The days of running your home services business using spreadsheets, manual ledgers, and punch cards are long gone. Say goodbye to paperwork and hello to field service automation software.
It’s about time you digitized your field service operations. We’re talking about every field service. Dispatching and inventory management to fleet tracking can all benefit.
Field service management (FSM) software enables you to run your enterprise from a single pane of glass. How great is that? No more manual administrative tasks, either.
But what exactly is field service automation software? More importantly, what can it do for your business?
This article dives into the world of field service automation. Read on to learn how field service automation can help your business. We’ll also go over the field service automation solution checklist.
Let’s talk about taking your field service to the next level.
What Is Field Service Automation?
Manually managing work schedules and organizing teams of workers can be exhausting. Tracking hundreds of assets can be difficult at best. It can also open you up for errors. Most of all, though, it’s time-consuming.
Field service software takes over these mundane, repetitive tasks.
On top of that, field service automation helps streamline day-to-day field operations. This maximizes efficiency while cutting operational costs. It also boosts productivity by keeping your employees and customers happy.
Field service automation can be web-based. It can also be handled via smartphone apps or desktop apps.
Automation is suited for both commercial and residential field service businesses such as:
- HVAC contractors
- Landscaping companies
- General contractors (home improvement, construction, renovation, etc.)
- Pest control companies
- Appliance repair companies
- Plumbing contractors
- Transport and logistics companies
- Couriers and delivery services
7 Ways Field Service Automation Can Help Your Business
Now, the big question: Why should you consider field service automation for your business?
Well, a paperless, data-driven field service operation presents incredible perks. It’s a shame that only 48% of businesses use FSM software.
Here’s what field service management software can do for you:
Business efficiency is all about doing more with less. In other words, working smarter, not harder.
FSM software can optimize and speed up your field service operations in five ways:
Route and Fleet Optimization
Minimize the time your vehicles spend on the road with automated route planning and fleet management. FSM solutions use complex algorithms to optimize fleet operations. They account for many factors, including:
- Appointment time
- Fuel consumption
- Real-time and historical traffic data
- Vehicle proximity
- Length of work orders
- Vehicle capabilities
Field service automation tools can create work schedules. They use factors like priority, urgency, and resource availability. Automated scheduling ensures you never miss a job appointment.
Field service automation also assigns tasks to the right workers at the right time. The system assigns jobs according to skill, experience, and availability. Field service automation makes the best use of each worker’s strengths and talents.
FSM software can process service requests, deliveries, dispatches, and more. You won’t have to fill out countless forms or even send work emails. Workflow automation makes for faster service delivery.
Field service automation is the way to go if you want flawless operations. Manual inputs are prone to potentially devastating human errors. You don’t get those with automated systems.
Expedites Communications and Coordination
FSM software is designed to work as a sort of virtual workplace. Project managers, supervisors, and workers can keep in touch quickly. A central hub lets users share useful information. More current information means the team can collaborate on various projects virtually.
Crucially, field service automation makes it easier to coordinate assets and workers. You need a central command center. When working multiple simultaneous jobs, it helps you manage equipment, vehicles, and labor. Automated FSM gives you exactly that.
Generates Actionable Insights into Your Field Service Operations
Field service automation tools generate vast amounts of valuable business data. You can use this data to inform critical business decisions. It informs everything from staffing and customer acquisition to pricing.
Here are some of the important things you can learn from field service automation data:
- Workforce performance
- Unnecessary expenses
- Service delivery bottlenecks
- Market shifts
- Customer satisfaction levels
- Job consistency and sustainability
Saves You Money
Automating field service management is a great way to cut operational costs. A good FSM software can handle just about all your service tasks. Delegating tedious administrative tasks to a computer frees you to focus on business.
Also, hiring an operations manager might not be necessary with an FSM system by your side. In fact, field service automation may very well replace costly middle management staff.
From these perspectives, FSM software saves you money and bolsters productivity at the same time.
Creates Upselling and Lead Generation Opportunities
You can learn much about your customers from automated field service management software. Grow to understand your customer’s preferences. Get to know their purchasing habits and spending power.
Such information should help you identify potential upselling and cross-selling opportunities. That’s how you turn one-time buyers into long-term customers.
Additionally, the contact information gathered by FSM software is a source of high-quality leads. Some FSM systems will even organize, sort, and segment the leads based on their likelihood to buy.
Keeps You Abreast of Finances
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. It’s also the most sensitive part of running a business. Getting your numbers wrong can spell disaster for your enterprise.
Luckily, FSM software has your back when it comes to financial management. It automates financial transactions. Transactions may include quoting, billing, payments, receipts, and invoice tracking.
Also, inbuilt cash flow visualization tools will help you track and forecast income and expenses. The system’s financial brain will let you know if the books are off by as little as a penny.
Boosts Customer Satisfaction
Field service automation speeds things up, minimizes errors, and ensures quality service. Speed, accuracy, and quality—everything customers expect from a service provider.
