For home service businesses like residential plumbing and HVAC contractors, field service management (FSM) is critical to overall success with service delivery. While manual field service management is possible, FSM software provides the features these contractors need to eliminate inefficiencies, increase productivity, and bolster the bottom line.
When exploring different options for software, contractors should recognize that numerous vendors provide different FSM solutions, and not all vendors consider the same features standard. Therefore, contractors must evaluate what features will most benefit field technicians, dispatchers, and other office staff in streamlining business processes. While you may need specific capabilities to meet your business needs, the following details the most essential FSM software features for residential plumbing and HVAC companies.
1. Job Scheduling and Dispatching
- Intelligent, automated assignment of jobs based on several factors, including the expertise, availability, and proximity of service technicians
- Text notifications and other messaging functions for dispatchers and techs to communicate about job progress and adjustments to schedules, as well as provide real-time updates about service requests
- Tracking capabilities to allow dispatchers to oversee techs’ progress with jobs and provide homeowners with more accurate ETAs
- Route optimization tools to empower techs to make the most of their time by pinpointing the quickest routes to the next job
2. Billing and Invoicing
Field service companies differ in their approach to billing and invoicing. Some contractors send homeowners a bill as soon as the work is complete, while those providing memberships for year-round work may establish contracts with their customers. No matter which method contractors use, field service software can help simplify billing and invoicing.
For one, it enables techs to create invoices at the job site before sending them to the office, reducing some work for admin staff. In the case of service contracts, financial data gleaned from FSM software can provide key insights into the profitability of these contracts.
3. Parts and Inventory Management
Inventory management features help keep tabs on inventory levels to avoid the downtime that may result from having insufficient parts, which can hinder customer experience.
Field management software that offers inventory management makes it easier to determine which parts, and the amount of those parts, that techs use most frequently. These capabilities help ensure contractors keep an ample supply of those parts in stock to streamline jobs and enhance customer satisfaction. Many service providers also incorporate alert systems for inventory management when stock is low so they remember to order more.
4. Estimates and Quote Building
Estimates and quotes are integral to field operations, so contractors want FSM software that facilitates more accurate pricing. These features may include templates that field workers can leverage to quickly generate quotes at jobs and preset pricing rules that dictate estimates based on location and service.
In addition to providing transparency regarding pricing — which is sure to augment customer satisfaction — the ability to generate precise quotes quickly can also boost profits. For example, Sera’s FSM software enables techs to present multiple quotes within minutes without needing to contact office staff.
For contractors offering memberships, these quotes highlight the cost savings homeowners attain by becoming members. With memberships, contractors are more likely to maintain year-round work, a common challenge for small-to-medium-sized companies.
5. Customer-Facing Functions
FSM software isn’t only beneficial for techs, dispatchers, and office staff. It can also make interacting with your business more engaging for homeowners. The main advantages of a customer portal are simplifying scheduling and augmenting their experience. This portal should allow homeowners to make service requests that align with their schedules, review service history and invoices, and accept estimates. For contractors, customer portals provide abundant customer data, which can guide marketing and sales efforts.
6. Analytics and Reporting
Field service businesses handle different types of data and typically use various metrics to evaluate it. FSM software with built-in analytics capabilities enables contractors to consolidate data and view it on dashboards. These insights can empower continual improvement of processes and workflows to enhance productivity.
7. Mobile Connectivity
Being able to access FSM software via mobile devices allows techs to complete key tasks that might otherwise require the assistance of office staff. Many cloud-based FSM software solutions offer a mobile app where techs can access the features they need most while in the field, such as comprehensive job details, overviews of their schedules, and instructional resources that can guide them in the field. A mobile app is also beneficial for ensuring techs receive dispatches and alert dispatchers when jobs are complete.
Mobile connectivity also has implications for customer service. Using mobile devices, techs can schedule follow-up appointments if necessary and log important notes about jobs into the software for the techs that next help the homeowner. This feature saves customers from needing to contact the dispatcher separately to make appointments, contributing to a better customer experience.
8. Integrations With Other Management Tools
As multi-faceted as FSM software is, businesses in the field service industry typically rely on a combination of platforms and tools to promote greater efficiency. The best FSM software will allow for seamless integration with CRM software for customer management and accounting software, like QuickBooks, for payment processing and invoicing.
Find FSM Software with the Right Features from Sera
With the various field service vendors available offering a range of capabilities and add-ons, deciding which is best for your business can be challenging. Small-to-medium-sized residential plumbing and HVAC contractors find a field service management solution designed specifically for their needs in FSM software from Sera.
Our software was developed with the four principles we believe are essential for boosting efficiency for field service companies like yours. We offer an array of features crucial to helping weed out inefficiencies and add more money to the bottom line, including the industry’s first customer hub.
Contact us today to learn more about the features of our FSM software.