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The new financial year brings yet more new costs to field service businesses across the UK… National Insurance rises, increasing fuel costs, rocketing energy prices and Covid loan repayments.

But there are ways of fighting back. Here are five tips to cut outgoings and boost income as costs rise:

1. Make every hour count
The financial gain for every hour saved travelling is massive. £15 in travel costs + £60 for an hour of your engineer’s time = £75 per hour. A digital Scheduling Assistant gets the right engineer, with the right skills, to the right place, by the right route. The potential savings are huge. One hour saved more than covers the cost of the technology that delivers it.

2. Compete on customer service, not just cost
70% of customers would pay more for better service and more convenience, according to a recent survey. That means online portals where they can book jobs 24/7. It means Uber-style arrival updates. And it means instant digital invoicing and a range of easy payment options. The technology to bring these in is probably cheaper than you’d expect.

3. Make sure your work is profitable
Too many jobs at field service businesses end up costing the firm money. Companies need to be sure that they’re covering costs and making a fair margin. With a job management platform, you get a clear view of the profit margin on each job. No more guesswork when quoting, and no more jobs that leave you out of pocket.    

4. Cut mileage
Fuel prices for fleets are staggering – and likely to go higher. £2 a litre is widely predicted. Smart scheduling and route planning cut mileage by 10%. Many field service workers do 1,000 miles a month, and their annual saving would be £232 – almost enough on its own to offset the National Insurance hike. Integrated vehicle tracking also leads to better driver behaviour, saving not only fuel costs, but also lives!

5. Do it once, do it right
First-time fixes mean big cost savings. Having to go back to jobs wastes fuel and staff time, whether that’s back-office dealing with queries or frontline teams doing the work. The essentials for a first-time fix are getting the person to the job, with the tools, materials and information to take care of it.

Find out how BigChange can help your businessbook a free consultation today.

Get more helpful guides and tips delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter below. You can keep up to date with BigChange on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

Mergers and acquisitions are at an all-time high. Technological investment is a key focus. And growth is returning to the sector.

These were just some of the headlines in i-FM’s ‘2022 Trends and Opportunities’ report. But what do these trends, from the leading source of FM news, mean for the thousands of small and medium-sized FM firms in the UK today?

i-FM key trend 1: M&A deals are at record levels

Mergers and acquisitions are back, after a sharp dip in 2020. i-FM noted a few reasons for this – better revenues generating surplus cash, and greater market confidence linked to the success of the vaccine rollout.

Paul’s analysis: M&A can’t come at the expense of consistent customer service

M&A is key for FM firms looking to grow. The ability to provide a wider range of services makes these businesses more attractive to customers, and new specialised services often have higher profit margins than general maintenance.

However, it can lead to a serious risk of service quality sliding. Aligning new acquisitions to your existing processes and retaining the quality of service that comes with your brand is a considerable challenge. For those that get it wrong, contracts could be short-lived.

The best FM businesses are looking to technological solutions that help new acquisitions and subcontractors meet service standards seamlessly. Greater oversight of operations and shared, standardised workflows are vital for firms aiming to control the service level regardless of who’s delivering.

i-FM key trend 2: Customers are adopting hybrid working

The return to workplaces has not been as swift as expected. While the future of homeworking is uncertain, i-FM says that facilities managers will need to provide clients with choice and control.

Paul’s analysis: Hybrid working can be more efficient and sustainable

i-FM is right to see post-pandemic workplaces as an opportunity. I don’t think we’re done with the office yet, but it will be up to FM firms to manage these spaces more flexibly.

With fewer people in the office, facilities managers should take a more proactive approach to asset management – for instance, you don’t need to service an empty room. More importantly, lower use means less maintenance and a lower carbon footprint. By running spaces more sustainably, at a lower cost, it frees up funds for investment in green solutions.

Elsewhere in the report, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are called ‘game changers’. Leading firms are making use of these tools to make a shift to condition-based maintenance and dynamic scheduling. By predicting how and when spaces are being used, they’re able to provide a more efficient and sustainable service.

i-FM key trend 3: Giving customers extra value is becoming a necessity

i-FM couldn’t have been clearer, stating  that, ‘An FM service provider’s demonstrable ability to add value can be a significant differentiator in the marketplace.’

Paul’s analysis: Amazon-style customer journeys will become the key differentiator

Customer expectations are rising rapidly. In the Amazon age, it’s no longer about just getting there and fixing it.

Offering a complete digital service to customers – with online booking portals, real-time updates, and consistent service – will become the key difference between FM firms.

That level of service is not currently possible for many smaller FM providers.

The other game-changing technology i-FM highlighted was new FM service-delivery models. Only by looking to new technologies and new digital field workforce management can FM firms cut administrative costs, guarantee operational oversight, and deliver a better customer experience than ever before.

About the author

Before joining BigChange, Paul Witter spent 15 years working in the facilities management space. He served at Director level, delivering Hard Services engineering, TFM and Helpdesk services nationally across the UK and managed pre-planned and reactive maintenance contracts with values of up to £5m pa.

BigChange is the complete Job Management Platform that’s helping field service businesses across the UK to win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Find out how BigChange can help your businessbook a free consultation today. Get more helpful guides and tips delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter below. You can keep up to date with BigChange on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

When it comes to attracting customers to your field service business, you can’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Different people have different requirements, so you need to decide on the type of customer you will target your services towards and why. 

Aside from helping you tailor your services, determining who your perfect customers are will provide you with a highly lucrative opportunity. In fact, an impressive 86% of people say they would pay more for a superior customer experience. 

But, with so much to consider, where do you begin?

In this article, we’ll explain how to identify your ideal customer in a few simple steps. We’ll then explore how you can use a CRM (customer relationship manager) as a means of building customer relationships that will boost your reputation and your bottom line simultaneously.

How to Identify Your Ideal Customers: 4 Simple Steps

Here are four simple steps you can take towards identifying your ideal customers:

1. Know Your Products and/or Services

46% of people say they will abandon a brand if they’re not knowledgeable, so the best step you can take towards attracting the right customers is to know your products and services inside out. 

However, when it comes to having a solid understanding of your business, you must think about your customers’ perspectives. In other words, you can’t simply memorise your website content. Instead, you should consider the following:

  • What do you offer to your customers?
  • What pain points do your customers have, and how can you solve them?
  • Why should people use your company instead of your competitors’?
  • What is your unique selling point?

Finally, one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is: who benefits the most from your products or services? Remember, it’s best to look at your current customer base to discover who is currently finding the most value. Focusing on who you want to find value in your offerings, instead of who actually does, won’t give you the crucial answers you need to understand your company.

2. Determine Your Business Goals

Next, you need to figure out what your goals are. Although you will have focused on your existing customers in step one to learn about your business, you need to decide whether you’re satisfied with the type of customer you currently attract. If not, why? And what do you need to do to draw in a different customer base?
For example, let’s say you’ve been completing several one-off jobs but would rather take on large, longer-term commercial contracts, you need to create a plan that helps you work towards that particular goal. You may want to consider re-branding, offering different services, changing the way you talk about your business or networking to achieve your target.

3. Collect and Analyse Crucial Data

Another vital piece of the puzzle is analysing your customer data. For example, you should look into any feedback you’ve received, sales statistics and your customer churn rate. Holding a magnifying glass over your past interactions, successes, and mistakes will give you insight into what you’re doing well and where you could use some improvement. 

However, you can’t notice patterns and trends in data if you aren’t collecting any or are still relying on error-prone spreadsheets, paper documents and legacy systems to store information. However, field service management systems like BigChange include integrated CRM systems that allow you to look back at all your customer interactions and gain a complete picture of your company in one place.

Plus, by using our pre-designed email templates, you can easily send satisfaction surveys to your customers at the click of a button. As such, you’ll have the details you need to keep making improvements to your business, and your customers will feel more valued

Not sure how to calculate your churn rate or what might be causing it to be higher than you expected? Click here to read our helpful guide.

4. Build a Customer Profile

You’ve completed your research and put in the work to create a plan of action. Now, you should build a customer profile — or persona — that includes everything you need to know about the people you’re trying to target. The list below isn’t exhaustive, but you may want to think about:

  • Their age range
  • Their gender
  • Their location
  • Their relationship status (e.g. are they single? Do they have any children?)
  • What influences their buying decisions
  • What problem(s) do they need to solve?
  • What concerns might they have about purchasing your goods and/or services?
  • How much are they willing to spend?
  • What are the best ways to reach this customer? (e.g. do they use Facebook frequently? Or perhaps they’re an avid email user)

Some questions may seem irrelevant at this stage, but they help build a clear picture of who would purchase your goods and/or services. Remember, the more in-depth you go when creating a customer avatar, the more knowledge you’ll have on attracting the right people to your business and building customer relationships.

Field Service Management Software Gives You the Tools You Need to Attract the Right Customers

Unsurprisingly, companies that focus on delivering a superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than those that don’t focus on their clients’ needs. Therefore, it pays to hone in on your ideal customer and learn who they are so you can deliver outstanding services that alleviate their unique challenges.

With field service management technology, you’ll have full visibility over every customer interaction — from phone calls to emails and satisfaction surveys — giving you an excellent understanding of what’s working and what isn’t. As a result, you can keep improving your offerings and reach your business goals more rapidly.

Building Customer Relationships is Straightforward on BigChange

Some systems manage relationships. BigChange helps you master them.

Our fully integrated CRM system gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features, and bring in new clientele with ease through the superior customer experience you can provide.

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

When it comes to fleet management, it may seem sensible to repair your vehicles as and when they become damaged. However, in reality, reactive fixes cost an eye-watering three to nine times more than pre-planned maintenance, ultimately creating a large dent in your profits. 

In addition to being costly, unplanned maintenance can severely hinder or bring your projects to a halt, setting you back days, weeks or even months. Therefore, to lower expenses and keep all your appointments on track, you must conduct routine maintenance on your vehicles before it becomes too late.

In this article, we’ll explore the ways proper vehicle maintenance can save you money. We’ll also explain how field service management software helps you to keep track of your fleet, making it simpler than ever before.

How Proper Vehicle Maintenance Keeps Costs Down

1. You Only Replace Parts that Need Replacing

It can be tempting to ignore minor issues with your vehicles — especially if they present no risks to your drivers — as a way of reducing costs. However, what starts as a small problem can quickly become more serious and financially damaging than you initially suspected. 

In the long run, it makes good business sense to replace single parts as and when they wear out instead of waiting for a complete breakdown. Plus, there are hidden bonuses to keeping your vehicles in excellent condition. For example, regularly replacing your tyres can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 10%.
With field service management software like BigChange, proper vehicle maintenance is simple. Your engineers can complete daily walkaround checks of their vans and raise any potential problems with your fleet manager using the mobile app. As such, you’ll have a complete record of each vehicle, allowing you to perform maintenance before repairs start eating into your profits.

2. There’s a Lower Risk of Expensive Legal Issues

Unfortunately, there were over 100,000 road accidents last year in the UK. With your engineers spending a large chunk of their days travelling between jobs, it’s paramount that you do everything possible to prevent them from becoming part of the statistic. 

If you don’t regularly take the time to maintain your fleet, you are putting people at risk. For example, one of your vans could suddenly break down on the motorway, causing a collision that injures your employee or others. 

Aside from being a terrible experience for your employee, if you’re found guilty of health and safety negligence, you may have to face lengthy legal battles and hefty fines. In fact, the Sentencing Council introduced harsher penalties in 2016 for companies that fail to manage health and safety matters competently. Now, the average fine sits at £150,000.

Fortunately, by encouraging every engineer to complete a daily check of their vehicle and record their findings on the app, you can guarantee that you’re following health and safety best practices. As a result, you and your employees can rest assured that the likelihood of a serious accident is significantly lowered.

3. Working Vehicles Prevent Delays to Profitable Projects

Each year, around 20% of a fleet’s vehicles incur downtime due to accidents. Although some breakdowns are inevitable, regardless of how well you care for your vehicles, there are ways to substantially reduce the frequency and length of the downtime.

Firstly, as we mentioned before, daily vehicle walkaround checks are a must-have to ensure that your fleet is DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) compliant. In addition to improving health and safety measures, when your engineers consistently record their findings, you’ll have a comprehensive record of each vehicle’s history, which provides proof of compliance and any work carried out.

Secondly, you should monitor your drivers’ behaviour on the roads. With BigChange’s field service management platform, you can see reports on speeding, harsh acceleration, braking, cornering and idling. Your engineers then receive a score that builds an accurate picture of their driving style over time, giving you the chance to offer additional training to those who take more risks on the road.

By eliminating risky behaviour and driving styles that create more wear and tear on your vehicles, you’ll be able to reduce each vehicles’ downtime and maintenance costs annually, meaning you can continue taking on more projects that boost your bottom line.

It’s Easy to Lower Expenses with Field Service Management Software

Field service management eradicates the headaches associated with maintaining a fleet by digitising the entire process. Instead of needing to fill out several forms each day that could be lost or forgotten about, engineers can complete vehicle checks from their mobile devices in a matter of seconds.

Then, your fleet manager can see everyone’s reports, making them aware of any frequent issues or potential fixes they need to perform. Performing regular maintenance on your fleet is the best way to ensure that vehicles don’t become too pricey to repair or create long periods of downtime that reduce your profits.

Make Preventative and Predictive Maintenance Simpler on BigChange

Your fleet is a crucial component of your business, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to maintain.

With BigChange, your drivers can easily identify and report vehicle defects, enabling you to fix minor issues before they become major, costly problems.

Plus, our driver behaviour analysis feature provides you with complete visibility over each engineers’ driving style, so you can offer additional training to those who are more inclined to take risks on the road. 
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic having a damaging effect on many field service businesses, the HVAC market growth shows no signs of slowing down. In 2020, the global HVAC market was valued at $127.4 billion and is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 5.9% over the next seven years. 

However, although market growth is good news for business owners, it does mean that competition is fiercer than ever. To stand out and attract customers, you’ll need to look at how you run your company and identify any areas for improvement.

In this article, we’ll explain how to run an HVAC business and share how a job management platform can set you apart from your competitors.

How to Run an HVAC Business Effectively

There are many components to running an HVAC business; however, we’ve outlined the top three things you need to take into account below:

1. Plan

Companies that plan ahead grow 30% faster than those that don’t, so it’s essential that you take some time to put together a solid HVAC business plan. To begin, you might want to consider the following questions:

  • What is your unique selling proposition?
  • What is your vision for the next five years?
  • What is your target for sales, gross profit and net profit? If possible, you should break your profits down per department.
  • How many service calls should you aim to attend?
  • How many installations should you aim to complete?
  • How many technicians, installers, salespeople and back-office staff will you require?
  • How much business should you aim to get from repeat customers?

