Automation can be a good or bad thing, depending on who you talk to. Some people don’t like automation, as it’s taking away jobs in certain sectors. But some, like in the field service management industry, love what automation is bringing to the table. That’s because field service automation gets many of the processes done faster than what human hands could do before. And we’re not talking about the wrench turning repairs. But rather, the administrative processes that affect service delivery, times and results.
You could say that field service automation is the backbone of a field service management software. After all, many of the reasons why managers want a software solution is because of the many automation tools that make their jobs easier. The old-fashioned way of doing things doesn’t have a place in today’s field service environment. Paper-based work orders, whiteboards for scheduling, and radioing for dispatch are things of the past. Here are the automation advantages of running a field service management software.
Work Order Automation
If field service automation is the backbone of field service management software, then the work order is the heart; it’s only right that the one supports the major operations of the other. Plenty of automation happens around the work order, from its creation to delivery to processing. Work orders can be created automatically through preventative maintenance schedules, which ensure a service call is never missed. For repetitive work orders, automation handles the creation of multiple work orders of the same nature.
In the field, work orders are sent to technicians using the field service mobile app and, as the service technician completes tasks, dispatchers can see their progress. Once the work order is completed, it’s sent back to the field service management software, which can be automatically turned into an invoice. Calculations for labor hours, parts and taxes are all automated. From start to finish, automation plays a large role in how a work order is created, to how it is finished off and finally invoiced. Paperwork is eliminated and the manual processing of those work orders into invoices is removed.
Reduce Human Errors
When people have to complete mundane tasks over and over again, errors are going to happen. Customer information is put into the system wrong, phone numbers and contacts are not updated, and vendor and employee details not changed. These can be costly errors for any field service management team. Integrations with accounting, ERP and CRM software, however, is a type of field service automation that will ensure these human errors are reduced drastically.
When using a system like QuickBooks, NetSuite or Microsoft GP, information from one system is brought over to the other automatically. On the initial setup, all customer information is brought into the field service management software, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry. When a change is made in the system, it reflects throughout the entire integrated system. So, if a customer changes their address, the change will be brought over to the field service management software automatically. When a new customer calls in, their information can be taken down in when the work order is invoiced, their customer record is created in the CRM and accounting system through field service automation.
Big Data Field Service Automation
When it comes to data collection and turning that into useful metrics and analytics, field service automation really flexes its muscles. There is a massive amount of information coming into your field service management software that has to be processed. However, it would take plenty of time to turn that data into useful information that you could act on today. So, field service automation through the Business Intelligence tool does the work for you.
It’s a live look into your business with the stats and data coming straight from the field. Want to know your first-time fix rate for your entire operation? Or narrow it down to the technician, the particular customer, or even the type of service you provide? All of that can be completed with a simple drag and drop tool that automates the information collected and gives you real results. Make quick business decisions with the data entered into the system today. That means changes you want to implement will have a great effect since it’s with the most current and up-to-date data available. No manual processing is needed when field service automation is doing the work.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Creating a positive experience for your customers is at the top of every service businesses’ list of priorities. Field service automation can help in that experience by removing some of the mundane tasks that customers have to do to get service. We’ve already mentioned how customers under a contract will have their preventative maintenance work orders automatically created. But for those under contract or just needing service, work order creation can be generated many different ways.
- Automated phone systems
- Direct email address
- QR codes
- Customer portals
- Social media channels
These automation tools allow the customer to request service quickly without having to wait on the phone. And if they need to phone in, automation tools give call center agents access to their entire customer information, will tell them if they are on contract, or if the equipment is under warranty. Doing things faster will increase a customer’s satisfaction with your business.
Lower Operation Costs
We touched on at the beginning that jobs have been lost because of automation. And that is true, even in the field service industry. However, it’s also true that operating costs are reduced with field service automation tools. And while some may see it as lost jobs, others will see it as a gained opportunity. With less time spent entering data and processing, back-office staff can complete other jobs and functions to make the business a success. You can do more with fewer resources and run a leaner field service management team.
Take Advantage of Field Service Automation
It’s no secret that automation is a large part of service today. If you’re going to use field service management software, you must be ready to start using the field service automation tools as well. They will reduce your workload, speed up service and invoicing, and minimize the errors and time spent on data entry. More importantly, FSM software will offer your customers a better experience, knowing they can get service fast and that a service call will never be missed.