If you know you need a new field service management (FSM) system but aren’t sure of much else, then you’re in the right place. You’re probably just starting out in your research and getting a feel for what’s available. You may have even found a system or two that’s caught your eye. But before you dive headfirst into the endless sea of field service software options, you’ll need a plan. The best way to go about shopping for a new system is to determine your field service management software requirements.
Good Questions to Ask
Before you start deciding on your business requirements, it’d be helpful to stop and ask yourself a few things. The following questions can give you some insight as to how you should create your field service checklist and can help you plan ahead.
How Much Money Am I Willing to Spend?
While it’s not necessary to have your budget set in stone right away, you’ll at least want some idea of how much you’re looking to spend. This ensures you’re researching systems you’re more likely to implement so you don’t waste your time.
How Many Users/Jobs Will My System Need To Handle?
Many systems price by number of users and number of jobs performed each month. So this may even be a good question to think about when determining your budget, as well.
Will This System Work In My Industry?
Field services span a diverse range of industries. Check to see if a prospective vendor has a history with your industry. If your vendor has served companies like yours before, they’re more likely to know what issues are common and the best ways to solve them.
Which Deployment Method Is Best For My Company?
According to a 2017 study, the cloud FSM market is expected to see its largest growth rate in the next four years. However, plenty of buyers with concerns over privacy and compliance choose on-premise solutions. You can learn more about different deployments in the context of field service here to help you make an informed decision.
Requirements are what your company needs from a software system for it to successfully support your operations. Your business probably won’t utilize every feature mentioned on this list, but these are the most popular field service management system requirements buyers typically look for.
Work Order Management
Since your entire business is built from service work orders, work order management should definitely be on your FSM checklist. However, depending on your needs, you may want a more or less complex way of handling them. First, work order management can show you the amount of time spent in the field and the job history. These are great resources to have when evaluating the effectiveness of your workforce.
From the technician app of your FSM system, you may want the ability to take photos, record audio and take notes. This provides an organized way for your technicians to document their jobs that will be easy to access later on. Future technicians can use this information to continue past work as seamlessly as possible.
Work order systems can also provide a way for your technicians to receive jobs in the field. Allow your office staff to assign and approve jobs so your technicians can work with as few interruptions as possible. Reduce the amount of time technicians need to spend on the phone and traveling to home base. You can also look for a system with third-party contractor support and specialized tools for SLA compliance.
Job History and Time Spent
SLA Compliance Tools
Add Jobs In-Field
Providing excellent field service involves more than technical skill. Businesses that want to go the extra mile need to ensure that their customers receive a well-rounded experience. By providing appointment reminders and technician ETA, you’re keeping clients in the know and reducing the unpredictable reputation field service has unfortunately built. You can also keep a customer database to keep track of important client information.
Many service software also provide a designated client portal. Your customers can use it to make appointments, reschedule or cancel if they’d like. It could also be helpful to allow clients to provide feedback through the app. This allows you to improve your services but may also reduce the urge to leave a negative review online.
Maintaining a field service schedule is a complex process involving many factors. When assigning technicians, you need to consider skill level, job length, location proximity and job priority. Now throw in unexpected events like jobs that go over time and technicians who’ve called in sick, and you’ve got quite the mess. What seems like an impossible undertaking with pen and paper can be incredibly simple with field scheduling software.
Job schedule software should provide you with the means to assign jobs while considering all the factors previously mentioned. Some systems provide a drag-and-drop interface to make reassignment easy. Additionally, you may want a system that uses a map interface to track technicians in real time. And since some jobs are bigger than others, get a system that can assign multiple field employees to the same task.
Top systems can even automate scheduling. Create a schedule that makes the most sense for your business, your clients and your technicians without much work at all.
Assign Multiple Employees
Drag and Drop Scheduling
Schedule by Customer
Schedule by Employee
Schedule by Skill
Schedule by Location
Get our Field Service Management Software Requirements Template.
