What The Blueprint looks for in great field service management software
When looking into what makes a great field service management software program, The Blueprint takes a lot of factors into account. However, there are a few main ones that we focus on: UI/UX, the mobile app, and the cost.
We focus on UI/UX (user interface/user experience) because everything else stems from how easily the user can navigate the program. If a program’s as easy to use as a federal bureaucrat’s filing system, no one’s going to use it, no matter how fast it runs.
And speaking of whether or not you can use something, having a mobile app you can use in the field is essential for a field service management program. That’s why the quality of the mobile app is another essential in The Blueprint’s review system.
A solid mobile app is not just a great way to keep in touch, it’s also a great way to keep track of years of experience. If you’ve got work order history saved on an accessible mobile app, it means a new technician can check another technician’s information about a customer. Years of experience and tribal knowledge is available anywhere, anytime.
Lastly, we focus on cost, for obvious reasons. You’re in business to make money doing what you love. That happy partnership happens only if you can exceed your margins. A field service management program at the right price, is a great example of the old “spend money to make money” cliche.
User interface is what the program looks like, and handles like, to the user. The user experience is the overall experience the customer has, from ease of use to accessibility.
UI and UX are important for any program. They’re particularly important, however, for field service engineers. That’s because field service companies are forever trying to fit 48 hours of work into a 24-hour day, so they don’t have the time to do battle with their software.
Add to this the finicky, urgent nature of field service problems. For example, it’s 99 degrees and the coffee shop’s AC just broke. It’s then you’ll understand that an accessible UI can be the difference between getting there on time (the routing feature) and being able to pick the right tech for the job (the scheduling dispatching feature in the desktop version).
For a field service management program to be good, the mobile app has to be great. As the name suggests, field service entails going out into the field. If you want to manage those employees in the field, a decent, accessible mobile app is key.
A good mobile app is the difference between knowing that your technician has gotten there, and not being sure where they are. It’s the difference between knowing that they’ve taken a safe and efficient route to the site, and not being sure whether they’re on a road that’s closed, and will cost them an extra thirty minutes.
Cost is important for the obvious reasons, you’re in business to make money, but also for some less obvious ones. The same pricing model that works for another business may not work for yours.
For instance, if you’ve got a lot of employees who don’t need a lot of features, pricing like Service Fusion’s may be a better bet. If you’ve only got a few technicians, however, the sort of pricing model Jobber offers may be good.
How your business can benefit from using field service management software
Computers have revolutionized business, and field service management is no different. Field service management software programs offer many benefits, chief among them the way they simplify administrative tasks.
A 360 view of your field service business
Once you get past five technicians or so, keeping track of everyone becomes a job in itself. Field service management software, however, can provide you with a glance at the bigger picture, anytime you need it. Some of the programs above even offer dashboards that give you a great at-a-glance view of things, like Service Fusion’s.
Service Fusion’s dashboard shows you the basic info that will keep you updated. Source: Service Fusion.
Make the move away from paper
When it comes to books, I’m a definite paper man. When it comes to business? Not so much. Keeping up with endless paper files is frustrating, and inefficient.
Imagine trying to find information on ten years of records on an important client, especially when that client’s favorite technician is about to retire. That’s a lot of institutional knowledge that could leave with your employee, unless the records for that customer are kept in the work order history feature of a software program.
Conquer cash flow woes
Cash flow’s a problem for most small businesses. That problem can get worse if you’re waiting on customers to respond to an invoice, whether by phone or mail. A field service management software program, however, makes it easy to keep the money flowing.
Many field service management programs have invoicing features where a technician can assign an invoice from the field, and some even offer the option for customers to pay on the spot.