“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Field service companies often realize they need help as they discover that workflow inefficiencies are preventing growth and limiting revenue. Many turn to software as a potential remedy.
An analysis of the many conversations Software Advice advisors have with field service business owners shows that 70 percent of businesses we advise are looking to adopt field service management software for the first time.
Our research shows these systems can have highly positive impacts on revenue. Take the GPS tracking capabilities of HVAC dispatch software for example:
An overwhelming majority of companies using field service software are seeing improvements that positively impact their revenue. Finding the right software solution is one of the first steps towards promoting and stabilizing growth, but there’s much more to the process than simply downloading a new solution.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “a house is only as strong as the foundation it’s built on.” The benefits of your field service software can only be fully realized by creating a strong foundation found with a solid implementation plan. A poorly planned, lengthy implementation can deter employees from using the new program and erode any potential benefits the software could potentially provide.
Here are three ways to make your field service software implementation both easy and successful:
1. Engage Employees in the Selection Process
It’s crucial to include employees throughout the software selection and implementation process because you need their buy-in and support to successfully adopt a new solution.
Involve employees in the conversation from the beginning. Learn their pain points and struggles with daily tasks, higher level operational inefficiencies and show them how this software solution is going to make their jobs, and ultimately their lives, easier. Not only will this information better inform your software selection process, but giving employees a platform and a voice will encourage their sustained engagement throughout the process.
It won’t all be roses—it’s easy to fall into a routine, and some employees may find a certain comfort in the status quo. New software can bring these familiarities crumbling to the ground … and that’s OK. If the current routine worked, you wouldn’t be looking for new software in the first place.
Make sure to update employees throughout the software selection process. This transparency will show that you respect them and their opinions and will avoid any surprises—which can cause an unforeseen backlash.
2. Don’t Get Sold on Features You Don’t Need
The field service software market is constantly evolving with new trends and “must-have” features. While these capabilities are all aimed at improving your business operations, many of them are not essential. For example, if you don’t need the latest live camera feed technology, don’t let a vendor sell you on it (no matter how cool it is!).
Instead, focus on the tools your teams actually need to get their jobs done. To avoid getting distracted by bells and whistles, create a needs document: an organized list of software features your new system must offer. This list can be as informal or in-depth as you like; just make sure you always refer to it during the software selection process.
For those field service business owners who come to Software Advice seeking assistance, here are their most requested software features:
Not surprisingly, 95 percent of field service business owners request scheduling and dispatching features. Maintaining accurate and easily accessible schedules is crucial for success—handwritten notes and Outlook calendars simply don’t cut it. Many software solutions offer specialized tools that aid in scheduling, such as asset tracking, which monitors the locations of the tools and equipment associated with each vehicle.
3. Don’t Skimp on Training
Finally, don’t cut corners during the training phase. Provide employees with an in-depth introduction to the new tools and processes they’ll be using every day. To aid in transparency, show employees what new features and capabilities other departments will be using.
While training may require additional resources and slow down business for a week or so, it’s more than worth it in the long run. Again, the purpose of the new system is to effect positive change for your business. By training your employees on the ins and outs of the system, you are unlocking the potential for as much positive change as possible.
For training, assign “system champions” to learn the system front to back and be a resource for their peers to come to with questions or problems. These champions are also valuable for training new hires. If you’re a small operation, then you may only have a single user per business unit. That’s fine—but they still need to be masters of their field.
Succeed at Implementation by Planning, Engaging and Training
There’s no doubt that switching to or replacing a field service software system is a great undertaking. Advances in the market, such as the affordability and flexibility of subscription-based pricing models, are making it easier than ever for field service businesses of all sizes to purchase and properly implement field service software.
Take the plunge and take the time to do it right. Your employees, customers and bottom line will thank you.
To learn more about implementing a field service software solution for your business, and to find out whether or not mHelpDesk is right for you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Guinn is a Market Researcher at Software Advice, covering trends in the field service software market. His research explores the impacts that emerging software and technologies have on field service businesses, and he conducts primary research with both consumers and business owners to get a full picture of technology’s role in the market today.
Last modified: March 3, 2017