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The Super Mario Brothers Guide to Field Service Mistakes

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The bad news: every field service business, big or small, makes mistakes.

The good news: a lot of those mistakes can be fixed with field service management software.

No matter the mistake your service business makes, field service software can probably help you fix it. Trouble managing inventory? Field service software can keep track of your stock. Trouble getting all your technicians scheduled? Field service management software can help you schedule, too.

Even famous service businesses with decades of brand recognition can stand to improve. Take the Mario Brothers: years of plumbing experience, tons of mistakes. This review of Mario Brothers Plumbing, LLC, by their customer, Bowser, will show what they got wrong, and how field service technology could have helped them.

Mario Brothers Plumbing made a few huge mistakes. Namely:

Mistake #1: They Didn’t Learn From Their Data

I’m not the first person to note that service businesses lose when they don’t learn from their data. A lot of field service management tools let you keep detailed job history, so you’ve got easily accessible records on every customer and job you get. It certainly would have helped these guys.

For instance, I watched the red-and-blue guy take fourteen tries to get by one of my spiny laikas in level 4-1. Five times, he jumped into the same one and died. Five. Times. I know he’s attacking my subjects, but still, a mistake that egregious begs some kind of comment.

Field service software could have really helped. With the sort of detailed job history you can keep, Mario could have checked his software’s app for notes on the fix that didn’t work last time, and adjusted his approach accordingly. He could even have taken photos or videos of the situation.

Point is, there’s a lot of data to be had from analyzing job history, and figuring out what worked, and what didn’t. That data’s more valuable than power stars, in my opinion, at least. Heck, one study had 38% of field service technicians saying they don’t have the necessary info to do their job right—don’t become part of that statistic!

Mistake #2: Their Field Service Scheduling Is Abysmal

Yes, my rule where you die if you don’t get there in 300 seconds is tough. But, one, it’s not unprecedented. Domino’s did the same thing in the 80s.

And two, I’m a busy man. Dragon. Dragon-man. I’ve got subjects to terrorize. So if you can’t schedule yourself to fit my needs, you lose my business.

Field service software’s scheduling feature could have made time the Mario Brothers’ ally. Scheduling software has been shown to improve productivity by up to 15%. Field service software like mHelpdesk, for instance, offers drag-and-drop scheduling, so there’s no more wrestling with a complicated schedule on a messy whiteboard. mHelpdesk even has an online option where customers can pick an open slot that fits their schedule. Technicians can also sync up their schedule with Google Calendar, though I’m not sure these guys are that tech-savvy.

Mistake #3: They Don’t Communicate With Their Customers

Sometimes people just aren’t born communicators. I get it. But when only one employee works at once, there’s a communication breakdown.

For example, if that one guy gets eaten by a piranha plant, the last thing I want to see is his partner, four levels behind him, trying to catch up. And speaking of communication, the closest thing I got to a heads-up that they were going to be late were those fireworks they kept setting off from my castles.

Attention Mario Brothers: the early 2000s called and they wanted me to tell you about this great invention called text messaging. I run a kingdom, of course I’ve always got my phone on me. One text, and I would have known you’d be late. Look at HouseCall Pro—they’ve got an in-app messenger that lets you touch base with clients or the main office. Instead of leaving your customers waiting through an eight-hour window, you can let them know those hammer brothers have them pinned down.

Mistake #4: They Were Late

Talk about a low-tech operation: these guys walked everywhere. I realize people born in the 80s are all about walking to work, but guys, be real. Customer first. And when they weren’t walking, they were taking pipes. PIPES. The Mushroom Kingdom’s public transportation. Here’s a phone call customers never want to get: “Hi, Mrs. Smith? I understand your toilet’s doing its best impression of Old Faithful, but the #7 bus is running late. Rush hour, amirite?”

Software could have fixed all of this.The route optimization feature that comes with many programs could have shown them the best route. Field service software like ServiceMax can use GPS to figure out the fastest route to the site, so you don’t waste time or money. Not only that, it can also determine which technician is closest to the site in question, saving even more money and travel time (also: Mario’s always closer. It’s like every little brother ever was controlling Luigi…).

There’s also the whole getting-the-address-wrong thing. Mario and Luigi wandered around eight levels before they found my place.

Any field service business that takes seven tries to get the right address isn’t going to cut it in the real mushroom world.

Mistake #5: No Idea How To Handle Payments and Billing

Mario Brothers Plumbing does have a… creative… way of handling billing and payments. And by “creative,” I mean “borderline larceny.”

Yes, I asked them to do a big job, but taking random coins from my various coin boxes is inefficient and sloppy. Also, I’m pretty sure they added some zeroes in there.

Most field service tools have billing and invoicing features. You don’t have to be a cash-only business (what is this, 1981?), and you don’t have to carry thousands of my coins around. Take ServiceFusion, for example. Their invoicing and billing function lets you accept payments of any form: checks, credit cards, or even cash, if you insist on magic currency.

Digital billing and invoicing isn’t just good for your customer, it can also benefit your business. One service company cut their invoicing time by 75%, just by switching to field service management software. You know what’s worse than getting dumped in your own lava moat? Getting a bill for it four to six weeks after the fact.

Not to mention the fact that they’ve squashed several thousand potential future customers. What, did they used to work for United Airlines?

I know a one-star rating is rough (though they certainly helped themselves to enough of mine), but when you can’t use your sink or toilet for several hours, then get dumped in lava before its fixed, I don’t see how I can give them anything else. I just wanted to use my bathroom. Was that so much to ask?

Field Service Mistakes I Missed

Have you used field service management software to prevent any major mistakes? Or have you used any of the programs listed above to improve your business? If so, 1-up future readers by letting me know in the comments below.

Looking for Field Service Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Field Service Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe writes content for Capterra. His background is in education and higher ed, but he’s interested in pretty much any field you can name. If you’re a company that offers field service management software, feel free to email him or tweet at him @CapterraGeoff. When he’s not reading and writing about field service management, he’s probably reading and writing about history, music and comic books, finding new hikes throughout Virginia, or following the Fighting Irish.

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