Buy now and save 50%


< More articles

5 Most Common Challenges in Field Service Management & How to Overcome Them

Blog Thumbnail
share

Running a service delivery business can be easily compared to handling a ticking time bomb—waiting to go off and blow your face if you do not cut the right wire at the right time. The Only difference between these two is that in field service management, the bomb could be hidden anywhere. You never know when and where the next disaster will strike. Therefore, if you want to run your business smoothly and efficiently, you must be prepared at all times. But this is an impossible feat to achieve if you are not aware of the things you should be looking out for.

To have better control over your business operations, therefore, you must know the industry well along with its trends. True, every business has its own needs and handles them in its unique way. But there are some things that every field service business owner has faced at some point or other. So, you can learn from the insights rather than stumbling on the hurdles yourself and scrambling to stay afloat.

This brings us to the heart of the matter—what are the most common challenges faced in the field service industry? If you are looking for the answer, you have reached the right place. Here in this blog, we have listed and discussed seven challenges most commonly experienced by service delivery businesses. However, knowing the challenges alone won’t solve the problem. You need to find a solution for them as well. Fret not. We have done our best to answer all your questions and provide you with useful resources so that you can get over the barriers easily, deliver efficient service, boost productivity, and finally, grow your business. Read on to find out the open secrets of the trade.

Scheduling Conflicts

The biggest challenge in the field service business is scheduling. Having expert technicians won’t help your business grow if you cannot delegate them properly, and they cannot reach or complete the job on time. Timely service is regarded as a major driver of customer satisfaction as well. No matter how efficient your service is, it will all go in vain if you cannot provide service to your customers on time. There are three major kinds of scheduling conflicts. They are:

Unavailability: This problem happens when a customer asks for a particular time slot and you have no technician available. You may find this at the time you proceed to create the work order, in which case you may still find an alternative to get the job done on time. However, if the assigned technician calls in sick on the other day or is absent without an intimation, things start to get all over the place. It is harder than you imagine to find a replacement, as the rest of your staff is busy attending to their own jobs. Even if someone is free, it is quite cumbersome to get hold of someone available at the moment.

Overlapping Appointments: This happens when one task takes longer than expected to finish and the time stretches onto the next appointment. Such incidents not only disrupt timely service delivery but also might hamper the service quality of the ongoing job, because the technicians may rush things to complete the job once they realize the delay.

Double Booking: This problem takes place when you mistakenly book two field technicians for the same job or assign two different jobs to the same technician at a time. This might be a rare instance, but there is always room for such errors if you handle things manually.

Solution :

If you look closely, you will see that the root of the problem lies in the fact that you are doing things manually. Simply put, these disruptions are bound to occur if you are scheduling your work orders following a paper-based method. This way, it is impossible to keep track of all your technician’s schedules and dispatch them accordingly. Even if you do it perfectly, you never know when an emergency occurs or when one of your technicians is going to be suddenly unavailable. Moreover, when you are scheduling manually, you are following a hunch as to how long a job might take rather than considering the real-time job status.

The only way to mitigate the risk is to automate the entire process. Go paperless instead of doing things manually. Invest in scheduling and dispatching software. This incredible digital tool streamlines and standardizes your business process. It comes with a dashboard and calendar where you can view all your technicians’ schedules with just a click on your computer/smartphone and know their availability, ongoing job status, as well as real-time location. Just delegate them accordingly. Besides, the software solution also stores every job detail and enables you to monitor the work progress, so you know how long a job should take and how long it is actually taking. Thus, by automating the process, you are effectively eliminating the risks of manual error.

Get a 360-Degree View of Your Field Service Business with Field Promax. Check Out the Free Demo.

Challenge 2: Miscommunication

Miscommunication

In a traditional paper-based field service business environment, customers need to reach out to the back-end office staff to get an update about their work order or reschedule an appointment. But the staff in the office has no way of knowing the technician’s status or location. All they can do in such situations is to put the customer’s call on hold, call up the technicians to ask about their status or location, and then get back to the customer with the information. However, if the staff cannot reach the technician’s phone, or worse still, if the technician does not have his phone on him, things will come to a standstill, leaving the customer utterly frustrated and dissatisfied with the service.

Solution :

While this may seem an impossible task to manage, the solution is rather simple. All you need is a smart field service management software that offers an integrated mobile app with GPS service. With this technology, you can monitor the real-time location of any technician and be prepared with the necessary information ready at your fingertips in case any customer asks for an update.

