What Is Field Service Software?
1 May 2023
Field service software allows businesses with a mobile workforce to streamline operations and maximise profits. And ultimately, it unlocks the ability to scale and grow.
So, how exactly does it do this? Through a wealth of interconnected features, it optimises resources across the entire business – from job scheduling to invoicing – so you can lower costs and respond to customers much faster.
Sounds interesting? In this article, we’ll delve into field service management solutions a little more, covering:
- Why businesses are now moving to field service software
- How field service software works
- Best field service software: key features and benefits
- Case studies (for various industries)
- Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s get into it.
What is field service software?
Field service software is specialist software that helps field service businesses to plan, schedule, track, and invoice all in one place. This ensures you get the right field service technicians to the right job every time, through efficient paperless job management.
Common tasks the right software can handle include:
- Job scheduling
- Live tracking
- Customer relationship management
- Field resource management
- Quotes and invoices
- Business intelligence
- And much more!
If you want to learn more about a leading field services software platform, take a look at BigChange’s platform overview. Or, keep reading to learn more about why businesses are moving to field service software.
Why businesses are now moving to field service software
The biggest challenge for field service businesses is that there are so many spinning plates. Having a mobile workforce compounds this because you rely on regular updates to keep everything running like clockwork.
If just one of these plates falls, say needing certain stock, operations get delayed and you can’t invoice. Plus, while clients might be understanding, it doesn’t uphold customer expectations.
And this is where field service software comes in.
Field service software becomes the hub of your operations because it allows you to track everything:
- monitor live field technicians’ locations (using GPS)
- quickly organise job schedules (sending the right engineer, taking into account constraints)
- update customer records on a CRM
- find the nearest stock (whether at a supplier or on a colleague’s van)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It just makes communication and collaboration much smoother. For example, because the tech is digital and often cloud-based, your engineers can access and update jobs from anywhere and at any time. And your back-office teams can quickly tweak schedules and alert engineers of upcoming jobs.
It ensures everyone is on the same page with access to the same information.
Let’s delve into this a little more…
How field service software works
One of the biggest benefits of field service software is that it acts as the one source for all information. You might have tried multiple other systems that do a really good job at certain things like job scheduling. But unless you have several key parts integrated into the tool, it doesn’t quite work and so you lose the efficiency-boosting benefits.
So as a minimum, the tool should at least integrate with other software solutions. Take accounting for example. If you run on systems like Xero and Sage, you’ll need these key integrations.
But ideally, core processes should be embedded within an all-in-one software solution too, otherwise, you’ve just got lots of systems that don’t talk to each other. This leaves you open to missing information, delays, errors, and bad customer experiences.
With all this information in mind, it’s easy to see why field service software replaces a lot of the traditional field service management approaches like leveraging spreadsheets, whiteboards, and paper-based systems. Phew!
So, now let’s look at how these processes work together in field service software.
Best field service software: Key features and benefits
Whether you’re looking to replace paper-based processes or switch from another provider, here are the core features to look for in your hunt for the best field service software.
#1 feature: Schedule and dispatch: With easy drag-and-drop scheduling, you can plot jobs on engineers’ schedules – and even set constraints so that only engineers with the right qualifications can be allocated (and notified). A good tool will also consider route optimisation for reduced fuel and travel times.
#2 feature: Job management: It’ll also allow you to track engineers’ locations on a map using a live GPS feed, so you can send the nearest engineer to an emergency or new quote. And you’ll be able to access job status information as the engineer inputs it into the system against your customer and job records.
#3 feature: Stock management: To balance having enough stock to complete jobs, with preventing over-ordering, effective field service management is key. It acts as your warehouse manager and can tell you where kit is (even if it’s on a colleague’s van). This also boosts operational efficiency and overall business operations.
#4 feature: Mobile app: It might seem obvious but some tech isn’t actually optimised for mobile so is a pain for field staff to use. Whereas the best tech allows field staff to update jobs even when there’s no signal.
