Riddle us this: As a business, would you rather spend hours on administrative paperwork, scheduling, and billing, or would you rather find a better way? Now put yourself in the customers’ shoes and ask one question: Would I prefer a more efficient service experience?
Legacy technician management was problematic, and it’s a wonder it was the norm for so long when you can experience new efficiencies and provide better customer service with a new strategy. We’re taking a look at a few of the ways old-school technician management stacks up against new school field service management.
TL;DR: Learn 5 ways dispatch software simplifies field service management.
Old-School Technician Management
2005 called, and it wants its field service management processes back. The old way of juggling invoices, job requests, and service windows was enough to make you pull your hair out.
If you don’t have to take the long way, why would you? Well, with legacy field service management, the scenic route was the only option.
We’re talking about endless back-and-forth between service desks, customers, and technicians to provide estimates for and schedule jobs, plus mounds of paperwork for invoicing and payment processing. Then you have to save your records, too, and creating digital copies of hardcopy invoices and remittances is just tedious. From start to finish, each job is slow, and wastes so much paper!
Hours-Long Service Windows
“Honey, can you run to the store on your way home? I have to wait for the AC guy today.” This familiar refrain is best left in the past. After all, it’s not practical—but has historically been the norm—to ask clients to wait up to six hours for a service visit. Between the inconvenience for customers who have to carve that time out of their day, you also see a stressed front office and scrambling field techs.
Without instant connectivity internally and with customers, there’s a lot of confusion and frustration. Old-school field service management meant anxiously waiting customers had to call you to get some idea of their technician’s ETA. On top of this, you had little-to-no driver tracking capabilities, so it was tricky to even pinpoint where technicians were. Communication lag with the field can drive clients to competitors, so it’s high time to kiss it goodbye.
High Price and Basic Functionality
Something was certainly better than nothing, but early field service management platforms were far from perfect. For one thing, it was expensive. Designed with enterprise-level companies in mind, small service businesses couldn’t reasonably use dispatch software. Plus it didn’t play nice with accounting software or provide the all-in-one features you really need, like field visibility and seamless billing. Instead, your best bet was to find some useful workaround to achieve your goals.
5 Ways Dispatch Software Pulls It All Together
Get your head out of the filing cabinet and your eyes away from mind-numbing spreadsheets with field service management software. Cloud-based field service management and dispatch software is now affordable for small service businesses and large corporations alike.
1. Convenient Scheduling and Dispatching
Ditch the calendars, spreadsheets, and memos. Field service management dispatch software makes for efficient service visits. Cloud-based software lets you truly join the remote world, because you can manage jobs from anywhere on a connected device:
- Add or shift times and dates inside a drag-and-drop grid.
- Instantly share job information with field techs so they know when and where to go.
Work from your dining room in your pajamas with the confidence that your technician schedules are in good hands.
2. GPS Tracking
Keep an eye on your operations with GPS fleet tracking. Get insights into where your techs are, and then some. GPS technology provides visibility into the number of trips your techs are taking, their total driving distance—and of course, their location on a map. With this information, strike a balance between who’s closest to a job location and who’s the best fit for that job.
3. Technology-Enabled Communication
Thanks to in-app texting for both teams and for customers, the previous communication lags all but disappear. Techs and front office folks alike can easily send real-time messages, and customers can stay in touch in a snap. When paired with GPS tracking, set the field service management app to auto-generate SMS notifications about scheduled jobs and on-the-way alerts to keep customers in the loop.
4. Flexible Payments
Trying to avoid mountains of paperwork? Have customers who prefer to pay online? Deploy quick and contactless payment options within your field service management dispatch software. Accept credit, debit, and ACH payments however your customer wants to pay:
- Mobile payments
- Online payment forms
- Over-the-phone payments
Save the stamps and the billing reminders, and take contactless payments in the field or online.
5. Customer Management
Never lose track of customer information with valuable data management tools. From creating customer contact entries to managing payments, field service management software keeps everything in one place and allows you to:
- Note any communication preferences
- Store job documentation and invoices
- Upload relevant notes and photos
Remember whether your customers prefer calls or texts, and take note of all necessary details under one umbrella.
Trust Your Field Service Management to Service Fusion
Maybe living in a spreadsheet world wasn’t ideal for all those years. Luckily, today’s technology makes it easier to manage drivers and jobs, while doing right by your customers.
Get in touch with Service Fusion to learn how we can create more efficient operations for your company.