Dispatch management is all about streamlining communication to resolve issues. Some systems do this using an online helpdesk to automatically convert customer phone calls into work orders. You can then set up automated or manual dispatch.
Manual dispatch may be preferred if you choose a system that can diagnose and resolve issues remotely. If your clients utilize IoT enabled devices, you can reduce costs by only sending technicians when an issue needs in-person attention.
Automated Trouble Ticketing
Routing is another important factor in keeping your clients happy with your field service. But routing also plays a major part in maintaining productivity. Time your technicians spend in traffic is time your business isn’t making money. So it’s crucial you spend resources getting your technicians to the right place as quick as possible.
First, this feature takes GPS location into account to create an optimized route for your technicians. But top systems go above and beyond. Some systems use predictive technology to learn your employees’ habits. Habits include everything from the time it takes to complete a task to how long it takes them to park. Your system can use this data to predict with immense accuracy where and when your technician will be at any point during the day. The software can then build the best routes for them to take in order to be there.
In order for your field technicians to provide the best service, you need to provide them with the best tools. Technician management provides access to resources that aid in diagnosing issues in the field. Field technicians can use their mobile service app to source parts, fill inspection forms and retrieve technical information. This information may include equipment manuals, product history and past repair notes.
Some systems also let technicians communicate in-app to brainstorm better solutions. This aspect allows you to manage your technicians in the traditional sense, as well, enabling you to see employee work and productivity history.
Field Parts Sourcing
Inspection and Safety Checks
Operations management involves the actual work done in the field. While very helpful, it’s not a standard among service management systems. So if this is a main concern for your business, be sure to keep an eye out for this functionality when choosing a system.
This component deals with the operations lifecycle including preventive maintenance, planned maintenance, and warranty and claims management. You can even find a system that allows users to process claims directly in the system. Operations capability also includes reverse logistics management (RLM) and engineering change requests.
Warranty and Claims Management
Engineering Change Requests
Any given field service job can involve several or more items. Between replacement parts and rented equipment, you’ll need a system to track them all and prevent revenue leakage. At a minimum, you can select a system that provides inventory visibility so you can see what’s available. More advanced systems can forecast demand based on what items have been popular in the past.
You can also choose to receive alerts when you’ve placed an item low in stock on an invoice. Some systems allow you to integrate with your accounting software to provide inventory management.
Billing & Invoicing
An all-inclusive billing module should allow your business to create batch, custom and automated invoices. It should also direct your invoices to be delivered straight to your customers’ email addresses. You can also configure pricing for specific services.
Many systems offer third-party integration for even more robust billing capabilities. Integrate your favorite applications to track payments and process card payments using chip and contactless methods. You can also integrate your accounting software with many FSM systems to streamline your financial management, too.
Quotes and Estimations
Business intelligence (BI) is great for any company trying to get a deeper understanding of their processes. With data coming from more places than ever, it’s a bad business decision to not analyze it. And if you’re already familiar with BI, you’ll be happy to know FSM BI isn’t very different than your typical tools. Like any intelligence module, you can expect systems to offer custom reports. Reports are excellent to have on hand when the higher-ups are asking to see numbers and results with little to no advance. Systems also offer customizable dashboards to quickly see trends.
However, not every single user needs access to analytics. Guard your most important data with drill-down reporting, so users only see as much as needed for their job function. This is especially important if you opt for a system with failure analysis. You wouldn’t want your competitors to know where your company is failing, nor would you want to provide the legwork on how to improve.
Get our Field Service Management Software Requirements Template.
Once you’ve decided what your next system should include to successfully manage your field service, it’s time to compare systems. To help you out, we’ve created an in-depth comparison report of the top 10 field service systems, comparing them using these requirements. Our analyst team has scored and ranked each system based on how well they fulfill each requirement.
Consequently, it’s a good idea to make sure you spend enough time developing your requirements so you can choose a system with the utmost confidence. We suggest using our FSM requirements template to get yourself organized. But what do you look for in an FSM system? Did we miss any top requirements? Let us know in the comments below.