When we think of field service workers, we often think mostly of technical occupations. The service technician who checks heating systems and gas boilers. Or the electrician who makes sure that all-important machine in your factory hall works again.
Thanks to the growing popularity of hybrid working, however, the army of “deskless” professionals is growing rapidly, and technicians and sales representatives are certainly no longer the only ones who spend most of their working lives outside office or factory walls.
Even in industries such as healthcare, education and training, services, tourism and IT, more and more people are working in the field. For companies with a large field force, it is quite a challenge to properly manage that mobile workforce and all business activities in the field. The good news: there are practices and tools today that simplify that task.
Field service management is one such way to help field service workers, set up processes in the field more efficiently and provide customers with an even better service experience. But what exactly is field service management? What can you do with it? And perhaps the most important question: what are the main benefits of this way of working? Read on to find out!
What is field service management?
By field service management we mean the set of organizational technologies and functionalities aimed at optimizing processes and information needed to manage technicians or employees working outside the office or factory. The main goal? Ensuring that your employees in the field can do their jobs to the best of their ability, but also creating insight within your own company walls into the planning, progress and status of work performed by the field service.
Field service management includes such tasks as:
- Creating and maintaining rosters and work schedules so that office staff and field staff always know what jobs are scheduled and the status of a job or project. Read all about optimizing scheduling here.
- Communicating with employees in the field.
- Exchanging data (digitally) with employees working on location. Think of creating and forwarding Digital Work Order forms, changing the status of a job (an inspection becomes a repair, for example, because a mechanic found a defect that the owner had not yet noticed) or passing on current, real-time stock information to representatives who are on the road for customer visits.
- Providing mechanics with information in advance so that they can get straight to work on site in a targeted way, rather than having to ask the customer a whole series of questions first.
The benefits of field service management
Good field service management provides companies with numerous benefits. We highlight the most important benefits for you.
1. Increased productivity
Field service management reduces the number of manual operations in the process and service chain. This improves productivity and reduces the risk of errors.
Field service management makes processes more insightful and transparent. You can track, collect, analyze and share important information in one central environment, making it easier to steer processes and decisions based on hard data. Communication no longer goes over many different disks (the customer calls the call center, the call center employee to the back office, and the back office again to the planner or mechanic). Employees in the back office also no longer have to wait to process information until the field staff show up at the office toward the end of a long workday with a stack of paper.
3. A better work experience for your field service
Field service management also makes the lives of field service employees a lot easier and more enjoyable. That’s because they can access the information they need to do their jobs properly and in a customer-friendly manner anytime, anywhere (in the car, on site). They receive their work schedules and job information in one central location, giving them more time to focus on their core task: helping the customer as best as possible.
4. Reduced overhead costs
Field service management also helps you reduce overhead costs. Planning and communication processes run a lot faster and more efficiently. Especially the time between the work performed and the invoice decreases significantly with good field service management. The shorter it is, the fewer payment problems there are. The more information there is about the executed work order, the fewer questions field service and office staff will receive. Lower overhead costs give you the ability to have higher margins and provide your customers with affordable products or services.
5. Real-time planning and data aggregation.
Advanced field service management, using the right software, allows you to work with real-time scheduling updates. Does a customer cancel an appointment at the last minute? Then you prevent a technician from standing in front of a closed door and he can drive straight on to the next address without detours. Or has an order just come in and you no longer have a product in stock? Then you can pass on this information immediately to the field representative so that he does not write an order that you cannot deliver for the time being.
6. A better customer experience
Customer experience today is more important than the price of a service or product. Because field service management leads to more streamlined processes and better data disclosure and access, you solve more problems at first contact. Customers are happy that technicians know about the past. Thanks to field service management, they know, for example, that someone from the same company also stopped by last week. Customers and office staff also receive a Digital Work Order in PDF format that neatly describes all of the mechanic’s work. The combined result: satisfied customers who are really helped and taken seriously. Field service management also makes it easier to create a consistent level of quality across the various channels (website, phone, chat, app, social media).
The right field service management software
Because field service management affects a large part of your business processes, you need good software to manage the process. A good field service management solution has at least the following features and functionalities:
- Because field service management focuses primarily on employees, Field Service Management software must be mobile-first and cloud-based. After all, field service employees will usually generate and view their data, notifications and Digital Work Orders on a compact device such as a smartphone or tablet. Moreover, all relevant information must be viewable and customizable independent of location and time.
- A Field Service Management solution must be able to integrate seamlessly with other systems and applications you use. So make sure there are good links between your Field Service Management tool and your ERP, CRM and billing systems.
- An efficient Field Service Management tool should actually be able to provide data in (near) real time visibility. Only then will the back office and field service always have all relevant information at the right time.
- Offline-first, so that a technician can also work efficiently in a place where no internet is available.
The power of FieldBuddy as a field service management tool
FieldBuddy is a complete Field Service Management solution for digitizing field service that meets the above requirements. You simply create a Work Order within a minute, which you then easily schedule through FieldBuddy’s user-friendly and clear dispatch panel.
The Work Order automatically arrives on the technician’s smartphone, via the FieldBuddy Swift app. At a glance, you can see where and at what time the mechanic is scheduled. You can also add photos of a job. Those will then show up in the job overview as well. Via the FieldBuddy Swift app, the mechanic can also immediately arrange invoicing (including digital sign-off). The app also gives technicians an instant view of necessary information, such as problem descriptions, service history and installation manuals.
Thanks to the FieldBuddy Swift app, even service companies’ most complex workflows become a lot simpler. With FieldBuddy, you also take full advantage of the power of dashboards and analytics. For example, does a particular product or system break down often? Or is there a problem that recurs frequently with a certain type of installation? From FieldBuddy you can report all the relevant data to the minute. Moreover, FieldBuddy is a configurable solution. So you can adapt the tool to your specific field service management needs. Finally, FieldBuddy also integrates perfectly with your ERP system and accounting package.
Field service management is the best way to manage your field service and keep a grip on the work-related processes that take place outside your own walls. Properly applied, the method guarantees time and cost savings, better customer experiences and more convenience and job satisfaction for the field service. Want to learn more about FieldBuddy’s app and how our solution helps you take field service management to the next level? Then we would love to get to know you. Call us at +31(0)20-2611100, send an email to [email protected] or fill out the contact form on our website. You can also request a demo to get acquainted with all the features of our solution.