Then, you’ll need to project your cash requirements for each month. Calculate how much money will be coming in and compare it to your outgoings — is your remainder positive? If not, you’ll need to figure out how you will earn the additional revenue required.

Remember, having a steady cash flow is vital for any business, so you must ensure that your customers always pay on time. Otherwise, you will find it challenging to meet operational expenses and take on new projects that contribute to company growth. By investing in a job management platform, you can send electronic invoices the moment your worker has completed the work. Plus, with a range of simple, digital payment options available, your customers can pay on the same day, giving you peace of mind that your finances are in check. 

2. Collect Data

According to research from Aberdeen Group, the best performing field service businesses are driven by data and report a 7% decrease in operating costs. So, if you’re not already analysing your company’s stats, you should be.

The type of data you’ll want to collect will depend on your business goals. For example, ordering parts is crucial for running an HVAC business, but you could be spending far more than you should if you don’t have access to relevant, accurate data. Perhaps your workers forget to sign parts in and out of storage, or maybe their writing is illegible, and you can’t see what they’ve used. Either way, you’ll soon notice that the numbers aren’t adding up.

In comparison, job management platforms give you complete visibility over your operations and provide you with access to real-time data so you can make better-informed business decisions. So, not only will you be able to see how much stock you have available so you never accidentally over-order, but you can also take a closer look at whether the rest of your company is running as efficiently as possible.

3. Recruit the Best Talent

In stark contrast to the booming HVAC market, there is a serious shortage of talent. As more experienced workers reach retirement age and leave the workforce, they’re leaving behind a gap that 70% of field service organisations expect will severely impact operations within the next five to ten years.

Consequently, it’ll be the companies that can hire the best talent that will survive and grow in the years to come. But, to attract Millennial (1981-1996) and Generation Z (1997-2012) workers, businesses will need to modernise their ways of working. These tech-savvy generations will expect to work for companies that provide digital tools that enable them to work efficiently and deliver excellent services.

Therefore, now is the perfect time to undergo a digital transformation and become an early adopter of field service management software. With a platform like BigChange, you’ll be able to provide seamless communication between your field-based workforce and your back-office staff by equipping technicians with a mobile app. 

Using the app, workers can complete risk assessments and workflow documents, check the customers’ files for important notes, view their schedule in real-time, send digital invoices and accept payments — all from their mobile devices. By streamlining your processes and making it simple to complete each job, you’ll find that people will want to work for your company over those that continue to operate ‘the old way’.

Following Best Practices with Fleet Management Software

Job management technology is a must-have for HVAC businesses to thrive in a highly competitive, talent-short market. Platforms like BigChange give you the power to transform your company and manage business-as-usual tasks all in one place, saving you time and money to put back into activities that contribute directly to business growth.

Running an HVAC is simple on BigChange

Manage your entire operation on a single platform. 

BigChange transforms how your HVAC business operates, giving you the power to manage scheduled maintenance and respond to urgent reactive jobs more effectively. 

Give your team everything they need, from site directions and workflows to digital safety certification, and share live data with your back office as required.

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

The UK is currently experiencing a skills shortage, with the demand for electricians exceeding the supply. In fact, an additional 15,000 fully qualified electricians will need to join the industry over the next five years to close the gap. However, the good news for existing electricians is that it’s the perfect time to win new, high-value contracts. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through each step of tendering for electrical work. We’ll also share how field service management software can help you easily manage your growing business.

How to Win Electrical Contracts in 4 Simple Steps

1. Find a Suitable Opportunity

The first step to winning more electrical work is to find a tender that is relevant to the services you offer. A good place to start is by checking Contracts Finder or Find a Tender, where you will find all public tender opportunities in the UK. You can search using keywords, so you don’t have to waste time searching through irrelevant tenders.

There are three different contracting procedures that you’ll need to be aware of:

1. Open Procedure
An open procedure means that:
  • Anyone can submit a tender.
  • Clients cannot negotiate with bidders.

There are no restrictions on when clients can use the above method, but they must evaluate all tenders they receive. As a result, clients often use an open procedure for simple procurements.

2. Restricted Procedure
A restricted procedure means that:
  • Any interested parties can express an interest in bidding.
  • The client must invite a minimum of five suppliers to bid — provided enough candidates have applied — so there is genuine competition.
  • Clients cannot negotiate with bidders, but they may clarify details and finalise terms.

Again, there are no restrictions on when clients can use the above process. Usually, restricted procedures are suited to less stable markets where there are many competitors.

3. Competitive Dialogue
A competitive dialogue means that:
  • Companies shortlist candidates who respond to their advertisement, and only those selected are invited to bid.
  • Clients can negotiate with bidders to seek better offers.

Often, clients use competitive dialogue when they require a more tailored approach. For example, if the client’s organisation cannot use a ready-made solution or product due to the complexity of its requirements.

Once you’ve found a tender you want to apply for, you’ll need to register your interest. The client will then likely issue you with a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) in most cases.

2. Complete the Pre-Qualification Process (PQQ)

The PQQ is designed to help the client shortlist applicants for the tender, so you’ll need to provide strong evidence that your company can take on the project. The questionnaire will cover topics such as:

  • Experience level
  • Geographical reach
  • Financial information
  • Past and current clients
  • Insurance details

Remember, the PQQ will serve as the client’s first impression of your company, so it’s worth spending some time on your answers and ensuring that you’ve covered all the vital information you need to share. If you’re successful, the client will invite you to tender for the contract officially.

3. Invitation to Tender (ITT)

At the ITT stage, the client should supply more details on the scope of works, criteria, instructions and an explanation on how they will assess applicants. After you’ve carefully read through their requirements, you’ll need to pull together information about the following:

  • Some details about your company
  • How you’ll approach the project
  • An estimate and breakdown of costs
  • Your project management process

However, the above list isn’t exhaustive. Some clients may want you to include more information or have a preference over the format of your response. For example, you may have to upload your answers via an online portal with a maximum word count.

With a field service management platform in place, gathering crucial data to impress the client needn’t be a headache. You’ll have a comprehensive record of all previous jobs, cost centres, price lists and more at the click of a button. The platform tracks data in real-time, so you can rest assured that everything is accurate and up-to-date.

4. Begin Writing Your Bid

You should open your bid submission with a brief overview of your company’s qualifications and why you should win the contract. Then, you’ll need to outline how you’ll carry out the project, answering each question concisely and backing up statements with facts and figures.

Although the bid is a chance to demonstrate your strengths as an organisation, you must ensure the focus remains on the client. They will want to read about how you can help them with their specific requirements. Therefore, it’s a good idea to search your bid document for the word ‘we’ and change them to ‘you’ where appropriate.

Most importantly, once you’ve proofread your submission, you should submit it before or on the deadline. Late entries are likely to be ignored by the client, costing you time and a potential customer.

Field Service Management Technology Simplifies the Tendering Process

The tendering process can be lengthy and complex at times. As such, it may be tempting to keep attending to one-off, ‘quick win’ jobs. But, electrical companies should take advantage of today’s high demand for electricians and bid for larger, higher value contracts that will maintain a steady income stream. 

The good news is, you can streamline the tendering process by arming yourself with the vital data you need to impress potential clients. With a field service management platform such as BigChange, you can view details such as:

  • Who is working for you, where, and what qualifications they hold
  • Your assets, equipment and stock
  • Your clients and their feedback 
  • Your health and safety procedures 
  • Payments and outstanding invoices

You’ll eliminate the need to search through spreadsheets, paper documents and various systems for crucial information. Instead, you’ll have everything you need to write a persuasive bid, plus time left over to focus on other activities that contribute directly to business growth.

Win More Electrical Work and Grow Your Business with BigChange

All the essential information you need at the click of a button.

BigChange’s field service management system gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

Find out how BigChange can help your businessbook a free consultation today. Get more helpful guides and tips delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter below. You can keep up to date with BigChange on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

According to data from Glassdoor, the average cost of recruitment for a new employee in the UK is £3,000. Therefore, ensuring each hire will add value to your organisation long term is paramount.

Although it can be tempting to hire more resources during busy periods, ultimately, it doesn’t account for troughs in activity and could eat into your profits as a result. In other words, you could end up hiring people only to realise that you no longer need them a few months down the line, which is not only financially damaging but also destroys your employer brand.

Fortunately, being more selective when hiring new employees doesn’t mean that your current staff have to take on extra work. With the right job management platform in place, you’ll be able to handle your current workload — and more — without needing any additional resources.

In this article, we’ll explain how you can use modern technology to make the most of your existing team and efficiently deal with a high volume of work.

How to Grow Your Business with Your Existing Team

Here are the top three ways your team can deal with a high volume of work without becoming burnt out:

1. Digital Job Scheduling

Did you know that field service organisations waste a staggering 140 hours per year by creating their job schedules manually? Aside from causing productivity to take a nosedive, burdensome administration tasks take time away from your back-office team, which could be focusing on activities that directly contribute to business growth. 

Not to mention that manual processes are inherently error-prone, leading to delays and scheduling conflicts that leave a bad impression on your customers. 

Instead, when using a job management platform, your team can schedule jobs and dispatch workers at the touch of a button. The best systems on the market include an intelligent scheduling assistant, which suggests technicians for each job based on their location, availability, skillset and vehicle type. 

Since job management platforms provide real-time updates, your technicians can also see any changes to their schedule in an instant, regardless of their location. As such, they’ll be better equipped to deal with emergency appointments, and you can rest assured that you’ll always have the right resources in the right places. 

2. Provide Your Technicians with a Mobile App

80% of technicians think that mobile technology is a vital tool for enhancing efficiency and enabling them to help customers more effectively. Yet, many field service companies don’t provide mobile technology as a standard. 

When you rely on text messages, phone calls and paperwork to receive updates on the status of each job, vital information can be miscommunicated, incorrect or delayed. Poor communication can have a knock-on effect over your entire operation and leave customers with a negative impression of your business.

In contrast, a mobile application that links directly to your back-office team’s central platform will arm your technicians with everything they need to complete each job the first time. They can instantly see any changes to their schedule, read essential information about each case, complete risk assessments and mandatory forms, as well as issue invoices — all from the palm of their hand. 

With all information updating in real-time, your back-office staff won’t have to sit on the phone for hours each day, chasing technicians for updates. They can see all changes as they happen, making for seamless communication and integrated workflows across your entire operation. 

3. Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

One of the most effective ways to grow your organisation is through networking. But, with 41% of people believing they don’t have the time to attend networking events, a large percentage of business leaders are missing out on lucrative opportunities. 

Thankfully, when you use BigChange’s job management platform, you’ll gain free access to the Network. So rather than having to forfeit a day at the office to attend an event, you can simply post your business on the system and start receiving connection requests from thousands of other trusted field service organisations the same day.

With each connection you make, you’ll have the chance to collaborate on a range of projects around the world, expanding your reach further than ever before without needing to make a single hire. You can specify which jobs you have available, along with the skills required, to ensure that only the most relevant subcontractors represent your company. 

Most importantly, you’ll have access to a virtual meeting every month with other members to network and form partnerships. Subsequently, you’ll gain practical ideas on how to drive your business growth further.

Field Service Management Technology is Key to Growing Your Business

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on many businesses in the field service industry. However, one key takeaway from the crisis is that technology can help organisations overcome a range of challenges. In fact, companies that adopted technology quickly during the pandemic reported a higher rate of recovering from COVID-related economic issues. 

Consequently, in today’s turbulent market, you must consider ways to maintain business-as-usual without needing to go through costly recruitment processes that could end in frustration for both you and your new hire. 

With the right job management software in place, you can be confident that your team will have everything they need to deliver outstanding service and grow your business without becoming overworked. 

Deal with a High Volume of Work Effortlessly with BigChange

Manage your entire operation on a single platform. 

BigChange gives you complete control of your admin, from quotes to invoicing and beyond. Also, with our mobile app (available on iOS and Android), you can seamlessly connect your office, field technicians and customers and boost productivity as a result. 

Find out how BigChange can help your businessbook a free consultation today. Get more helpful guides and tips delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter below. You can keep up to date with BigChange on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

High-quality Field Service Management (FSM) is about effectively optimising and organising operations outside of your office, often in arenas that are in close proximity to your clients. In the past, field service technicians were heavily reliant on time-consuming manual processes riddled with the potential for human error. But, times have changed.

The right FSM solution could be the key to a host of immediate and long-term benefits — including more responsive reaction times, resource optimisation and improved customer experience.

The reality is, businesses who opt to ignore their clients’ needs, desires and expectations are putting their bottom line on the line. For example, did you know that in 2018 businesses collectively lost £55 billion in revenue due to poor customer service?

Read on to find out the benefits of retaining customers and discover how to retain your clients. 

What Kind of Service do Today’s Field Service Clients Expect?

While FSM can deliver lucrative benefits for both you and your clients, managing field service systems and processes is not without its potential challenges. 

Today’s customers expect an effortless and dependable service experience. But, although your field service clients may be expecting more, it can be difficult to meet expectations while juggling other business factors, including cost, resources and budget.

Between customer demands for faster service and a preference to have problems solved without having a technician physically present in their home — field service is ripe for digital disruption. 

However, even with the technology and software options available on the market, too many businesses are still reliant on outdated job scheduling tools or don’t have an existing system at all. 

Using a comprehensive, paperless field service platform like BigChange can help your company harness the power of the cloud and improve profitability. With a bird’s eye view of your operations, you can use precise data and up-to-the-minute information to optimise the performance of field service engagements.

By making it simpler to get the right people, tools and resources to the right place at the right time, you’ll be able to meet your customers’ high standards and retain them long-term.

The Benefits of Retaining Customers and Field Service Clients

It’s Cheaper to Retain Existing Customers than Acquire New Ones

There’s no escaping that customer experience is tied synonymously with how customers perceive their interactions with your company. The service you strive to deliver should always be useful, supportive, friendly and even enjoyable from the customer’s point of view in order to stand a chance of boosting your retention rates. 

While data varies from industry to industry, research concludes that customer acquisition is far more expensive than retention. In fact, it may cost your company up to five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.

One of the reasons is that attracting new customers requires constant improvement and sharpening of your products and services to stay ahead of your competitors. When your customers are already loyal and satisfied, your competitors make less of an impact. 

Once you have a good rapport with a field service client, they may even provide you with valuable feedback when prompted. Embracing both positive and negative criticism is key. 

Encourage your clients to tell you what changes and improvements they’d like to see, and determine what specific aspects of the experience you deliver is making your top customers loyal to your brand. Identifying the ways you can replicate your offerings is an effective way to grow your business and increase customer engagement.

