How Field Service Management Works
Residential contractors provide a wide range of field services, which means that all the information that lives at their office needs to be accessible when they are at a job site. Field service operations and tasks can include:
- Consultations: Contractors often visit clients in their homes to assess work that needs to be done and provide an initial estimate.
- Installations: Trained field service technicians are needed to install equipment and ensure it is working properly.
- Inspections: Companies can conduct field visits to test systems or equipment.
- Repairs: Unexpected malfunction or damage necessitates equipment repairs.
- Maintenance: Many home improvement professionals offer preventative maintenance, such as annual servicing for air conditioning units.
- Deliveries and removals: Field service also includes delivering parts or equipment to job sites, and removing old items that need to be replaced.
To improve customer satisfaction and retention, electricians, plumbing specialists, landscaping businesses, and other contractors must strive to provide timely, effective field service. This requires a centralized system for managing customer needs and overseeing technicians.
What Is Field Service Management Software?
Field service management software refers to platforms that are designed to help service providers better coordinate their resources and staff who are out at customer sites. This can include:
- Scheduling site visits
- Fielding customer inquiries
- Managing inventory
- Assigning technicians to jobs
A type of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, FSM platforms can organize all your job information in one place, replacing a mix of spreadsheets, calendars, and manual systems. Some offer a customer portal so that clients can access self-service scheduling, chat with representatives, and easily contact service teams.
Most FSM platforms are mobile-friendly, so technicians can use a tablet or mobile device in the field to access information like price books, schedules, and warranty information. Thus, this type of software streamlines communication between field employees and business owners or other office staff. It also improves the customer experience by expediting processes such as generating estimates.
What Are the Benefits of Field Service Management Software?
Effective field service management software offers a range of benefits for field workers, dispatchers, customers, and business owners themselves. These include:
- Automation: FSM software can often automate routine tasks, such as service scheduling or importing data, to optimize workflows.
- Real-time updates: When technicians are out on jobs, mobile-friendly software provides an easy way to automatically update managers without the need for multiple phone calls.
- Improved first-time fix rates: Streamlined service means that technicians are better equipped to resolve issues on the first visit to a client's home.
- GPS and time tracking: Dispatchers can locate technicians in the field and let customers know when to expect a service call.
- Inventory management: These platforms can often maintain an up-to-date inventory of the parts and equipment the business has in stock.
- Payment processing: Instead of waiting for a customer to mail a check, a technician can simply accept a payment via credit card at the end of their service visit.
- Online booking: Scheduling customers takes up valuable administrative time. An online booking system frees up back-office staff to focus on other priorities.
- Efficiency: Technicians in the field can use FSM software to generate quotes and invoices or check on-site inventory, resolving customer issues faster.
Ultimately, FSM software can help create a better experience for homeowners, improving customer satisfaction and retention. Plus, by maximizing efficiency, residential contracting businesses can save time and money while simplifying project management.
What to Look for in FSM Software
If you're considering a software solution to optimize your field service, make sure it has all the features and settings you need. Some factors to consider when selecting FSM software include:
- User experience: Is the interface intuitive and easy to navigate in both desktop and mobile app versions?
- Hosting method: Are you looking for on-premise software or do you prefer a cloud-based solution?
- Permissions: Can you control access levels to differentiate between administrators and standard users?
- Integrations: Does the system with the technology platforms your business already uses?
- Technical assistance: Does the software vendor provide initial onboarding, as well as ongoing service and customer support?
- Transition support: Can you easily import customer data and other information?
- Security: Does the platform have built-in features to protect your customer's data?
- Insights: Can the platform track key metrics and use predictive analytics to improve your company's performance and help you exceed customer expectations?
Find FSM Software Solutions
Residential contracting businesses need to juggle a wide range of responsibilities, from maintenance and repairs to estimates and invoicing. Field service management software should make a contractor's job easier, helping them to expand their business while improving levels of customer satisfaction.
At Sera, we work with HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and home service businesses throughout the United States. Our end-to-end software solutions are designed for field service businesses with four pillars in mind:
- Time management: We help you automate tasks like scheduling and dispatching workers to reduce the administrative burden on your team.
- Margin management: Our software tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) to help improve your company's profitability and service delivery.
- Cash flow: With QuickBooks integration, we make it easier to process payments efficiently.
- Member management: Our solutions help you acquire and retain loyal customers.
We're more than just a software provider – Sera is a dedicated partner committed to helping you grow your business. To learn more about our field service management solutions or schedule a demo, contact us today.