The global market for field service management software was worth an estimated $3.24 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow over the next 5 years, at an annual growth rate of 13.9% eventually reaching a value of $8.06 billion by 2028. It indicates that FSM services are an integral part of a business strategy to stay competitive by providing high-quality customer satisfaction.
With the growing customer expectations, service providers are facing the challenges of having to keep up with their customer’s demands on time. The main challenge here is managing manpower manually from scheduling their tasks to delivering the service to the customer.
If you have been a part of the field service management industry, you surely would have heard of certain pain points that are challenging the industry. One of them is a lack of transparency and visibility in most of the areas, which could be improved with some more focus and decisiveness.
There are many pain points in field service, especially if you consider that it is a different business model than one of your front-end employees and managers. By identifying these pain points and bridging the gaps between them, you can make way for a highly automated, revenue-generating process while minimizing the manual effort required.
When we talk about pain points or bottlenecks in business processes and operations, we’re talking about limited resources, manpower, spare time, and lots of other things that can make it a challenge to speed up an already slow process.
In this article, we will discuss the five major pain points – challenges that ring the bell for “not being done enough” in certain areas. If you can effectively identify those areas and bridge the gaps, you could easily make way for a highly optimized field service process.
- Manual Job Scheduling
When it comes to delivering high-quality service, time is of the essence. Scheduling is an important part of any field service business and can often be the driving force behind a productive operation.
But the lack of a proper schedule is the single biggest problem facing the field service management industry. A poorly maintained schedule leads to lost days, wasted time, and money. If your team doesn’t have an accurate schedule at all times, countless hours will go wasted before they can get to work.
The majority of field service teams work manually and rely on customer contacts or internal calendars to schedule jobs. Because this isn’t always reliable, efficient schedules are important for allowing an organization to deliver top-notch services.
According to a study by Verizon Connect, 25% of FSOs were using manual methods like spreadsheets for assigning tasks, while the others use whiteboards and other manual processes.
Some of the conflicts in manual scheduling are task overlapping, multiple workers assigned for the same task, and no clarity on available time slots. That is when companies started automation, job scheduling software cut down the task assigning time and made the process more efficient.
Planning a proper schedule is indispensable to a field service management team. Automation in job scheduling helps with two significant things: (1) it keeps workers moving forward with their tasks, filling in the gaps when they might otherwise get stalled out; and (2) it helps the team ensure that they’re delivering service to customers on time.
The scheduling tool simplifies assigning jobs to different field staff members according to their location, skill level, and availability. It also advances field worker tracking for efficient management, from their real-time location to the work order progress. Tracking your workforce while they are in the field also means you can allocate work orders faster and manage task distribution daily.
- Route and Mileage tracking
Each day, field employees travel from one point to another for their services. These locations are usually delivered at a specific time of the day, so route planning is crucial. One of the biggest challenges facing field service managers is managing the costs associated with travel, route planning, and scheduling employees for travel. Thus it has become extremely important for companies to understand their employees’ movement patterns.
Most companies use field service management to manage their field service activities; however, as with most processes and policies, there are some downfalls. To make things even more difficult for companies, there is no single solution that can cover all aspects of this problem.
To ensure the safety of your field employees and customers, you must have a reliable tracking system in place. More than GPS or camera tracking technology is needed, a proper trip planning solution allows your field workers to take the most suitable route, via real-time updates.
In field service, the day-to-day operation includes total miles traveled, delays due to longer routes or heavy traffic, and the stress to reach on time for higher customer satisfaction.
The best solution is to ensure employees take the optimal route to visit a customer or business with the shortest mileage. The key to making it better is using a system that has allGeo’s FSM features, such as mileage tracking, automatic route planning, scheduling, etc. All these features give you visibility and control over the travel planning process.
- Worker Safety and Liability
Many organizations suffer from poor safety and liability management, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Since employees tend to notice their company’s safety and liability policies, they might not always be aware of all the risks they are exposed to.
