2018 Buyer's Guide:
Field Service Software

Getting Started

Successful field service companies thrive on performing their core tasks exceptionally well. They’ve mastered the ability to convert one-time jobs into lifelong customers by providing quick, reliable, and outstanding service. Field service software helps build upon these fundamental principles, improving inefficiencies, and helping businesses make smarter decisions in the process. Whether you are strapped for resources, struggling with outdated or impractical processes, or looking for a way to streamline operations, field service software provides invaluable tools to help simplify your business. This Buyer’s Guide will help you understand the power and importance of effective field service software, how it can help your business, and best practices in identifying what software will meet your needs.

Understanding Field Service Software

The term ‘field services’ is very broad. It is liberally used to classify any business who physically leaves the office to deliver a good or service. Although straightforward, this definition encompasses a wide number of industries, markets, and business models. Given this variation, it may be hard to decipher what field service software is or what it may look like. To put it simply, field service software helps companies run their day-to-day operations more effectively. It is designed to give you the tools needed to better service customers, while providing the flexibility to handle the unique nuances of your business. Here are some ways these solutions are currently are being used to simplify internal processes and increase company-wide productivity:

Reducing paperwork and double-data entry

Speeding up internal processes & decommissioning outdated systems

Alleviating dependencies by connecting the back office to field staff

Centralized repository for customer, leads, financial and service history

Standardized processes, procedures, & way of working

More efficient scheduling

Optimized dispatching and route management

Real-time visibility to field staff and job statuses

Monitoring vehicles and driver behavior in the field

Increased cashflow by improved billing/invoicing

Reporting & analysis to make data-driven decisions

Increasing customer reviews to generate leads

Choosing the Right Software for Your Business

Selecting the right field service solution first starts with understanding your business. It’s about finding the balance in how your company operates today and how you would like to operate tomorrow. By assessing the operations that drive your business, you can begin to determine where you perform well and the gaps/areas which need improving. When you boil it down, technology as just another investment in equipment. An investment that should chiefly serve to make work easier, more efficient, and more cost effective. By starting from the ground up, you can begin to eliminate the outside noise and focus on the core objectives that implementing a field service solution should fulfill for your business.

Step 1: Review Your Current Processes

Let’s start by assessing how you are currently running your business - and what challenges exist. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you start your journey:

What's working?
What’s not working?
How do you manage customer contact information and service history?
How much time is spent creating work orders?
How difficult is it to plan and schedule your team’s day?
Are you able to effectively dispatch your workforce?
What level of visibility do you have into your mobile workforce?
How do you receive status updates from the field?
What process is used to reschedule or plan future work orders?
Are you getting paid on time?
How do you assess your service team’s performance?
How many systems does your workforce currently use to manage daily operations?

Remember...

Honest feedback can drive improvement. Engage your workforce to get their input. After all, if you are going to invest time and money in implementing a new system – shouldn’t your workforce see the value in it? Having the ability to incorporate technology to simplify their workday is a powerful motivator for staff. In doing so, you will be including their input in your selection criteria and will take another big step to ensure the preferred solution will meet their needs.

Pass along the following questions to the key representatives from each department to discuss with their team and gather feedback on:

What’s working in your role?
What’s not working in your role?
What tasks take a longer time to complete than you feel is necessary?
What is the task that needs to be completed?
A:
B:
C:
Task frequency ( daily, weekly, or monthly)?
A:
B:
C:
How long does it take to complete this task?
A:
B:
C:

Step 2: Define Your Business Goal

Now that you have outlined your current processes and potential gaps, let’s prioritize what matters most. Separating the ‘must-have’ requirements from ‘nice-to-have’ requirements will give you a firm idea of what a successful solution looks like for your business.

What are you looking to achieve by implementing a field service solution?

What are you and your workforce's top 3 requirements?

Do you have a specific software in place today? If “yes”, where are you looking to improve?

Do you have a dedicated IT resource to implement a new software solution?

How much time are you willing to spend on a new software?

How many team members are you looking to train on this system?

What’s your budget?

Step 3: Evaluate and Compare Your Options

Having clearly defined your areas of improvement (Step 1) and business goals (Step 2), it’s time see what’s out there. By keeping your challenges at the forefront of your mind, you can start to visualize what a successful solution will help you achieve. Before you start requesting product demos, do some preliminary research on your options. Evaluate the features and functionalities of each prospective vendor by visiting their website, social pages and media channels. Make special note of the any uncertainties or questions you have, then address them when participating in product demos. The following checklist will help capture the key benefits or drawbacks of each software, helping to narrow your search and identify the top candidates.

Features & Benefits

Core Functionality Criteria

Field Service Software company

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Where does the solution live?
Cloud-based or on-premise?
Are there any specific system requirements?
Who hosts the solution?
Does it offer a mobile application?
Native iOS/Android or web-based?
CRM (customer relationship management)
Manage leads, customers, services, and payments
Work Orders and Proposals
Create service packages, work orders, and proposals
Scheduling
Flexible scheduling process for current and future work
Dispatch Board
360 degree view of team work day
Route Optimization
Automated route planning to reduce human-error
Real-time data
Up-to-the-minute customer account/service info
Billing/invoicing
Generate customer invoices to print or email
Payment processing
Single transactions or batch processing
Credit card processing
Secure processing from workforce in the field
Accounting software compatible
Integration with accounting software (ex. QuickBooks)
Customer Reviews
Ability to send reviews and gather feedback
Reporting
Service and business performance reporting
Dashboard
See quick insights and KPIs in one place
Intuitive Design
Easy to use and to learn for entire workforce
Security
Security measures taken to safeguard data

Support & Pricing

Support and Licensing Model

Field Service Software company

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Support - hours?
Support - is it outsourced?
Migration/data conversion cost?
How long does it take to get started?
Onboarding - what does this consist of?
Training - what resources do you offer?
Pricing & Packages
Set-up fee
Licensing model
User pricing
Add-on fees

Company

Vendor Background

Field Service Software company

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How long have they been in business?
How many employees do they have?
What separates them from the competition?
What is their reputation like?
What is their core business?
Devoted to software or focused in other competencies (but decided to get in the software business)

Once you and your team have completed the product evaluations, it's time to move on to Step 4.

Step 4: Select the Right Option for You

After you’ve completed your product demos, review the final solutions with your team. Pay special attention to the success criteria defined in Step 1 and Step 2. Do these solutions adequately address your biggest pain points? Is your business currently equipped to implement this solution? Is the vendor reliable and capable of supporting your business? Utilize the table on Page 11 to help map your potential options.

Service Businesses by Size - Thinking Long Term

Start-up, Micro, Small & Medium Businesses

Don’t just think about the here and now. Make sure you are choosing a solution that is capable of growing with you. Transitioning from software to software, even just a few years down the road, can be disruptive and time consuming. Pay attention to how this solution will meet future needs.

OR

Large & Enterprise Businesses

Having a unified and standardized way of working is key to accelerating your business. Choosing an end-to-end solution that enables your users to be self sufficient, but gives your company the tools to manage a complex environment is crucial to successful, long-term adoption.

The table below will help you map the Pros and Cons of each option - to chart how each solution stacks up in meeting your needs. Be sure to thoroughly and honestly rank the tangible and intangible factors of each solution, then select the provider who is best suited to meet your current and future needs

Field Service Software

Pros

Cons

Vendor #1

Vendor #2

Vendor #3

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