The writing has been on the wall for years: If you have a small service provider business, you need field service management software.
You may have heard it referred to as simply “FSM” software, or maybe just “management” software. No matter what you call it, it's software that service provider businesses use to organize field technicians and workers, along with simplifying processes throughout the whole business, from dispatch to payment. Most field service management software includes tools and capabilities that can transform things like scheduling, human resources, customer retention, and field tracking.
For a long time, field service management software was designed with big businesses in mind, but the software as a service (SaaS) model has opened up a whole new affordable world for small businesses, especially service provider businesses. If you choose the right field service management software, the benefits can be far-reaching, and it can take a business from holding steady to solid, consistent growth.
Here, we’re taking a look at what you need to know about field service management software to help you decide if it’s a good choice for your small business.
You’ll have to get used to going virtual (and paperless–darn!).
Although manual habits may be the bane of your existence, they’re still habits—comfortable, habitual parts of your day. But the “devil you know” way of business life won’t move you forward. If things don’t seem official to you unless there are at least five steps and three copies, you are going to need to open your mind to everything happening in the cloud.
It’s also important to note that using SaaS to manage your small service provider business doesn’t mean you can never touch paper again. Some customers still want printed estimates and receipts—and with most field service management software, you’ll have no issues meeting that need.
However, the paper-free benefit of using cloud software can’t be overstated. It might seem weird or “unofficial” to create and keep everything in the cloud, especially signed documents—but it’s perfectly safe to use electronic signatures.
And yes, using field service management software makes invoices and payments easy for everyone—from you, to the technicians, to the customers. There’s no reason to use old-school manual processes when there are software options for small businesses that can make them more efficient and provide a more convenient customer experience.
Software makes service provider communication easier.
With one application for everyone to use, communication becomes much easier. Field service management software can make it easy to contact field technicians, no matter whether you call, message, or email.
All communication goes through the application, so there are no messages—especially emergency messages. Sourcing emergency jobs without interfering with scheduled service calls is difficult. Having location and skills information in the same application can help make those emergencies more manageable.
Customers love this type of communication because you can tell them exactly where their tech is and when to expect them, closing the dreaded service window. This also helps technicians prioritize jobs as they come in, and make customer management easier. Technicians can use a field service management software application to keep track of different customer contact numbers, addresses, preferences, and more.
It all boils down to convenience. A field service management software application makes life easier for the front office and the technician, but best of all, it helps your business provide better customer service.
Field service management software automates service provider billing.
Well, most field service management software automates billing. If you’re using billing software like QuickBooks, make sure your field service management software can easily integrate.
It may not seem like that big of a deal—you’re used to doing the billing how you’ve done it for years. Why integrate? Because integrating billing will make your life easier, make your business run smoother, help you provide better service, and free up time you can spend on things like new marketing efforts or sales follow-ups.
Once it’s set up to integrate with your billing software, your field service management SaaS will automatically send out bills and reminders, and it will update accounts when electronic payments are made. Customers get the benefit of convenient and safe payments, and you get billing information stored securely without a physical paper trail to file and store.
The front office will get a comprehensive view of what’s going on.
The worst feeling a service provider front office can have is helplessness—and of course, panic. That’s what happens when an emergency service call comes in and the dispatcher can’t get hold of, or even find, an available technician, let alone the best technician for the job.
Using field service management software gives the front office a bird’s eye view of where all techs are at all times, instantly showing who is the closest to the immediate need. Not only that, the right field service management SaaS will store technician capabilities, so the dispatcher can find not just the closest, but the best person for the job, without impacting scheduled appointments.
You’ll have to get used to being more productive and less stressed. (Really!)
Without all of the manual duties you’re used to doing, field service management software frees up a lot of time that can be used on efforts to grow the business. Instead of spending hours per week on manual tasks, divert that time to marketing efforts.
Imagine having time to:
- Develop marketing plans to get more customer reviews
- Set up an email marketing campaign
- Join Facebook groups to get advice and exposure to more customers
When one’s day is filled with a lot of stress, it can get comfortable. Service provider small businesses can get out of their comfort zones in the best way with the time field service management software can save them.
It’s crucial to choose the right software.
To get the benefits we’ve outlined here, you have to get the right software. Make sure it:
- Has GPS tracking
- Integrates with your billing software
- Allows customers to do everything virtually, from estimate to payment
You’ll want your cloud solution to give you a comprehensive view of where everyone is, make it easier to alter the day’s schedule, and elevate your customer service experience to differentiate you from your competitors.
Service Fusion’s field service management software can free you up so you’re always focused on the most important thing: what customers want.