The goal of field service management is to empower your workers to deliver excellent service in every customer interaction. What can be considered ‘traditional’ field service management is evolving, and understanding the current and future landscape of the field service industry can help your mobile workers succeed.
Field service refers to work done off-site rather than on corporate premises. Equipment or systems must be sold, installed, repaired, or maintained in the field.
Field service technicians provide professional, specialized, or even unique services to commercial or industrial clients.
Most people associate field service industries with installing cable TV or fixing a damaged power line. But deskless workers, including healthcare workers, sales associates, and inspectors, are quickly joining the field service workforce. In fact, 80% of the world’s workforce is now deskless, and field service has expanded into education, healthcare, hospitality, and beyond.
Field Service Management
Field service management is the process of overseeing and optimizing an organization’s workers, equipment, service, and operations in the field. Field service management incorporates processes like assigning and scheduling work orders, dispatching workers to new assignments, communicating with field workers on the job, managing product inventory, and collecting data from the field.
By optimizing their field service management, companies can streamline workforce operations, improve productivity, and simplify daily life—not only for field workers on the job site but also for administrative staff back in the office.
As the field service industry becomes more complex, field service management is even more important:
- Industries including mobile healthcare, real estate, and sales have started to use field service principles and tools in their mobile work.
- Blended workforces, including full-time employees and independent contractors working side-by-side, require tools that can provide access and permissions based on the worker’s role.
- Flexible work patterns accommodate customers’ needs beyond the standard 9 to 5 schedule of the past, making scheduling workers (and accommodating scheduling preferences) more complex than ever.
The Benefits of Field Service Management
Managing your field workers requires unique processes, tools, and considerations. But the investment can be well worth it, as your field workers—and overall business—reap some key benefits:
- Increased productivity – Modern field service management tools and processes replace manual systems, boosting both operational efficiency and employee productivity.
- Improved visibility – Software helps collect, track, and analyze crucial data (like job completion times, expenses, and field notes), driving better business technologynesss.
- Optimal employee experience – Relieved of administrative burdens, field workers can easily access essential resources, communicate effectively, receive schedules and updates in one centralized place, and spend more time focusing on what really matters: customers.
- Lower overhead costs – More efficient scheduling, dispatching, inventory management, and communication means overhead costs go down. These savings translate into better benefits for employees, lower prices for customers, and healthier profit margins.
For companies that install, maintain, sell, or repair products in the field, field service software pays for itself in the form of efficiency, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.
These advantages are certainly within reach for companies looking to optimize for installation, maintenance, and repair of products through field service industry software solutions.
What is Field Service Software?
Because field service management balances so many essential operations across a blended workforce, modern organizations turn to field service software to stay ahead of the curve. Field service software and mobile apps are designed to streamline communication, automate scheduling, and improve dispatching and general information-sharing between field workers and the back office.
Modern FSM tools need dynamic functionality—like real-time communication with deskless employees plus seamless scheduling and dispatching for new assignments—to maximize productivity and keep up with the shifting landscape of the field service industry.
What Does a Successful Field Service Operation Look Like?
Competition is stiffer in today’s dynamic business environment, and customer expectations are higher. As a result, field service operations must be nimble so your workers can provide outstanding service at a moment’s notice and your customers know exactly what to expect from employees in the field.
A successful field service operation should be:
- Mobile-first. Deskless workers should be able to accomplish their tasks without jumping through hoops. Make sure your FSM tools are accessible (and compatible) with the tools your employees use in the field, including their own mobile devices.
- Integrated with other systems. Whatever your FSM solution, it should work seamlessly with the other systems you use. Make sure your field service operation works in tandem with your CRM, HR system of record, IT system, payroll software, etc.
- Capturing data in real-time. In the past, administrators were in the dark until field workers came back with a stack of signed paperwork at the end of the day. A modern FSM system should share data in real-time, so your back office is always equipped with up-to-the-minute information.
Successful field service management looks different for different industries and business models. Some components of FSM, such as tracking the location of company equipment, are critical for certain organizations but are a lower priority for others. Meet with your internal and external stakeholders to determine your company’s priorities, and make sure your FSM solution has the tools you need most.
FSM vs. Mobile Workforce Management: What’s the Difference?
Field service management and mobile workforce management (MWM) are closely related, but there are key differences to consider when choosing a solution for your business.
The difference between mobile workforce management and field service management software is best summarized by this question:
Are you trying to optimize your field service management operation?
If you want to optimize the installation, maintenance, repair, and deployment of physical products you own or have sold, you need a field service management solution. FSM software is designed to prioritize physical assets, helping you coordinate the cadence and timing of your jobs to keep equipment in optimal shape.
Choose the Right Field Service Management Software
If you’re looking to manage your field service operations better, you’ll need field service management software that provides the right tools for your deskless workers. A great field service management solution can automate schedules, improve communication, increase productivity, and more—all in one centralized location.
Learn more about what to look for in a field service management solution, or book a demo to see CloudApper’s field service management software for yourself.