What is Field Service Management Software?

Field service management software helps companies streamline and optimize onsite maintenance requests. Managers can efficiently track and dispatch field service technicians. Employees have access to real-time work orders and service history through mobile devices.

The global market for field service management software will grow to $9.9 billion by 2026.

Source: Reports and Data.

Companies that adopted field service management analytics increased customer retention by 42%.

Source: Hitachi Solutions

Field service management software helped companies improve technician utilization and dispatcher efficiency by 63%.

Source: Gogh Solutions

Common Features of Field Service Management Software

Field service management software typically offers the following features:

Billing administration

Billing administration helps users create price quotes, send invoices and manage customer balances. Some systems also let customers make mobile payments.

Customer relationship management

Customer relationship management (CRM) records customer info, service history and payment details. Users can send customers maintenance reminders and marketing campaigns. This feature also integrates with third-party CRM software.

Dispatch and scheduling

Dispatch and scheduling assigns work requests to field service technicians based on job type and location, as well as employee skills and availability. Drag-and-drop interfaces and task allocation rules help managers schedule technicians efficiently.

GPS routing

GPS routing tracks vehicles and optimizes technician appointments by location. Managers can assist technicians with navigation and ensure safe driving practices.

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Inventory management

Inventory management helps companies monitor, locate, and restock tools and spare parts.

Mobile access

Field service technicians can use mobile devices to view and update work orders, navigate to customer sites, scan barcodes, attach photos, communicate with managers and record customer signatures.

Reporting and analytics

Companies can generate reports and view analytics on metrics, such as time per job and equipment failure, to improve productivity and determine whether they are compliant with service level agreements (SLA).

Work order management

Work order management assigns and tracks service requests. New work orders can be created from templates or customer self-service forms.

Top Benefits of Field Service Management Software

Field service management software has many benefits, such as:

Boosting technician efficiency and reducing labor costs

The inventory management feature lets companies easily keep track of the items that are in stock. Once an order is processed or a product is scanned, the inventory is automatically updated so employees won't need to handle this manually. The feature also automatically sends alerts if stock is running low and, in some cases, orders new items. Businesses can get high-level visibility of what's in stock and can sort inventory by SKU or transaction history.

Streamlining work orders

Field service management software streamlines how work orders are created, assigned and paid so businesses can complete service more rapidly and generate revenue. Automated features create work orders from customer service requests, assign them to the appropriate technician and transfer them to invoicing when completed.

Increasing customer satisfaction and retention

Field service management software helps companies provide customers with timely and accurate service to boost satisfaction and retention. Customers can select an appointment slot that works best for their schedule. Schedules are optimized so technicians arrive on time. Lastly, jobs are matched to employees with the appropriate skills so maintenance can be completed with speed and precision.

Lowering inventory costs

With field service management software, companies can keep better records of inventory and reduce overhead from unused parts and bloated warehouses. Reports show whether inventory is sitting idle or running low. In addition, analytics can predict whether certain items that are used often will need restocking soon.

Improving fleet management

Field service requires expensive vehicles, which depreciate over time. Intelligent routing decreases fuel costs and the number of miles vehicles have to drive. The software also helps increase vehicle life by scheduling preventive maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations.

How to Choose a Field Service Management Software Solution

Field service management software varies in features and pricing, so it’s important to take the time to research your options. We recommend the following steps when choosing a vendor:

1

Identify your company’s needs

The first step in identifying your needs is to understand what type of onsite maintenance and field service technicians your company manages. Will the software monitor outsourced or in-house employees? How widespread are your operations and customers?

The next step is to get input from IT administrators, dispatchers and field service technicians. Do you have a large, knowledgeable IT department or limited staff? How many employees need access to the software?

You should also consider what features you’d like to implement. Do dispatchers need a visual scheduling system or task allocation rules to automate assignments? What specific mobile functionality is most important to your field service technicians?

It’s a good idea to figure out which key performance indicators (KPIs) will be affected by the field service management software. Will the solution you choose reduce travel and time per job? Will it increase customer retention? Will it allow technicians to complete more service requests? Collecting this info can help demonstrate a business need for field service management software to get buy-in from management.

2

Create a Shortlist

Research vendors that best fit your needs. In addition to current requirements, consider the implementation process and scalability, which can vary significantly by solution. You’ll want to speak with vendors and ask about timelines and fees. Be sure to ask if training is available.

Think about how many technicians you have now and may hire in the future. If you plan to grow the company, make sure the field service management software is scalable. It should be able to handle various types of technicians and work orders.

In addition, you should check whether the solution can integrate with any business software you already use, such as CRM software, an ERP system or a CMMS.

Once you’ve researched these issues, you can put together a shortlist of vendors whose software matches your needs.

3

Contact vendors

Begin contacting vendors on your shortlist. You should request a demo of the solution to see how it works. Make sure to test the software with the field service technicians, dispatchers and IT staff who’ll use it most often.

As discussed in the Pricing section above, field service management software varies in cost. You’ll need to factor in the number of locations and users required. It’s important to fully understand the vendor’s pricing structure.

Some vendors also charge extra for implementation, support and training. Keep this in mind when asking for a quote. You’ll want to compare the total price for different vendors.

4

Get customer references

Once you’ve completed a demo of the field service management solution and have a better understanding of pricing and services, it’s time to get references from a vendor’s current or previous clients.

If the vendor has been in business for less than five years, it’s particularly important to get references.

The vendor will give you the names of clients with positive experiences, but make sure to ask for companies that have similar needs to yours (e.g., businesses with outsourced field service technicians or that need to pull customer info from CRM software).

When contacting the reference, ask if there have been any issues with the vendor or the solution.

Challenges of Field Service Management Software

All software has its advantages and challenges. Companies that invest in field service management software should consider the following challenges:

Overscheduled field service technicians

Although field service management software can increase the number of jobs each technician can handle, businesses should be wary of overscheduling. Assigning too many work orders can decrease technician productivity and lead to mistakes that impact the customer.

Management should develop realistic time frames for each type of service request and assign jobs appropriately. Technicians also need to be given some leeway to complete maintenance competently, ensure customer satisfaction and take breaks.

Getting buy-in

Field service management software can streamline onsite maintenance requests and provide better mobile assistance for technicians. However, it can’t actually perform maintenance for customers. Technicians need to be qualified and properly trained for the software to be the most beneficial to users.

A field service management solution works best with professional technicians, not as a replacement for them.

Managing Change

Employees that are used to paper work orders and scheduling through spreadsheets may find it difficult to transition to new interfaces, automated features and mobile devices.

It’s important to keep the lines of communication open during implementation and help all employees adjust to the change.