5 Key Features for Making the Most of Your Field Service Software

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The yearly idling cost for a transit van in a field service company is $3,808.80.

Many field service companies don’t realize that when a vehicle is set aside while it’s waiting on a job, money is lost, and the company suffers.  You should be striving every day to have the highest asset utilization on each piece of equipment and vehicle your business owns.

Portrait Of Repairman With Van

How can you meet this goal?  It’s not enough to just have an effective and centralized field service software system; you also need to use its many different schedule management and maintenance tools to their full potential.  Using these field software features well is crucial to the success of your business.

Here are five features you should use to reduce your equipment downtime and improve your service for your customers:

Central scheduling

Keeping your field service company running efficiently means having a centralized scheduling system to coordinate your service calls, preventive maintenance notifications, and vehicle repairs.

The best way for you to use the central scheduling feature is as a central data repository for all field worker profile attributes, including skills, local knowledge, shift patterns, planned time off, administrative tasks, vacation, recurring tasks, and contact information.  By taking the time to enter all this at the start you ensure your system has the information you’ll need when, for instance, you have to quickly see which tech would be the right one for an emergency job at a client site.

If your organization has this centralized scheduling capability, you can provide more cost-effective and much better customer service, and can be constantly reducing downtime.

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Electronic dispatching

One way to save your field service technicians more time in the field is to switch from using phone calls for dispatching work orders, to using electronic orders instead.  The more you use electronic dispatching in the field and cut back on paper and phone calls, the more your techs will have time to work with their customers and go from one job to the next more efficiently.

To use this functionality effectively, keep in mind that you need to strike a balance between affording service techs autonomy, and providing them direction.  While your techs need to have the right information on the unit, customer site details, and parts availability, they don’t need you constantly breathing down their neck and checking in on their status.  Resist the temptation to be constantly checking the system to see job progress, unless a delay becomes large enough to warrant corrective action.

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Task management automation

You need to access your task management data, but you also need to be able to do something with it. Tasks are the building block of a work order, and they allow both your company and your customer to see what is really taking place on a service call.

To best utilize this functionality in your field service management system, you’ll want to, once again, be diligent about adding all the information you’ll need into the system ahead of time.  The upfront investment of time to correctly map out the tasks in a job will pay off immensely when you need to check on progress, or keep a field worker on task and on schedule.

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Mobile tracking and access to history

Mobile functionality allows your field technicians to see their maintenance history while they’re in the field, and also lets you track where your technicians are to ensure schedules are being met and jobs are getting done.

What many companies don’t take advantage of with this feature, however, is the ability to give not only your office visibility into the location of your techs, but also your customers.  Clients used to Uber and the Dominos Pizza Tracker will be hugely pleased to be able to see where the technician servicing them is and when they are expected to arrive.

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Quick access to resource inventories

Your technicians need to know that the correct vehicles and parts are available for a job, and be able to ensure a technician with the necessary skills is available as well.

A trick that few companies utilize with this functionality is setting it up to automate re-ordering of a part when the inventory is low.  Many systems allow you to set a level at which this happens (say, when you reach your last ten widgets) and can automatically generate a purchase order to simplify the parts restocking process.

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Other tips?

Know of any other good ways of making the most of your field service software? Add them 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

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Leah Readings

Leah Readings is a Software Analyst for Capterra, a company that connects buyers and sellers of business software. She specializes in church management software along with several other software directories. When she’s not helping software buyers, she is, among other things, reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

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