Field services software is essential in this day and age. If you are in the business of having technicians and operatives working in the field then keeping both you and them updated, informed and prepared cannot be underestimated.
So what should you look for in field services software, you really need to be aware of the great advantages you should be gaining and what to check for when choosing the best software for your needs.
Realistic & Adaptive Scheduling
One definite minimum you need in terms of features is scheduling for your field operatives and, of course, you will find every software covers this. But how easy is it to use for you? Is it easily adaptable if there is an issue will it automatically adjust and reschedule subsequent appointments in the event of a delay? Will your customers get an automatic update, which will save on personnel time and keep the customers much happier if they are kept informed, this is known as a CRM (customer relationship management) system which can be invaluable.
Real Time Updates
You will want the software to provide any of these updates in real time. If something is essential knowledge and is time sensitive then you will want these not only to update but to notify the relevant party in a way that will be immediately able to be actioned upon. For example, if a customer calls in and updates you on an aspect of the job and this is apparent that extra parts or resources are required then you will want the technician to be alerted by a notification and sound to avoid a wasted trip of them turning up without the necessary parts which can be costly, this one builders company estimates wasted trips cost at least $125 each.
Usability For Technicians In The Field
So following on from the last point, usability for your engineers and technicians is key, having an easy to use mobile app makes the system so much more valuable as although your staff in the field are expert in their job they may not be adept at using complicated software so the easier it is to use the less time will be taken up on them figuring out the software or going on long training courses. I find the WorkWave system is excellent in this regard as it’s clear that usability was high up their list of priorities when designing this.
Costing & Resource Tracking
In many industries it’s vitally important to have cost and resource tracking as part of your software. Firstly you will surely have given at least a rough costing for a job but we all know things don’t always go as planned in business and if an extra expense occurs then it’s important for that to go on to the job file immediately so as it’s not forgotten and your software should be able to do this. At the same time if you keep a store of inventory in your business then stock management is a useful feature allowing you to set a re-order level that kicks in automatically and either orders the stock or give the relevant personnel a reminder.
Efficient route planning can be a key cost saver when staff are working in the field, and if your field management software can work out the best routes then it will be a key feature as less miles on the road means less fuel costs but also fewer lost employee hours sitting in the car or in traffic. This can be a lot of work to plan a route manually so this is a real saver.