#5 feature: Customer management and communication: With customer self-serve portals, customers can track engineers’ ETAs, pay invoices digitally, and rebook. It’s an easy way to keep everyone up-to-date and improve customer satisfaction. You can also use it to request and record feedback… This all gets reported here:
#6 feature: Real-time reporting and analytics dashboard: Real-time data gives you a live view of business performance so you can make more accurate decisions. The right tech features custom reports, dashboards and data visualisations so you can easily track things like profit and loss, instantly.
Want to get even more from your field service management tools? Check out this more comprehensive list of top features.
Case studies: Practical uses of field service software (by industry)
There are so many industries that benefit from field service software in the UK today. Let’s just look at a handful of examples and the results field service managers have seen so far from leveraging this tech:
- Drainage and waste: Eurotech Environmental reports a £1 million boost to business growth. Read the full case study here.
- Building maintenance and facilities management: Nserv sees a 70% boost in productivity. Read the full case study here.
- Electrical: MEDLEC Group boasts 92% first-time fix rates and improves customer service. Read the full case study here.
- Plumbing and heating: MHL gains 90% improvement in admin efficiency. Read the full case study here.
- Fire and security: Macaw sees a 40 per cent increase in operational efficiency. Read the full case study here.
That was a lot to take in and somewhat of a whistle-stop tour. So let’s round it up and provide you with a few additional resources to help you get to grips with field service software.
Boost productivity with field service management software
With field service operations having so many moving parts, it can be hard to keep every plate spinning – while making sure you complete every job as efficiently as possible.
So, why not make your life a little easier?
BigChange brings your entire team together with just one goal in mind: to match the right job to the right engineer to ensure a first-time fix.
Whether you’re in plumbing and heating, building maintenance, or electrical contracting, our platform ensures everyone can access relevant information from anywhere at any time in the cloud.
Ready to start boosting field service operations? You can book a personalised demo here.
Looking to learn more?
Check out our resources and expand your field service management skills:
Or, if you still have unanswered questions, look at the most frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is field service software?
In traditional field service management – whether paper-based or a hybrid of paper and spreadsheets – you heavily rely on personal knowledge when it comes to job allocation and route planning. Whereas field service software is tech specifically designed to take multiple factors into account before engineer scheduling, including annual leave, optimal route planning, and skill sets. This delivers a huge uptick in efficiencies, reduces human error, and boosts first-time fix rates.
Why do you need field service software?
Field service management software helps companies manage the entire field service management lifecycle – from quotation to first-time fix and invoicing. Plus, field service management software and a mobile app help engineers and back office staff to access the right information and assist with project management. Similarly, it is also incredibly helpful to improve predictive maintenance and preventative maintenance.
Who uses field service software?
Field service management is useful for any business that has employees working in the field. In particular, building maintenance, drainage, electrical contracting, predictive maintenance, facilities management, fire and security, equipment hire, plumbing and heating, waste and recycling sectors have the most to gain by implementing field service management software.
How does field service software improve efficiency?
Field service software brings both flexibility and computing power to your decision-making. At BigChange, for example, we offer our Scheduling Assistant which uses your own business intelligence together with route mapping technology to suggest the best fit engineer scheduling. It also takes into account any constraints, such as whether a 2-person crew is required or if certain skills are needed.
How will field service software benefit my customers?
The right field service software provides real-time communication, not only between your field-based workers and your office but also with your customers. This means you can:
- Text ETAs and journey track links so customers aren’t waiting around.
- Ensure job cards are instantly available once the job is finished.
- Use a CRM to retain full customer and job history so there is no need to ask for repeat information. Set service reminders to automatically send.
- And provide digital copies of any warranties, certifications or manuals.
Field service software will also improve your customer experience by providing more first-time fixes and PPM. Easily-create recurring job schedules. Provide transparency of documentation and billing. And the ability to respond quickly and efficiently.
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