It’s a Boost to Your Bottom Line and Brand Reputation

As we briefly outlined, customer retention is a driver of profitability. A healthy bottom line translates to sustainable growth for your company. Did you know that prioritising customer experience and increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 25% increase in profitability?

Strengthening customer retention requires incentivising your current field service clients to engage more with your brand. Measured using customer surveys, online reviews and social media interactions, customer satisfaction is the best gauge of how likely your brand is to receive repeat business from happy field service clients. 

To harness the benefits of profitability and reputability, measuring and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) will keep your company and your team of technicians moving in the right direction. KPI metrics you may consider adopting may include:

  • Time to schedule
  • Time to first contact
  • Response time
  • Travel time
  • Customer satisfaction rates
  • Jobs completed per day/week/month
  • Number of repeat visits.
Loyal Customers are More Forgiving in the Event Something Goes Wrong

Staggeringly, research conducted by American Express concluded that a third of customers would consider switching companies after a single instance of poor customer service. 

Despite striving to deliver perfect customer experiences, every company makes mistakes at one time or another. The data proves that loyal customers are more lenient and willing to forgive. PR Week found that two-thirds of loyal customers claimed they’d be more willing to forgive a company for a mistake provided they felt the brand was purpose-driven or cared about them and their specific needs.

The quickest way to lose trust in your customers is to deliver a disappointing customer experience. In the world of FSM, late appointments, cancelled meetings and frustrating double bookings can all create a negative outlook for your business. While the majority (67%) of customers would likely forgive after one mishap, on repeat instances there’s a strong likelihood they’ll seek services from a competitor.

How to Retain your Field Service Clients

Deliver a Faster, Slicker and More Connected Service

As the field service landscape evolves to meet modern needs, it’s clear that creating an excellent customer experience must be treated as a priority for your business to thrive. After all, according to Hubspot, 93% of people are more likely to be repeat customers at companies with excellent customer service. 

At a minimum, customers expect you to deliver products and services they pay for. You’re reliant on your employees to meet those expectations. For that reason, it’s vital that your field service technicians can stick to assigned schedules even when they’re away from the office or other team members.

To deliver a faster, more seamless service for your field service clients, you must have visibility on your technicians’ real-time location, performance and adherence with assigned jobs and hours. Tracking your workforce can help you to allocate work orders faster and manage the distribution of tasks as the need arises.

With increased connectivity and greater access to precise data, a cloud-based FSM system like BigChange can help you provide a proactive customer experience service that’s both efficient and effective.

Communicate with Clarity and Transparency

Let’s be real, no one likes to be left in the dark or to be taken by surprise. Your customers will always want to be in the know with new information. When looking for ways to retain your clients, start with communication. 

Take the time to send your field service clients helpful updates or notices about their upcoming service, project status or price quotes. Leading with clarity and transparency gives your clients visibility over the work you’re conducting, embedding confidence in your company’s ability to complete the job in a timely manner.

When technicians have access to field service software, they can be more open with customers. Equipped with essential information about the individual customer’s history, they can accurately explain changes and decisions made after past enquiries and engagements.

You can also put the control back in your customer’s hands by providing a self-service option that allows them to choose the services and appointments they want. From automatic texts to tell customers when you’ll be with them, to a self-service portal to make job requests, a tool like BigChange means you can quickly and easily keep your customers up-to-date. 

Better yet, your clients won’t have to go through the hassle of call centres and multiple customer service representatives — with BigChange they’re on a fast-track to problem resolution.

Improve Visibility of your Inventory and Individual Customer Profiles

When a customer experiences an issue and reaches out to your company for field service assistance, the reality is that the clock has already started ticking for your team. Every minute that passes counts when it comes to customer retention. 

The speedier and more helpful the service you provide, the more a customer dealing with a critical problem will reward your organisation. But what technologies or tools can you harness to deliver a fast and efficient field service?

The answer: a digital inventory control and management system. 

Improving inventory visibility equips technicians with the right tools they need to help a field service client in need. Having the means to track material orders helps monitor material usage and availability, while providing insights into best-selling items, market trends and over-consumption of certain materials. 

Opt for a complete software solution that connects a technician’s mobile device to your organisation’s CRM system, inventories and customer profiles in real-time. That way, your field service workers have the knowledge databases to deliver impactful customer experiences that lead to higher retention.

Adopt a Cloud-Based Platform

It’s no secret that today’s emerging technologies will power tomorrow’s customer service experiences. 

Rather than purchasing expensive systems and equipment for your business, you can reduce costs by partnering with a cloud-based field service management software provider. Moving to the cloud is guaranteed to slash the costs of managing and maintaining your IT systems in the long-term.

Early adopters of cloud-based CRM systems have discovered a competitive advantage over other companies that aren’t using modern ways to connect with their customers. The average person uses 36 cloud-based services daily — meaning you’ll be meeting your customers where they already are.

With a cutting-edge workforce management system like BigChange, you can organise and optimise for the most significant factors that influence the customer experience. Your back office teams can work in collaboration to easily monitor, schedule and dispatch service requests so that your field-based workers’ strongest skills are deployed to meet customer expectations the first time, every time. 

Field service management software can enhance your business by making it more efficient and providing employees with the resources to make their jobs easier. Investing in a field service solution will establish better customer relationships, improve retention rates, reduce operational costs, and improve cash flow.

Make 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.

There is undoubtedly some truth to the old saying, “the customer is always right”, in today’s world. In fact, 76% of customers now expect companies to understand their needs and will decide to purchase from a brand based purely on the customer experience (CX) it offers. Therefore, businesses that don’t prioritise their customers run the risk of having a high churn rate as people opt to use their competitors the next time they require field services. 

In this article, we’ll share a simple churn rate calculation so you can understand how happy your customers are with your CX. We’ll also explore some of the top reasons why customers abandon a company and what you can do to stand out from your competitors.

What is Customer Churn Rate and Why is it Important?

Customer churn rate — sometimes referred to as attrition rate — is the measure of how many customers stop doing business with your company over a specific period. The higher your churn rate, the more customers you’ve lost.

But, when you can simply go out and attract new customers, why should you place so much importance on maintaining a low churn rate? There are a few key reasons:

1. Customer Acquisition is Expensive

Shockingly, customer acquisition can cost up to five times more than retention. Think of it from your customers’ perspectives: if they already know how excellent your services are, they’ll be more willing to purchase them again in the future. Existing customers may also be happier spending more and trying out your other services, depending on how impressed they were previously. 

In contrast, it can take much more time and money to convince a new customer to purchase your services as there’s so much competition on the market.

2. A High Churn Rate Inhibits Company Growth

32% of people say that, after just one negative experience, they would stop doing business with a company they previously loved. Sadly, there’s little room for error when it comes to delighting your clients. If you’re consistently driving your customers away, it’s unlikely that they will return any time soon, which makes it much harder to keep growing your business. Instead, you’ll need to rely on acquiring new customers, which is far more costly, as we established earlier.

3. Your Company’s Reputation Takes a Hit

In 2020, around 87% of people read online reviews before engaging with a local business. So, if your customers are leaving because they’ve had a negative experience, there’s a chance they may leave a bad review online. Consequently, you could be losing out on potential clients if they’re reading several poor reviews that paint an unfavourable picture of your company. 

In a post-pandemic world, very few businesses can afford to ignore their churn rates, so let’s look at how to calculate your company’s percentage.

How to Do a Churn Rate Calculation

To determine your current customer turnover, you’ll need to do a simple churn rate calculation. First, you should take a look at how many customers you had at the beginning of the month and subtract it by the number of customers you had by the end of the month.

Then, you’ll need to divide that number by the number of customers you had at the beginning of the month. Finally, multiply your answer by 100 to get your final total.

So the formula would be:

Churn rate = 

(number of customers at start of month – number of customers at end of month) 

÷ 

customers at start of month

x 100

Let’s say, for example, you had 200 customers at the beginning of the month, but only 150 by the end:

200-150 = 50

50 ÷ 200 = 0.25

0.25 x 100 = 25%

In the example above, your customer churn rate would be 25%. The perfect churn rate would be 0% in an ideal world, but, unfortunately, client losses are inevitable. The best approach is to begin by calculating your current rate and then setting a realistic target for improvement.

Are you unhappy with your churn rate? Read on to find out what could be driving your clients away and how you can improve customer loyalty.

What’s Causing My Churn Rate to be High?

There are several potential reasons why your customers could be abandoning ship, so we’ve put together a list of the most common causes of a high churn rate:

1. Customers Have to Wait a Long Time to Get What They Need

For 60% of customers, long holds and wait times are the most frustrating parts of a service experience. With so many people now leading fast-paced lives, they don’t have time to spend waiting to get what they need. Instead, they expect rapid, convenient services.

There are three key contact points that you’ll need to consider when looking into ways to decrease wait times for your customers:

1. Appointment Bookings

88% of customers expect businesses to have some form of self-service portal available for them to make and amend bookings. Therefore, if your company still expects people to call during opening hours and speak directly to a representative, there’s a good chance you’re driving customers away.

2. The Day of the Appointment

Did you know that a staggering 89% of customers prefer an ‘Uber-like’ application to track the location of field technicians? Customers don’t want to wait around all day, wondering when their technicians will arrive, so, unfortunately, simply providing time slot ‘windows’ won’t cut it anymore.

3. Invoicing and Payment

Modern customers want innovative, more straightforward ways to pay for services, so companies will have to provide the methods to which people are now accustomed. Traditional invoicing methods can take weeks, which is inconvenient for your customers and can also lead to late payments.

Fortunately, when you use a state-of-the-art field service management platform, you’ll be able to meet customer expectations at all three touchpoints. For example, customers can make and amend bookings using an online portal, meaning they can set up an appointment at a time that suits them.

Then, the booking information immediately enters the system, enabling your back-office staff to assign and dispatch a suitable technician. Once the technicians are on their way, the software generates an automated email and text update. The update includes a live tracking link so your customers can see the technician’s exact location.

Finally, the technicians can fill out all essential documents and generate invoices directly from their mobile devices the moment they’ve completed the job. As such, your customers will receive an invoice in seconds and be able to pay the same day using a range of simple methods. 

Customers will appreciate the fact that you’ve kept their needs in mind throughout every stage of the buyer journey and will be more inclined to use your business again in the future.

2. Your Employees Aren’t Knowledgeable Enough

According to data from PwC, 46% of people will abandon a brand if they aren’t knowledgeable. When customers interact with your business, they expect to speak to an industry expert who can provide them with a suitable solution. 

However, if you’re sending your technicians to jobs without all the information they need on the client’s issue beforehand, you’re setting them up for failure. That’s why you must equip your field-based workers with detailed records of each customer job.

The best field service management platforms on the market will often include a mobile app that allows technicians to see everything that your back-office team can access. As such, they’ll be able to quickly read up on the customer’s issue before they visit the location and can fully prepare all the tools and equipment they need to bring on-site. 

Arming your technicians with the technology they need to provide a reliable, knowledgeable service will impress your customers and boost your reputation as a professional, reputable business. As a result, you may notice a significant decrease in your churn rate.

3. Customers Have to Make Multiple Appointments for Fixes

Customer retention rates have been proven to correlate with first-time fix rates directly. Research from the Aberdeen Group shows that field service organisations with a first-time fix rate of over 70% enjoy a colossal 86% customer retention rate.

Subsequently, you must make it a priority to get the job done the first time. The good news is, field service management platforms make it simpler than ever to achieve a high first-time fix rate. 

Once your customers have made a booking via the online portal, your back-office team will have a complete record of the issue. Consequently, they’ll be able to assign a worker based on location, skill set and qualifications, and vehicle type, so the best person for the job will attend.

Then, using an inbuilt asset management tool, they will be able to assign stock and equipment directly to the job. Your technicians can simply pick up everything they need on the day of the appointment and head to the customers’ locations — confident that they will be able to complete the work there and then. 

By improving your first-time fix rates, you’ll be able to impress your customers with rapid services, and your technicians will have more time to attend additional bookings each day.

4. You’re Not Making Your Customers Feel Valued

The number one reason why customers abandon companies is that they don’t feel appreciated. So, if you haven’t already considered ways to show how much you value your customers, now is the perfect time to start.

With a field service management platform like BigChange, showing appreciation to your customers doesn’t require any extra effort. You can add your company’s branding to our pre-designed templates to create professional-looking communications and add customers’ names using the inbuilt CRM (customer relationship manager).

Then, you can automatically send out personalised emails during crucial points of the buyer journey. For example, once your technicians have completed their jobs, the system will send an automated email that includes a customer satisfaction survey.

Aside from helping to make your customers feel valued, the satisfaction surveys also serve as a chance to hear your clients’ opinions on your business. Subsequently, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t, enabling you to make consistent improvements that lower your customer churn rate.

Field Service Management Software Helps You Stand Out from Your Competitors

Now you know how to improve your customer churn rate, it’s worth taking some time to create a plan and put it into action. By improving your retention rate by just 5%, you can enjoy an impressive 25-95% increase in profits.

In order to meet the high expectations of the modern customer, field service businesses should consider investing in a platform like BigChange. Unlike traditional manual methods, field service management software provides an end-to-end solution for managing your operations. By undergoing a digital transformation, you can seamlessly connect your back-office, field-based workers and customers, enabling you to provide outstanding services every time.

With many field service businesses still relying on outdated processes, now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve and stand out from the competition.

Build Strong Customer Relationships and Lower Your Churn Rate with BigChange

Some systems manage relationships. BigChange helps you master them.

Our fully integrated CRM system gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

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

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January is hard for field-service teams. Matthew Fisher, HR Manager at BigChange, offers leaders simple advice on keeping teams’ mental health strong over the winter

January can be a tough time for field-service workers. It’s cold, dark and potentially lonely. The 17th brings Blue Monday, by which time all that’s left of Christmas cheer are the bills. Field-service workers – who work long hours, often in isolation and outdoors – are more exposed than most to the lowering effects.

So, how can you help your team stay upbeat and healthy through the winter – and beyond?

It’s good to talk: start the conversation about mental wellbeing

  • Leaders need to make the first move. Research from 2021 suggested 29% of tradespeople don’t feel comfortable talking to those close to them about their mental health. More than a third don’t know how to reach support services. Start the conversation about mental health. It’s better for your staff and your business than reacting to problems.
  • Have quick one-on-ones with employees and run a mental-health awareness session. Let people know you take it seriously. Share links and information about mental health services. Bulletin boards or intranets are good places to start. 

