Many service-based companies, or those with a service component, see service management software as a cost. They're often using spreadsheets, multiple systems, and swarms of handwritten notes - but they're writing revenue. Sure, there might be better ways of managing services but "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", right?
What's really eating away at service company profits is the cost of doing nothing. How does it cost businesses and reducing profits? I'll tell you...
Investment decisions - particularly when it comes to software - generally come down to ROI (return on investment). If your business can make or save money that outweighs the cost of the software, then it's a good business decision.
When business is looking towards a Service Management Software (SMS) solution it is normally driven by a desire to have greater visibility over field service performance.
There are many factors involved in gaining visibility over a mobile workforce
- Resource Allocation
- GPS location of Service Professionals are at any time during the day
- Dispatch (travel time and distance)
- Time spent onsite completing a job
- Communication between the Service Professional, Customers and Business
- Statistics of things like number of jobs completed per day, first time fix rates, average time spent by each service professional on jobs completed
- How many jobs are outstanding
Visibility assists business in making operational decision that influence the productivity, efficiency and costs of the business which all affect the bottom line. Each business is unique so the benefits per business are dependent on that.
To improve visibility many companies turn to Service Management solutions.
“Visibility assists business in making operational decision that influence the productivity, efficiency and costs of the business.”
Service management solutions
When looking at whether a service management solution it is a matter of weighing up the costs versus the benefits. Some of the common benefits that can be realised by a Service Management Solution are:
1. Customer Engagement Reinvented
Some SMS solutions allow for customer to book services through customer channels (website, social media web pages, direct links sent via email or text). This offers a great customer experience as it allows them to easily make a booking on their preferred channel. It also allows customers the ability to book 24/7 which has become increasingly popular in the connected world we live in.
2. Smart Scheduling
This can be setup using rules depending on the requirements of the company. Common rules are based on skillset, territories, current or anticipated GPS location and availability of the service professional. Some customers have a preferred Service Professional that they want and this can be factored in. Automating your service allocation can free up resources that used to manually complete this job. Business should have full visibility over all resources at any one time during the day which may lead to shuffling resource allocation around to be more efficient so the business can complete more jobs per day and improve overall productivity.
Some systems allow for external contractors to be uploaded to the SMS solution. This benefits for business here can be great in that it means:
- They don't lose the job opportunity
- This can still be a revenue stream - they can still make a % commission on the job
- They do not need to put themselves under increased pressure by hiring additional permanent resources
- During times of minimal work that are not bleeding money due to being over-resourced
“Automating your service allocation can free up resources that used to manually complete this job.”
Much of this comes down to clear communication and keeping all parties in the loop over progress in the successful delivery of a job. This requires levels of intelligence in messaging to business, customers and service professionals. Messaging should be specific to the business and customised to streamline operational efficiency. From a customer perspective they love transparency on the job, whether this be on pricing, service professional information, an ETA and updates during the job.
Service Professionals may not need to come into the office any more and can focus on finishing more jobs. With real-time sophisticated communication on the job information will be sent to the technicians mobile device with the most efficient route to site, parts and tools required, service history, contacts, applicable warranties and contractual commitments - everything needed to deliver a timely and effective service. The completion of jobs will be done on their mobile device and communicated to the relevant parties. If another onsite visit is required then this can be communicated through the SMS. There is normally the ability to record service notes, diagnostics, test results, quality information, parts consumed and text/photos/videos of work carried out onsite. Some systems will allow for additional billing to be done too.
Real-time sophisticated communication simplifies the process saving internal staff endless calls to try and coordinate onsite visits.
Allows data-driven decisions to become a reality. There is great benefit in having performance metrics in place that can best serve to increase the efficiency of the service delivery team. As discussed above, we can gain visibility over all service delivery metrics from resource allocation to ratings and reviews from customers, this puts the business in a far better position to make positive business decision for the future.
Having visibility over all service professionals are at any given time, an organisation can make informed decisions about optimising the use of resources across the company, identify trends and forecast future demands as well as quickly diagnose and resolve service issues.
5. Greater Customer Satisfaction
Delivering greater customer experience can have a huge impact on your business and your bottomline. Not only does a great customer experience translate to return business it also helps build your brand. Brand awareness is crucial to business growth.
Always evaluate where the SMS will assist in delivering convenience, transparency and a quality service to the customer.
6. No duplicate systems
Data in a vacuum is data in a vacuum, we need to be try promote the idea of one single source of truth for business decisions to add the most value. When looking for a SMS you need to understand the costs involved to integrate the SMS solution with your ERP or financial systems. You don't want to build isolated data channels.
If you are interested in finding out more about Service Management Software Solutions please don't hesitate to get in touch. We have a team of experts that can assist you with making the best choice for your business and how to uncover the value that can be realised.
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