6 Reasons You Need to Use Software for Schedule Optimization

Any given service day can unfold in unpredictable ways. The use of field service software will help reign in problems in scheduling that will improve productivity and make customers happy. Below are six reasons you need to switch to using this type of software for scheduling optimization.

1. High Number of Re-Schedules

Having to re-schedule services for a customer for any reason should not be a frequent event. Monitor these numbers for indications and trends that show a pattern of late arrivals, or missing the appointment time altogether. The ability to document these problems thoroughly will give you the information necessary to better plan and schedule workloads.

2. Arrival Times for Technicians Are Unpredictable

When the arrival times for technicians are becoming increasingly unpredictable, it indicates a problem with productivity or scheduling. Using software designed for field service industries will allow you the ability to monitor progress in real time. It will show areas of scheduling that is not allowing for enough time between jobs. The average length of time can be determined for all technicians and taken into account to avoid the schedule set in a way that is not practical. The technicians can contact dispatch to let them know of any problems that will make them late to the next location.

3. Unable to Get Ahold of Technicians In the Field

Field service software requires input from your technicians when they are at the locations and getting the work done. You will be able to see at a glance where they are as the day progresses. It is a hands-free way to stay updated without phone calls.

4. Intercommunication Between Technicians Is Difficult

Sending a more experienced technician to a job site can be nearly impossible if the technicians cannot communicate. Software for service industries will allow for intercommunication. Jobs will get done quicker and with more efficiency.

5. High Cancellation Rate Due to No-Show of Technicians

Without being able to know what is happening in the field, it is hard to make right management decisions. Jobs that end up seriously labor-intensive could mean the next customer gets skipped over. It is one result that can disappoint a customer and have them cancel.

6. Sudden Drop In Repeat Business

Another good reason to monitor field activity is a sudden plunge in repeat business. It could be due to lousy service, but it is often from delayed service. If a customer feels they did not receive good customer service, they will seek out another business for those services.
Investing in field service software is a smart way of gathering the information you need to run the business correctly. It establishes the foundation for excellent customer care and satisfaction.

4 Best Practices When Selecting a Field Service Management Software

Companies who have a lot of remote workers cannot afford to ignore the importance of field service management software. As a leader in charge of field services, there are certain things you need to do to choose the best field service management software. Here are four best practices you need to adopt when choosing field service software.

1. Understand Your Business Needs

Field service software requires a great deal of money and time to review, purchase and implement. Therefore, you need to make sure it is performing as per the expectations of your business. Define clearly what improvements you expect to achieve when you use the software. Document your business processes and come up with an effective strategy that will help you measure success. In addition, ask the vendor if he can help you calculate the return on investment of the software.

2. Do Some Research

Don’t just settle for the first field service software you come across. Instead, look for at least three software from different manufacturers and compare them. Check the features of each software and compare them against the needs of the business. In order to do this effectively, come up with a document that details the software requirements. Make sure the document contains must-have features and those that can be ignored. Talk to each vendor and ask them if they can address each requirement. Choose the one who can address most (if not all) of the requirements.

3. Ask the Technicians in the Field

You have to engage the field technicians. They are the ones that interact directly with your customers most often. Let them be involved in the selection of the field management software. They are the ones who know what customers expect and what challenges they encounter. This way, you will avoid field resistance to the new software. You will also be in a position to discover some great ideas on how to improve your services. Only bring on board technicians that have a lot of experience in the field. Also, involve those who are technology savvy.

4. Consider Field Service Management Trends

Get up to speed with the latest trends in field service management technology. Research new and effective technologies and make sure the vendor includes them in the software before you buy it. Consider software that is available in the SaaS and club-based platforms. Consider new technologies that enable recoding and accessibility for site customer, inventory, and warranty and inspection information. In order to make the right choice, you must be familiar with the mobile-based device options and operating systems. You must also be able to identify your most preferred deployment model and document the systems you plan to integrate the new field service software with.

