Managing a successful service department isn’t a walk in the park. But leading field service software options have the features to help service organizations get ahead. We take a look at how the best software puts field service organizations on top.
More and more, service organizations are considering the leap to invest in service software for improved productivity and communication for the service workforce, and enhanced ability to meet customer expectations. To deliver the level of service customers have come to expect, service organizations need the best mobile, scheduling, and back office technology in place to keep everyone informed, processes running smoothly, and assets maintained efficiently.
And on top of all those concerns, the state of field service is shifting; according to the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) in their State of Field Services 2014 report, “instead of simply following the product sale, service organizations are being called upon to create service offerings that drive ongoing consumption and drive business outcomes for customers.”
It’s no new news that mobility and software advancements have had huge implications for field service and allowed service departments to provide better, more reliable service. Indeed, TSIA saw the adoption rate of mobile tools double from 28% in 2011 to 57% in 2012, and 50% of TSIA members established funding focused on mobility tools for field services in 2013.
It’s clear mobile and service management software are shifting the way companies perform service today. But not all workforce management options are created equal.
Today’s Top Service Management Software Features
If you want the best service software with the most functionality and ease of use, highest ROI, and quickest implementation, consider systems with the following features.
1. Includes Mobile Technician App Which Runs Cross-Platform
Don’t limit yourself to a mobile application that only runs on one device or platform. Leading field service software firms open their customers to the flexibility of cross-platform apps so they can run on whatever device they choose, and even implement a BYOD policy. Cross-platform mobile applications support improved technician, inspector, and other field worker productivity via completely electronic ability to access and record work on iOS, Android, or Windows mobile devices.
2. Mobile is a Native Application That Works Offline
Leading field service automation companies understand that native applications take full advantage of device and OS advancements, while offering background functionality and disconnected work support. Native apps are also preferred by most smartphone users today. In a recent survey, BiTE Interactive showed that, “two in every three iPhone and Android owners say it is important that the apps they download are native applications that can better make full use of all their smartphone’s capabilities.”
3. Robust Service Management Features for Contracts, Parts/Inventory and Assets
While mobile + scheduling apps give technicians and dispatchers better tools for communication on the ‘front end’ of field service, many systems with good reviews don’t manage the ‘back end,’ failing to address the tracking of important business processes such as service contracts / service agreements, inventory and spare parts management, and equipment assets. If these elements are at work for your business, be aware that ERP and CRM systems rarely provide the functionality in these areas that service firms need.
4. Delivers the Right Information to Internal and External Stakeholders
How are additional, important stakeholders for your service business, such as customers, executives and technicians in the field aware of and able to access the data they need? Providing targeted, limited data access to these and other key groups can extend the utility of your system and the reach of your business.
5. Solution is Cloud-Based
Cloud-based software is becoming increasingly popular for businesses, especially those that require their system to do more than just a few basic tasks. With software in the cloud, rather than build your infrastructure one hardware server at a time, you can leverage a pool of resources to maximize efficiency and decrease operating costs for the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
6. Incorporates Easy to Use Visual Scheduling
Leading field service software systems have advanced scheduling capabilities that display technician location, status, and skill-set information. Drag-and-drop assignment capabilities make the best field service schedulers easy for dispatchers to use and make adjustments. With top scheduling software, dispatchers and field techs can communicate through automated alerts sent when techs update their status or when they receive a new or updated assignment from the scheduler.
7. Seamless Information Flow from Mobile to Back Office
Good field service software systems have both mobile and back office capabilities; the best ones have integrated mobile and back office systems. With an integrated system, schedulers can dispatch techs who receive automated alerts and instructions on their mobile device. Once they’re on the jobsite, technicians can collect information and hours, save to the back-office for immediate reporting and analysis. With integrated mobile software, each role in the organization stays informed and connected for the highest level of productivity possible.
8. Ability to Work With Accounting or ERP Systems
The best field service software companies understand that you have other business needs and you need your field service app to integrate to your existing enterprise software systems, like ERP or CRM. Decide whether a field service software provider is right for you by determining their software’s ability to integrate with other systems and work with other software partners.
9. Robust Inspection Capabilities
Nearly every service team needs to perform some sort of inspection. Whether that’s quality assurance, safety, or something else, leading workforce management systems have robust mobile inspection capabilities that allow field inspectors to perform inspections quickly and efficiently and get back to work. The biggest advantage of systems with mobile inspections: no paper. With a drag and drop inspections builder, managers can create and send smart field forms to techs who then complete the form, take a picture or two, and sync it to the back office. No trips to the back office, no paper, and no data re-entry.
10. Service Reporting and Analysis Capabilities
Service organizations know that, in today’s competitive environment, they’re not done with a work order as soon as service is over. In order to measure performance and customer satisfaction, and continue improving, businesses need a way to collect and analyze data. Top service management systems have the ability to collect, configure, and display data for various stakeholders from customers to management.
Conclusion: Weigh Your Field Service Software Alternatives to Find the Best Fit
When you’re investigating new software for service, max effort in the evaluation process is a worthwhile investment in the future performance of your firm; don’t settle for something without the full functionality of a top field service system. By making sure your software is one of the best, you can start leveraging strong best-of-breed service functionality right away to get a jump start on your competition and start seeing rapid ROI.