It sometimes seems like there’s never an end to the work that has to get done, and that’s before you actually do the work. Estimating, scheduling, bidding, dispatching and so many other tasks take up valuable time, and most of that time isn’t billable. And even once you’ve got the job, you have to manage a huge number of moving parts like ensuring chat features are up to date just to keep the project moving, all while continuing to seek new opportunities.
In today’s working environment, you’re required to do so many tasks in parallel with the work you’re getting paid for and it’s limiting your ability to grow your business and maximize profits. If you take the time to use the right tools, however, you’ll discover a better way to manage your business and get control over your time.
A field service management (FSM) software solution that can be managed from your mobile phone can make your operations more efficient and help you increase your ability to engage with new customers.
This guide about field management software will walk you through the process of finding the right solution that fits with your needs and will support you as you grow. Not every business is the same, but everyone wants to reduce wasted time and effort so they can focus on getting the job done. FSM can certainly help you do that, but you must be armed with information to be able to ask the right questions and identify a tool that can be effective for you.
Everyone is talking about FSM, but why do you need it?
FSM software helps people and businesses manage workers, inventory, scheduling, billing, customer service, and every aspect of running separate projects and their entire business. It automates time consuming and repetitive tasks, which frees owners to focus on growing their business.
Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, 70% of eld service organizations will tie customer satisfaction directly to benefits derived from an FSM solution, up from approximately 50% in 2017. There’s clearly a trend towards the use of technology as a driver of better customer service and improved efficiency. And as more businesses seek these advantages, using an FSM app will become a “have to.” The key, however, will be to find the best one.
As cell phones, tablets, and other devices are common on-the-job tools, they are making FSM solutions and apps easy to deploy and use.
User-friendly mobile FSM apps create a new way of running a business because they provide a single dashboard from which a business owner can manage almost all aspects of the business and stay in close contact with customers and employees.
Businesses that don’t implement the right solution will quickly fall behind those that are getting the economic and time-saving advantages of FSM. Those that make the move will realize that with relatively minimal effort, and in very little time, they have better control over their operations and more time to do the things that deliver income.
Let’s look at some of the specific things to look for when identifying FSM software that’s best for your organization.
Advil or FSM? Reduce headaches with a better way to manage teams, finances & jobs
Technology can deliver major improvements to a business, but it has to be easy to implement, customizable to the organization’s unique needs, and deliver demonstrable business advantages.
Think about the tasks you go through on any given day, and then consider how much easier it would be if they could all be done faster and from a single dashboard. An FSM solution should provide communication, collaboration, and other functional capabilities that keep your business connected to the people who get the job done.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
These include customer communication, invoicing, accounting, and routing of supplies. The right app will automatically send invoices and reminders without you having to do the manual work of creating, sending, and waiting for a response.
Delegate, Manage, and Coordinate
Some FSM solutions are based just on tasks. To truly eliminate redundant work, the best tool will have built-in work ow capabilities and will enable you to delegate different tasks to people within your organization, all based on employee permissions and access to the management of the app.
What makes a good FSM solution?
- Delivers immediate, and sustainable improvement in your bottom-line.
- Learning curve should be easy for you and all of your employees.
- Increases communication with, and among, all employees.
- Covers all aspects of project management, from start to finish.
Get the business and get paid
No business can stay afloat if income isn’t regularly coming in. Yet, the process of billing, collecting, and paying vendors can be one of the biggest time sucks.
An FSM solution should centralize all financial activity into a single dashboard so you get a clear picture of the status of bills and revenue, and insight into where money is coming from and where it’s going. With this kind of insight, you can be more effective at planning and allocating money, supplies, and people.
The best kind of app for your business is one that automates many tasks but also provides convenience features to encourage faster invoicing of customers and more efficient payment of your bills.
Build relationships & create a network of fans
Building a following of loyal customers while continually acquiring new ones is part art, part science, and it takes a ton of time. Marketing is critical if you want to grow your business, and your FSM solution should provide tools to support these efforts.
Rather than rely on multiple apps and services to get your message to customers and prospects, an effective FSM solution will give you the ability to create marketing materials, distribute them, and maintain regular communication with customers all from within the app itself. The idea is to put you in front of potential customers when they need you.
Marketing to today’s consumers requires more than just direct mailers or email campaigns. Look for a solution that is comprehensive in what it offers and allows you to do the following:
Real-time customer engagement
If you can provide text notifications, online customer chat tools, and other ways to engage online, you’ll demonstrate your customer-first approach and dedication to their needs.
Effective marketing & advertising
According to MarketingSherpa, 72% of American adults prefer communication by email. With an effective FSM solution, you should be able to quickly and easily create email and postcard marketing campaigns that are built on templates, can be designed in minutes, and sent to prospects and customers in one click.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
You create loyal customers when they know you care about them. The FSM app you use should help with your customer relationship efforts by maintaining a history of your interaction with them. An added bonus is being able to set up alerts within the app to remind customers of regular maintenance or other services that are needed.
Book it and become a provider of choice
Homeowners look for a service provider because they have a problem that needs fixing. They make a decision when they are ready to engage, and if you can present your company in a positive light at that time, you greatly increase your odds of getting the business.
Almost 70% of consumers say that online reviews are very or extremely valuable in evaluating a eld service provider, and almost 50% indicate they would pay more for providers that have positive reviews. With consumers increasingly relying on peer recommendations and online word of mouth, it’s critical to have your business visible where potential customers are searching.
How to get the benefit of context-based booking
Look for an FSM application that is integrated with websites that provide reviews, including Yelp, Facebook, Bing, and others. You should also be able to use the app within your website so users can book while they are learning more about your services.
The top-rated FSM tool by business owners: Housecall Pro
FSM software is intended to make your job easier, help you reduce inefficiency, and give you opportunities to build your business. The problem is that most apps only provide some of these elements and you’re left to cobble together the missing pieces. This just adds to your “to do” list.
Housecall Pro is a comprehensive FSM solution that combines every aspect of eld service business management, marketing, and financials into a single app. It is essentially a complete and comprehensive business operations console which can be managed from your phone, a device, and anywhere you have web access.
We’re building a large and fanatical group of customers which is demonstrated by top ratings from users. Housecall Pro is the top rated FSM app on the five most popular software rating sites, and consistently gets top marks for being the most affordable, user- friendly, and best overall tool for eld service management businesses like yours.
What separates Housecall Pro is our approach to you and your business. We recognize that wasted time, supplies, and other resources creates stress and lose income. Business owners try desperately to avoid that, but they are either saddled with inefficient tools, or they can’t find the time to solve problems because there’s simply too much to do.
Housecall Pro breaks down the separate types of jobs you need to do, but integrates them into one app. Within the app you can manage every aspect of your business in a way that cuts down on waste and makes your business more attractive to customers.
Find out why online booking is important for your home services business
To build a business, you have to get the business. Online booking is proven to be a major advanctage in helping businesses manage their time more effectively, increase jobs, and build trust with their customers. Download this ebook and discover if you are holding yourself back by not having a website that lets customers book you on their time.