Take a moment to think about what your typical day looks like as a contractor. After the inevitable coffee, you might sit down to a stack of files and papers, endless emails, texts, and a full schedule of incoming requests. While you’re in the office, there’s work being done in the field where it matters most, where the clients are.
There’s no denying that the office is integral to running your business. Who else will manage the workflows, personnel teams, finances, customer experience, and other paperwork? It’s precisely this challenge that drove the development of field service management software.
What is Field Service Management (FSM) Software?
Also called Field Workforce Management Software, FSM software is a type of digital platform that takes care of all aspects of work in the field such as dispatch, customer and employee management, asset tracking, and more. Basically, it manages the moving parts of your business, so you can focus on your own priorities while still optimizing your operations.
However, there are many of these systems on the market, and they’re not made equally. Here are the core capabilities to look for in a good one:
1. Handle Dispatch + Job Scheduling
One of the most significant ways that FSM software can give you an edge over your competitors is through making dispatch smart, efficient, and convenient for everybody. Let’s say a contractor gets an emergency no-cool call from one of the Wal-Mart’s they serve. The contractor should be able to cross-reference with their FSM on where their techs are at, and which ones are equipped to handle the issue, and how they can route somewhere ASAP.
The system will also help you to schedule new and recurrent jobs by team, time, and location. A good platform will even allow you to assign techs based on their skill sets, and take into account any time off. At a time like this, when we are expecting a post-pandemic surge in business, such a system is going to prove a real asset in any business with field operations.
2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Your customers want their interactions with you to be easy. Commercial clients can view the status of job completion, pay invoices, and request work without ever having to pick up the phone. With the right platform in place, clients will be able to easily receive photos showing deliverables are complete, with video proof the work was completed. This holds techs accountable for doing high quality work and leaving spaces as clean as they found them. It also gives the office the chance to review the customer experience being provided.
It also gives those in the office a chance to review the customer experience being provided, complete with supporting data and analytics.
3. Guide + Track Workflows
You’ve assigned a team to a job, they’ve arrived, and the job is on schedule. A good field service management software allows the techs to keep track of their progress with guided, or even gated, workflows. Inside their mobile app version of the FSM, techs can report when the problem is diagnosed, what steps they have taken to resolve it, the number of hours worked, etc.
FSMs should also provide the full work history for each client. Accumulating this data enables you to better service your customers and understand certain trends — such as how long it should take to service or areas where hiccups tend to occur.
With predetermined workflows in place, you can have a standardized approach to dealing with service visits, and pinpoint where you’re doing well or falling short of expectations. This is important for audits and compliance, especially where sensitive systems are involved.
4. Enable Preventative Maintenance
PM work is generally a key component of contractors’ offerings. That said, the ability to effectively manage preventative maintenance contracts is critical in an FSM solution. It should enable seamless scheduling, tasking, asset-tracking, and invoicing.
The value of preventative maintenance is too often misunderstood by contractors, mistakenly seen as not worth the time. However, with the right system in place to manage and truly optimize it, you can provide even greater service to your customers, and generate significantly greater profits.
5. Streamline Quoting + Invoicing
Much of the friction experienced by field teams stems from quoting and invoicing issues. However you charge, , your customers need to know up-front what it’s going to cost them. And if that number changes somewhere along the way, it’s important that they understand exactly why.
A good FSM software gives you the ability to keep track of complete quote history, bill accurately, and stay on top of every invoice (so you get paid faster!).
6. Integrate With Your Accounting Software
A good FSM solution allows you to integrate it easily with existing accounting software without needing to migrate data or reprogram. You likely already have an accounting platform that you use and trust, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to leave that behind. However, you can eliminate errors and wasteful double entry by integrating the accounting directly with the FSM. Your integrated systems should “talk to each other” in real time, so the data at your fingertips is always up to date.
7. Offer Detailed Reporting on KPIs
Key to making smart business decisions is having the right data in the first place. Not only should your FSM solution be collecting all this information, but it should organize and display it in a meaningful way.
At all times, you should know exactly where your business stands in terms of costs, revenue, efficiencies, bottlenecks, and more. You should be able to see how your employees are performing, which customers bring in the highest profit, and areas you need to improve.
8. The Right Platform Grows With You
As your business grows and evolves, you should count on your FSM software growing too. Technology moves fast, and to stay ahead of the curve, you want a platform that enables you rather than slows you down.
This (among other reasons) is why it’s important to have a cloud-based platform. The software provider handles all the storage, the upgrades and maintenance, and the security — vital tasks that would otherwise be left up to you as the contractor. With those responsibilities off your plate, you can keep your focus on growing and improving your business.
BuildOps is The FSM Software Solution You Are Looking For
As a commercial contractor in the MEP space, you need an affordable, scalable field management software solution that covers all the bases. BuildOps was developed just for this.
BuildOps is an all-in-one operational software designed for the modern commercial contractor. It comes with all the tools you need to effortlessly run your teams in the field, manage your customers, streamline your office tasks, and grow your bottom line. Don’t believe it? Contact us to experience it for yourself.