4 Ways Field Service Software May Eliminate the Need for Dispatchers

Communicating with field crews and relaying information and instructions to fleet vehicles once they have left the premises often poses a number of unique challenges. Hiring an maintaining a dispatcher to oversee field operations and to facilitate communication between work vehicles or delivery crews may be a major expense, one that smaller operations may be unable to afford. The following features showcase some of the ways that automated field service software may be used in order to reduce or even eliminate the need to maintain a dedicated dispatcher.

1. Real-Time Route Planning and Alterations

Conventional methods of planning a route or outlining a service area are often slow, labor intensive and difficult to make alter. Field management software applications can do the work of multiple dispatchers by automating the process and ensuring that all routes, delivery and service areas have been optimized for greater efficiency. Trusting one or more dispatchers to handle both route planning and last minute scheduling alterations could lead to problems that businesses would be wise to avoid.

2. Providing Vehicles and Field Crews With Detailed Information

Trying to relay delivery information or details regarding an upcoming service appointment over a radio or through a voice-call is rarely the most efficient system. Field management applications that may be used to relay text-based information to a mobile device may be an ideal resource. Relying on a dispatcher may greatly complicate efforts to put accurate and up to date information into the hands of a delivery driver or a field-service crew.

3. Dynamic Management Solutions

From fleet vehicle breakdowns to last minute order changes and cancellations, there are no end of complications which may crop up throughout the work day. Fleet management software that offers a more flexible way to adapt to changing needs and developing circumstances could prove to be a superior asset. Dispatchers who are left scrambling to keep up with last-minute changes may prove to be little more than a liability.

4. Meeting Future Needs as They Develop

Fleet operations may change over time or even overnight. Outdated management systems are typically too rigid to be adapted quickly and may quickly become little more than a bottleneck. The latest field service software can provide the scalable solutions businesses need to deal with future needs as they develop.

Choosing the Right Application

Field service software that may lack key features could be of little practical value. Assessing their current dispatch and management process in order to identify areas that require attention and improvement is often the first step towards improving the process. Knowing more about both their needs and the digital resources that may be better suited to meeting them ensures that businesses are able to make more effective decisions when it comes time to make a selection or decision.

5 Best Practices When Selecting a Field Service Management Tool

The use of mobile-based field service management software is on the rise. Such software have become a necessity in almost all installation and maintenance companies and a hot topic in workshops and seminars. This surge in popularity is mainly because companies want to keep field processes more effective and smooth. Here are five best practices you need to adopt when looking for a field service software.

1. Know What Your Business Needs

You must first understand your business case. Consider the problematic areas in your business that need improvement, such as customer tracking, field communication and logistics. Once you know what your business needs, establish the software’s key performance indicators you would like to measure for each process. You may also ask your vendor to help you estimate your return on investment.

2. Involve All Your Field Technicians

While it is possible to determine the specific needs of your business from your own investigations, you need to involve your technicians for a comprehensive and accurate data. Ask the technicians about the problems they usually face while in the field. These may include communication breakdowns, lack of timely feedback and workflow interruption. You also need to show them the benefits they would get from using the field management software and listen to their comments.

3. Get Updated on the Latest Trends

You need to get up to speed with the latest technological trends in field management and understand what they mean and their potential effects on your business. Doing so will help you choose a field management software that will not be technologically obsolete after some years. So, talk to your vending company and let them enlighten you on the latest technological trends on the market. Ask them whether the software you choose can support such technologies.

4. Consider Customer Support

Your vendor plays a critical role when it comes to implementing and maintaining the field service management software. You will most likely have regular contacts with them, from the implementation process to maintenance and repair. So, make sure you get a company who is readily available to help in case you have a question or problem. Their support team must be there 24/7 to offer assistance whenever required.

5. Talk to References

A good vendor should be able to give you one or two clients they have assisted in the past. Try and reach out to each reference and ask them about their overall experience with the vendor. Let them tell you how long they have used the field management software and whether they have seen any significant improvements. Also, ask them how good the vendor’s customer support system is. Obtaining such information will help you to make an informed decision before you agree to any terms with the vendor.

