As with any other industry, running a successful field service business is in many ways determined by how well you can manage all of the individual pieces that keep it up and running. While these businesses were once all run using pen-and-paper recording, software can provide improvements businesses can, and should, take advantage of wherever possible to improve customer relationships and increase sales.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how field service companies of any size can leverage affordable software to better and more effectively manage their businesses by examining four primary focus points you should take into consideration: the customer, your employees, your business, and having the right partnerships in place.
Drive the customer experience and keep them coming back for more.
While finding and retaining great customers is essential in any industry, the repeat revenue-basis of field service makes customer satisfaction a top priority for effective long-term business management.
When looking into field service software, look into functionality that can help you:
Great customer relationships start day one. Look for software and mobile apps that facilitate the smoothest customer acquisition possible. You do not want to give customers any reason to disengage from your brand, so look for software that focuses on ease of use, recurring service, and customer satisfaction.
Ease Of Use
The faster you can provide potential clients with the service or attention they need, the better. While your company may only offer service during normal business hours, sales should be a 24/7 concern, and customers should always be able to sign up for and schedule a service right from your website at any time, day or night.
Improve the customer experience by allowing customers to manage their accounts and services right from your website. Once these new appointments are booked, the more seamlessly these online sales can stream into your established scheduling workflow. Let them update their payment information and pay you online.
Above all, strive to make signing up for service as easy as possible. The fewer clicks the customer has to make and the less paperwork they need to fill out to get started, the less likely they are to change their mind.
Attracting customers with hassle-free software options is a great way to generate revenue, but in order to ensure you’re being paid on-time, steps should be taken to keep the payment process painless as well.
If you’re still sending paper bills and notifications for service, there’s never been a better time to make the switch to automation. Beyond saving your sales reps and office staff time, they would otherwise spend digging through piles of paperwork, allowing customers to access their billing statements and view history from a customer portal makes paying for service simple and easy.
It can’t be said enough; nobody likes dealing with paperwork when mobile and digital apps are available. This is true for door-to-door sales too. By adopting an in-the-field sales app for your team, you’ll be able to sign up new customers from anywhere, even on-site, using a tablet or smartphone. This capability can become a major benefit for technicians to make sales in neighborhoods while out in the field as well.
Attracting customers is only half the battle; the real challenge that concerns field service companies is retention. When evaluating software capabilities, look for ones that help you retain customers.
Notifications, Reminders, And Sales Messages
Modern software comes with reporting intended for both field service businesses and their clients. Customers can immediately get updates about the services that were performed on their property and notifications for future service—no more surprises.
Customers should be able to easily view their service history including which chemicals were used, and view past and upcoming services at a glance, keeping them satisfied that their needs are being met. Use software that allows for customizable messages, even voice messages, to leave a personal touch without sacrificing broad appeal.
As always, making it easier for customers to make payments is always the right option. Look to implement a branded online customer portal to make sales as easy as possible. New software that supports personalized customer portals and user profiles get customers to purchase and repeat services with your company.
All of these points lead to customer retention, but good word of mouth and reviews are also essential for success in today’s social-driven business climate. With the rise of social sharing and review sites, keeping current customers satisfied has become the best way to bring new customers on board.
Talent Retention Through Technology
No business can survive without dedicated employees, so helping them do their jobs more effectively and easing some of the most time-consuming aspects of their day-to-day can keep them active and engaged with your company. When you have happy employees, happy customers soon follow.
Customer retention is, in many ways, affected by employee retention. Modernizing the way you do business can go a long way in winning with your employees. This leads to longevity and helps them establish lasting client relationships.
In this section, we’ll take a look at software features that will streamline employee job processes and maximize their efforts, both in the field and in the office. By taking away tedious tasks and streamlining their jobs as much as possible, you can build higher job satisfaction and job completion rate, which supports better interactions with customers in the future.
Routing, Scheduling, And Maps
In today’s modern age, the importance of quick and effective scheduling functionality is a must. Depending on the size of your business, scheduling all of your technicians’ routes for the month can take days of office time when done manually—modern routing and scheduling software can do the same task in minutes.
With modern routing software, you can get all of your technicians to their stops using the most efficient route possible, even taking into account specialized requests or individual time frames for certain clients. Decrease their windshield time and allow your technicians to focus on making more stops.
Geo-targeting software can also give a considerable boost to your sales. Give your sales team a top-down view and geographic data to see what’s effective, who’s buying, and where new potential customers might exist, and soon they’ll be well-equipped to approach your best potential customers with an offer that’s too good to refuse.
