Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 3, 2018, and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Your field service operation needs to run like a well-oiled machine. Just as you need equipment to safely transport and support technicians, your field service technology needs to run smoothly, securely, and reliably. Regardless of your product and services, the number of field technicians, or a paper verse digital management solution, you must deliver what you promise to the customer.
That’s because customers expect nothing less, and you want to surpass your competitors. But how do you find a future-proof solution that will bend, flex, and grow with you?
We Know It’s More Complex Than It Sounds
As experts, when we work with customers, we become partners. We dive deep into their processes to assess their needs. While we can’t get into the specifics of an organization until we become partners, we do know what works for our customers and tens of thousands of field technicians.
However, before you select a solution that may not meet your needs, let’s discuss the pitfalls to avoid as you move toward a new or replacement field service management (FSM) solution.
- Mistake No. 1: Remember to define the results you hope to achieve clearly.
- Mistake No. 2: Assuming that technicians want new field service technology.
- Mistake No. 3: Failing to search for an intuitive solution that’s easy to use.
- Mistake No. 4: Worrying that a new solution will take months to implement.
- Mistake No. 5: Waiting for the perfect moment to make the transition.
Mistake No. 1: Remember to define the results you hope to achieve clearly
How will you know if you’ve succeeded with your new FSM if you need clarification about why you’re transitioning to a new solution? Want to reduce errors in the field? Want to increase customer satisfaction scores? What to speed up the time from job completion to invoicing? Start by building a business case and developing a plan, and also have these metrics: By how much do you want to reduce/increase/speed up? And by when?
Mistake No. 2: Assuming that technicians want new field service technology
There will be resistance to change among some of your employees. Learning new ways of business takes time and effort, especially when learning new technology. So before shopping for field service technology, communicate with employees about the planned changes. Involve them in the process by asking what frustrates them, what improvements they would like to see, what they fear about a new way of working, and what they hope a new solution will bring. Don’t simply spring it on them in your “weekly recap” meeting. That type of approach kills morale.
Mistake No. 3: Failing to search for an intuitive solution that’s easy to use
Keep “intuitive design” in mind when you seek an FSM because field technicians and back-office staff need a solution that is easy to understand and use. Intuitive design expertly combines science and art. The science of intuitive design means the solution can perform complex tasks; the art of intuitive design is logically laid out, with self-explanatory dashboards containing well-recognized patterns, concepts, and symbols. Remember, the primary objective of an intuitive solution is – with minimal training – to make users’ work more efficient and enjoyable.
Mistake No. 4: Worrying that a new solution will take months to implement
When remodeling a home, homeowners often cite a not-so-outlandish rule of thumb: Plan to spend twice as much and anticipate it will take twice as long to complete. This is different from the expectation you should go into the vendor-review process. As you meet with vendors before selecting a digital solution, don’t review only those with complex, multi-layer solutions that require custom coding. Bigger and more expensive doesn’t always mean better.
Mistake No. 5: Waiting for the perfect moment to make the transition.
How long have you considered digitizing your paper-based manual systems or replacing your existing digital system? What goals are more important than planting a firm foundation under the business? Don’t wait for the “perfect” moment to make the change; take a moment and make it perfect.
No Mistakes Here
No matter where you are on the path to transforming your field service operation into a well-oiled machine, if you’re not where you want to be, check out FMP360. We’ll let you test-drive our solution and customize it to fit the dynamics of your unique organization. And even better, we’ll help you avoid mistakes that field service organizations typically make during the review process!