What is Field Service Management?

 

Field Service Management (FSM) is a means of organising and optimising operations performed outside of the office, i.e., out in the field. Common examples of field services include consultations, sales, repair and maintenance, customer support, and regular inspections.

 

Why Field Service is Important

Often companies provide a wide range of field services, which means they’re likely juggling a variety of tasks, tools, individuals, and mobile devices.

A field service manager for a company that sells home healthcare devices might be responsible for the below:

  • Scheduling sales meetings and presentations
  • Sending out technical specialists to set up and inspect equipment
  • Tracking employee progress in the field

All of these moving parts need to be tracked, organised, updated, and streamlined. This is where field service management comes into play: without a central system managing these tasks, it would be nearly impossible to conduct business efficiently.

The Evolution of Field Service Management Software

In the past, much of this work was performed manually, which was time consuming and left room for human error. It was more difficult to manage variables that were affecting progress; such as incomplete data, sales representatives running behind schedule, and communication issues.

Field service management software was developed in line with the evolution of mobile technology. FSM software is a technological solution designed to help field service managers take control of all the moving parts by automating certain tasks, while providing remote access to the office, real-time updates, and customer insights, and many other tools.

 

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Practical Applications of Field Service Management

Field service management is useful for any industry that has employees working in the field. In particular, utilities, healthcare, construction, home improvement, property maintenance, and telecom industries have the most to gain by implementing field service management software.

Some of the most common industries that use FSM include:

  1. Utilities (gas, water, electricity)
  2. Healthcare
  3. Construction
  4. Home Improvement & Property Maintenance
  5. Telecom

Here are some practical applications for these industries:

 
 

1. Utilities (gas, water, electricity)

Utility companies have to deliver continuous service, minimise outages, maintain extensive equipment and networks, manage large teams of employees, and comply with codes, among other concerns.

For utility companies, FSM is particularly useful for dispatching engineers and specialists for repairs and inspections, remotely monitoring equipment, organising work schedules, and providing an overview of resources.

2. Healthcare

Field service management is crucial for the healthcare industry; from keeping medical records accurate and up-to-date to dispatching healthcare professionals for in-home care.

In fact, FSM helps keep patients safe by facilitating the maintenance and upkeep of medical devices through asset management, documenting and dispatching work, tracking device histories, assuring code compliance, and creating necessary forms and documents.

3. Construction

Construction tends to involve long-term projects, a large number of people, and various forms of equipment. They use FSM to update work orders in real time, ensure that necessary equipment is available, oversee technicians, schedule tasks throughout a multi-operational team, track expenses, and create checklists for inspections and certifications.
 

4. Home Improvement & Property Maintenance

Property upkeep and improvement can entail multiple ongoing projects at the same time, performed by completely different groups of specialists.

Field service management helps organise landscaping, cleaning, or repair services; schedule multiple work orders simultaneously; keep tabs on progress; and make all paperwork available in one place.

5. Telecom

Telecom companies can dispatch workers, oversee infrastructure, provide technicians with necessary information in the field, and directly address customer problems as needed with a FSM CRM.

For example, Time Warner employees use a mobile platform to access maps and other data in the field, allowing them to make the best possible use of their time.

 
What do all of the examples above have in common? They all deal with managing multiple actions and individuals simultaneously, while pursuing ongoing improvements and maintenance. This is field service management at its most effective.

The Advantages of Field Service Management

With its many features, a field service management system can offer a company a variety of immediate and long term benefits, such as an improved customer experience, quicker reaction times, and time and resource savings.

There are a number of common field service mistakes that could easily influence your company’s productivity and effectiveness, such as showing up inadequately prepared or employing ineffective communication methods. FSM software can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls and support you in the field to get your service team operating at their very best.


EXAMPLES OF THE BENEFITS OF FSM

1. Access Information and React in Real Time:

With FSM, Internet of Things connected devices can report issues as soon as they arise, field service managers can update and dispatch representatives directly on their mobile devices, and operational field data can be captured, uploaded and, analysed as it’s being gathered.

2. Increased First-Time Fix Rates:

First-call resolution is among the most prized KPIs when it comes to field service success. Unfortunately, it’s not always achieved, and representatives have to return multiple times to resolve an issue.

With the right field service software, workers can gain immediate access to a variety of tools and resources to help assess a situation, be put in direct contact with in-house experts, and retrieve advanced diagnostic information and other resources to help them arrive better prepared to resolve a problem at the first attempt.

3. Create a Connected Customer Experience:

As the business landscape changes to meet modern needs, it quickly becomes clear that creating a top-notch customer experience is a priority in any successful business plan. With streamlined processes, increased connectivity, and greater access to data, an FSM system can help you provide proactive service that is efficient and effective.

4. Lighten the Load with Automated Processes:

Field services require a substantial amount of potentially time-consuming administrative work. Field service software can save you time by automating a wide range of tasks, such as scheduling, sending out reminders, invoicing, and issuing work orders.

This will free up managers and employees in the field to focus on the task at hand, reduce the opportunity for human error, and help keep everything organised.

5. Maximise Efficiency to Save Time and Money:

As mentioned above, Time Warner used FSM to provide employees with access to tools and information in the field. Having everything they need at their fingertips has enabled them to work faster and more efficiently.

With the ability to gather, analyse, and access data, dispatch workers, automate tasks, streamline processes, and cut down on repeat visits, FSM can save companies substantial time and money.

 

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How to Implement Field Service Management

Many companies already have systems in place for how they manage their field services, often making it tricky to implement a new field service management system. FSM software should be set up to meet a company’s specific goals and preferences, while employees and managers will need to learn how to use it to its maximum potential.

Know What You Want

Most types of field service management software include certain basic capabilities; however, they can also be customised to suit your company’s specific needs.

With a clear idea of your business challenges, goals, and strategies in mind, you are in the best position to determine what sort of features you want, and how you intend to implement your software.

Appoint Qualified Field Service Managers

Field service managers may already be in place to handle established responsibilities for certain projects and specific roles.

Likewise, a project manager (or managers) should also be appointed to oversee and make decisions about the implementation of a new FSM software system, to delegate responsibilities, and coordinate with the software providers.

Managers should have an overview of your company’s field service projects and understanding of future goals, strive to keep employees informed of any updates, and ensure that everyone receives adequate training.

Start Out Small

If you’re completely new to the field service CRM, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to grapple with its most complex aspects. Start with your company’s most basic needs, like scheduling repairs or sending out timely invoices. As with the last suggestion, it’s important to consider what you plan to accomplish.

Consider Data

You should start out by making sure you know what sorts of data you already have, and how you intend to transfer and continue collecting it with your new system.

It’s also beneficial to have an idea of how you plan to use data to help you reach your future goals. This could involve the determining which types of data to collect, how they are analysed, and what to do with that information.

Test it Out

Before you officially launch your field service software, take some time to test out different configurations and features to get a feel for how everything works. This will help guide your FSM strategies and how you implement the software overall.

Make Time for Training

It is essential that all managers and employees understand how to use the newly implemented software. Training can often be a lengthy process that takes place over a few days or even weeks. Be aware of what it requires and plan accordingly.

Field Service Management Software – One System with Many Facets

As you can see, strong field service management is essential to effective on-site performance. With the many tasks, responsibilities, individuals, and forms of data that field service companies manage, FSM software provides a single solution with a broad range of features and capabilities.

 

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