Tips for choosing field service software
Thanks for reading the third part of our Guide for Selecting the Right Small Business Field Service Management Software. You can access our full table of contents here.
If you've experienced any of the problems we highlighted in our previous post, you are likely ready to look at some solutions. We've framed up some tips for small businesses when selecting field service software and think they can help you make the right decision.
Tips to consider when selecting field service software
- Which rock in your shoe hurts the most?
- What do you need?
- Don't just catch your leads, catch more, and respond quickly to them all.
- Would your job scheduling still work if you sat on the beach for a week?
- How are cash collections going?
- Can you improve your employees' lives?
- Keep the books straight!
Tip #1 Which rock in your shoe hurts the most?
Use this worksheet to weigh what is important in your field service management selection.
You want to solve it all, but sometimes you need to frame your field service software decision around a few priorities to get focus. This simple worksheet is a way to identify issues in your business and describe and quantify the impact. List these out, prioritize, and if you only address the top 3 priorities, you are doing great!
We filled an example row out to help you get going
|What is the issue?||How is it impacting your business?||How could it be better?||How would you measure that improvement?||Now prioritize that issue.|
|Tracking leads: They come in over the phone to voicemail, email and the website.||I do not respond to leads until the end of the day, or sometimes the next day.||All leads route into one inbox I can manage from my phone.||Increase conversion of leads by 5-15%, potentially equalling $3,500-$5,000 more/month.||Rank your answers after you list out what problems you want to solve.|
Tip #2 What do you need? (In your field service software....we can't solve it all)
Hopefully you took 5 minutes to identify issues you are hoping to address. This will help you think about what features you need and should look at closely, and what perhaps is less important at present. Based on the above, here are some of the key features you might be considering:
- Lead capture and conversion
- Managing estimates
- Scheduling jobs
- Scheduling employees and dispatching them to jobs
- Customer relationship management and communication tools
- GPS tracking and routing
- Payment capabilities
Map what you think you need back to the issues you identified above, and then make that the focus of your evaluations.
Tip #3 Don't just catch your leads; catch more, and respond quickly to them all
Regardless if you identified this as an issue or not, it's an opportunity for every business. How you respond to inbound leads sets the tone for the entire experience for the customer. If you don't respond quickly, that customer will take it as a sign that you are too busy and they will take their business to the next company on the list.
So, make sure you look for a solution that will route all your calls, emails, and form submissions into one central inbox. And then, make sure staff in the office can view the lead inbox, or that you have a mobile view allowing you to respond while out in the field.
Tip #4 Would your job scheduling still work if you sat on the beach for a week?
Many businesses we work with are set up to only run well when the owner is around. You need to think about what would fall apart if you went to sit on the beach for a week, or had to step away for other reasons. The first breaking point is typically the scheduling and execution of jobs.
Your software evaluation should look closely at job scheduling, asking questions like:
- Can I easily turn estimates into scheduled jobs?
- As the job is being done, can techs make amendments that automatically update the estimate?
- Can I track time and expenses and calculate gross profit off my jobs?
- Can I attach all documents and keep call communications associated with the job?
- Am I able to assign jobs to techs based on locations and/or experience and skill?
Tip #5 How are your cash collections going?
Similarly to how you capture leads, this is another area of opportunity for almost all businesses. Double-check for any blind spots because you might not understand that you can make improvements here and get more control of your cash flow.
Some things to consider:
- Can you seamlessly turn jobs into invoices with all change orders captured?
- How easy is it to deliver this to a customer - can you email or text them the invoice?
- Can you track invoices and see which ones have been viewed, but not paid?
- Can you offer clients touchless payment options right on site?
- Can clients view their historical bills, payments, and communications with your business, reducing confusion and potential frustration?
Tip #6 Can you improve your employees' lives?
This might sound like an odd consideration, but it's a competitive job market and employee turnover can be one of those sneaky drags on your business. Good employees like to do good work and the right field service solution can help them do that.
3 Ways to improve your service employees' day:
- Mobile apps with GPS routing to help them get there on time.
- Can all customer communications be tracked on the customer record? This helps your employees avoid miscommunication and absorbing the brunt of the ensuing confrontations.
- Make it easy to track what happens on the job, work order changes, material costs, uploading documents and more. No one wants to do end of the day paperwork after a full day of work.
Tip #7 Keep the books straight!
You absolutely need a field service management solution for your QuickBooks™ (Desktop or Online). The errors, not to mention the time it takes to manually manage data between the two is something you should not waste your time doing. Even if you have an accountant, you need to streamline estimates, jobs, invoices and payments, moving data between your field service management and your accounting system.
Some resources to follow:
- Read about Kickserv's integrations to understand more about the options
- Look at the QuickBooks® app directory to understand all the integration options available
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