Ease Of Use And Support
No matter the business, no one likes being left in the dark. When it comes to software solutions for your business where errors can create huge issues, having someone to call when an unexpected situation arises is needed. Look for software that your entire business will use in some way, make sure to keep in mind how easy and intuitive the software is to use, and ensure you have support available as part of your service when something goes wrong.
Employees in today’s modern world expect to work for a tech-enabled company. To hire and retain the best talent going paperless can be beneficial. Relieve them of pages of paperwork and the potential for lost data through human error or poor handwriting while freeing up their time for other tasks in the process.
Mobile tech has never been more powerful or widely-available, so take advantage of it and give your employees more power to go mobile.
Mobile integration gives technicians the ability to report findings and get answers to their questions immediately, no matter where they are, and ensures jobs are carried out as thoroughly as possible.
Likewise, give your sales team the ability to make sales out in the field and then automatically transmit updates to the office. For technicians, look for software featuring the capability to scan barcodes and process payments while in the field.
See Exactly Where You Stand Today So You Can Plan For Tomorrow
With customers satisfied and employees operating at peak efficiency, it’s time to turn your focus toward your business’s day-to-day operations to see what’s holding you back and where you can improve.
In any business, growth is not easy and can come with substantial hurdles, which is why keeping a steady eye on what’s already happening in your business is essential to effectively plan.
Getting detailed reporting into the status of your business is an essential part of managing your resources and planning ahead. After all, you can’t effectively make plans for the future without first knowing exactly where you stand today.
Use software that lets you accurately diagnose the health of your pest control business and see areas for improvement. You should be able to quickly view into your active, recurring and potential customers, assign tasks to employees or create reports on tasks that have yet to be completed, Powerful reporting tools are a must and digging into those capabilities will enhance your business performance.
Modern team management software is an excellent way to motivate and keep track of your entire team. With comprehensive territory management and performance tracking software, you can manage your technicians and their routes more effectively. You can also see exactly where your efforts have the intended effect and where improvements can be made.
Help your team keep everything monitored and easily obtainable with customer lists and maps. Drag-and-drop appointment schedules can be a big step in the right direction for making team management quick to edit and visualize. Many business management software programs also incorporate leaderboards between technicians to drive competition and boost morale.
Streamlining your billing processes is always a safe bet from any angle of the business. For the office, it means relieving each employee of considerable time otherwise spent organizing binders full of paperwork. Instead, give them more time to focus on individual customer needs.
As you grow, consider the importance of batch processing functionality. When you can process all of your outstanding balances instantly with the press of a button, keeping track of all of your customers and ensuring nothing slips through the cracks becomes that much easier.
Automatic Reminders For Collections
A fast-paced world means distracted customers. Software can automate your collection reminders, so your team spends less time trying to chase down overdue payments. It would help if you also looked to automate communications to customers about appointment reminders, statements, and even send post-treatment courtesy messages. Allow customers the ability to set renewals and reminders through a simple communication portal, so they feel in control of when and how they hear from you.
The more flexible your employee workflows can be made, the better. Look at software that allows for supporting different customer touchpoints at various times to better address their unique situations.
Top pest control software integrates a job pool function—essentially a safety net that catches any missed or incomplete jobs and moves them to the top of the job assignment list to ensure the next available technician promptly treats them. Fewer jobs missed means more revenue and consistently satisfied customers, all automated so that your office staff can spend less time putting out fires and more time delivering.
Even In Business, You Don’t Have To Go Alone
Having a partner to help keep you on track is always a great thing. Finding a dedicated technology partner to help you navigate the ins and outs of software can play a huge role in your business’s effective use of it, and can go a long way in stopping problems before they start. Here are some key quality indicators to look for when considering technology and software developers to partner with:
Onboarding new software isn’t easy, and you will need the right support and training to make it as simple and painless as possible. A good software provider will set you up with a dedicated implementation team to ensure your transition is seamless and each member of your team is fully trained for success.
In-House Customer Support
Accidents happen, and when they do, a little advice can go a long way. When things come up, it pays to have someone there to guide you. In-house customer support teams are a must for effective software integration and long-term use, and having them based in the U.S. is always a bonus.
Security And Stability
Your software partner should have a safe and reliable data storage system in place for handling your business’s delicate files and data. Ensure they are financially stable, so they are around long-term to support your business.
100% Focus On Field Services
The best partners have a deep understanding of the industry and provide software that was designed from the ground-up with the field service industry in mind. If you’re looking for a software partner that truly understands your needs as a field service company, and will continue to seek your input, you need one that was built just for you.
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