BlueFolder Blog

Field Service Management Solutions: What to Shop For

May 19, 2021

For service businesses or organizations that operate via work orders and in-person service calls, field service management software can offer game-changing solutions that boost overall company productivity and success. Whether the task is scheduling emergency maintenance calls or tracking company assets, field service management solutions cut back on both work time and labor efforts. Better yet, they streamline day-to-day operations in a way that a basic pen and paper or spreadsheet system cannot.

However, that’s not to say that all field service management solutions are made the same. When you’re looking to invest in field service management software, there are quite a few features you’ll want to be on the lookout for prior to making a purchase decision. Take a look at this detailed guide about field service management solutions, from why this software is integral to your business to which features must make the final cut. 

Why Do Companies Use Field Service Management Software?

While there is no sole reason as to why companies use field service management software, the answer typically boils down to efficiency. When complex tasks, such as tracking and managing field service activities, can be fine-tuned and facilitated by software, time and effort are freed for technicians and managing staff. Not to mention, field service management software acts as an excellent record-keeper, both financially and operationally. Whether it’s customer invoices or individual equipment warranty details, this software can act as an essential database for company operations.

To better understand what field service management software can do for you, let’s take a deeper dive into the functions you should be on the lookout for when deciding on a program.

What to Look for in Your Field Service Management Software Solution:

With countless industry types deploying field service management solutions regularly, numerous available features offered through this software help service businesses uphold efficient day-to-day operations. Though your exact needs may vary depending on your industry type, consider these key functions to remain on the lookout for while choosing your field service management solution. 

Is It User-Friendly?

First and foremost, your chosen solution must boast an incredible ease of use. Even if a field service management solution offers countless features to assist with your operations, the value of the software simply cannot impress if it’s not user-friendly. Regardless if the user is a beginner or expert, the solution should have a minimal learning curve that makes it easy to navigate the platform. 

Therefore, field service management software must supply an easy-to-access dashboard that can be quickly navigated, organized and updated to the user’s preferences. Any readily needed information, from customer records and service history to work order details or team schedules, should be accessible with ease from any of its users. Likewise, if you run a team, a user-friendly platform should provide all users with the details required to complete their job, no matter their location.

Does it Offer Automation?

Many service businesses tend to operate on routine workflows each day. While specific circumstances behind each work order can vary, common workflow processes such as dispatching job details to technicians and communicating with customers typically remain the same. Without automation, you’ll ultimately complete dozens of administrative tasks manually, costing significant time and manpower. 

To better streamline these processes, you’ll want to make sure you use a field service management software that offers in-depth automation. Automation will harness the ability of the software to complete those recurring tasks that you find yourself wasting time to accomplish manually each day. 

For example, consider what happens when a work order is updated by your technician and requires customer feedback. With automation, your software can facilitate sending a message to the client automatically with minimal effort from the technician. From there, automation processes can also facilitate the processing of a customer’s reply and notify the technician so they can continue working the project to completion with maximum efficiency.

Is it Customizable?

All too often, field service management solutions offer form-fields and process options that simply don’t apply to your industry and/or business. You may find yourself struggling with the default settings offered by your field service management software, attempting to match the workflow processes to the level you require. To match your company’s particular needs and preferences, be sure you are using a solution that’s customizable in the ways required for your business.

To tailor to your specific operational needs, multiple steps within your software’s workflow should be editable or able to be modified in some way. Customizable fields, user access controls and customer notifications are just some of the many options a system administrator should be able to change. Modifying these various options to fit your business’s needs can quickly save you and your team time and money by presenting only the valuable information in your user dashboard. 

Can You Record All Billable Expenses, and Track Job Costs and Profitability?

Maintaining accurate financial record keeping is a key success component of any business. With varying work orders, expenses and profit flows coming into your business each week, you require a field service management solution that can help keep these critical records organized.

Typically, your field service management solution should utilize automation to track three billable item types: labor, materials and expenses. Software automation should be able to track labor costs through job status updates, from when an employee begins a job to when they marked the job complete. Similarly, material costs or outside expenses should be able to be quickly uploaded using manual input or photo receipt upload to track any and all costs through your operating year. 

Furthermore, field service management solutions should offer invoicing capabilities or an integration with your existing accounting and invoicing software. Once a job is complete and it’s time to bill the customer, you’ll want a solution that makes it easy to see what you’re billing the customer for and the status of the invoice associated with each work order. 

What Type of Dispatch and Scheduling Capabilities Does it Offer?

What is a successful service business without an effective technician scheduling and dispatch system? No matter the size of your team, outdated methods of manually writing out daily technician schedules and phone call dispatching only increase the chances of overlooked work orders and disappointed clients. To maintain functional and productive daily operations, your field service management software must come equipped with extensive dispatch and scheduling capabilities. 

From preexisting work orders to recently received work orders, you need software that offers you daily, weekly and monthly calendar view options to help schedule out each of these worker tasks. Once all work order details have been inputted, the software should then allow you to assign these tasks to a specific worker or team. These capabilities will allow workers to review their daily expectations and duties in a personalized schedule that they can use to receive notifications and update the job status. 

Can You Track Assets and Equipment With It?

For service businesses whose work is equipment-centric, meaning they install and/or repair complex equipment for their customers, it’s essential you find a field service management software that can track these critical items. Your customers depend on you to keep their equipment operating at full capacity and maximum efficiency, so you need to be able to accurately track equipment details, warranty information, service history, and more.

User manuals, technical documents, warranty information and serial numbers are just some of the few details that are going to come along with these equipment assets. Rather than haphazardly throwing these details into a folder and calling it a day, opt for a software solution that allows you to capture, upload and organize them all into one system. Then, you can use the software to create a preventive maintenance plan.

In order to maintain company efficiency and productivity, assets must undergo routine maintenance and updates. Equipment-centric field service management solutions should offer maintenance scheduling to help you keep up with asset health and help prevent equipment failure. 

What Type of Team Collaboration or Communication Does It Offer?

When overseeing a large team, the last thing you want to worry about is the reliance of solely phone to phone communication. With email and text technology already engraved into our modern lives, why not use the same tools to boost company efficiency? When shopping for a field service management software, make sure the program offers team collaboration and communication functions. 

Field service management software can facilitate communications between team members on individual work orders and assigned tasks. Comments made back-and-forth can be tracked within the context of the specific job or task they are related, making it easy to see a full history of the conversations taking place.

See What Field Service Management Solutions Can Do for You

If old-school pen and paper methods are weighing down your daily operations, field service management software can be your solution. Regardless of the service industry you operate in, features ranging from system automation to team communication can boost company productivity, profitability, and overall customer satisfaction. 

Here at BlueFolder, we understand that the sheer amount of options on the market can be overwhelming. Now that you have a better understanding of what to shop for in an effective field service management solution, request a demo of BlueFolder’s Field Service Management Software today—we’re confident our features won’t disappoint.

By Jeff Emrich