  • Fit your language to your audience. For instance, it might be better to ask if someone is feeling lower or more worried than usual than to ask if they’re experiencing mental health issues.

  • It’s vital to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Be genuinely supportive and provide a safe environment, no one will open up if they feel that they’ll be judged. 

Walking the walk: what to do when someone is suffering 

  • If you notice someone having a hard time, reach out to discuss what’s going on and how you can support them better. 
  • Different people with different mental health difficulties will have different needs. Ask what someone wants and really listen to the answers. Peronalise and adapt your response as much as possible.
  • Review and (if necessary) change your tactics. You might need to adjust performance goals, offer more flexibility around work, or change how you communicate with an employee. 

Staying well: more self-care, less stress

  • Breathing exercises, spending early-morning time in the sun, or just listening to music you enjoy are all simple ways to boost your mood while on the job. Get the message out about how your people can stay well.
  • Staff can’t do this if they have no time. Build-in protected time, where employees can manage their wellbeing in their own way. This is better than mandatory activities; a casual group-call like a ‘free talk Friday’ will suit some, but not others. 
  • There’s no one right way. Wellbeing activities can be built into businesses of any size at any cost. It may be as simple as asking ‘How are you really doing?’ and being there to listen.

  • Say thanks often. No one likes being taken for granted. Recognise employees’ work. Use meetings, personal emails and chats. In Glassdoor research, more than half (53%) of respondents said feeling more appreciation from their boss would help them stay longer at their company. 

Improve employee experience with field service management software

Mobile workers juggle many tasks – considering upcoming jobs and adapting to situations on the fly, while always being ready to pick up the phone. They are always ‘on’, which can lead to burnout. Technologies that automate repetitive work, provide smart-scheduling, and that can flex to balance employees’ needs through simple things like quick reallocation of jobs can be a real help.

Discover how BigChange field service management software can help enhance your employees’ experience and arrange a free demo today.

Historically, field service organisations have been slow to adopt the latest technologies to manage and optimise their operations. In fact, a staggering 52% of companies are still relying on outdated manual administration methods. 

But, if the COVID-19 crisis taught us anything, it’s that digital transformation is essential in today’s world for businesses to survive and thrive. 

Luckily, you can digitise your current working practices with the right field service management tool in place. By eliminating time-consuming tasks and reducing the margin for error, you can enjoy boosted productivity levels, more profits and fewer unnecessary delays.

In this article, we’ll explore the top ways you can optimise your field service process by using modern technology.

How to Streamline your Field Service Process: 3 Top Tips

Here are the top three ways you can use a field service management tool to enhance your operations:

1. Perform Preventative and Predictive Maintenance on Your Vehicles

Although the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ might apply to many aspects of running a successful business, it certainly doesn’t work when it comes to taking care of your fleet. Shockingly, unplanned maintenance costs three to nine times more than planned preventative maintenance. 

Not to mention that defective equipment or assets can severely hinder or, at worst, halt your projects and set you back several days. Picture this: your technician, Michael, has an important appointment to attend. He loads all his equipment onto the van, gets in, and tries to start the engine.

After several attempts, Michael realises that the van isn’t going anywhere. So, he asks the back-office team if there’s another vehicle available. But, by the time Michael secures a new van, loads it up and gets on the road, he’s running exceptionally late. Your customer is unimpressed, and Michael is now speeding to get to the location quickly, putting himself and others in danger. 

Even if the original van had started, there’s a chance it could’ve broken down on the road and caused an accident since no one had maintained it. 

Fortunately, by performing preventative maintenance and adequate safety checks, you can avoid frustrating situations caused by defective equipment altogether.

With a field service management tool, you can complete daily electronic vehicle walkaround checks. The assessments make it simple to identify and report defects or potential problems to your Fleet Manager, ensuring that you’re able to keep a safe and legal fleet on the road.

By taking steps to maintain your vehicles, you can enable your technicians to attend more appointments per day, save money on emergency fixes and guarantee that your workers are safe on the roads.

2. Digitise Your Equipment and Asset Management Tracker

Did you know that 43% of small businesses aren’t tracking their inventory and assets effectively? With many field service organisations continuing to rely on spreadsheets, legacy systems and other manual administration processes to manage their vehicles, stock and tools, they are leaving themselves vulnerable to a host of issues.

For example, if you’re using a paper-based document for technicians to sign equipment in and out of storage, you will likely find that numbers stop adding up relatively quickly. Maybe the technicians have forgotten to fill out the form, or their writing is illegible. Perhaps they’ve taken too much stock so they can store it in their vans for future jobs.

When you can’t obtain an accurate overview of your inventory, you won’t be able to ensure that all your technicians have what they need for each job. Subsequently, they could be turning up to bookings without the right gear and need to make another appointment to finish the work. 

Fortunately, there is a more efficient way to manage your assets and stock. With a modern field service management tool, you’ll have access to real-time, accurate data on all of your valuable goods, regardless of their location.

Consequently, your team can allocate stock, tools and equipment directly to customer bookings so your technicians can complete the job the first time. In the long run, you’ll save more time, enjoy higher levels of productivity and boost your bottom line.

3. Use Real-Time Data to Schedule and Manage Jobs

According to a survey conducted by Verizon Connect, half of field service businesses struggle with ‘quickly re-routing technicians’. A further 48% claimed their biggest hurdle is ‘keeping everyone updated about the schedule’ and, for 45%, it’s ‘informing customers of technicians’ estimated times of arrival’. 

Unfortunately, job management and scheduling are tricky when you don’t have real-time data or the right technology in place. Without complete visibility over your workers in the field, you have to rely on phone calls, texts and spreadsheets to ensure that your technicians attend all customer bookings on time. 

The good news is, using a field service management tool with an integrated intelligent scheduling feature such as BigChange, you’ll have all the vital information you need whenever you need it. The system uses GPS tracking technology to collect data in real-time, giving you every technician’s exact whereabouts and keeping your customers in the loop with automated texts and emails.

Whenever your customers make or reschedule a booking on the portal, your back-office team can instantly assign a technician to the job, taking into account the following:

  • Traffic information
  • Location
  • Job constraints (for example, specific qualifications the technician must hold)
  • Vehicle type

Not only can you guarantee that you’ll be sending the most appropriate worker to each booking, but you also eliminate the risk of scheduling issues such as clashes or delays. Plus, you’ll be arming your team with the tools they need to be more agile in the case of an emergency booking.

Grow Your Business with BigChange’s Field Service Management Tool

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.

Did you know it takes the average small-to-mid-sized company an astonishing 25 days to process a single invoice manually? Unfortunately, the longer it takes to issue a customer with an invoice, the higher the chance you won’t be paid on time.

When clients consistently pay late, your cash flow suffers, preventing you from affording other operational expenses. In a post-pandemic world, companies need to shore up their supply chains and ensure they pay suppliers promptly, or else they risk severe financial and reputational damage.

Fortunately, modern invoicing and payment software solutions have made it easier than ever to keep your finances on track. Read on to discover how implementing innovative technology can help you get paid on time, every time.

How Invoicing and Payment Software Ensure Invoices Are Paid on Time

1. Digitising All Documents

There are many positives to adopting field service technology to manage your entire operation. Here are the top five benefits your business could enjoy by providing your technicians with a field service mobile application:

2. Live Tracking and Real-Time Updates

According to data from BlueSnap, businesses that use traditional invoicing and payment methods typically spend around 11 hours managing a single invoice across a range of five different systems.

Aside from being time-consuming, manual processes can be a morale-killer for your accounts receivable (AR) team. They not only have to complete arduous, repetitive tasks each day but also inevitably spend hours on the phone chasing up late payments. Sadly, when team morale begins to take a nosedive, so does productivity. 

Fortunately, when you use cutting-edge invoicing and payment software can liberate your team from the monotony of dealing with endless paperwork.

For example, once your technicians have completed their jobs, they can simply fill out all essential paperwork instantly. Then, they can send electronic invoices to your customers directly from their mobile devices.

The most advanced platforms, such as BigChange, also include an online payment feature to make it even more straightforward for your customers to pay for goods and services. By making it possible for your clients to pay immediately, you won’t have the headache of chasing overdue invoices. Plus, when you eliminate unnecessary administration associated with invoicing, you free up more time for your AR team to focus on business-critical activities.

3. Reducing the Margin for Error

Around 88% of all spreadsheets contain at least one mistake. When you rely on people to manually input data over an extended period, errors are unavoidable.

However, minor inaccuracies cost your business dearly. If your AR team relies on spreadsheets and legacy systems to create invoices, chances are some details won’t be correct. As a result, the likelihood of a customer calling up to contest a payment undoubtedly increases. 

When a customer has to take time out of their day to iron out mistakes, their impression of your company becomes less favourable, and they will be unwilling recommend you to others. At worst, they may decide to not use your services again in the future.

Additionally, incorrect invoices create excess work for your employees. AR teams have to raise a brand new invoice and start the entire process over again. Delays in invoice processing cause businesses to miss deadlines, hurting their professional reputation and destroying their cash flow.

That’s where invoicing and payment software comes in. 

Pulling information directly from the integrated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, your technicians can instantly create an invoice with all the clients’ correct details. They can then send the digital invoices to your customers for same-day approval. 

By providing people with their invoices more rapidly, you can ensure that they are satisfied with the details or, if not, mitigate any potential issues before they become problematic. As a result, you’ll find that your invoices are paid on time and you can keep your operations running smoothly.

4. Providing Modern Payment Methods

The UK is currently the largest digital payments market in Europe by valuation, currently worth a total of  £157.7 billion. Today’s customers want smarter, simpler ways to pay and, therefore, field service businesses will need to get ahead of the curve to avoid becoming obsolete.

When it comes to invoicing using traditional methods, the entire process can take weeks. Let’s imagine your technician has just completed a job. The technician informs your AR team, who then waits for the next payment cycle before creating, printing out, and mailing the invoice. By the time the payment cycle has come around, it’s been several days since the engineer completed the job.

A few days later, your customer receives the invoice and puts it on their finance team’s desk. Their finance team is slowly making their way through the pile of existing invoices, and it takes another day before they get to yours.

Your customer’s finance team checks the invoice to ensure it’s correct and writes out a cheque. They then post it to you in the mail, and it arrives later in the week. Worse, the finance team could have inadvertently misplaced or thrown out the paper invoice, delaying the process even further.

Not a very efficient system, to say the least. 

In contrast, businesses that use modern invoicing and payment software get paid the moment technicians complete their jobs. BigChange Pay enables your clients to pay from their mobile devices using the modern methods they’re accustomed to, such as Apple Pay.

In addition to swift, effortless payments, you can also benefit from the extra layer of security that online payments provide. Unlike cheques, which leave you vulnerable to fraud, payment software can detect criminal activity. As such, you can rest assured that all payments are legitimate and that you won’t have any unpleasant surprises further down the road. 

Digital Invoices and Payments are the Future

With invoicing and payment software, you can wave goodbye to the inefficiencies that traditional methods create. When you arm your team with state-of-the-art technology, you can create a more productive work environment, reduce the margin for human error and guarantee that invoices are paid on time.

Guarantee Your Invoices are Paid on Time with BigChange

Get paid on time. Every time.

With BigChange, you can rapidly create financial documents based on pre-saved line items or automatically calculated job costs. Plus, you can generate and share invoices, quotes, estimates, purchase orders and credit notes in seconds.

Make payments simple for your customers with BigChange Pay by enabling them to send money straight from their mobile devices. 

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

2021 was a challenging year for businesses running field-based teams. These firms saw costs and demand for their services rocket, but shortages in supplies, skilled workers and fuel played havoc on operations and made it difficult to maintain excellent customer service.

The State of the Field Service Sector, published by BigChange, asked business leaders how they dealt with these challenges in the 12 months to July 2021. It identified five key areas that businesses are focussing on to grow stronger in 2022. 

#1 Cash

Firms have performed significantly better across the field service sector since the end of the first strict lockdown in July 2020. Turnover was up by 79 per cent on average, compared to the previous 12 months, and a third of businesses saw profits increase by at least 50 per cent. 

However, less that half (48 per cent) of leaders reported their companies were profitable during this period, and 70 per cent said their margins were under continued pressure from the rising cost of materials, fuel and labour.

In addition to increasing the profitability of every job, firms are focusing on freeing-up cash for growth. Practical steps to support this goal include instant invoicing with proof of service or delivery and offering a wider range of convenient payment options.

#2 Capacity

Most firms expect to be busier in 2022, with nearly one-in-five (17 per cent) anticipating workloads to double in the next 12 months. Growth expectations are highest among building maintenance, facilities management, cleaning and waste management firms.

However, businesses are starting to feel the effects of a skills shortage, limiting their ability to complete this work. 56 per cent of field service leaders reported difficulty in retaining frontline operators.

The best companies are taking measures to meet this issue head-on. We see firms using intelligent scheduling to increase the number of jobs teams complete each day and improving first time fix rates by ensuring the right stock, equipment and parts are available when and where field service operatives need them.

#3 Climate

The ban on the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2030 will have a massive impact on field service businesses. It’s a change that leaders need to be ready for. However, the smartest firms are already aware of the impact running large field-based teams has on the planet (as well as their bottom line), and are taking incremental steps to improve their sustainability. 

Using smart scheduling to plan routes and jobs more efficiently can have a dramatic effect on both fuel efficiency and the amount of time spent on the road. Individual field service operatives at organisations adopting our job management platform typically achieve a 10% reduction in fuel usage and spend 10 fewer hours on the road each month than they did before using BigChange.

#4 Compliance

With more significant safety regulations brought about through the pandemic, compliance remains a crucial concern for field service businesses. And it’s one that many are struggling to stay on top of. More than half (53 per cent) reportedly breached industry regulations in the last 12 months.

For ambitious companies, compliance problems can present a real challenge to growth. Of the reported breaches, 19 per cent resulted in a loss of reputation. Nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of firms said rules and regulations were currently stopping their business from working as efficiently as they would like.

Business leaders we speak to recognise that meeting compliance requirements at scale requires oversight of all parts of their operations in real-time, as well as method statements and documented ways of working that can be followed easily in the field. 

#5 Customer Experience

Limited opportunities to offer ‘competitive prices’ has meant more firms are turning customer experience into a new source of competitive advantage. More than two-thirds of leaders (68 per cent) said ‘good service’ now requires same-working-day fixes for reactive jobs, and companies are optimising their operations to be able to deliver that more consistently.

Another area we see field service businesses focusing on to improve customer experience is the use of digital tools. More and more are introducing online booking as part of digital experiences that keep clients fully informed on things like arrival times and job progress.

