If you’re not satisfied with your current field service software provider and looking to make a switch, or you’re brand new to the scene and looking to automate your manual processes, both scenarios can seem daunting.
If you’re not satisfied with your current field service software provider and looking to make a switch, or you’re brand new to the scene and looking to automate your manual processes, both scenarios can seem daunting. No matter if your business is large or small, established, or just starting out, making the most out of software will help you better manage your business. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how easy and beneficial it is to flip the switch no matter what your current situation is.
The field service industry is unique in that it has been slow to adopt new technology, but this is rapidly changing. As your business continues to grow, there will come the point when managing it with a pencil and paper is no longer effective. Companies that have embraced technology will be the first to tell you that the benefits you gain are numerous. These benefits include, but are not limited to, effectively managing your customers, your employees, your financials, and implementing mobile capabilities.
No matter the industry, great customer relationships are the foundation of your business. The best technology solution should make it easy for your customers to do business with you, focus on recurring revenue, and help maintain their satisfaction.
Ease of Use – It shouldn’t be complicated for your customers to interact with you. Whether it be day or night, your customers should be able to access their account at any time. Choosing field service software that gives you the option to provide a customer portal makes it easy for them to pay you online. This maximizes your efficiency and increases your profitability because it reduces the amount of time it takes to manually create and send an invoice and then wait to be paid.
Recurring Revenue – Since recurring revenue is important to your financial stability, customers should be able to schedule on-going services immediately from their initial contact with your company. This includes making it quick and easy to create and activate their accounts and allowing them to set up their preferred form of payments.
Customer Satisfaction – Ensuring your customers have a positive experience with your business creates loyalty and increases satisfaction, which should reduce your churn. Every touchpoint counts, from the way they find your company (Google, blog, or website), to the interactions they have with your employees, to how easy you make it for them to access their information and pay their bills. Look for software that helps encourage online reviews and allows you to feature the best ones prominently on your website. Additionally, these reviews help your search engine ranking, which gets you noticed online, and helps to increase your sales.
Customer Loyalty – Attracting new customers is only half the battle; the real challenge is retaining the customers you already have. When evaluating software capabilities, look for those that help you retain customers through automated communications. For example, you can set a phone reminder to go out a week before the appointment, an email reminder to go out a couple of days before the appointment, or SMS text reminders to go out on the day of the appointment. After the service is complete, your customers can receive a follow-up email.
A key component of any business is its people, so helping them do their jobs more effectively and automating time-consuming tasks can keep them active and engaged. Field service software that streamlines processes and maximizes their efforts increases job satisfaction, which, in turn, improves better interaction with the customers. Software can help eliminate some of the problems that may occur when you’re operating your business manually, such as:
Route optimization software helps your business run more efficiently by reducing the number of hours it takes for you and your employees to manually plan your technicians’ routes. Today’s sophisticated technology uses complicated algorithms to determine the most efficient way to get from point A to point B. It also helps your business:
Reduce Mileage - In the simplest of terms, route management software yields more efficient routing. More efficient routing means less miles driven by your technicians. Less miles driven by your technicians means you use less fuel and lower your fuel costs, which is a significant cost savings tool for your business whether fuel prices are low or high.
Reduce Human - Error The more you have to manually input data into a system, the more opportunity you have to make mistakes. Route management software automates the process and ensures your addresses are 100% accurate before your technicians start their day.
Improve Customer Service - Intelligent route optimization tools ensure that the right technician gets to the right customer at the right time. This allows you to tighten service windows given to customers and increases your technicians’ on-time arrival rates.
Employees benefit when you promote a paperless environment. No one wants to work with stacks of paper on their desk. When you reduce your reliance on paper, it reduces the potential for lost data, human error, or having to translate poor handwriting. Employees waste precious time looking for lost documents. A recent study estimated that “executives spend an average of six weeks each year looking for lost documents.” That said, it makes sense that productivity dramatically increases when you reduce paper; your employees no longer have to waste time hunting down invoices or sales sheets, and they can concentrate on more critical tasks at hand.
Your business is complex, and implementing effective tools gives your employees reliable, up-tothe-minute information, which will allow them to make better business decisions and take a more proactive approach. Rather than creating multiple reports from different resources, field service software combines all your data into an easy-to-understand dashboard. This gives your employees the ability to identify where improvements are needed.
Billing and collections can be tedious, labor-intensive, and it’s probably safe to say, not how you want to spend the majority of your time. Revenue is the lifeline of your business, so if this process isn’t organized and efficient, then you end up billing customers late or, possibly, missing it altogether. This affects all aspects of your business, including your employees. If your customers aren’t paying on time, then you can’t pay them. Automating the billing process helps you grow your company by enabling you to:
Reduce Administration – To effectively manage your cash flow, you need to automate and standardize your invoicing process. It saves time and reduces errors compared to manually creating invoices from scratch.
