A significantly high number of leading field service management organizations have said that their field service software currently meets all of their needs. Those needs can be as diverse as the field itself, and each organization has their own needs in mind. According to a Field Service USA survey, 73% of field service companies believe that their field service management software meets their immediate goals. The other 27% are still working towards them.
But just the immediate goals are being met, doesn’t mean all of them are, which still leaves plenty of room to improve. The field service management teams of today are thinking of tomorrow and what the future holds for service delivery. Real leaders don’t just rest on the accomplishments of today, they think of how to do better the next. That’s why, regardless of what side of the survey your organization is on, there are improvements to be made in the field service space.
Field service organizations continue to look for technology-based solutions to better serve their customers and improve their experience. New adaptations in field service management software has allowed managers and experts to define new goals and needs and offered ways to achieve them. If you’re still in that 27% that has a field service software that isn’t meeting your needs, it’s critical to figure out why, and what limitations your software has. It could be time to look elsewhere, as while you are still looking to meet your most basic immediate goals, plenty of your competitors are looking at future ones.
Real-Time Data on Availability, Job Status, and Resources
The overwhelming area of improvement for field service management teams is in the area of real-time data surrounding their technicians and resources. In the survey, 74% of organizations said this was where their field service management needs to improve. Getting a real-time look into the movements of resources is becoming a significant trend and a feature plenty of mangers are asking for. It’s through this real-time data that dispatchers and managers can make critical decisions on scheduling and dispatching.
Today’s field service software is aiming to give managers that kind of insight, such as live, up-to-date job status as their technician work. Through field service mobile apps, technicians can update the status of work orders and appointments as they complete tasks. This lets dispatchers know exactly where they are and what they are doing. With GPS tracking and geofencing tools, technicians are alerting dispatchers of their movements on the road, even going as far as to track their speed on roads, their fuel consumption, or turning speed.
When you consider that schedule optimization is key to successfully growing a field service business, this real-time data is critical to that success. When decisions need to be made about emergency calls, or reassigning technicians, dispatchers need proper information to make those decisions. You can’t get any better data than real-time data coming straight from the technician themselves to base decisions on.
Real-Time System Access for Technicians
Keeping with the real-time theme, there is a massive call from the field from technicians to get more access to field service management systems. Technicians want more data, more access, and more information to get them through repairs. According to the survey, 56% of respondents said this was a field service management need that has to improve. That’s the second most sought-after area that needs improvement, especially if you’re an organization who wants to improve first-time fix rates and is working with inexperienced technicians.
Through field service mobile apps, technicians are now having greater access to things such as:
- Service history
- Preventative maintenance contracts
- Inventory and stock quantities and locations
- How-to manuals, guides and repair information
- On-demand videos and live-streaming
- Quoting tools
All of these tools give more power to your technicians to make decisions and get repairs completed faster. It also helps them dealing with customers so that they can give them answers to questions around their contract, or prices for upgrades or additional parts right in front of them, rather than having to call for someone else to come in.
Smarter Route and Scheduling Optimization
Moving down the list, another need in the field service management space is to have smarter pre-scheduling processes. You have often heard the slogan ‘the right technician, with the right skills for the right job’, but for some in the field service management industry, that’s a challenge that still needs to be met. Smart pre-scheduling can mean multiple things, for a simplistic view of getting the right technicians to the right job, to a large view of schedule optimization.
Field service software is helping to define roles for each technician, so their certifications, training and experience can all be searchable, giving you the ability to search for the best technician. With first-time fix rates and customer experiences being a critical focus, it’s imperative that the technician being scheduled has the right skills and certifications.
But pre-scheduling can also be resource routing tools that give dispatchers the chance to look into a technician’s schedule and route before scheduling an appointment. With an overview of all the resources’ schedules and routes, dispatchers are making smarter decisions about scheduling. Technicians are spending less time in their trucks; less time driving and are finding their service work is grouped together.
Plenty of Improvements with Field Service Software
It should be of note that some field service management teams don’t have any needs to improve on. In fact, in the survey, 6% of respondents said their field service management doesn’t require any improvements. But that few of respondents should be a clear sign that field service is constantly changing, and there are always areas to improve in. Depending on the size of your organization, you may not need complex scheduling systems or live-streaming video. But the demands on your technicians will increase and giving them solutions and information will be critical to their success later on.
Improving your field service management is an improvement in your entire organization. From managers to dispatchers to technicians, everyone is going to feel the effects of improved field service management. Look at your field service software and the technology you use today and ask yourself what needs to be improved. Then look at your field service software and see if that can be accomplished or is it time to look somewhere else.