Field service management is the key for all those enterprises that exceed the size of a single in-field team led by an entrepreneur themselves.
With the right tool, it’s a lot easier to manage all your teams in the form of field service management software (FSM).
This way, you get to reduce costs, increase efficiency and make sure that all your teams fulfill their duty.
How to find the best solution?
In order to do this efficiently, you need to pick the right FSM software. There are two ways to do so. The first one is relatively simple, just go to the list of top field service management tools and pick one from the very top of the list.
Second, you can also try reading some reviews; just keep in mind that you need to have a point of reference to understand them. Any offer can sound either impressive or underwhelming, depending on whether you have something to compare it to.
To help you figure out what you’re looking for, as well as whether the tool in question has what you’re looking for, you need to understand what makes a good FSM tool. Here are several essential factors for FSM evaluation and comparison.
Handling Business Operations
In order to provide you with the necessary assistance, field software needs to be able to handle relevant business operation services. The most common ones are:
● Contract management
● Work order management
● Scheduling and dispatch
Aside from this, FSMs need to be able to handle budgeting issues, as well as customer service issues like estimates and quotes. Those tools that can handle all of these tasks can provide your organization with a scalable end-to-end system that you can really come to rely on.
While you may not feel like some of these things are a priority at the moment (you can still do it all manually), as your business grows, this might be harder and harder to manage.
Consulting Your Field Technicians
The very point of the field services system is the fact that it is supposed to manage a larger organization. In other words, making a decision on your own, without consulting anyone else on the subject matter, is never a good idea.
Instead, you should consult your field service technicians and ask them for their opinion. You can even put this decision up to a vote. For those who still feel like they should be the ones spearheading such a pivotal decision, you can always narrow it down to two or three choices and let your teams vote it out.
Available on All Devices
Nowadays, people use all sorts of devices for work. This is why you need to ensure that any tool you pick (not just FSM) is supported on all devices.
First, check which operating systems it supports. Ideally, you’re looking for Windows, Android, and iOS.
Second, if your employees use their personal devices for work (which is highly likely), you might also have to introduce a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. This is a basic step of precaution that you need to take to ensure the security of your data.
Future-proofing Your Business
As it seems, the business world is currently moving towards AI integration at a rapid pace. Going for FSM software will make this integration even easier, seeing as how these automated processes will be more reliable and take even fewer resources.
Through machine learning and deep learning processes, the concept of managing, scheduling, and coordinating teams in the field might make your business’s overall logistical structure even more dependable. The concept of machine learning has a chance to revolutionize the world of tech that we know today.
Documentation and Records Keeping
The next issue you need to take into consideration is the importance of keeping records and documenting every single one of these processes. This is important for several reasons like:
● Legal reasons
● Statistics and analytics
Even if everything is done right, you still might want to do a bit of analytical work afterward. If not, you may need to determine who the culprits are or where things went wrong. This way, you can improve your operational model and prevent these events from occurring in the future.
When budgeting for your new FSM software, it’s essential that you understand that your expenses don’t end with purchasing the software licenses.
You also need the hardware capable of running it. This includes a sufficient number of terminals in your employ, either provided by you or through your BYOD model (accompanied with a suitable policy).
Some tools are so advanced that they’ll require specific minimum system requirements of your hardware. Keep this in mind before committing to a specific hardware purchase.
FSM Software Alternatives
Keep in mind that while an FSM is a great solution for many businesses, there are some alternatives depending on your current status or industry. For instance, you can go for fleet management software instead if you’re running a delivery chain.
In reality, however, FSM can be quite helpful with fleet management, as well. A CMS (content management system) can be more efficient for businesses mostly working in the digital environment.
In other words, it all depends on whether you need a holistic end-to-end system that covers a broad field of services or if you actually need a specialized tool.
Keep the Training Process in Mind
The FMS tool is software, and, like any other platform, it’s usually evaluated based on its intuitiveness, target audience (beginner, intermediate, expert, etc.), and its UI. What you need to do is identify your key pilot users and know exactly who is going to spend the most time handling these tools.
Then, you need to adjust your decision-making and choose the tool based on your own personal aptitudes. Bear in mind that this is fairly subjective and incredibly hard to do. Still, it is something to weigh in if you want to ensure that you’re making the right call.
Free Plan or Trial Period
Another great thing to look out for is whether the platform has a free plan or a trial period. This would provide you with a unique opportunity to either test or learn how to use FSM before you commit to it.
Remember, once you make a decision, it is by no means final but switching to a different platform is not just an issue of a cost – you also lose precious time. You also make your team have to adjust to a new system, just as they’ve mastered the old one.
All in all, having a chance to try it out for free (even though not a deal-breaker) is a great thing.
Now that you are (at least partially) aware of all the fields in which FSM needs to excel to be a great asset for your enterprise, you can efficiently make an FSM comparison.
Look for the features they offer, compare costs of various tools, and, most importantly, make sure to base your decisions on customer reviews, as well.
Only then will your decision be data-based and objective. Still, like with any other business tool, there’s nothing wrong with adding personal preference into your decision-making process.