BigChange is the complete Job Management Platform that’s helping field service businesses across the UK to win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Discover how BigChange field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a damaging impact on many field service companies across the country. However, despite the ongoing disruption, the industry is predicted to surpass a global value of £2.9 billion by 2025 as demand for skilled field service technicians remains high. 

But, to survive in a post-pandemic landscape, field service organisations must innovate to maintain long-term commercial viability. Investing in technology will set your business apart from the competition and keep you ahead of the curve as customers look for more modern, convenient services.

In this article, we’ll explain what field service management (FSM) software is and why it’s a must-have for businesses that want to grow following a period of economic turbulence. We’ll also share the top five ways that a field service platform can benefit your company.

What is Field Service Management Software?

Field service management (FSM) organises and enhances all work performed outside the office. However, around 52% of organisations currently manage their operations using error-prone manual methods and inefficient legacy systems. 

Although traditional methods of overseeing your field-based workforce may get the job done eventually, they are incredibly time-consuming and often lead to various costly errors. For example, suppose you’re using an old in-house system or a spreadsheet to run your operations. In that case, you may find that you have poor first-time fix rates, booking clashes or delays, dissatisfied customers and low productivity levels. 

In a post-pandemic world, field service organisations can’t afford to be complacent about their ways of working. To stay ahead of the curve and thrive during times of economic turbulence, you must look for innovative ways to keep your business running smoothly.

That’s where field service technology comes in.

State-of-the-art FSM platforms can revolutionise and streamline your current processes, giving you more visibility and control over your business than ever before. Better still, you’ll be able to improve productivity, provide better service to your customers and boost your bottom line simultaneously.

Plus, the most cutting-edge platforms provide an integrated app that aids in seamlessly connecting your back-office staff, field technicians and customers. FSM mobile apps put vital information in the palm of your workers’ hands, enabling them to do the following:

  • Communicate with your back-office staff in real-time
  • Access the CRM (customer relationship management) system
  • Complete electronic vehicle walkaround checks
  • Log expenses in seconds
  • Capture photos and signatures
  • View available stock, parts and equipment
  • Carry out risk assessments and view method statements
  • Fill out and submit timesheets

With your entire workforce more connected than ever before, you’ll be able to run a smoother, more competitive operation.

How Field Service Technology Benefits Your Business

1. Enhanced Levels of Employee Productivity

Almost three-quarters (72%) of people who experience low stress levels at work say they have access to technology that enables them to work productively. Furthermore, 64% of people believe that automation can reduce workload and stress. 

However, when your team’s ‘to-do’ lists are filled with monotonous tasks and pointless busywork, you’ll likely find that productivity levels decrease as your employees become less engaged in their work. 

To keep your workers engaged, you must consider how technology will liberate their time to spend on more motivational activities that contribute directly to business growth. Field service management technology moves your entire operation onto one easy-to-use platform, giving your staff the ability to manage a customer’s booking — end-to-end — in just a few clicks.

By using your team’s time more effectively on business-critical activities, they’ll be able to complete more tasks, provide your customers with a better service and boost your bottom line.

2. Happier and More Loyal Customers

Unsurprisingly, businesses that prioritise the customer experience outperform those that don’t by an astounding 80%. Customers have high expectations, so if you aren’t taking the time to consider their needs, they’ll be less inclined to use your company again in the future.

But, how can field service technology improve the customer experience? To answer that question, we must look at the aspects of a business that are most attractive to customers:

1. Speed of Service

For 70% of customers, speed of service matters the most. Investing in technology is paramount to eliminating all inefficiencies that slow down your team. For example, field service management platforms remove the admin-heavy aspects of managing a customer’s booking and liberate your team’s time to focus on getting the job done well and to a high standard.

2. Good Communication

Only 14% of customers say they’re happy with current business communications. No one wants to have to chase down important information by waiting on the phone for hours to speak to a representative, so you need to keep your customers in the loop at regular intervals using less time-intensive communication methods. 

Field service management platforms can pull through client data directly from the CRM (customer relationship manager) and place them into company-branded email templates before sending out automatic communications at the most vital points of the buyer journey. Consequently, your customers will never have to wonder where their technician is or waste time chasing them up.

3. Knowledgeability

Just under half (46%) of all customers will abandon a company if they don’t seem to be knowledgeable. But, with field service management technology, you can rest assured that everyone in your business will have all the information they need to hand, wherever they are. 

For example, your back-office staff will have access to a robust system that includes everything — from booking details right up to invoices and payments — so they have a comprehensive record of each customers’ service history whenever they need it. Additionally, your field-based workforce can access the same information from their mobile devices, meaning they have the most up-to-date intelligence on each job and are equipped to answer any customer queries.

3. Better First-Time Fix Rates

Did you know that high-first time fix rates directly correlate with customer retention levels? Yet, second visits are a frequent occurrence for many field service organisations. Here are some of the most common issues that prevent workers from being able to complete a project on the first appointment:

  • Incorrect or unavailable parts: 29%
  • Customer or asset unavailable for service: 28%
  • Improper diagnosis at time of dispatch: 19% 
  • Technician didn’t have the required skills: 15%
  • Resolution was only temporary: 8%

Fortunately, field service technology has the power to eradicate the obstacles that cause low first-time fix rates:

1. Unsuitable Parts and Temporary Resolutions

With a field service management platform, you’ll have complete visibility over your inventory, enabling you to see quantities of stock in real-time, regardless of location. Furthermore, your back-office staff can allocate items directly to jobs, so your technicians never have to worry about arriving at an appointment with the wrong gear.

2. Unavailable Customers or Assets

Today’s customers lead busy lives, so you must provide them with the freedom to make and amend their bookings via an online portal, which many field service management platforms include. 

By removing the need to sit on the phone to speak to a representative, you’re making it more convenient for customers to handle their appointment times and ensure they give you plenty of notice when they need to re-schedule. As a result, you’ll likely find that the frequency of customers being unavailable on the day of a booking significantly reduces.

3. Technicians with the Wrong Skill Sets and Improper Diagnoses

Although it’s essential to keep technicians’ travel times to a minimum, location isn’t the only factor you should consider when assigning workers to jobs. In fact, skill sets and qualifications play a large part in being able to deliver outstanding services. 

If your technician doesn’t have the right skill set to diagnose or fix an issue, chances are they won’t be able to resolve the customer’s dilemma during the first appointment. The good news is that field service technology provides a way to guarantee the right people attend the right jobs. Using real-time data, the system analyses every technician available to match them up with the appointments they are best qualified to complete and simultaneously optimises their routes.

4. Enables Your Technicians to Attend More Appointments Each Day

In 2020, a quarter of field service organisations were using spreadsheets for job scheduling. The rest relied on whiteboards and other equally inefficient manual methods. Therefore, it’s no surprise that managing technicians’ schedules presents a significant challenge to many businesses. 

But, with field service management technology, you can optimise your workers’ routes at the click of a button. Using an intelligent scheduling assistant, the system suggests particular technicians for each job based on their location, skill set, vehicle type and job constraints. 

By reducing the amount of time your workers spend on the road and ensuring that they’re adequately qualified to carry out the work during the first appointment, you can free up more time for them to attend additional jobs each day. 

5. Improves Your Business’ Financial Stability

Worryingly, since the beginning of the pandemic, late payments in the UK have escalated by 23%, putting significant strain on field service businesses countrywide. Consequently, companies have had to consider new ways to get paid on time and avoid the harmful financial repercussions of late payments.

Field service technology digitises the entire invoicing and payment process to make for a seamless transaction between you and your customers. Once your technicians have completed their jobs, they can instantly generate invoices from their mobile devices and send them to your customers in a matter of seconds.
As soon as your customers receive and approve their invoices, they can then pay using a range of straightforward online options, meaning that they can send funds to your account on the same day. Modernising the invoicing and payment process means that you won’t have to wait days — or possibly weeks — for payments before chasing them up. Instead, you will have a steady cash flow which will help to boost your bottom line.

Investing in Technology is Your Best Bet to Standing Out from the Competition

75% of organisations that have adopted field service technology have benefited from improved employee productivity and customer satisfaction levels, leading to better ways of working and increased profits. Therefore, investing in technology is a smart move for those that want to bounce back stronger than ever in a competitive, post-pandemic market.

Field service management technology makes it simpler than ever to manage your business. With a platform like BigChange, you can do the following:

  • Accept customer bookings
  • Assign and dispatch workers
  • Track vehicles, assets, stock and equipment
  • Take payments and invoices

…and more, all on a single easy-to-use platform. Simplifying your ways of working and finding ways to reduce the workload for your team will liberate time to attend extra bookings and take on other tasks that contribute directly to business growth. Remember, your existing staff are your most valuable asset, so you must put their time and skills to good use.

Transform Your Business and Boost Your Bottom Line 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.

We engaged the research consultancy Opinium in August 2021 to survey field service organisations and learn about how they fared since the UK’s strictest lockdown came to an end a year ago.

Impressively, 72% of the UK’s field service businesses are growing, but only 1 in 5 are growing stronger. At BigChange, we’re committed to making a difference to the way you work and helping your business thrive. 

That’s why, with 2022 fast approaching, we’ve put together a simple guide that explores the top three ways you can refresh your ways of working and succeed in the new year. Read on to learn more.

Your Field Service Business 2.0: How to Thrive in the New Year

1. Upgrade Your Operational Visibility and Reporting Methods

One of the best ways to manage your operations efficiently is by upgrading your outdated legacy systems. In fact, 54% of businesses believe that a good system automates and optimises everything — from job scheduling to invoicing — within a single platform.

Job management software is designed specifically to help you manage every aspect of running a field service business and remove the time-consuming administration that manual methods create. By creating so much spare time, your team will instead be able to focus on tasks that contribute directly to business growth.

Since the technology records all data in real-time, you’ll also have the most accurate information to create detailed reports that can inform future business decisions. For example, you won’t have to lose money by over-ordering stock as you’ll be able to see exact quantities of all items in your inventory, no matter where they’re stored.

With such a powerful platform available whenever you need it, you can rest assured that you have complete control over your company and its finances.

2. Prioritise the Customer Experience

Thanks to the ‘Amazon effect‘, today’s customers expect more superior experiences than ever before. When we surveyed over 500 field service organisations, we found that 65% believe good service involves the customer being kept in the loop with precise arrival time updates, details of who their engineer is and confirmation of the work completed.

With job management technology, you can tick all the boxes and more. The system pulls customer data from the inbuilt CRM (customer relationship manager) and adds it to pre-designed email templates with your company’s branding. As such, you can easily send out personalised communications at the most crucial points of the customer journey.

Plus, on the day of their appointment, you can send customers an automated text update, including an arrival time for their engineer and a live tracking link. So not only will your customers be impressed with the convenient service, but you’ll also save your back-office team from having to provide manual updates.

3. Prepare for a Talent Shortage

Whilst eight out of ten firms expect their turnover to grow into 2022, the talent crisis means that they will face increasing demand without employee numbers rising at the same rate. As more experienced engineers reach retirement age, they’re leaving behind a gap that’s hard to fill.

Fortunately, when you use BigChange’s job management platform, you’ll gain access to the Network. You can list your business for free and immediately connect with thousands of like-minded companies worldwide. 

By making connections, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate on projects, meaning you can easily access resources for any job, of any size, in any location. You’ll never have to worry about the skills shortage again.

Put Your Business First in 2022 with Job Management Technology

81% of field service businesses say the pandemic has hit their turnover or profits over the last 12 months. Therefore, to survive long-term, companies will need to innovate and find ways to boost their bottom line.

With a job management platform, you can modernise and streamline your entire operation, bringing it onto one easy-to-use system. As a result, you can impress customers, maintain visibility over the most critical aspects of your business and overcome a range of obstacles that may otherwise hinder your profitability.

Why not start your new year by making a big change for the better?

2022 Will Be More Profitable on BigChange

The BigChangecomplete job management platform is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling,  live tracking, field resource management, financial management and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

Want to find out more?

Discover how your business can grow stronger on BigChange here and arrange a free demo today.

Get the full State of the Field Service Sector Report here

According to data from the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme UK (CHAS UK), the COVID-19 pandemic decreased overall HVAC business turnover by 70%. As a result, just under half (45%) of stakeholders believe their company is under threat.

With that in mind, it’s never been more necessary to bid for larger contracts that will provide enough work in the long run. However, if you usually deal with residential customers exclusively, taking the leap to bid on a commercial agreement may be intimidating. 

In this article, we’ll explain how to bid for HVAC service contracts in a few simple steps and share how field service management technology can streamline the process.

How to Bid for HVAC Contract Work

1. Find Appropriate Contracts to Bid On

Before you can begin bidding on a contract, you must first find one you believe your business will be able to manage. A good place to start is by looking on the Contracts Finder page of the GOV.UK website. The Contracts Finder allows you to filter searches by sector. You can also see upcoming contracts and search for details of previous agreements.

You should then familiarise yourself with the three most common contracting procedures, which we’ll explain below.

1. Open Procedure

An open procedure means that:

  • Anyone is permitted to submit a tender
  • Clients cannot negotiate with bidders

There are no restrictions on when clients can use the above method, but they must evaluate all tenders they receive. As such, an open procedure is often used for straightforward procurements.

2. Restricted Procedure

A restricted procedure means that:

  • Any interested parties can express their interest in bidding.
  • A minimum of five suppliers must be invited to bid — provided enough candidates have applied — so there is genuine competition.
  • Clients cannot negotiate with bidders, although they can clarify details and finalise terms.

Again, there are no restrictions on when clients can use the process above. Often, restricted procedures are suited to less stable markets where there are several competitors. 

3. Competitive Dialogue

A competitive dialogue means that:

  • Companies shortlist candidates who respond to their advertisement, and only those selected are invited to bid.
  • Clients are permitted to negotiate with bidders to seek better offers.

Often, competitive dialogue is used when a more tailored approach is needed. For example, if the client’s organisation cannot use a ready-made solution or product due to the complexity of its requirements.

2. Gather Accurate Data About Your Business

Once you’ve selected the HVAC contract work that you want to bid for, it’s time to gather some data. To justify your quote, you need factual evidence and accurate numbers — so you should calculate the following:

  • Labour costs
  • Prices of supplies
  • Equipment usage costs
  • Profit margin
  • Average timescales to complete work

Remember, although the price is important, it’s not a race to the bottom. Your company’s experience, certifications, qualifications and track record are also crucial factors, so clients will be looking at more than just who can offer the lowest bid.

Collecting all the vital information you need to share about your business can seem daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. With field service management software, you can obtain real-time, accurate data on anything from your inventory to finances in just a few clicks. Consequently, you’ll have all the details you need to write a successful bid without the headache of sifting through mountains of paperwork.

