To understand the role of Field Service Management Software it’s necessary to appreciate what’s involved in field services, the typical activities involved and importantly the challenges faced. Effective, efficient field service management is great for customer satisfaction, saves money and maintains staff morale. Whereas poor field service management can be disastrous.
What’s Involved in Field Services?
Broadly speaking, field services involve any work carried out at a customer’s location where the products that you have supplied are used. Examples include industrial sites using a variety of equipment and systems, offices with networked IT equipment, hospitals and healthcare establishments where a variety of systems and equipment are used, entertainment establishments such as cinemas and theatres and of course private homes.
Field services include everything from the installation, integration and configuration of products to training, upgrades and repairs. Here are some of the most common aspects of field services.
Field service teams will often be responsible for the installation of supplied products. Their product knowledge, experience and expertise is called upon to ensure that products are correctly installed, appropriately configured and working as required by the client. Installation of some products and systems requires high levels of expertise in order to integrate with other systems.
Once products and systems are successfully installed they need to be maintained. This will often involve routine maintenance activities, such as changing filters and operational performance verification along with upgrades. Importantly, maintenance also involves carrying out repairs wherein field service personnel diagnose problems and implement fixes.
Field service teams have direct contact with customers and clients placing them in an important customer facing role. They are very much the human face of the organisation that supplied the supported products and services. As such they need to provide high levels of customer support which will often involve training and coaching to make certain products are used correctly and beneficially by clients.
What is Field Service Management?
Field service management refers to everything involved in organised, optimising and managing operations carried out ‘in the field’. As noted, these activities include installation, configuration, maintenance, repair, support, training and more.
Field service management needs to deal with:
- Scheduling and assigning field service activities.
- Managing field service transportation and other essential resources.
- Accurately recording all requests for field service.
- Ensuring adequate stocks of spare parts and replacement products.
- Recording details of all field service calls and activities.
- Ensuring field service teams are fully trained and appropriately skilled.
- Maintaining and ideally raising levels of customer satisfaction.
Field service management is challenging with lots of dynamic elements which need to be closely monitored to ensure that customer calls are dealt with promptly, professionally and satisfactorily. Field Service Management Software should provide everything needed to manage resources effectively, schedule site visits, dispatch field service personnel and maintain accurate records.
Benefits of Field Service Management Software
Day to day field service management operations can be very challenging and historic, traditional tactics are generally recognised as inefficient, ineffective and often costly. Here are just some of the key benefits provided by Field Service Management Software.
Workflow inefficiencies, dispatching issues and scheduling overlaps are completely eradicated by using the right software. For example, GPS can be used to efficiently assign tasks to the most appropriate field service people who are located close to the customer’s site. This saves time and the fast response creates a great customer experience.
Keeping track of stock levels and where stocks are located is an aspect of resource management that needs to be supported by Field Service Management Software. Efficient management of spare parts to ensure that required stock levels are maintained and money isn’t wasted unnecessarily is very beneficial.
Efficient use of resources including personnel, transportation and spare parts, provides tangible savings.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Promptly and effectively addressing customer issues and demands delivers a high level of customer satisfaction. Sustaining high levels of customer service helps ensure customer loyalty.
The use of paper based systems are notoriously prone to errors. Centralising and field service management activities in a single tool removes the potential for errors and ensures everyone has access to the same, accurate information.
Field Service Management Software is essential for any organisation that provides field services.