In most cases, these workers are visiting hazardous locations such as the top of a radio tower where one slip can result in serious injury or death. Therefore, there has been an increased focus on what is considered “safe work practices” in the field service business.
When an employee feels unsafe at work, they can become very demoralized and stop doing their job to the best of their ability. This can have a serious impact on your organization as a whole, resulting in lost customers and revenue — but it can also affect your company’s reputation if potential new hires are scared off by safety issues.
If you have a robust health and safety program in place, then you’ll be able to identify worker complaints quickly. In fact, by addressing the root causes of these concerns, you can prevent them from turning into long-term attrition problems for your business.
Without some kind of tracking software, there isn’t much a business can do to ensure that an employee isn’t working at an unsafe location. To minimize the risk of accident and liability, your business should often check up on their whereabouts during the work day to see if they have reached their destinations safely.
Field service management tools like allGeo with its geofenced time tracking solution can improve operations and mitigate risk. This software will allow you to monitor your employees in real-time and even notify you whenever they enter/leave the job site. Further, you can utilize an offline SOS system and perform periodic safety checks using smart safety workflows.
- Real-time communication
Field service management requires prompt and effective communication between staff, field workers, and clients. Every day, field managers need to send email updates: job statuses, photos of affected items, status checks, and more. But these communications aren’t effective because they’re not accessible at the moment they were sent.
Real-time communication is needed to set up a healthy working relationship between the field service manager and the field representatives. By this, one can achieve seamless coordination and communication as well as be able to respond promptly in times of emergency or issue.
Further, timely updates and reports from the representatives in the field are important for tracking work progress and productivity. But this can be difficult if these reports are not communicated on time to managers in the office.
For instance: if your field employee is running late or won’t be able to reach the client, he will have to either call or send a message/mail. This doesn’t sound scary when we talk about handling a few employees, say 10 or 15.
Imagine when you have to manage more than 50 employees both on-site and in the office, getting multiple calls will hamper your productivity. Instead what if you can get a notification on your mobile phone, that your employee is running late?
Field service management software will help you tackle these challenges. From real-time coordination with field workers, and automatic clock-in clock-out to dynamic weekly reports, software like allGeo will simplify your field service operations.
- Team productivity and performance
Field service management is about more than just customer service, as it covers the entire enterprise. The company will need to look at the overall productivity and performance of its team.
When field manpower resources are deployed, they don’t always work as quickly or efficiently as they should – whether due to a lack of training, fatigue, or other factors that can impact their productivity and performance.
A study conducted by Verizon Connect showed that 47% of field service companies are facing challenges in finding high-skilled technicians and drivers who can meet business goals.
There are many things to consider when looking at the productivity of field service workers. The first thing people often look at is team members’ skills, whether or not they’re skilled enough to get the job done, who’s doing what, and how that helps the overall operations of your business.
With things like job effectiveness and employee strengths and weaknesses, managers often struggle to identify the best employees for a role. The goal is to measure the efficiency of field service teams; in other words, how much time each team member spends on an assigned task.
The type and number of tasks each member performs will vary depending on your business needs, which means it’s important to capture this data accurately. Based on employee data, Field Service Management software will highlight individual strengths and analyze team dynamics, providing efficiency in skill matching.
Integrating the software into a process will help to reduce costs and save time by streamlining the way you manage your employees’ in on-the-job activities. Field service apps like allGeo offer automated dashboards and reporting modules to help decision-makers monitor trends and performance without spending hours of work.
Many challenges arise during managing field workers’ and customers’ expectations. In particular, companies need to balance employee needs and expectations with efficient field service processes while simultaneously meeting deadlines and maintaining payroll systems.
The challenges of field service management can be daunting, but with the right tools and processes in place, they can be overcome. By understanding the most common challenges and taking steps to address them, you can ensure that your field service operation runs smoothly and efficiently.
With so much at stake, it makes sense to invest in scheduling and dispatch tools that can help save you time and money. From managing scheduling and dispatch to maintaining accurate records and providing excellent customer service, the right field service management tool will improve your process significantly.