5 Questions To Ask When Finding the Right Field Service Management Software

Customers are demanding for quality services, and more companies are using technology to give the best to their clients. Field service software enables efficiency in the field, which has impacted positively in customer satisfaction. For that reason, companies such as air conditioning firms ought to choose the right field service software for effective field management.

1. Can you connect your applications to your system?

Field service software ought to streamline workflow in your organization rather than adding problems. It is necessary to ensure that the new software will blend well with other applications in your system before you purchase it. For instance, if your company uses client SMS messaging or a virtual phone number, make sure that you can link to the software. Besides, you have to be sure that your technicians can connect to payment gateways if your company accepts credit card payments.

2. Will the software grow with the company’s growing needs?

You need to rely on the software’s scalability even if you work in a small office or run branches in many states. You should invest in software that can deal with any number of clients, dispatchers, technicians, and managers. You need to get scheduling, invoicing, managerial, and messaging support as your company grows. You should be able to customize the software to meet the needs of your organization in the future.

3. Is the software compatible with your devices?

You don’t want to incur extra costs investing in other machines or hardware after you purchase the new field management software. For instance, if your organization uses iPhone and the program you buy is designed for Android phones then don’t enjoy its benefits. You need to buy a program that is mobile compatible to enable technicians to access the tools regardless of the mobile devices they have.

4. Is it easy to use?

Field service software should bring light to the line between back-office transactions and front-line interactions. The software users should not experience any difficulties, and it should be easy to understand. Technicians should have an easy time processing work orders, scheduling appointments, identifying new sales opportunities, and reporting on timesheets. A reliable field service program should increase your organization’s productivity, make the job easier, and enhance customer experiences.

5. Do you have the options for customer management?

Since your company offers more than a one-size-fits-all solution, the software you purchase should do the same too. You need a program you can trust to produce accurate invoices so that clients can pay on time. An efficient program enables you to search through past work to find important clients and come up with maintenance or follow-up tips for additional sales. You need flexible screens and databases so that you can keep track of product offerings, warranties, and service plans.

Top Tips for Improving Your Helpdesk Services

Managing a help desk means having the right helpdesk software as well as striving to improve best practices to solve customer issues. Whether you have your own help desk personnel or hire a help desk solution for your business, you want to increase customer satisfaction.

Polite Tone
Setting a positive tone for your interaction with customers should start with a polite acknowledgement of the issue. Starting a conversation with a customer with the right tone means letting them know their problem is important to you. When they believe that you’re taking their concerns seriously, they’ll be more likely to be satisfied after the call is complete.

Course of Action
Customers can be completely frustrated when help desk operators sound as if they are reading directly from a script. They should be transparent with customers to let them know what the next steps are in their issue. Explain exactly what you’ll be doing, and why you believe this will help the customer with his or her problem.

Previous Support Issues
The help desk should be investigating prior tickets to find out if the same issue keeps recurring. Customers become very angry when nothing gets fixed after the first time they call. If you can resolve the issue completely, they’re more likely to be satisfied with your customer service efforts.

Comprehensive Notes
While you might do your best to resolve a customer’s issue while they’re on the phone, there are times when they could have to call again. Write comprehensive notes detailing the steps you took towards resolution, so your colleagues can know exactly what to do next. This will lead to less frustration for the customer because they won’t have to explain the problem from scratch again.

Ask for Help
Sometimes, the help desk personnel will need help of their own to resolve an issue especially if it involves helpdesk software. Pride and ego shouldn’t get in the way of resolving a case for a client or customer. Ask a supervisor or knowledgeable colleague to help you resolve the problem. Quick resolution of the case is in everyone’s best interest. Never shove it aside because you don’t know how to deal with the problem.

When you keep the customer involved, let them know the next steps and what you’ll be doing to resolve the problem, they’re less likely to become angered over the process. At times, there can be problems beyond your control. Take ownership of the issue to show customers that you’re taking their concerns seriously.