The Impact of UK COVID Restrictions on Field Service Businesses
28 July 2021
Aside from having a devastating impact on people’s health and the NHS, COVID-19 has caused significant damage to UK businesses and the economy. Even today, 32% of field service businesses are considering lowering their operational costs by reducing headcount, indicating that there are still lingering effects from the pandemic.
But, thanks to technological advancements in recent years, which were only accelerated further during the crisis, business recovery is possible. By investing in the correct field service management (FSM) technology, companies can get their operations back on track without sacrificing their workforces.
In this article, we’ll explore how the UK COVID restrictions impacted field service organisations. We’ll also delve into how FSM technology can mitigate the main issues the pandemic caused for businesses.
How Did UK COVID Restrictions Affect Field Service Organisations?
1. A Need for Contactless Options
According to the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA), 78% of field service organisations completely stopped deploying technicians to customer sites during the height of COVID-19.
With restrictions requiring people to maintain a six-feet distance and to limit anyone from outside your household coming onto your property, businesses and customers could not interact as they had previously.
Although the government has now lifted most restrictions, many people are still unsure about returning to ‘normal’. So, field service companies have had to think outside the box to maintain business-as-usual activities.
Fortunately, companies can still complete all their bookings without any obstacles thanks to field service management technology. With a platform like BigChange, technicians can capture clients’ signatures once the work is complete using the NoTouch feature, enabling customers to sign from their mobile devices. As such, businesses can still deliver vital field services whilst still respecting customers’ concerns over the virus.
2. Supply Chain Disruption
A survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that approximately three-quarters of field service companies experienced supply chain disruptions since the breakout of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have complete visibility over your stock and equipment, it can be tricky to predict future requirements. However, when you use field service management technology, you’ll have access to accurate real-time data on all your assets, regardless of their location.
Software such as this allows you to assign gear directly to bookings, enabling your technicians to arrive with everything they need to complete the job the first time. Plus, you can see the exact quantities of every item in your inventory, giving you ample time to order more if needed, ahead of time. Ordering in advance has been particularly crucial for businesses throughout the pandemic, who are finding that scarcity of materials and factory shutdowns have led to shortages.
3. Talent Shortages
The pandemic caused an increased requirement for service jobs, which may seem positive for businesses on the surface. However, the unprecedented demand caused a shortage of talent, meaning field service organisations have had to increase investment in workers by 72%.
The good news is that attending to a high volume of work doesn’t have to eat into your profits. When you use BigChange’s field service management software, you automatically gain access to the BigChange Network.
The Network enables you to list your business for free and start connecting with thousands of other trusted field service organisations worldwide. Consequently, you can hire professional subcontractors from any location and expand your reach further than ever before, without needing to make costly hires.
4. A Need for Rapid Communication
With COVID rules and restrictions changing so constantly throughout 2020 and affecting how businesses could operate, many organisations recognised the importance of sending rapid communications to their customers.
With 99% of email users checking their inbox daily, it’s clear that emails are still one of the best ways to spread vital information and updates en masse. Luckily, with a field service management platform like BigChange, you don’t have to sift through endless spreadsheets or spend hours setting up an email template to contact your customer base.
Instead, the system pulls your clients’ data from the CRM (customer relationship management software) into a pre-designed email template, allowing you to send personalised communications. You can also edit the template to include your company branding so customers immediately know that it’s from your organisation.
With the ability to send automated email updates to your customers at the click of a button, you’ll never have to worry about keeping everyone in the loop about important business updates, even after the pandemic is over.
What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
If there’s one key business takeaway from the pandemic, it’s that technology has the power to overcome any unexpected obstacles. In fact, data from ECI Partners shows that twice as many small to medium-sized businesses invested in technology by Q1 in 2021, growing from 32% in 2019 to 64%.
Therefore, field service organisations will need to adopt the latest technology to survive in a competitive post-pandemic landscape and guarantee complete business recovery. Using software like BigChange to manage your operations enables you to:
- Manage all customer relationships
- Plan and schedule jobs
- Track your vehicles and assets
- Process invoices and payments electronically
- Handle customer bookings online
All from one easy-to-use platform. Plus, with the mobile app, you can provide your field-based technicians with all the tools they need to deliver excellent service to customers during the pandemic and beyond.
Business Recovery Made Simple with BigChange
Plan, manage, schedule and track your field-based workforce.
BigChange gives you the power and freedom to manage the key parts of your business from a single platform. Seamlessly connect your office, field-based workers and customers using our state-of-the-art field service management technology.
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