In an ideal world, your field service management (FSM) software should help you increase your efficiency, boost productivity, and improve customer service. And yet, you’ve already implemented your solution, it’s been a few months, and you’re not seeing any improvements. Before resigning yourself to having made a bad investment, read through these 5 reasons why your FSM software isn’t paying off:
1. You’re not using the key features your job management software should have.
There are FSM software solutions that vary in their degree of complexity. Generally speaking, free software is geared towards one-man bands and very small companies who are not looking to grow. They offer fewer options that will most likely help with scheduling or fleet tracking but won’t have optimization features or anything more complicated than someone at the start of their field service journey would need.
Then, there are paid software that target companies who aim to grow and don’t want a short-term fix to a single issue but a broader solution. These come with multiple features and are designed to be the answer to immediate problems as well as those that might arise in the future, when a business evolves. Therefore, it’s normal not to use them all as soon as you start but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re just too small for the following:
Scheduling is the bread and butter of any field service management software. It’s designed to help you manage your team and keep on-field employees on the same page as office admin. An easy job scheduling software will build on that and offer intelligent options such as real-time optimization suggestions, shift patterns for technicians who are not working full-time, as well as suggest the most efficient appointment available at the time of booking. Many field service managers ignore these options and end up paying a premium for software that they’re not making the most out of.
Digital Forms & Signatures
Another key feature that often gets overlooked is the option of having digital checklists and forms, where customers can give you their e-signature. Do you remember the last time you had an item delivered and had to sign a paper sheet? Perhaps that awkward moment where you fumble through your pockets and start asking everyone if they have a pen is a clearer memory. Either way, it’s been a while since because most delivery companies now simply ask you to tap or scribble your name on a screen.
Many field service software solutions offer you the same option. Instead of having technicians carry around files and documents with hand-signed sheets to prove that they did, in fact, finish a job, you can simply have customers sign the confirmation directly or send it to them via email. Previously, a lack of legal clarity was blamed for not using e-signatures and companies became confused whether they would hold up in a legal dispute. Since the Law Commission has confirmed their validity, there is absolutely no reason for you not to take advantage of this digital option and streamline your operations by getting rid of some more paperwork.
Managing inventory is no one’s favorite task. It is repetitive and time-consuming but most of all, it’s prone to human errors. Not even a skilled manager or an experienced technician could be blamed for missing to register a few parts here and there. But these parts add up eventually and come out of the company’s bottom line.
This being said, many companies still prefer to manage their inventory using pen and paper or spreadsheets instead of taking advantage of their software’s potential. Whether it’s a simple record-keeping feature or a fully intelligent system that tags and tracks your assets, you should aim to digitalize as many of your operations as possible – especially the paperwork heavy ones, where accountability and traceability matter.
And if your FSM software doesn’t have these features, then you should already be looking for a new one because you might think you’re already past the paperless phase, but if you’re missing out on these, are you really?
2. The team hasn’t received any relevant training.
If you’re wondering why you’re not making the most out of your software, this could be your answer. Those features we mentioned above? They’re useful, granted, but they are not the easiest to use – no matter how user-friendly your software is. At the end of the day, a job management solution is not made so that anyone, regardless of their knowledge of the industry, can use it.
This is where training comes in. Any software provider worth their salt should offer training upon purchase and any manager who wants a growing business should take them up on the offer. It’s true that almost anyone can pick things up through trial and error but many underestimate just how many errors it takes. There’s also no question of mastering a skill in this situation as you’re never aware of your team’s full potential.
It’s understandable to feel on the fence about spending money on training after you’ve just invested in a digital solution. But there are numerous proven benefits as to why it’s good to pay for software training for a small business or especially a larger one. Starting with the simple increase in your return on investment due to everyone in the team being on the same page and not wasting any time in getting to work on scheduling more jobs in the same amount of time and down to having a happier workforce, with a lower turnover rate – training always pays off.
A Harvard Business Review study has shown that when a company provides learning opportunities to an employee, it proves that it values a person’s role and hopes to help them move forward in their career. So it’s worth considering if you’re feeling like you’re not seeing the results you wished for when you started implementing digital solutions.
3. You haven’t marketed your new potential with a paperless marketing strategy.
If you’ve checked and you’re not guilty of the first two mistakes we mentioned then why not brag about it? It means that you have a higher potential to do a good job and earn more customer satisfaction. But then again, if customers don’t know about it, then how can they appreciate your hard work and investment in modern tech?
Make sure that your new paperless business also has a paperless marketing strategy. Good FSM software comes with customer relationship management features where you can organize your own campaigns, create email lists, and send newsletters to keep in touch with your most loyal customers. Don’t forget about social media and paid online advertising. You can always start small to minimize financial risk then increase the budget if you can tell it’s bringing in customers.
One area where your FSM software is a definite advantage is when you’re tendering for B2B contracts. More often than not, facilities managers and large enterprises will ask their subcontractors to have digital solutions in place to ensure smooth communication, accountability, and a transparent schedule, in addition to industry specific requests such as service level agreements. If you don’t advertise your software either on your website or on the offers you put forward, there is no way for them to know that you’re compliant and committed to upholding high standards.
4. You’re not making use of your newly acquired database.
Regardless of how advanced or basic your FSM software is, it should at least gather information about your activities and offer a reporting feature where you can audit your business. SMART goals are integral to any business manager. The acronym stands for Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. When your trial period is over and you feel like your team is making the most out of their new software, sit down and write a few KPIs or Key Performance Indicators such as number of jobs/month, number of invoices sent/month, positive reviews or any other relevant performance indicator that can be easily measured.
Use the reporting function of your software to take advantage of your database’s capabilities and create business reports. Analyze them together with your team and assess where you’re doing well and where you could improve. There is no other way to get better than by analyzing, optimizing, and implementing change.
Overall, implementing a job tracking scheduling software or any other type of FSM software is an opportunity for companies that know they want to grow. Whether you approach it by investing in a fully automated job management software that will handle everything or by choosing individual programs for each process, the decision to make the most out of digital solutions is hardly one you’ll regret. If you find yourself not seeing any tangible results, make sure you do a run through of these 4 reasons then reassess your strategy and choice of software.