3. Put Your Bid Together

Begin your bid submission with a brief overview of your company’s qualifications and why you should win the contract. Then, explain how you will complete the job by answering each question concisely and sharing all the relevant information you sourced earlier. Don’t forget to submit any additional paperwork that the client has requested, such as proof of insurance, certifications, or a list of key personnel.

Whilst it’s beneficial to mention the positive aspects of your organisation, you must ensure you keep the focus on the client. The reader will want to know how you can help them with their specific requirements. Search your document for incidences of the word ‘we’ and consider how you can change them to ‘you’ instead.

Above all else, once you’ve double-checked your bid for errors, you must ensure that you submit it before or on the deadline. Failure to do so will likely cause the client to discount your submission entirely, meaning you’ve lost both valuable time and a potential customer. 

Field Service Management Technology Speeds Up the Bidding Process

Bid writing is a time-consuming process and, when there’s no guarantee that you’ll win the contract in the end, it can be tempting to simply continue attending to one-off jobs. But, to survive in a post-COVID world, HVAC organisations will need to secure a steady pipeline of work, which you can achieve by winning contracts. 

Fortunately, you can cut down your time writing bids by arming yourself with the vital data you need to impress potential clients. With field service management software such as BigChange, you can view details:

  • Who is working for you, where, and what qualifications they hold
  • Your clients and their feedback 
  • Your assets, equipment and stock
  • Payments and outstanding invoices
  • Your health and safety procedures 

As a result, you can eliminate the need to search through spreadsheets, paper documents and various systems for crucial information. Instead, you’ll have everything you need to write a persuasive bid, plus time left over to focus on other business-critical activities. 

Win More HVAC Contract Work with BigChange

All the essential information you need at the click of a button.

BigChange’s field service management system gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

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

Whether you’ve just started up your cleaning business, or you’ve been established for some time, knowing how to attract new clients is an essential skill. Fortunately, winning contracts doesn’t have to be a headache if you have the know-how and the right technology in place.

In this article, we’ll explain how to get clients for your cleaning business. Plus, we’ll explore the ways that modern technology can give your organisation a competitive advantage.

How Do I Get Cleaning Contracts?

Did you know, there are approximately 66,420 businesses currently operating in the UK cleaning market? With so many organisations for customers to choose from, competition to win cleaning contracts is fierce.

However, there are several methods you can use to set yourself apart from your competitors. Here are the top four ways you can turn prospective clients into paying customers:

1. Word of Mouth

When it comes to attracting customers to your cleaning company, word of mouth is one of your best tools. In fact, word of mouth marketing results in five times more business than paid media, and people are 90% more likely to purchase products or services that have been recommended by someone they know. 

Therefore, you must ensure that you provide your existing customers with a positive experience. Fortunately, by using state-of-the-art field service management software, impressing your clients needn’t be time-consuming or challenging.  

For example, you can provide your customers with a user-friendly portal to easily make and rearrange appointments. Your team can then use the details the customer submitted to schedule and dispatch the most appropriate workers and equipment for the job.

Once your cleaners have completed the work, they’ll be able to instantly send customers invoices from their mobile devices for simple, online payment. Your customers will appreciate the rapidity and simplicity of your service and, as such, be more inclined to tell others about your business.

Field service management platforms also allow you to send your customers satisfaction surveys and personalised follow-up communications to ensure they’re happy. Post-job emails are the perfect opportunity to ask your customers to recommend you to others – you could even offer them a small discount for spreading the word.

2. Be Active on Social Media

With over 420 billion people active on social media, it has become one of the primary advertising channels for small businesses hoping to attract new clients. Consequently, you should ensure that you regularly update at least one channel.

Remember, cleaning is a visual service, and social media is your portfolio, so platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are ideal for showing off your work. You may wish to share before and after photos or even time-lapses of your team at work to give customers an idea of what to expect when they hire you.

Social media is also an excellent place to target specific prospective clients. For instance, if you want to win more office cleaning contracts, you could tailor your content specifically to corporate customers. Or, if you operate in a specific area, you can tag your posts to exact locations.

Finally, to build up a solid social media following, you should take time to respond to comments and connect with other users. Taking a friendly approach will make you stand out and attract more customers to your organisation.

3. Create a Website

Shockingly, it only takes about 50 milliseconds – or 0.05 seconds – for customers to form an opinion about your website. Sadly, if their first impressions aren’t positive, you could be losing business, so it can be tempting to forego a website entirely. 

But, in today’s digital world, having a website is necessary if you want prospective clients to find you. 

The good news is, you no longer have to be a tech wizard or break the bank to create a professional-looking website. There are now plenty of website builders with templates you can use to put your own site together in a few clicks. 

When making a website, you should tailor it to your customers and what they want to see. With a contemporary CRM (customer relationship management) system, you can obtain a snapshot of your customer base and their requirements at the touch of a button. 

Every interaction you’ve had with your clients, from phone calls to satisfaction surveys, are stored on the platform, so you can tell what industry the majority of your customers operate in, where they’re located and what feedback they gave you. As such, you can use the data you’ve collected to shape your website’s content and continue attracting similar customers.

4. Collaborate with Other Businesses and Expand Your Reach

Networking is a powerful method of growing your organisation and winning new contracts. Still, if you’re one of the 41% of people who believes they don’t have time to connect with other professionals in their field, you could be missing out on business opportunities.

Luckily, you can eliminate the time-consuming aspects of networking by employing the latest field service management technology such as BigChange. With BigChange, you can make the most of their ‘Network’ of trusted global field service companies without needing to leave the office.

Instead, you can list your business for free and start receiving connection requests immediately. From there, you’ll have the option to collaborate on projects with other like-minded companies, meaning you can bid for larger contracts and operate further afield without needing to hire extra resources.

You can specify the types of jobs you have available, alongside the skill requirements, so you can be sure that any subcontractors meet your standards and will represent your business appropriately.

Turn Prospective Clients into Paying Customers with BigChange

Some systems manage relationships. BigChange helps you master them.

Our fully integrated job management software gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the hospitality industry was one of the worst affected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As countrywide lockdowns prohibited events and forced many public locations to close their doors, catering businesses had to await further announcements and place staff on furlough, creating a sense of uncertainty.

Now we’ve entered the ‘new normal’, it’s the perfect time to grow your company. One way to obtain more clients is to win a public sector catering tender. The public sector — for example, schools, care homes, hospitals, airports and offices — regularly outsource catering services, so plenty are available.

In this article, we’ll walk you through each step of tendering for a catering contract. We’ll also share how field service management software can help you easily manage your growing business.

7 Simple Steps to Winning Catering Jobs

1. Do Your Research

Firstly, you’ll need to find a tender that’s relevant to your business. In the UK, all public tender opportunities are listed on Contracts Finder or Find a Tender, and you can search using keywords related to your services.

2. Complete the Pre-Qualification Process (PQQ)

Once you’ve selected a tender you want to apply for, you’ll need to complete the PQQ process, which involves filling out a questionnaire. The questionnaire should cover topics such as experience level, past and current clients, geographical reach, financial information and insurance details. 

The answers you provide will enable the client to shortlist the suppliers that fit their requirements. All shortlisted suppliers can then officially tender for the contract, so take some time to fill out the questionnaire in detail and research the client to improve your chances of making the cut.

3. Invitation to Tender (ITT) 

If you’re invited to tender for a contract catering job, the client will invite you to tender and should supply the following information:

  • The scope of works
  • An explanation of the tender process and instructions
  • The criteria
  • How they will assess applicants

However, the above list isn’t exhaustive, and some clients may require you to include more information. The client might also have a preference over the format of your response; for example, you may have to upload your answers via an online portal with a maximum word count.

4. Visit the Client’s Site

The client will likely invite all bidders to their site to outline their catering objectives and provide a tour of their facilities. You’ll have the chance to see the working environment and equipment and learn more about the services and standards required. Plus, you can gain more insight into the company’s culture and ethos, which could help you decide whether the client is a good fit for your business.

5. Write the Tender Document

Now you’re ready to begin writing your tender. Often, you’ll need to submit the tender in both hard copy and digital formats, and you will need to include the following:

  • Sample menus
  • Staff information
  • Method statements
  • Specific company policies
  • Description of support resources
  • Mobilisation plan
  • Service innovation
  • Supply chain information
  • What differentiates your company from the competition

Therefore, it’s worth taking some time to review all your vital company data and highlight anything that should take priority in your answers. Remember, your responses will be more authoritative if you have accurate statistics to back them up. 

With a state-of-the-art field service management platform, gathering accurate, real-time data needn’t be a headache. In fact, you’ll be able to find everything you need — from finances to staff details — in one place. 

6. Prepare for a Client Visit 

After the client has evaluated all tender documents, they will arrange a visit to your site. The purpose of the visit is to see your catering abilities in person. As such, you must focus on delivering excellent service. You should pay particular attention to your menu, food presentation, customer service and marketing materials.

The person visiting your site will typically be your main point of contact if you are successful. Consequently, you should aim to make them feel like you could have a good working relationship in the future. 

7. Presentation

The presentation is the final stage of the tendering process and is an opportunity to showcase your proposal in reality. It may seem as though you’re simply repeating what you already included in the written tender, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. You could lose the opportunity if you don’t go into the presentation fully armed with the correct information.

Although it’s impossible to know what the client will ask, you should know your proposal inside out, including facts and figures. Subsequently, you’ll be able to answer all questions confidently and prove to the client that you’re the best supplier for their requirements.

Field Service Management Technology Simplifies the Tendering Process

It’s no secret that catering companies have faced many difficulties in recent years. As a result, it may be tempting to forgo tendering for larger opportunities in favour of completing ‘quick win’ jobs. After all, gathering vital data to support your proposal can be time-consuming and complex.

But, in a post-COVID world, job security is essential. The best way to ensure you have a steady pipeline of work is to bid on contract catering jobs. 

Fortunately, you can streamline the tendering process by equipping yourself with the crucial data you need to impress potential clients. With a field service management platform such as BigChange, you can view details such as:

  • Who is working for you, where, and what qualifications they hold
  • Your clients and their feedback 
  • Your assets, equipment and stock
  • Payments and outstanding invoices
  • Your health and safety procedures 

You’ll eliminate the need to search through spreadsheets, paper documents and various systems for crucial information. Instead, you’ll have everything you need to write a persuasive bid, plus time left over to focus on other business-critical activities. 

Win More Catering Jobs with BigChange

All the essential information you need at the click of a button.

BigChange’s Field Service Management Software gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Did you know that increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% can increase profits by a colossal 25-95%? Therefore, to thrive in a post-pandemic world, companies will need to consider innovative ways to attract new business and turn one-time patrons into loyal customers.

Nevertheless, to enjoy the benefits that long-term customers bring to your business, you first need to know how to attract them. Fortunately, customer attraction and retention needn’t be challenging when you have the right technology in place to delight your customers.

In this article, we’ll explore the value of repeat customers before sharing some top tips on how to attract new clients and retain them. Plus, we’ll discuss how technology can make attraction and retention more straightforward.

What is the Value of Repeat Customers?

Often, when business leaders consider ways to grow their company, they focus on acquiring new customers. But, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. As such, you must have a strategy in place to retain your customer base, which we will explore in more detail later in the article. 

Repeat customers are particularly valuable because they are typically:

Easier to Sell to Again:

If customers are satisfied with your services, it’s usually easier to win more business from them in the future. In reality, there is a 60-70% chance that repeat customers will use your company again. 

Likely to Spend More:

On average, repeat customers spend around 67% more than new customers, so it’s worth spending time focusing on how you will keep them engaged and coming back to your business for more.

Your Biggest Advocates:

Repeat customers commonly refer 50% more people to your company than new ones, making it one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing your business.

Before you can focus your attention on maintaining your client base, however, you need to ensure that you have enough customers in the first place. Unfortunately, customer attraction can be challenging if you don’t have the know-how or the right technology, so how do you bring in more clients?

How to Attract New Clients

Although 82% of companies agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition, it doesn’t mean you should ignore potential clients altogether. The larger your client base, the more customers you’re likely to retain. So, you must deliver a service that will make you stand out against your competitors.

Here are the top three ways to attract new clients to your business:

1. Have Knowledgeable Employees 

Unsurprisingly, 46% of people will abandon a brand if they’re not knowledgeable. Subsequently, you must ensure that your office and field-based employees have all the necessary information to deliver outstanding service.

Only problem is, it can be tricky to ensure that everyone is on the same page when you rely on multiple systems, paper-based documents and spreadsheets to manage your operations. Vital information can become lost, incorrectly recorded, or duplicated, making it tricky to know which is the most up-to-date version.

Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, you can equip your staff with everything they need to know in one easy-to-use platform – from appointment booking details to invoices and payments. With access to accurate, real-time data, your back-office team will always be ready to answer enquiries and provide regular job status updates for your customers. 

Most modern workforce management platforms also come with an app that your engineers can use on their mobile devices whilst at customer sites. Your engineers will never have to arrive at a job again feeling unprepared as they can access all the case management notes in seconds and ensure that they’re fulfilling all of the customers’ requirements. 

2. Provide a Great Customer Experience and an Effective Solution 

Companies that prioritise their customer experience outperform those that don’t by an astonishing 80%. In a world of instant gratification and seamless, online processes, people have come to demand more convenience when dealing with businesses, from taxi services to pizza delivery.

So, why would they expect any less from your organisation?

Fortunately, with a modern field service management system in place, your business can stay ahead of the curve and delight clients simultaneously. 

Customers can book and reschedule appointments at the touch of a button via a user-friendly self-service portal, which then alerts your back-office team. Your employees can use the booking information to schedule and dispatch a worker in minutes, based on availability, location and job type, before sending an update to your customer.

Your engineers will arrive at their customers’ locations with all the correct gear they need to complete the jobs on the same day since your back-office team can assign equipment directly to projects. Finally, the engineers can send essential documents and invoices to customers from their mobile devices for speedy online payments once the work is complete. 

By providing your clients with a straightforward experience and solving their problems quickly, you’ll find that your reputation will skyrocket, and more customers will come knocking on your door. 

To learn more about how to deliver a seamless customer experience, click here.

3. Word of Mouth

Word-of-mouth relies on using your existing customers to recruit new ones. But, it is one of the most effective forms of marketing, with 92% of customers trusting direct recommendations above all other forms of advertising. 

As we explained in the previous point, providing an excellent customer experience will make your clients more inclined to spread the word about your services to their friends, family and professional networks. Yet, you can’t rely on all your customers to advertise your business completely unprompted.