Challenge 3: Work Order Management

Work Order

While scheduling is the wheel of your wagon, work orders sure are the fuel that keeps the wheels turning. The more work orders you get, the better it is for your business. However, they won’t do you any good if you can’t manage them properly. Having said that, work order management is neither straightforward nor easy. You need to take down a ton of information from the customer and organize them properly. This includes their names, address, job description, preferred time slot, additional information that might help the technician do his job, and so on. Now, you are surely going to write them down on a random piece of paper. But even if you are maintaining a register or collecting the data using a siloed interface like a spreadsheet, imagine the amount of labor you need to put in. And you can never be too sure that you have not committed a mistake while jotting them down. But wait, the story does not end here. Once your technician returns from the field and updates you on the job, you have more information to put in the work order to get the final invoice done, not to mention the hassle to find them if you are using paper.

Solution :

The only solution to this problem—go paperless with work order management software. This digital solution stores and organizes all your data in one place, giving you access to all the necessary information on the go, from anywhere and anytime. It introduces a centralized database for your business so that you can use it for whatever purposes you need them—create work orders, send customer information to the assigned technicians, update job status, send estimates for customer approval, manage repeat work orders, and even create and send invoices online. Thus, it eliminates the need for redundant data entry every step of the way. It also reduces the risk of duplicate data entry.

Never Miss Another Business Opportunity. Switch to Field Promax and Be On Top of Your Game. Contact Us for a Free Trial.

Challenge 4: Inventory Management

Inventory Management

Ask any of your field technicians what they dislike doing on the field. The answer will be invoicing. In fact, they have been hired for their skills. So, even though they are doing what they are hired for, your profit is not increasing as much as you have thought. Why? Simply because it is not your technician’s job to manage invoices and payments. You need something more efficient to get the job done. Better yet, you need to make it easier for them. They are not supposed to tally and total the bill, but rather focus on the job at hand—delivering expert service. However, it is not possible for you, as the business owner or manager, to be present at every job site and do the task yourself.

Solution :

Again, you need a centralized database. But this time, it is for your inventory. Switch to a software solution that offers inventory management features. The appropriate software will give both you and your workers a full inventory of available parts, allow technicians to order items from the stock, and enable you to keep track of the inventory. From this, you can also easily add the items to the invoice and create a flawless bill that leaves no room for conflict.

Challenge 5: Invoice and Payment Management

Payment Management

Ask any of your field technicians what they dislike doing on the field. The answer will be invoicing. In fact, they have been hired for their skills. So, even though they are doing what they are hired for, your profit is not increasing as much as you have thought. Why? Simply because it is not your technician’s job to manage invoices and payments. You need something more efficient to get the job done. Better yet, you need to make it easier for them. They are not supposed to tally and total the bill, but rather focus on the job at hand—delivering expert service. However, it is not possible for you, as the business owner or manager, to be present at every job site and do the task yourself.

Solution :

Instead of stressing yourself or your technicians, let technology do the work for you. Automate the billing and invoicing process with field service management software that supports accounting tools, enables you to create invoices, and send them directly to your customers so that your technicians only have to collect the payment. Even better, facilitate online payment with these tools so that your workers only have to worry about their job and nothing else.

Field Promax—The All-in-One Solution for all your needs

At this point, you must be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of software needed for addressing the challenges. But what if we are to tell you that instead of multiple tools, all your problems can be solved using one software solution? That’s right. Field Promax is the one-stop-shop for all your technological needs. It is a smart, cloud-based field service management software that efficiently automates and streamlines your business processes. It offers features and functionalities for work order management, scheduling and dispatching, inventory management, and more. It also offers a GPS-enabled mobile app for your field technicians to keep them connected with you. Besides, Field Promax supports QuickBooks online integration, which means you can create, edit, and share invoices using the customer database from the leading accounting software, as well as generate work orders with the same data without having to re-enter it at any step.

The highlight, however, is that Field Promax is super easy to use. You don’t have to be an expert on technology to operate this system. Neither do you have to provide additional training for your technicians for using the app or buy them new gadgets. They can use the app on their own devices as it is compatible with both Android and iOS. Besides, the software solution brings you a host of exciting features that can make field service management easier than ever. So, what are you waiting for? Check out the free demo and go paperless today.

One Tool to Take Care of All Your Field Service Management Challenges. Take the Free Trial Now.

Joy Gomez

My world is made up of codes. It is the central element that drives my universe. I am a self-taught, process-driven programmer with a creative bent of mind. Since I was an engineering student, I dreamt of creating something unique. To satiate my creative appetite, I took to coding. Blessed with abundant support and generous scholarships from my employers, I simultaneously worked full-time and pursued my dream. My passion and high productivity helped me in my journey as well. Finally, I created Field Promax to follow my drive of coding and streamlining processes; and do more of what I know best—coding.