Businesses that utilize field service agents face several unique challenges. If you own or work for such a company, you understand the struggles that can occur when you’re trying to set up agents’ schedules, maintain optimum inventory levels, and ensure customer satisfaction. One way to minimize the work this takes is by implementing a field service management software, but with all the different software options on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is the best fit for you. The following steps can help you determine which service management program will meet all the needs of your business.
Decide which features you need
The first step in choosing field service software is to figure out exactly what you need the software to do. Make a list of all the features that would benefit your business. Most software comes with similar basic features including a scheduling manager and an inventory tracker. More advanced features include: optimized driving routes for agents, the ability to automatically call customers to update them on arrival times, regular maintenance checks, and more. Each software is slightly different; so it helps to know what features you need before you start narrowing your options. Once you’ve made your list of features, you may want to rank them in order of importance. This will help if your budget does not allow for a software package that has every single thing you want.
Set a budget
Speaking of your budget, it’s important to know how much money you can allocate to a service management software program before you begin looking. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may have a little or a lot to spend, and you can find software that will fit nearly any budget. Knowing this before you start searching for your software will cut down on your research time as you can eliminate programs that do not fall within the range with which you have to work.
Do your research
Now that you have decided on the features you want and the amount of money you can spend, it’s time to do your research. Devote some time to looking at pros and cons of many different service scheduling software packages. Make lists and take notes on each one so that you can reference it later when making your final decisions. When you’ve checked out a fair number of products, at least five to seven to ensure your getting a well-rounded picture, use your notes to narrow your choices down to two or three.
Gather a team
The next step in choosing field service software is to get some help. This is a decision that will affect many parts of your company and involve any number of employees. It’s important to get input from every department that will be using the software. Make sure you include your field service agents, your scheduling department, customer service, supervisors, and anyone else who will come in contact with the software or benefit from its implementation. This group should meet and discuss each of the software packages you’ve chosen to determine which would be the best fit for everyone.
Try before you buy
Finally, once you’ve narrowed your options, you should test the software before you purchase it for full use. Most companies will give you a trial period or allow you to use the software with certain limitations before you purchase a full version. Make sure the software is user-friendly and works well for everyone involved. Try out the features that are important to you and evaluate how well they will work. Ask your team to give feedback, and take everyone’s opinions into consideration. When you’ve tested your two or three choices, choose the one you like best.
Field service management software can be a great asset to your business. Choosing the right software is a big job, but it can be much smoother and more streamlined when you know what features you want, stick to your budget, do your research, gets the opinions of colleagues, and try before you buy. Follow these guidelines and you’re sure to find a field service management program that meets the needs of your customers, your employees, and your business overall.