Sometimes, you have to nudge them in the right direction.  

Thankfully, using the latest CRM (customer relationship management) system, obtaining customer referrals has never been simpler. As soon as your technicians have completed the work, you can send clients a satisfaction survey at the touch of a button. 

Not only will the surveys enable you to continue tailoring your products or services to customer requirements, but they also ensure that your customers are satisfied with the work. If they are not, you will be able to address any issues early on. 

Once you’ve confirmed that your customers are satisfied, you can use your CRM system to send them company-branded emails. The CRM pulls client data into the templates to give all your communications a professional, personalised look. 

You can use the emails as an opportunity to follow up with customers and ask them to refer you to others, possibly in exchange for a small discount next time they use your services. In doing so, you’re likely to attract a host of new customers and retain your existing ones at the same time. Win-win. 

How to Retain Your Clients

Once you’ve built up a substantial customer base, you need to put in the work to retain your newly acquired clients. Fortunately, the success rate of selling again to a customer you already have is 60-70%, so you’re already at an advantage. However, some methods are more successful than others.

If you’re wondering what your current customer retention rate is, here’s a simple calculation:

  1. Determine how many customers you have at the end of a given period (e.g. a quarter)
  2. Subtract the number of new customers you acquired during that time
  3. Divide by the number of customers you had at the beginning of that period
  4. Multiply by one hundred

Not happy with the number? Read on to find out how to retain your clients and reduce your churn rate.

1. Make Your Customers Feel Valued

According to Google Econsultancy, 89% of successful businesses say anticipating customer needs and providing assistive experiences along the customer journey are critical to growth. An excellent customer experience (CX) is more likely to make your customers feel valued and want to use your business again in the future.

With a state-of-the-art CRM system in place, you can manage the customer journey end-to-end for a seamless experience. Anticipate your customers’ needs by giving them the power to book and reschedule their appointments via an online portal. Provide them with regular, real-time job status updates. Then, schedule and dispatch technicians to promptly resolve their issues.

Once the groundwork is complete, your engineers can arrive at the location on time with all the equipment they need and complete the job the first time. They can then instantly complete all the paperwork, obtain customers’ signatures and complete the payment process straight from their mobile devices. No longer will your customers have to wait several days for a paper invoice in the mail.

Instead, they’ll be impressed that you considered their needs and delivered a stellar service.

2. Maintain Consistent Communication

Communication is the key to retaining your existing customer base. In fact, top-performing companies are 50% more likely than their peers to have well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear correspondence. 

Using a modern CRM (customer relationship management) system, you can use real-time data to provide your customers with job status updates. For example, once your team has scheduled and dispatched a technician, they can automatically send a text message notification to your client via the platform, so they know what time to expect the worker to arrive. 

Plus, many modern CRMs provide company-branded templates that allow you to pull through pre-existing customer details and create personalised email communications. As a result, you can send satisfaction surveys and regular email updates to your customer base once the work is complete to keep your business at the forefront of their minds.

Routine communication not only builds trust with your customers but also boosts engagement with your services, meaning that customers who have already purchased your products or services are more likely to do so again in the future.

3. Make a Good Impression

In today’s digital world, customers expect straightforward, convenient processes. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 70% of customers believe that speed of service matters most. Consequently, you’ll need to streamline your workflows to ensure that customers are satisfied. 

By using BigChange’s advanced job management system, you can eliminate the inefficiencies that create a slow service. For example, you can set up an easy-to-use client portal, where customers can book and reschedule appointments at the touch of a button. 

Your back-office staff can simply assign and dispatch workers to the customers’ jobs based on location, availability and skill set. 

You can also equip your field technicians with all the information they need upfront to complete the job the first time through the accompanying mobile workforce app. Then, they can instantly send paperwork to the customers from their mobile devices for a quick and straightforward payment process. 

As a result, your customers will be impressed by the rapidity of your service and satisfied with the quality of work. When they need similar services in the future, they’re more likely to use your business over your competitors. 

Experience the Value of Repeat Customers with BigChange

Some systems manage relationships. BigChange helps you master them with our market leading Job Management Software.

Our fully integrated CRM system gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

Want to find out more?


Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Over half (51%) of field service businesses currently rely on texts, phone calls, paper-based documents and antiquated legacy systems to manage their operations. Although these traditional methods may have worked in the past, they’re now terribly inefficient in today’s world, where technology is integrated into almost every aspect of our lives.

Modern customers are used to convenient, digitised services and will expect no different from your company. Therefore, organisations that don’t meet customer expectations risk becoming obsolete.

Thankfully, with the latest field service management software, you can revolutionise your ways of working and stay ahead of the curve.

Read on to find out more about field service software and how it can benefit your business. 

What is Field Service Management Software?

Field service management (FSM) software enables organisations to run their operations as smoothly as possible and remove any inefficiencies caused by traditional, manual paper-based processes.

Since technicians are off-site for most of the day, many contemporary field service management software platforms offer an integrated app to blend back-office and technician workflows. As a consequence, all employees have access to the vital information they need to delight customers, regardless of their location. 

With field service management software, you can manage the entire end-to-end process – from job scheduling and dispatching workers to invoicing and payment – in one place. By optimising your field service management methods with the latest technology, you can simplify tasks for your workers and enjoy improved productivity levels accordingly. 

How Field Service Software Benefits Your Organisation

Here are just three of the main ways that field service software can advance your business:

1. Financial Stability

When you send customers paper invoices, you’re increasing your chances of receiving late payments. Firstly, invoices take several days to arrive in the mail once your accounts receivable team has processed, printed and sent them. 

Secondly, paper invoices could get forgotten about or lost once they reach your customer. At worst, your accounts receivable team may have made a mistake and have to send a new one out, delaying the payment process even further.

If your customers aren’t paying invoices on time, your cash flow could take a hit, leaving you unable to do the following:

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

Unfortunately, since the beginning of the pandemic, late payments in the UK have shot up by 23%, which has had a significant impact on field service organisations countrywide. Subsequently, businesses have to consider ways to speed up the payment process to continue business as usual.

When you use field service management software with an integrated payment feature, late payments can become a challenge of the past. Once your field engineers have completed their jobs, they can instantly send digital invoices to your customers from their mobile devices. 

Your customers can then pay the same day via card using payment links and mark the invoices as complete. The days of waiting weeks on end for a payment are over.

2. Greater Profits

Customers who are satisfied with the service they received are likely to spend more with your business in future. Hence, it pays to optimise the customer experience (CX).

Using a field service management system with an integrated CRM (customer relationship management) platform, you’ll be able to anticipate your customers’ needs and impress them with an outstanding experience. 

For example, you can provide your customers with an easy-to-use portal that eliminates the need to book and reschedule appointments over the phone. Instead, they can conveniently pick a time and date to suit them at the touch of a button.

Your back-office team can then use real-time data to schedule and dispatch the most relevant engineers for each project before providing live job status updates to your customers.

After your technicians have completed the work, you can also provide your customers with a survey to measure your performance. Consequently, you can rest assured that they are pleased with the work and are more likely to use your business again.

3. Seamless Job Scheduling

Scheduling and dispatching difficulties present one of the top challenges to field service businesses that depend on outdated manual processes to maintain their job schedule. 

When you don’t have complete visibility over your field-based workers or equipment, it can be tricky to ensure they’re in the right place at the right time. As a result, you could end up inadvertently causing calendar conflicts and delays or even scheduling multiple technicians for the same job. 

Not only are manual job schedules disorganised and create costly issues, but they take over three hours per week to create on average. 

In contrast, field service software that incorporates an intelligent scheduling assistant eradicates the error-prone and time-consuming aspects of manually creating a job schedule. Your back-office staff can simply use real-time data to see which engineers and equipment are available nearby and assign them directly to relevant jobs.

Plus, unlike traditional scheduling methods, modern systems can keep up with the ever-changing workday. As such, you’ll be able to promptly re-allocate resources to cover emergency jobs as they arise and mitigate any potentially costly issues. 

Enhance Your Operations and Boost Your Bottom Line with BigChange’s Field Service Software

BigChange is the complete Job Management Platform that’s helping field service businesses across the UK to win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bringing together customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling, live tracking, field resource management, financial management, business intelligence into one simple to use and easy to integrate platform your business can run on.

Want to find out more?

Discover how our market leading Job Management Software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

In August 2021, we engaged the research consultancy Opinium to survey field service organisations and learn about how they fared since the UK’s strictest lockdown came to an end a year ago.

Although demand for field services skyrocketed during the pandemic, 97% of businesses deemed to be ‘struggling’ said that taking on the additional work would require a staggering 92% increase in employees. Unfortunately, such a significant increase in resources is an impossible expense for organisations that were hit financially over the last two years.

Luckily, there is a way for field service companies to expand their geographical reach and take on new clients without needing to hire additional staff. Read on to learn more about job management software and how it can help your business grow stronger.

Winning New Business Without Additional Employees

The average UK recruitment cost for a new employee is £3,000 but, with workload up by 70% across the field service industry, business leaders must think of more cost-effective ways to meet the surging demand. That’s where job management software comes in. 

Using technology, you can reduce your employees’ workload and free up more time to focus on business-critical activities. Here are just some of the ways you could refocus your priorities and take on more jobs:

1. Give Engineers Digital Tools

80% of engineers think that mobile technology is a vital tool for enhancing efficiency and enabling them to help customers effectively. Therefore, for companies to maximise their time and take on more appointments, they must add a mobile application to their technicians’ toolkits. 

The best job management platforms include integrated apps that give field based employees access to your back-office’s central system from any location. From the app, they can instantly view changes to their schedule, read essential information about each job, complete risk assessments and mandatory forms, and issue digital invoices — all from the palm of their hand. 

Technology allows your workers to be more agile during the unpredictable workday and provides them with everything they need to know in real-time. As a result, you’ll find that they’re able to get the job done faster and visit more customers per week.

2. Improve Job Scheduling

Instead of spending the average 140 hours each year manually managing your job schedule, why not harness the power of an intelligent scheduling assistant? The assistant optimises your engineers’ routes, decreasing their travel times and matching them up with jobs that they’re best suited to fix on the first appointment.

Aside from liberating your back-office team from the burdensome admin tasks that take their focus away from more pressing activities, you’ll also eliminate errors caused by manually handling a job schedule. With fewer mistakes, your schedule will run like clockwork, rather than being riddled with delays, and you can rest assured that you’ll always have the right resources in the right places.

3. Network and Collaborate

41% of business leaders recognise the value of networking and want to attend events more frequently. But, the main obstacle standing in their way is time. Fortunately, with a job management platform like BigChange, you don’t have to sacrifice valuable days in the office to go to networking events.

Instead, you’ll have access to the BigChange Network, an online community of thousands of trusted field service organisations nationally. You can list your business for free and start receiving connection requests immediately. With so many companies to choose from, the collaboration opportunities are endless.

Suppose you have a high volume of work but not enough people to complete it. You can simply make a post on the Network where subcontractors can apply. Consequently, you can complete every project and even expand your geographical reach to places you were previously unable to cover, giving you access to more customers than ever before.

Technology Helps You Manage Increased Workloads Without Stress

Four in ten field service organisations say that the pandemic has led to staffing difficulties. The good news is that you can eliminate the headache and cost of taking on new hires by investing in a state-of-the-art job management platform. With so much power at your fingertips, winning new business and expanding your geographical reach takes just a few clicks.

Winning New Business is Simpler than Ever on BigChange

BigChange’s complete job management platform is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling, live tracking, field resource management, financial management and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

Want to find out more?

Discover how your business can grow stronger on BigChange here and arrange a free demo today.

Get the full State of the Field Service Sector report here

In August 2021, we engaged the research consultancy Opinium to survey field service organisations and learn about how they fared in the year since the UK’s strictest lockdown came to an end.

Did you know that just over a quarter (26%) of field service companies lost money between August 2020 and July 2021, despite being busier than ever? Unfortunately, you could be running your business by the book but still notice your profits taking a nosedive if your customers consistently pay their invoices late.

But, how can you ensure your clients consistently pay by the deadline?

We’ve put together this guide to help you take back control over your finances, maintain a healthy cash flow and grow stronger. Read on to learn more.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Paid On Time?

For 27% of the UK’s field service organisations, clunky legacy systems cause efficiency issues. But, it’s not just productivity that takes a hit when you use outdated technology to run your operations. You could also be severely damaging your bottom line. 

Suppose you currently send out manual invoices. By the time your finance team has processed and sent the invoice to your customer, it could be anywhere up to a month since your technician completed the job. 

Once your customer finally receives their invoice, there’s a chance that they could lose it or forget to pay it until you eventually chase them. In the meantime, your cash flow may have ground to a halt, leaving you unable to do the following:

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

In a post-pandemic world, where financial recovery is critical to business survival and growth, it’s paramount to consider new, innovative ways to get paid on time.

Maintaining a Healthy Cash Flow

The good news is, maintaining a healthy cash flow needn’t be a challenge when you use job management software. Here are just some of the ways technology can enhance the invoicing and payment process:

Digital Invoices

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, unpaid invoices skyrocketed with an increase of 23%. Fortunately, you can combat the adverse financial effects of the pandemic by digitising your invoices. 

For example, the most advanced job management platforms come with a mobile application that your technicians can use from anywhere. The app enables your workers to instantly generate an invoice — using pre-populated information from the integrated customer relationship manager (CRM) — the moment they’ve completed each job.

Creating invoices with accurate data significantly decreases the margin for human error. As a result, your customers can sign off their electronic invoices the moment they receive them via their mobile devices and begin the payment process. 

Aside from being a more favourable method for your customers, you’ll also find that digital invoices save on back-office costs and time. Removing the admin-heavy aspects of processing an invoice leaves them with more hours to focus on activities that directly contribute to business growth. 

Electronic Payments

Today’s customers expect simpler, more convenient ways to pay, so field service organisations must modernise their payment processes. Continuing to handle payments ‘the traditional way’ increases the likelihood of customers forgetting about your invoice since it involves more effort than the straightforward methods to which they’ve become used to.

However, with BigChange’s job management software, you can receive payments in seconds. As soon as your customers receive their electronic invoices, they can send funds from their smart devices via BigChange Pay, which includes several user-friendly payment options. So, not only will your customers appreciate the speed of service, but you can rest assured that you’ll get paid on time.

Technology is the Key to Rapid Payment

Sadly, the amount of debt taken on by field service businesses increased by 50% over the last year. If you don’t get paid on time, you might find that you also have to take on unnecessary loans to cover the gap. Therefore, to avoid being affected by rising debt levels, you should consider streamlining your financial processes.

