What makes a good purchase? Well, a question over a question is certainly not what you were looking for but since it gives an opportunity for introspection, let us give it a try. What exactly do you look for in a product for your business? Some of the typical “must-have” would be one that solves the key problem and is affordable and user-friendly.
Whether you buy office equipment or a software solution for your field service business, core concerns of the purchase rarely change. As for the field service app, the purpose of your purchase could be to streamline your operations, get visibility into processes, or resolve productivity issues. Commonly a field service software helps to combat following business challenges:
- Scheduling and Dispatch
Scheduling and dispatch are intricate processes as it connects back-office functions with the field operations. A minor error in the allocation of resources could disrupt the entire operations, leading to delay in response to fix the issue, poor service, and lower customer satisfaction.
Scheduling and dispatch processes are complex in nature. You must be able to track every member of your field service team in order to assign a job that is fit to their skill and ensure proximity to the location. Besides, you also need visibility into inventory, as in to determine what tools your team needs to resolve the issue in the first time.
Major conflicts occur when you manage most of your processes on paper. That means you really have no real-time visibility into the field activities. A field service management software could provide you deep visibility into your processes, allowing you to schedule the task to the best available service technician for the job. Usually the software solutions are backed by emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, and data-analytics capabilities that consider various parameters to recommend a job to the technician.
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- Managing Recurring Jobs
Same job, different day, and at a different time or may be at the same time are the common nature of a recurring job. These jobs are critical to the operations but since it must be done on a routine basis, often scheduling managers either compromise with these jobs to complete the priority tasks or get too engrossed in scheduling for these jobs because of which priority tasks are avoided.
In both cases, recurring jobs are a problem that must be dealt with planning and efficiency. Some field service scheduling software solutions come with recurring job features that allow managers to set their preferences for the job at one go, and the system will then automatically schedule the job according to the preferences. It is the easiest way to manage the recurring job without compromising with the accuracy, timing, and quality of the service delivery.
- Dispatch Management
Dispatch management often gets lost amidst the complexity of the scheduling process. Managing a field service dispatch processes efficiently requires you the ability to make information available to your field service technicians on-the-spot. Although most teams use chat communication systems such as Whatsapp or chat messengers, the amount of the time and the uncertainty factors make them unreliable for a field service business.
You need the assurance that your team has received the right message at the right time, and they are taking proper action according to the information. A good field service app provides you the assurity of the reach of information at the right time and to the right person.
Since the app allows you to track and monitor field activity at the same time, while you send the notification about the schedules and requirements for service request resolution, you could find out whether or not your team had made the right move. For an effective dispatch management, you need real-time visibility into the field service team’s activity and that a field service app surely provides to you.
- Accessibility of Information
Keeping field teams and back-office staff in sync is always a challenge. One of the biggest problems is how one should know i.e. segregating the information for each team. It is a necessary step because not all information is relevant. If you will burden your field service technicians with the piles of information from which they have to dig in the critical one in the field, it could hamper their performance.
Accurate information should be made available to the field service technicians in an easy and organized way. Anything that is cluttered or inaccurate should have no place in your operations. This challenge is specific to paper-based processes, which a field service app could easily resolve.
- Tracking and Monitoring Field Activity
What purpose does tracking and monitoring field activity solve? You have to be sure of what exactly you want from this capability, as it allows you to keep tabs on every member of your team. It is rarely beneficial if you are using it only to pin-point the mistakes of your team members.
Once you are able to track and monitor the field team activity, you must use it to guide them, identify their strength to appreciate them, and find out their weaknesses to train and reskill them. A field service app can not only empower with tracking and monitoring capabilities but if it is backed by data analytics capabilities, it could present you with a clear picture of your team.
The Final Words
The only problem here is not every software would address these operational challenges in the same way. You need a software solution that is configurable to your workflow and let you deep dive into organizational data to make informed decisions.
Suyash is a customer experience manager at FieldCircle, a field service technology company. A writer by heart, he loves to spread the word around how customers interact with business across channels and the role of next-generation technology in customer experience and business success.