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Peter McKesson // June 2, 2015

The field service industry has long been famous for poor service — late arrivals, clerical mistakes, incomplete fixes, etc. But that’s changing. Modern companies are organized, professional, and agile, even using high-quality field service as a selling point for their brand. All of this is possible, in large part, because of the growing use of field service management software.

Some firms have predicted that the global market for FSM software could surpass $3 billion by 2019. That’s not as high as trendier IT verticals, but it’s high enough to stir significant transformation in the service industry. For some though, field service still represents an unnecessary luxury. This is especially true for smaller, local companies operating on a meager budget — companies that decide to stick with spreadsheets and carbon copy invoices.

Maybe you only have five mobile technicians.

Maybe all of your jobs come from long-time customers that you already know.

Maybe your technicians do their own dispatching and invoicing just fine on a clipboard, thank you very much.

Do you really need to find field service management software?


First, it’s important to know what an FSM solution offers and the ROI it could yield. Many smaller companies fear implementing new business software because they’re worried about upfront costs. While enterprise solutions and older, on-premise products can certainly make a dent in your budget, these are by no means the only options. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing models make digital FSM viable for even the smallest company via monthly subscription licensing (instead of a one-time, upfront purchase) and cloud hosted infrastructure.

No multi-year contract. No IT maintenance. Just a reasonable monthly payment to manage your order scheduling, dispatching, fleet performance, and compliance. Companies that implement FSM software have seen the number of jobs completed per day increase by as much as 47 percent, which represents a huge gain in workforce productivity.

Not only that, but if you don’t implement a central management system, you risk slipping behind competitors who do. Surely, you’re not the only HVAC or landscaping service in the county. According to Aberdeen Group, “best-in-class” field service technicians average an 89 percent first-time-fx rate and 92 percent compliance with stated response times. Do your technicians measure up?


That said, statistics aren’t universal. You should consider your specific operational needs and identify any challenges you’re experiencing—whether in workflow, visibility, management, or record-keeping. Here are four specific trends that may signal your company’s need for a field service management solution:

  1. Sloppy accounting: Without a means to enter customer and job data onsite, your agents will be forced to re-key paper documents into a desktop system at the end of the day. Not only is this a waste of time, but it also leaves more room for mistakes, even dishonesty. An FSM solution lets technicians enter data once, while they’re still on the job (often using a smartphone or tablet), and track hours worked for more accurate payroll. Simpler data collection means less nightmares for customers and a clearer audit trail for your business.
  2. Second, third visit solutions: Does it take your service agents more than one visit to deliver an effective solution? It shouldn’t. FSM software can boost first-time-fix rates by giving your agents all of the tools they need to complete the job, not just start it. This can include access to service knowledge resources and diagnostic tools, as well as integration with back office systems like accounting, inventory, or customer relationship management.
  3. Poor client satisfaction: How happy are your clients? Have any of them left for other service providers? This is often a reflection of substandard service practices, such as not keeping promised appointment times or not accommodating last-minute requests. The route-optimization and smart scheduling tools found in an FSM solution help you balance punctuality with flexibility. For example, if a client’s pipes burst, you can quickly decide which technician can handle the job without sacrificing other work orders.
  4. No visibility: Do you know where your technicians are at a given moment? Which jobs they’re working on? Why they’re running late? Through in-vehicle telematics or connection with mobile apps, most FSM software can track your fleet vehicles, employees, and jobs in real time, even if you work with third-party contractors. Some solutions can also monitor driving behaviors (hard braking, speeding, excessive idling, fuel consumption, etc.) and report on performance metrics such as start and end times, fuel consumption, and cost per job.

Field service management software is one of the best ways to keep field agents connected to the central office. It circumvents logistical hurdles and helps technicians deliver the best service to clients on the first visit. Instead of being seen as careless, slow, and unqualified, your field agents will be known as trustworthy and reliable. They’ll be known as what they are: experts.

So, do you need FSM software? Technically, no. You could continue doing things the way you always have, playing it safe, keeping a select group of clients happy, and never growing. But why would you?

Author Bio

Aleksandr Peterson is a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. He covers marketing automation, CRMs, project management, and other emerging business technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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