Luckily, job management technology lets you wave goodbye to the inefficiencies of traditional methods. By arming your team with state-of-the-art technology and digitising your invoices, you can eliminate the obstacles that often lead to late payments and, instead, bounce back stronger post-pandemic.

Your Finances Will Bounce Back Stronger on BigChange

The BigChange complete job management platform is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling, live tracking, field resource management, financial management and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

Want to find out more?

Discover how your business can grow stronger on BigChange here and arrange a free demo today.

Get the full State of the Field Service Sector Report here.

During August 2021, we engaged the research consultancy Opinium to survey field service businesses about how they fared since the UK government eased their strictest lockdown measures.

Although, for the most part, many companies are doing better now than they were in July 2020, the survey revealed that 13% of organisations are still struggling. In fact, those in the worst affected category fear they will go out of business in the next year as costs continue to rise and COVID-19 support measures are phased out.

At BigChange, we’re committed to making a difference to the way you work and helping your business grow stronger. In this article, we’ll share the top three ways to increase profits for your business and bounce back post-pandemic.

How to Boost Your Profits

1. Reduce Travel Expenses

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy profit margin is to reduce business expenses. With petrol prices rising by 18% and diesel leaping by 16% to a near-record level over the last year, it’s worth looking at your current travel costs and devising ways to minimise them. 

If you’re currently relying on spreadsheets to schedule your technicians’ working days, you could be missing out on the opportunity to optimise their routes. Thankfully, technological advancements in recent years have made it simple to assign relevant workers to jobs based on their location, skills and qualifications and vehicle type. 

A job management platform optimises routes, which helps to reduce the amount of time each technician spends on the road. Lowered travel times increase the number of appointments technicians can attend each day, making it a worthwhile investment. 

2. Improve First-Time Fix Rates

Did you know, companies that achieve a high first-time fix rate of over 70% enjoy a 4% increase in revenue? Subsequently, it’s crucial to equip your technicians with everything they need to complete their assignments the first time.

Keeping a close eye on your stock, equipment, and assets will ensure that you always have the correct items for each job and allows you to attend more reactive appointments. Modern asset management systems give you complete, real-time visibility over your inventory and allow you to assign gear directly to jobs. 

By allocating equipment before each job, your technicians can rest assured they have the right tools to finish the work there and then. Plus, an increase in first-time fixes will liberate more time for your workers to take on additional jobs — which will prove to be particularly lucrative, as the workload has increased by 70% across the field service industry.

3. Digitise Your Processes

On average, we found that users of job management software grew faster than businesses still relying on spreadsheets and paper processes last year. Better still, those that made the most of the latest technology are now in a better position to take on further work and deliver it profitably in 2022.

Using job management software like BigChange, you can digitise all your processes and manage them on one easy-to-use platform. As a result, your back-office team can handle bookings — from the moment the client makes an appointment right up to invoicing and payment — at the click of a button. 

Furthermore, the system records all customer interactions, meaning you’ll have a comprehensive record of information to refer back to whenever you need it without having to sift through mountains of paperwork. Additionally, you’ll reduce business costs by eliminating the need to store documents on-site or pay for storage.

Consequently, your team will have more time to spend on activities that contribute directly to business growth, leading to significant profits further down the line.

Job Management Platforms are the Future

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken its toll on field service organisations. Currently, fewer than half of field service firms are profitable. That’s why business leaders will need to think outside the box and look for innovative solutions that will help their companies bounce back.

In order to stay ahead of the curve and thrive in a turbulent economic landscape, you must consider how technology will help you overcome the obstacles you’re facing presently. Job management platforms arm you with all the tools you need to boost profitability and provide a great return on investment, which will benefit your business long after the effects of the pandemic have disappeared. 

Help Your Business Bounce Back Stronger than Ever on BigChange

BigChange’s job management software is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling, workforce management, financial data and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

Want to find out more?

Discover how your business can grow stronger on BigChange, arrange a free demo today!

According to a study by BlueSnap, most organisations still rely on traditional AR (Accounts Receivable) processes. It’s not surprising, therefore, that over 80% of B2B executives say that late payments threaten the future of their company.

Organisations that don’t receive payments on time suffer from stunted cash flow, loss of valuable time better spent on other tasks, and hindered business growth.

However, there is a solution.

By switching over to automated accounts receivable software, you can simplify your AR process and receive payments by the deadline. In turn, you’ll be able to improve your business finances, maintain your competitive edge in the market and take on more projects in the future.

Sharing BlueSnap’s latest findings on B2B payments, this article will explain how automated accounts receivable software works, how it can help small businesses and why B2B payment automation is a must-have for dynamic finance functions.

How Does Automated Accounts Receivable Software Work?

Automation is changing the way we get paid. In the B2C world, many traditional payment methods, such as cheques, are being replaced with innovative, electronic alternatives.

Now it’s time for B2B payments to catch up.

Businesses that adopt new payment technology can get ahead of the curve by making the most of solutions including:

Submitting invoices via email automation
Automating bill payments
Generating online customer bill payments

But how does automated accounts receivable software actually work?

Accounts receivable automation, or AR automation, transforms clunky, manual payments by processing them electronically. In a nutshell, the system creates invoices based on your company’s data, delivers them automatically to the client, sends payment reminders and resolves payments with accounting systems and bank accounts.

Removing the repetitive, time-consuming and potentially error-prone tasks involved in manually processing an invoice ensures that your business gets paid on time. Less time spent chasing down late payments results in an improved cash flow, happier customers and suppliers, and boosts team morale.

Using Payment Technology to Overcome Top AR Challenges

It’s no secret that the current B2B AR processes employed by many organisations are hurting business. In fact, 93% of companies say they’ve experienced negative consequences due to outdated processing methods.

Using automated accounts receivable software, you can overcome the challenges presented by manual processes and legacy systems. Here are just some of the ways your business could benefit from digitising your AR process:

1. Improved cash flow

Overdue invoices can occur for numerous reasons. Perhaps there was an error on the invoice and the customer is disputing it, the paperwork has become lost or forgotten about, or maybe your company is inadvertently stalling the process by waiting to send invoices out in batches.

Either way, late payments cause significant financial pressure for businesses, with 35% of organisations revealing that they’re unable to grow due to cash flow problems.

Worse still, poor cash flow can do a lot more damage than just stunting short-term business growth. If your customers aren’t paying you on time, the following may suffer:

New Projects:

On average, 30% of an organisation’s monthly revenue is tied up in AR at any given time, straining finances.

Without the funds to invest in new equipment or take on other projects, businesses lose out on opportunities to create new value. Additionally, staff are forced to waste precious time on chasing down late payments, taking focus away from other crucial priorities that keep companies healthy.

Your Credit Rating:

Reportedly, over a quarter (27%) of customers exceed their payment terms, which often leaves businesses in a state of financial limbo.

When you don’t have enough cash flow to cover operational costs, you may have to take out a loan or use a credit card. However, if you’re unable to pay your debts back on time, your credit score could take a hit, making it trickier and more expensive to obtain loans in the future.

Supplier Relationships:

Two fifths (40%) of businesses say they pay their suppliers and partners late. If your customers aren’t paying by the deadline, you’re going to struggle to pay your suppliers. In the worst case, suppliers may refuse to work with you in future due to a poor payment record.

Automated accounts receivable software can significantly lower the risk of late payments. Digitising invoices and storing them in an easy-to-use platform removes the potential for human error and prevents documents from getting forgotten about or lost. Plus, payment technology reduces the amount of time spent on arduous, manual paperwork on both ends. It’s never been easier to receive a payment on schedule.

2. Better Customer Relationships

In a world where innovative B2C payments are the norm, why should B2B payments be any different? Many customers have come to expect a simple, seamless payment experience. Instead, customers are confronted with antiquated and frustrating AR processes.

Consequently, 30% of businesses say they have lost customers and contracts because of their unsatisfactory AR processes.

Businesses must begin adapting to the more common payment methods customers use to fulfil invoices from B2B organisations such as:

Credit cards (21%)
Automated clearing houses (ACH) or local bank transfers (12%)
Wire transfers (13%)

Implementing state-of-the-art payment technology improves the overall customer experience and maintains your relationships on a long-term basis. Positive, consistently satisfied customers may be encouraged to reinvest in your business.

3. Improved Morale Within the AR and HR Teams

Traditional payment processes take a significant toll on AR teams and human resources, who currently have to spend around 11 hours managing a single invoice across an average range of five different systems.

Unsurprisingly, the root cause of the issue stems from the fact that 38% of businesses still require manual input at some point of the payment lifecycle. In some cases, the AR team must manage the entire process manually, from creating and sharing invoices to customer communication and payment.

As a result, 29% of businesses report that they have difficulty keeping their most talented employees.

Long and frustrating payment processes steal time away from work that motivates employees. When the team has to spend their days posting out invoices or taking lengthy calls that online portals could easily replace, staff turnover increases and ignites a vicious cycle of costly recruitment, job dissatisfaction and resignation.

Furthermore, the unanticipated pandemic’s impact on staff members’ ability to process cheques throughout office closures served as a wake-up call for companies with an ongoing reliance on manual invoicing. If anything, the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the benefits of technology in maintaining business-as-usual, regardless of the situation.

Accounts receivable automation not only frees up your employees’ time, boosting productivity and motivation, but it also mitigates any risks associated with traditional, paper-based payment methods.

4. More Visibility Over Budget

As it stands, around 37% of organisations are unable to forecast cash flow accurately because of the uncertainty that manual AR processes cause. Subsequently, many business leaders are left in the dark about their company finances.

Modern payment technology gives you far better visibility over operational spending and other key metrics. By handling your AR processes through software, you’ll always have access to the latest and most accurate data whenever you need it.

Real-time reports lead to greater transparency and better decision-making because you won’t have to rely on uncertain cash flow forecasts. Instead, you can quickly visualise exactly how and where your business is spending money, calculate how much you’re owed and analyse customers’ behavioural trends including repeated late payments.

5. Increased Profits

According to research, the average cost of processing a single invoice in the UK is between £4-25, and the cost increases further with human error. The current lifecycle of an invoice involves around 15 people to process. It’s clear to see how staff can inadvertently raise the cost of processing an invoice.

However, there are other auxiliary expenses that soon add up over a more extended period. For example:

Office Supplies and Postage:

You need to consider the cost of pens, paper, printer ink, envelopes and postage charges when mailing out a physical invoice.

Storage:

If your invoices for accounts receivable and accounts payable are physical, you need to store them securely for auditing purposes. The cost of manually filing and storing these paper documents contributes to the overall expense.

Late Fees:

Companies that employ an entirely manual AR process may find that late invoice payments delay them from being able to pay suppliers. As such, you could be paying late fees that are completely avoidable.

Here’s a simple calculation to determine how much your AR process is costing you:

Staff costs + office supplies + postage + storage + late fees / number of invoices = cost per invoice

Companies that want to survive and thrive again in a post-pandemic world can’t afford to be flippant with their finances. By breaking free from the obsolescence of manual AR processes, you can potentially save thousands of pounds each year.

How You Can Leverage Accounts Receivable Automation to Progress Payments

In order to unlock future business growth and stay ahead of the competition, organisations must be willing to modernise their AR processes.

Here are three ways you can begin your journey today:

1. Acknowledge What Isn’t Working

Companies need to be honest with themselves and recognise when processes are causing issues. For example, 98% of organisations struggled to process payments during the pandemic as a direct result of using paper cheques in their AR process.

Unfortunately, if you ignore the need to modernise, your business’ cash flow could be at risk, directly causing negative knock-on effects further down the line.

2. Embrace Automation

Companies that are willing to invest in the payment technology they need to overhaul their legacy systems and manual AR methods will flourish. Implementing automated accounts receivable software is cost-effective and easy.

In truth, more businesses than ever before are choosing to rejuvenate their AR processes. In fact, 99.7% of surveyed senior decision-makers are optimistic and open to AR automation because they believe that digital transformation will benefit their organisation.

3. Research the Right Solution for You

The most significant barrier to adoption is education. 40% of B2B companies claim that a lack of understanding of what solutions are available prevents them from investing more in AR automation and payment technology.

The good news is that there are lots of readily available tools and technologies on the market. But choosing the right B2B payment solution for your organisation is critical. To be successful, you must establish your pain points and select a system that will help you overcome them and achieve your business goals simultaneously.

Discover More About How B2B Payment Automation is Revolutionising Business

B2B payment automation software accelerates the payment process and alleviates the strain on your company, leaving you free to focus on the more crucial aspects of running a business.

Discover the ways your organisation can prosper and grow by automating your AR process.

To find out more, download the ‘Progressing Payments Report’ here.

Impra Gas offers boiler and central heating installation for private homeowners. Focusing on delivering an outstanding service that provides quality, reliability, honesty, value for money, and high quality workmanship to customers throughout the UK.

Having won ‘The Apprentice’ prize of £250,000 from Lord Sugar, founder and CEO Joseph Valente has used the investment to expand the business throughout the UK.

In addition to providing boiler and heating installation, Impra Gas will also be championing smart heating and smart home technologies, partnering with the industry’s most innovative technology providers as soon as they enter into the market.

Here’s what Impra Gas had to say about BigChange:

How did you hear about BigChange?

Following the investment from Lord Sugar, we began looking at strategies to expand Impra Gas sustainably and we determined that the most effective way to achieve this was through the use of technology. So we carried out thorough research into job management software that could help improve our business processes effectively and came across BigChange, which ticked all of the criteria to meet our needs.

Explain in detail what led you to choose BigChange?

In order to manage our business growth we wanted to invest in next generation technology that would help us to compete above and beyond companies like British Gas. We made the decision to rid our company of manual processes and paper based systems that created inefficiencies and limited our potential.

BigChange was chosen because it could be easily integrated into our day-to-day work practices and was scalable against our growth.

We saw BigChange as the best solution for us as it contained all of the functions that we needed to ensure that our own business objectives were met.

What services of JobWatch does your company use?

We use JobWatch for every aspect of our business activity. From booking jobs, to invoicing and coordinating our back office with our mobile workforce; there is nothing that JobWatch can’t do, other than the installation of the boilers and bringing in more clients.

Everyone in our organisation uses the software from engineers to sales advisors, to those working in scheduling to accounts. It is an all-encompassing product, which can be rolled out across any service field of business.

What direct results have you seen from using JobWatch?

JobWatch has played a crucial part in seeing manual processes streamlined and turnover increase substantially within the business. It has also allowed us to control and manage all ongoing jobs in a much more efficient way, meaning we have increased booking an extra 10 jobs a day to over 3,000 in the last 6 months.

BigChange

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