Spenda 14 December - 5 min read
When you own a service business, a lot of time and energy is focused on booking, tracking and closing jobs, often using a manual system. While this may be what your team is used to, legacy manual systems leave more room for human error and result in inefficiencies. In this article, we outline how businesses can use technology to transform their service management business.
How do service businesses currently operate?
According to Field Service News, 77 per cent of companies use an on-premise service management system, with just 23 per cent of businesses using cloud-based software. These on-premise systems typically include manual pen and paper-based documents or spreadsheets to manage workflows and records. For many of these businesses (60 per cent) these manual on-premise systems have been in place for three or more years.
Like other big organisational changes, using technology to transform your service management business can understandably seem like a daunting task. With a strong project management and rollout plan, however, your team will begin realising the benefits of cloud-based service management software in no time.
The importance of data and information management in a service management system
In a field-based business where technicians visit their customers onsite, a common problem for companies and customers is the need for additional call-outs. For customers, these additional appointments typically cost $200 to $300 and could have been avoided with better sharing of customer information before the first visit. Additional call outs are often needed when all information about a job isn’t captured accurately during the booking process. These problems can result in a customer choosing a competitor next time. This is why it’s critical that field services businesses understand how to make the customer experience as seamless and positive as possible from booking to payment and post-service feedback.
Beyond the customer experience, a strong service management system should also include all of the other aspects of operations including planning, strategies, policies, objectives, documentation and processes. In manual systems, these aspects become fragmented, which leads to internal inefficiencies and a poor customer experience.
We’ve all been there. You’ve scheduled one of your technicians to visit a customer, and they arrive minutes before the end of the three-hour appointment window without the tools to fix the customer’s problem. Using a cloud-based service management system can resolve these issues and result in a better experience for your customers.
Cloud-based service management systems connect your team in the office to people out in the field, which improves communication between employees and reduces the risk of the mistakes and problems caused by manual processes. Key features that cloud-based service management systems should provide, include:
Choosing service management software
Digital transformation in a business needs to be integrated across several functions to help a business move forward and continue growing. Service management software is no different. When you’re choosing a system, it should have the capability to track and manage all of the operations that go into running services management within the business. These aspects include customer management, scheduling, dispatching work orders, payments and managing mobile employees. It should be a system that’s just as easy for your customers to use as it is for your employees, making the experience efficient and memorable. With a cloud-based system in place, people can edit jobs in real-time, which also improves productivity and ensures people always have the most relevant information.
How the customer experience is transformed through better service management
Using cloud-based service management software will transform how your team in the office and in the field complete their work. Not only will your team save time, but you’ll be able to integrate the system with technology in other parts of your business to streamline your operations and improve your cash flow.
Integrating a service management system with your stock management system would provide real-time updates on available parts to the rest of the team. A plumber, for instance, may attend a job and use a part to replace a leaking tap. When the plumber adds this part into the job, it will share this data with your stock management software, so your stock levels remain up to date. Further, once the customer pays, the payment feeds into your accounting and finance system, so your accounts are updated in real-time.
Chasing late invoice payments is a burden for any business, and still, more than half of B2B payments in Australia continue to be processed late, costing businesses, on average, $115 billion every year.
When you’re running a large operation with hundreds of invoices processed each month, the resources required to manage your payments grow quickly, especially when ageing receivables become a problem. While customers may not pay their invoices for various reasons, it happens too often, causing a range of challenges and increased risk.
Digital payments helped businesses get paid safely and efficiently throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns and associated restrictions. But as economies reopen many challenges still face businesses including supply chain disruptions, the ‘great resignation’, rising inputs such as fuel, and the expense of reopening. These business challenges make now an opportune time to build on the processes optimised throughout the pandemic, especially across B2B trade.
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