process of dealing with your customers – from appointment scheduling to final payments and beyond – at the touch of a button.

By removing the typical inefficiencies that plague field service organisations, you can increase your profits, enable your business to run more smoothly, and free up your employees’ time so they can focus on more business-critical activities.

But, FSM technology isn’t purely focused on the back-end aspects of running a successful company. State-of-the-art platforms also consider ways to make it simpler to manage your field-based workforce and provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.

With integrated mobile apps now more widely available than ever before, you can ensure that your field technicians and back-office staff are always on the same page. The app equips technicians with everything they need to know about each case, allows them to complete digital paperwork and invoices rapidly, and shares real-time data for effective communication.

FSM platforms are revolutionising the industry, but how do they specifically alleviate the most common field service problems? Read on to find out.

Common Field Service Business Pain Points and How to Alleviate Them

As a field service business leader, you’ll likely be familiar with some or all of the pain points below. Luckily, thanks to technology, running a profitable company needn’t be a headache. Here are four of the most common issues and ways you can use field service management software to overcome them:

1. Poor First-Time Fix Rates

When it comes to running a successful field service business, high first-time fix rates are crucial. In fact, companies with a first-time fix rate of over 70% manage to retain 86% of their customer base. For those that don’t manage to hit 70%, their client retention rate drops to just 76%. 

Still, as we mentioned earlier, many organisations continue to use inadequate methods to manage their operations, leaving them susceptible to errors and complications.

For example, imagine using a paper-based form that your technicians must use to sign equipment in and out of storage. Perhaps some of them forget to do so, or maybe their writing is illegible. They may accidentally take too much stock and store it in their van for another job further down the line. 

You quickly realise that numbers aren’t adding up, and technicians are turning up at customers’ appointments without the appropriate gear to complete the job on the same day.

When you have to make multiple appointments to complete work, your bottom line and productivity levels can take a nosedive.

How a Field Service Management Platform Can Help

When you use a field service management platform to manage your stock and assets, you won’t have to worry about inaccurate data ever again. Using real-time information, you can see exactly how much stock and equipment you have – across multiple locations – at the touch of a button.

With complete visibility over your stock, equipment and assets, your team can simply allocate the necessary items to each customer’s job. As such, your technicians can confidently arrive at every appointment, knowing they have all the right gear in their van to complete the job there and then.

Aside from keeping your customers satisfied, an improved first-time fix rate will free up more time for your technicians to attend more appointments per day and do what they do best.

2. Expensive Travel Costs

Although you can’t control the cost of fuel, which has hit a staggering eight-year high in the UK, you can ensure that your technicians are making the most efficient journeys between each job. By cutting down the time each worker spends on the road, you can save money on petrol and increase the number of bookings they can attend per day.

Unfortunately, if you’re using old in-house systems, spreadsheets and other manual processes to plan routes, chances are, they’re not as streamlined as they could be. 

You may already be matching jobs to workers based on location but, when you don’t take their availability or traffic information into account, you may be overlooking another technician that would be better suited to complete the project.

How a Field Service Management Platform Can Help

Field service management platforms have the potential to shave off a significant amount from your current fuel expenses. Using GPS vehicle tracking, the system provides you with real-time data on your technicians’ locations, where they’re working and whether there are any traffic issues.

Subsequently, your team can define the best route between jobs for hundreds of jobs simultaneously and reduce your cost to serve per customer call-out. 

Additionally, when you use BigChange’s 5-in-1 workforce management system, you’ll automatically have access to the Network, where you can connect with thousands of other trusted field service organisations. 

You can list your company for free and immediately begin receiving connection requests. By building strong professional relationships with other companies worldwide, you can collaborate on projects by subcontracting workers to each other. 

As a result, you’ll be able to fulfil jobs in a range of locations without needing to hire extra resources or spend an excessive amount on travel costs.

All Network members also have the opportunity to join a virtual meet-up each month, which allows you to share tips and tricks on how to grow your business further.
Want to discover more about the BigChange Network? Check out this informative video.

3. Scheduling Conflicts

For field service organisations, ensuring that the right technician is in the right place at the right time is paramount to success. However, according to a survey conducted by Verizon Connect, 50% of business leaders rated ‘quickly re-routing technicians’ as their most critical issue. 

48% claimed it was ‘keeping everyone updated about the schedule’, and 45% suggested the biggest hurdle for them was ‘keeping customers informed of technicians’ estimated times of arrival’.

When you don’t have accurate, real-time data to hand, it becomes almost impossible to keep tabs on what is happening in the field. Consequently, it is much harder to navigate the unpredictability of each workday and keep the necessary individuals in the loop.

If you’re unable to communicate effectively with your technicians and maintain an overview of their schedule, you’ll soon find that there are delays, conflicts and confusion. At worst, you could lose customers who are unimpressed with your service.

How a Field Service Management Platform Can Help

Common field service problems such as scheduling conflicts can become an obstacle of the past when you adopt a field service management platform. 

Your customers can make and reschedule appointments on a simple self-service online portal, which automatically sends the details to your back-office team. Once they’ve received the necessary information, your employees can use the intelligent scheduling assistant to see which technician is suitable for the job, taking into account the following real-time data:

  • Job constraints (for example, the technician may be required to have specific qualifications)
  • Location 
  • Traffic information
  • Vehicle type

Not only will you be able to guarantee that your schedule is running optimally, but it also means you’ll have the capacity to respond to emergency call-outs. With the GPS tracker enabling your team to see the exact whereabouts of each technician, they can reroute workers at the touch of a button.

Plus, your customers will never have to deal with the frustration of wondering where their technician is. Instead, you can send out automated, personalised texts and emails via the system so they can track their technicians’ vehicles live.

4. Slow Invoicing and Payment Methods

Since the beginning of the pandemic, late invoice payments in the UK have risen by a shocking 23% and thus had a substantial impact on field service businesses across the country. As such, companies will need to consider more innovative ways to ensure they get paid on time if they are to survive and thrive in a post-COVID world.

Let’s explore the traditional method of invoicing for a moment. Typically, the accounts receivable (AR) team processes invoices in batches, meaning that the customers’ jobs could be complete for a while before they receive a payment request. 

The AR team either uses a spreadsheet or standalone accounting software to manually create, print off and mail out a paper-based invoice. The customer then receives the invoice several days later before writing out a cheque and mailing it back, provided there are no mistakes. Of course, if there are any problems, the process begins all over again.

Very long-winded. 

The longer it takes to send an invoice, the longer it takes to get paid. Not to mention that drawn-out payment procedures may cause customers to inadvertently misplace or forget about the invoices.

If your customers aren’t paying on time, your cash flow will take a hit, potentially leading to you being unable to do the following:

  • Take on new projects
  • Meet operational expenses
  • Budget for future jobs
  • Pay your suppliers

How a Field Service Management Platform Can Help

Fortunately, there is a better way of processing invoices and payments.

Using a field service management platform such as BigChange, you can use the integrated invoicing feature to obtain payments instantly.

As soon as your technicians complete their jobs, they can fill out the essential paperwork directly on their mobile devices and send the customers electronic copies of their invoices. The invoices pull through all the correct details from the platform’s CRM (customer relationship management) system, so there are no errors.

Once the customers receive their invoices, they can make a digital payment straight away. Not only will more convenient payment methods ensure that you’re paid on time, but customers will appreciate the simplicity and be more inclined to use your services again in the future.

Make Typical Field Service Problems a Thing of the Past 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.

Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

BigChange.com

4th January 2022

BigChange

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