Key Features to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Field Service Management Software
Updated: Nov 3, 2020
By Siddharth Wadehra, Head of Research
Digital transformation is creeping its way into almost all aspects of businesses today. The same is true for the service industry. Customers expect to be always in control and to be served in a particular way. Additionally, digital transformation also has a number of benefits which automation and process optimization bring. A recent report suggests that 80% of field service organizations say mobile field service is required to improve efficiency and speed of personnel, 44% say it is needed due to competitive pressures, and 41% say it is required because of the increasing volume of service requests.
However, with so many technology solutions promising to magically drive your field service management process blues away, how do you exactly choose the ones that are worth considering or even trying out?
For a large number of companies, a majority of finance processes are still completed using spreadsheets and emails. A research report suggested that almost 52% of the companies still use manual methods for most of their field service tasks. On the other hand, another report, suggested that as many as 89% of customers want to see modern, on-demand technology applied to their technician scheduling, and nearly as many customers would be willing to pay a premium for it. Going digital is perhaps the only way to bridge the gap between how the organization presently functions and the experience the customers expect to receive.
With so much noise around the various technology field service management solutions and with almost everyone promising you the moon, this article hopes to declutter this crowded space and bring to your notice some of the key features which your field service management solution should have.
1. Customization and Integration
The worst mistake one could possibly make is selecting a technology solution that just meets the needs of the business today. At the speed which technology and customer expectations are evolving, it would be not take long before your present solution would obsolete. IoT and aspects of AI are already making significant inroads into the field service management industry and other frontier technologies are expected to create an impact in the industry. Key players in the industry are already digitally transforming their operations and exploring to push the boundaries of customer expectation.
As an organization looking to digitally transform yourself, it is imperative that your field management solution keeps you future-ready. Not only should it be customizable to your unique business needs, but it should also seamlessly integrate with other third-party applications (CRM, billing software, delivery and service tracking API’s etc.) and internal legacy systems to create an ecosystem of digital solutions which would prepare you for a technology-driven future.
2. One-Stop Shop for FSM Needs
An ideal technology application should bring together all the different moving parts of the operations. The success of field service operations requires customer service agents and field service executives to work seamlessly. In traditional systems, collaborating is a huge hassle since it is difficult to pass information between agents and technicians. However, a field service management solution provides complete context about a customer’s conversations across different channels from a single view. Customer service agents, as well as field service technicians, no longer have to shuttle between multiple tools. Agents and technicians have access to the customer’s conversation and their prior interactions in real-time which not just reduces inefficiencies but significantly enhances customer experience.
3. Self-Service Options
Market research agencies have unanimously declared the future of customer service and engagement is not through call centers, but by empowering customers with tools to raise requests and view the status of their requests real-time. The same holds true for your internal field technicians and employees. Customer self-service does not only empower customers to find answers to their queries by themselves, but also reduces the volume of tickets that your helpdesk agents need to handle and gives them more time to coordinate with field agents. Self-service features can be adopted in the form of FAQs, knowledge base, solution articles, customer communities, and chatbots. So, when you select a field service management software, make sure that it offers an built-in self-service portal, should you decide to add it to your field service optimization efforts. It is a great way to reduce overhead costs and delight customers.
4. Efficient Automation + Forecasting Capabilities
Gartner Top Tech Trends for 2021 includes Automation and suggests that ‘Everything that can and should be automated will be automated.’ Another report suggests that about 50% of field service officers see automation as the greatest contributor to revenue growth. Automation is one of the most important aspects to reduce manual work and avoid errors, and, ideally, your field services management solution should allow for that. Automation of repetitive tasks such as ticket routing, assignment of service tasks, and resolution management speeds up the resolution to common service requests. Your organizations could already look out for time and event-based automations, automations for missed appointments and automations based on agent performance etc. Additionally, if your field service management software has forecasting abilities, it could be useful to help you optimize service delivery times, predict recurring issues, pinpoint which service tasks need better resolutions, and improve managing schedules and appointments.
5. Real-Time Data Access & One-Tap Scheduling and Appointments
A research suggests that as many as 45% of field technicians report that current tools are not fast enough, and 38% say they can’t access all the needed information. Companies usually struggle with orchestrating the various moving parts in the field services business. This primarily happens because there is lack of real-time information visibility across all tools and channels. The ideal field service management software would provide a transparent field agent calendar to assign tasks diligently without clashes in appointments. Apart from automatic routing, helpdesk agents should also have the ability to override tasks and assign them to the best available agent in terms of expertise and location. Ideally, the solution should be as easy as dragging and dropping tasks into the agents’ dashboard and should also allow for SLA’s being set for different types of field visits.
6. Features That Go Beyond the Call of Duty
While your technology application should do what’s expected, wouldn’t it be ideal if your solution gives you the opportunity to experiment with new digital solutions unique to your business requirements? The ability to rapidly prototype and experiment does not just foster innovation in the organization but also allows business leaders to listen to their customers and be nimble for any business unpredictability.
Other features which could enhance the effectiveness of your field management solution include the security of a cloud-hosted software, access to centralized information, smart scheduling capabilities, and robust reporting and analytics that do not only make agents’ jobs easier but also improve the overall digital experience that customers receive. With the right set of technical tools, you can improve your field service agents’ mobility, optimize operations, and eliminate the tedious paperwork generated by volumes of orders.
Steer: The Field Service Management Solution that Understands your Unique Business Needs
It is easy to get lost in lofty, jargon-filled claims of field service management software solutions. The best way to understand your actual business needs is to talk to the field service executives, helpdesk agents, delivery, and supply chain partners. They are the ones that will be communicating with each other through disparate systems that don’t get along well. Involving them in your decision-making will clear the features required, gaps that need to be filled, and identifying bottlenecks.
Steer’s field management solution takes advantage of the platform’s inherent no-code capabilities which allow your organization to have all the features listed above. Apart from being a one-stop solution for all your field service management requirements, the license to the platform allows business users to launch applications that might be useful within their teams or departments. All of these individual apps connect seamlessly and integrate with the core of the organization to orchestrate a real-time information flow giving your customers the experience they desire.
Check out all the amazing features which Steer Platform’s field service management solution could bring to your business by signing up for a free trial HERE or reach out to the Steer team HERE.