ProsLike any business, field service organizations stay afloat by gaining and maintaining customers. CRM systems excel in managing customer relationships (as their name so aptly informs us). They specialize in helping companies market to customers, manage customer opportunities and activity, and sell to customers. They have the ability to manage marketing campaigns and potential leads as well as track opportunities and provide excellent sales service. In customer relations software, CRM is king. As customer-centric companies, field service organizations make pleasing the customer their number one goal, which is why CRM systems can be useful tools. They provide a host of benefits in areas such as:
- Quoting—most CRM systems have quoting capabilities, which allow companies to lay out what services they recommend and how much those services will cost for the customer
- Opportunities—contrasted with the immediacy of quoting, CRM systems also provide the ability to track stages of customer opportunity from incoming lead to closing the sales deal
- Lead management—practically all CRM systems can handle top of the funnel inquiries and track leads when they are early stage prospects
- All customer information in one place—CRM systems allow field service organizations to contain all customer communications in one location
- Sales access to service history—sales people often use CRM software to track past experiences with customers that might impact sales ability
- Email integration for single source of customer activity tracking
- Integration/ app plug-ins—some CRM systems offer a variety of unique apps that can be installed through their app stores
- Marketing campaign management—some CRM systems allow companies to track marketing campaigns and evaluate their effectiveness in driving sales
- Operational excellence in service sales—because CRM systems are built for sales, they are able to implement best practices for sales departments
1. Aligning sales and marketing departments so they work together through the entire sales process.
2. Marketing as customer service, meaning the company is so customer-focused that the differentiation between marketing and customer service becomes obsolete.
ConsWhile current CRM software excels in areas like marketing, sales, and customer acquisition, it is unable to perform many of the functions necessary for a best-in-class field service organization. Gaining new customers and maintaining old is important, but, as a field service organization, you must also make sure you save money and retain customers by performing well. Not only do you need an organized sales strategy; you also need to make sure things run smoothly in your office and in the field. Here are some of the problems you may encounter by trying to manage your field service company on a CRM system:
- Reduced travel time
- Improved utilization
- Fewer needed resources in the back office and field
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Shorter appointment windows
- Improved customer appointment booking process
- Better matching of technician skill sets with work order requirements
- Reducing overtime
Managing equipment and inventory
Completing billing and invoicing
Communication with technicians
Final ThoughtsAs you can see, CRM software has a lot of potential for managing sales and marketing campaigns, improving customer service, and picking up opportunities for leads. However, most CRM systems are unable to perform necessary field service operations. Compared to companies that run on integrated field service management software systems, field service companies that try to run their businesses through CRM alone are less effective and productive. Switching to a system designed specifically for field service and catered to your needs would save time, money, and the hassle of trying to convert a CRM system into something it’s not.
7 Best Practices for Choosing New Field Service Software
There are plenty of reasons that service organizations review, purchase and implement new field service management software. Regardless of what situations force your service organization to that tipping point, there are several tried and true methods you can use to organize the buying process, eliminate the unexpected and significantly increase your chances of success with your new software.