Field service management (FSM) software has become a valuable tool for small service-based businesses. It can eliminate paper, consolidate processes, and make you more efficient. Although FSM software is supposed to be easy to use, if you’re not ready for implementation, it can go wrong, and you may not end up using the software you bought.
The good news? Field service management software implementation is much easier than you think. First, make sure you choose FSM software that has implementation support. Then, take a few steps to set yourself up for a successful FSM software implementation.
Let’s dive into what you need to do for a smooth FSM software implementation.
Prepare for your field service management software’s technical and security requirements.
Being technologically prepared for FSM software is the first thing you should ensure after you choose software with implementation support. If you’re not technologically prepared for new software, you won’t be able to avoid the pitfalls.
So, what does “technologically prepared” actually mean? To be honest, not a whole lot. FSM software is cloud-based, so you don’t need to buy a server or make any other massive equipment investment.
However, if you’ve been using the same office computers and phone systems for more than five years, check your current capabilities against what the FSM software as a service (SaaS) will require. This could mean:
- Upgrading your office desktop and laptop computers
- Gently explaining to field techs that their old 15-year old flip phone has to be replaced with a smartphone
- Talking to your internet provider about upgrading to the fastest speed, if you don’t already have it
Understand the security protocols.
Any kind of software implementation will have security implications. The last thing you want to do is expose any data during implementation, even if you think you don’t have much data.
Small business data is just as important as big business data—maybe even more important. Customers may expect a data breach from big corporations, but they’d never dream of it happening to the HVAC provider they adore.
Most SaaS security failures are user-caused, so don’t make yourself a cautionary tale. Clearly communicate with your SaaS provider implementation team to get guidance on how to protect your data during implementation and onboarding. And if your software doesn’t come with guidance on how to protect your data? Keep shopping for FSM software. You have many other options that will keep you secure during implementation.
Get field and front office buy-in, and make a plan.
You know what sinks new small business tech the most? When nobody actually wants to use it. Before you even think about implementation, get buy-in from everyone who will be using the software, from the business owner and the front office to field technicians and other contractors you regularly work with.
Tell before you show.
People can be really skeptical of new technology, even when the technology they are using is terrible—most people would rather hang around with the devil they know. A good place to start is by showing your team software testimonials from people in their positions. When they can relate and picture how much easier their lives will be, they’ll start warming up.
Let everyone play in the sandbox.
Once you get them warmed up to the idea of new software, show them how easy it is. Walk them through a demo. Let them get first-hand perspective on how simple it will be to use, how it won’t disrupt their lives in a bad way, and how it will make customers happier because service will be more efficient.
Prepare a formal training plan, even if it’s only for one person.
So you have the technology you need and you’ve gotten buy-in from other users. Now it’s time to actually use it. This means training, even if it’s only for one person.
Take advantage of any user instructions and advice you get from the software company. Document every step that everyone needs to learn, and write it down. Your software provider should have instructional and training materials that will help you. Keep a printed copy of any instructions—yes, we’re telling you to print things out. They can be easy, handy guides for your less tech-savvy staff.
Create a training plan.
Hold a formal workshop, and watch each person use the new technology. See how easy (or not) it is for people to use. If someone needs more time and help than others, schedule a one-on-one session.
If you choose wisely, your software will be intuitive, and learning will be quick. Make sure the field techs are experts at the features they’ll be using the most, like how to accept a job through a smartphone or tablet application. It’s also crucial to ensure that the dispatcher is the company expert on the dispatch aspect of software.
However, it’s smart for everyone to know how to do everything—even down to creating an invoice. Comprehensive training means that anyone can help customers if another employee is out, even if a field tech answers a front-office call.
Your field service management software implementation shouldn’t be stressful.
There’s no reason for your FSM software implementation to be stressful—not when there are affordable options that include implementation and product support.
Once your FSM software is implemented and everyone’s using it, your customers will be the ones who love all of the convenient features the most, which is the whole point. When you make your customers’ lives easier, get ready for some great online reviews.