Minimize Errors – An efficient invoicing system will calculate costs and quotes automatically and generate invoices based on this data, thereby, reducing the number of staff you need to produce quotes.
Manage Commissions – There’s a lot of variables that go into calculating commissions for your technicians. Billing software makes it easy to determine so you can pay them as they go throughout their day.
Provide Customer Convenience – Accepting payments online makes it easier and faster for customers to pay you.
These days, whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, everyone is carrying around a mobile device, so it makes sense to take advantage of this and give your employees the power to go mobile. Mobile integration gives your technicians the ability to report their findings in the field and to get answers immediately, no matter where they are. This ensures that scheduled jobs are carried out as thoroughly as possible. Other benefits include:
Sales - Your sales team can make sales from the field using their phone or tablet, accessing digital contracts that customers can sign right from their doorstep. Additionally, they can set up customers with autopay and custom billing cycles.
Technicians - Not only can you get realtime updates from your technicians in the field, but mobile technology gives them the ability to scan barcodes and process payments.
Home Office - Mobile integration gives your office team the ability to track your technicians throughout the day, giving you the option to change their routes if necessary.
In the first half of this Eguide, we talked about the benefits of implementing software if you are currently running your business manually. But what if you’re already using software? Changing field service software providers is challenging, but sometimes necessary. In this section, we’ll look at the reasons why you may want to make a switch.
They don’t communicate with you. No one wants to sit on hold with customer service for long periods of time, wait five days for a simple email response, or worse, receive no response at all. Additionally, they may not communicate with you about new updates to their software or changes that will impact your business.
Their costs keep rising. Are you surprised every time you receive your invoice? In order to keep up with inflation, most companies need to raise their prices at some point. But if you’re getting nickeland-dimed every time you call customer service, or your subscription fees are increasing every month, it could be a sign that they are experiencing financial troubles.
There is a lack of adequate support. Does your software provider respond quickly and thoroughly to your issues and requests? When you have a problem, does it get addressed promptly? If not, then that could be a signal that you may need to look into other options. If you can’t get the support you need to keep your business running smoothly, then your customers will suffer as well.
There is a lack of innovation. Innovation is essential for software providers to stay relevant. Their solution may have been built for a different time, and if they’re not working on staying competitive with new features and enhancements, it’s time to look at other options.
They refuse to grow with you. As your business continues to grow, your software provider should be able to grow with you. They should understand your business and help you deliver value to your customers by making it easy for them to pay online, write a review, or schedule services through their customer portal. If your current software doesn’t provide this, then they’re holding you back.
If any of these reasons resonate with you, it may be time to start looking at other software providers. When you decide you’re ready, the FieldRoutes platform provides these benefits to make your decision easy:
Cloud-based Software – If you’re not familiar with Cloud-based software, it means storing and accessing your data over the internet versus a locally-hosted or on-premise software that installs and operates from a company’s in-house server. With Cloud-based software, you can access your customers’ information from any device (smartphone, laptop, or tablet) and any location such as the home or office. Because of this, it’s easy to stay connected with your technicians when they’re in the field all day.
Automated Communications – These days, communicating with your customers is all about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Automated communications let you customize the timing and your customers’ preferred communication channel for when you want to send messages. Your software should have the ability to use filters so you can customize messaging by specific service types, appointment statuses, and property types.
Implementation – The idea of transferring your entire business to a new platform may sound overwhelming, but rest assured, our implementation team makes it easy, and is available to help you on your own schedule at your own pace. Implementation takes four to six weeks, and during this time, they will walk you through expectations, set up a dry run to ensure there are no surprises, and make certain you and your team are trained and feel confident running the new system. Additionally, customer support is included in your subscription, and there are no additional fees.
Personalized Customer Portal – Customers today expect you to provide a convenient way for them to interact with you, which increases your customer retention and enables them to pay you quickly. The FieldRoutes platform comes standard with a branded customer portal and provides self-service access to important account information such as billing, invoices, subscriptions, appointments, and service notifications.
We hope this guide has been helpful. Whether you’re looking to add efficiencies, make things easier for your employees, improve your customer experience, increase sales, or anything in between, FieldRoutes is committed to helping your business reach its full potential.
The platform automates all aspects of field service operations for enterprise and small business customers that span office management, advanced route optimization, payment processing, digital sales, marketing, and customer acquisition solutions that accelerate growth, streamline operations, increase customer retention, and maximize revenue. Our operations and marketing suites were built with your customers and employees in mind and can help you grow quickly, scale intelligently, and serve customers relentlessly.
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