Automation also enhances your customer service. Customers are happy when you react promptly to their requests.
Lastly, field service automation helps you model your business for customer satisfaction. It does this by helping you figure out what your customers really want. From there, you can fine-tune your service to meet customer expectations.
Choosing Field Service Automation Software
The global field service management industry was valued at $5.2 billion in 2021. That value could reach $29.9 billion by 2031.
Such figures are the mark of a thriving, lucrative industry. This has not gone unnoticed by tech entrepreneurs.
According to IBIS World, there are nearly 100 field service companies in the US alone. That’s excluding the countless international brands vending FSM solutions.
With so many players in the field service automation space, choosing the right solution for your business can be difficult.
FSM solutions come with all sorts of bells and whistles. But here are the top seven features that matter in field service automation software:
FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS
Service Providers: What You Need to Know About Field Service Management Software
Automation is the name of the game when it comes to FSM software. Field service automation is based on minimizing human involvement in fieldwork management. This makes sense, given that the average SMB spends 23% of their workdays manually inputting data.
A good FSM solution should feature intelligent automated workflows such as:
- Inventory management
- Data collection
- Billing and invoicing
- Online payments
Third-Party Integration Capabilities
Going fully digital means utilizing a variety of software. Does the FSM software support all the digital solutions essential to your business?
The FSM system should integrate with other field service-related solutions. Ensure it is compatible with popular business software systems such as:
- Accounting and bookkeeping software
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Inventory management software
- GPS mapping systems
- Field communications tools
- Digital signature systems
All-in-one FSM software applications may have all these functions built into native features. However, third-party integration expands their capabilities even further. It also makes it easier to migrate to the new system. You just need to import the data and tools you are already using.
Mobile accessibility is crucial in FSM software. Fieldwork happens in “the field.” So, field workers should be able to access and use the system while out and about.
Besides, the world has essentially gone mobile. Around 85% of Americans have smartphones. And they use their smartphones for everything. Smart devices handle everything from browsing the web to conducting business online.
Ideally, you want a cloud-based FSM software compatible with portable devices (smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc.). That way, it can be accessed from anywhere.
GPS Routing and Tracking
Fieldwork involves a lot of movement. Vehicles, personnel, and equipment are always on the move. Your FSM software should be able to direct and track those movements.
GPS is one of the most useful features of FSM software. A GPS-equipped FSM solution enables you to:
- Monitor fleet vehicles
- Plan routes and freights
- Navigate to various destinations
- Map locations
- Calculate distances between locations
- Track workers, cargo, supplies, and equipment
Additionally, GPS information can help you plan work schedules and quote estimates. It optimizes overall efficiency more accurately.
Data Collection and Reporting
Business intelligence is a big part of field service automation. There’s no better place to collect and analyze business data than at the heart of operations.
Many FSM systems are equipped with data analytics. These gather, process, and organize data into detailed reports. Such reports may show various key performance indicators (KPI). KPIs can include metrics such as profitability and employee performance.
The goal here is to develop data-driven insights. Data analytics gives you a bird’s-eye view of your enterprise. It exposes any weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities.
Scalability and Flexibility
As your business grows, its field operations grow, too. You want an FSM software application that scales with evolving demands.
A scalable FSM solution will accommodate new assets, workers, and branches.
Essentially, the FSM software should adapt to your business, not the other way around. That’s what we mean by a flexible and scalable system.
How safe is the FSM software?
Digital security is a growing concern when working with automated, web-based systems. Cyberattacks are on the rise. They seem to target mainly small and midsize businesses (SMBs). SMBs are three times more likely to get attacked than larger companies.
Ensure your business, employee, and customer data is safe on the FSM platform. Do some research. Get to know the software’s security protocols, features, guarantees, and reputation.
Ready to Take Your Field Service Operations to the Next Level?
What are you waiting for? Automate your field service management and start reaping the rewards. Enjoy better coordination, improved accuracy, faster service delivery, cost savings, and more.
Digitize your field service management in three easy steps:
Step 1: Evaluate Your Field Service Operations
How do you manage your company’s field services? Many service providers without FSM systems run their field operations on paper. Some use an array of mismatched business apps.
Unfortunately, such methods are outdated, slow, and susceptible to errors.
Based on what we’ve discussed, find out what’s missing from your field management approach. How can automation improve your existing field service management style?
Step 2: Get Your Field-Workers Involved
It’s important to hear what your workers have to say about FSM automation. Ask them about their day-to-day pain points on the job.
Welcome suggestions. They may help improve field operations and make the job easier.
Step 3: Try FSM Software for Free
You don’t have to spend a dime to implement FSM software—at least for a limited period. Most FSM vendors offer free trials ranging between seven and 30 days.
Take advantage of those free trials. See if FSM automation is right for your business before committing to it.
You can also try out various products. Determine which brand best suits your field operations.