Over the past five years, field service businesses have been consistently investing in technology that will improve technician utilisation, minimise data entry and provide better customer service.
In 2019, there are hundreds of apps and software packages that are being specifically designed for a field service-based business and these technologies are helping these businesses streamline their operations and lower their overhead costs which is great news for a highly competitive industry.
These are the top 7 trends we see at Klugo with our field service customers.
1. Push to Paperless
This trend has been rapidly gaining pace in the last 2-3 years. Both an increased focus in moving towards “greener” ways of doing business, as well as the opportunity to declutter utes, desks and offices has made this type of technology one of the main drivers for digitising a field service business’s operation.
In most cases, when we start an evaluation with a field service company, they have some form of digitisation or ‘paperless’ data capture. These inputs can be as simple as fillable PDFs through to sophisticated field service management solutions. The problem though is that these stand-alone systems are not integrated into the customers CRM and Accounting Software, or worse…. They are integrated poorly and generating big administrative and IT overheads.
A single platform of technology, built for field service, such as NextService provides an end to end solution from Sales and Marketing, Job Creation, Scheduling, Accounting and Finance, Inventory and more.
2. Accelerating the Payment Cycle
Field service businesses by nature largely charge for their services after the service has been completed. To smoothen the payment process for customers, NextService customers can take customer signatures on glass in the field concerning job completion reports, and automatically send the invoice to the customer in real time. Some customers have also taken this a step further to be able to take payment in the field, which hugely minimising the amount of back-office effort required to receive payment.
Smart field service businesses are doing everything they can to automate the payment cycle because fast payments equal better cash flow, which in turn allows for faster growth.
3. Solving the Scheduling Dilemma
In 90% of businesses we work with, scheduling jobs always come up as a massive pain point. Whether they are scheduling on a whiteboard, or in an excel spreadsheet, customers are frustrated with data inaccuracies, difficulty in changing schedules and coping with last minute changes.
NextService gives the scheduling team an easy to use drag and drop scheduler that allows for what if planning, job assignment and reassignment and the ability to filter jobs by skills required or location.
4. The Move to Mobile
Almost every customer we speak with tells us that their mobile technicians have smart devices with them in the field but are not making the most of the technology that is already in their pocket.
NextService gives field techs a mobile or tablet interface with a daily, weekly and monthly schedule of all jobs, complete with case history, customer and asset details and more. They can fill in JSA’s in the field for compliance, allocate inventory to the job (and make sure it’s charged to the customer) all from their mobile.
NextService also integrates with the phones native map and GPS functionality to make navigating and locating customers easy. No more phone calls back to the office for customer details or addresses. Schedulers can see where every technician is in real time.
5. Customer Experience Champions
Field service is competitive, and customer satisfaction is critical to retaining business and gaining loyal customers. Most customers we work with believe that despite their best efforts, there is more they can be going to go above and beyond for their customers.
Through automated workflows, NextService customers have been able to design how their ideal customer experience would look and automate communications to improve transparency. One of the easiest ways to improve your customer experience is to make their life easier. Give them all the information they need about their case in real time and automate their customer journey. This automation saves hours for customer service staff and frees up their time to start adding true value and personalised service, not just chasing paperwork.
6. Real-Time Visibility
In most cases, before NetSuite and NextService, our customers are working on a number of disparate databases that do not share information. Whilst this might be ok, when you look at each department in a silo, there is a huge opportunity to gain access to business-wide data that will help improve operational and financial decision making and give invaluable insights into business KPI’s and performance.
NetSuite boosted by NextService is a single platform of technology. Having everything in one place facilitates the ability to build reports and dashboards and thus making better decisions. Also, because it is one technology, the ability to change and be flexible as you grow is immense.
7. From Reactive to Proactive Service
The Internet of Things integrates maintenance networks into a digitally connected customer care ecosystem. Machinery connected to the internet can turn data into immediate predictive actions that can drive major improvements in how businesses deliver world-class services.
Every day IoT-enabled sensors and connectors are integrated to machinery and equipment, allowing field service companies and their technicians to receive regular reports from the systems they’re monitoring, allowing them to react to emerging issues before they cause disruption. This results in not only happier clients, but also simpler fixes rather than large-scale repairs.
SuiteApps are programs built for NetSuite’s API that connect to the same database as your NetSuite data. This integrations enable NetSuite to communicate with an infinite range of equipment and hardware, making it a powerful centralised ERP solution.
Want to know more?
To find out more about how Klugo has helped more than 150 Field Service businesses modernise their technology platform: