When you’re successfully running a field service business, you’re having to keep track of tons of little details to help your business run more smoothly. You must determine staff schedules, plan service routes, communicate with expectant customers, and much more.
These processes can take up a huge amount of your time. Left unchanged, complex procedures and repetitive communication can even contribute to low motivation and burnout. But, virtually every business process can be improved through effective field service management.
Field service management requires you to think about your business from not only the owner’s perspective but also the point of view of your employees and clients. While you’re implementing better business solutions, you’re also considering ways to improve the employee and customer experience.
If you’d like to make your service business run more smoothly, these field service management tips are for you.
Make it easy for customers to book appointments
Successful field service businesses place a huge emphasis on the customer experience. Since your business relies on customers booking and rebooking your services, you should aim to make the booking process as streamlined as possible.
This might look like incorporating an online booking system into your website, Google Business page, or social media page. When booking, customers can put in their emails and phone numbers to receive email confirmations and text reminders. An online booking system can also prompt clients to schedule appointments on a regular basis, such as once a month or once a season.
Instant booking makes life easier for your customers, for sure, but it also speeds up the booking process for you. You can cut back on the time you spend on the phone or fielding customer inquiries. An online booking system also keeps all of your customer appointment data in one place.
Streamline payment processes
Organizing payments is one of the biggest headaches for many small business owners. You’re likely dealing with many different payment processes—customer payments, materials invoicing, staff payroll, and so on. If you’re not keeping good track of your money, you’re missing important information that can help you save and grow your business.
Streamline your payment processes by employing just one integrated system for as many different kinds of payments as you can. ServiceWorks is one platform that can do this for you. Accept payments, send invoices, and view material costs all in one place to improve your field service management.
Optimize your service routes
Make an effort to ensure that the routes you and your employees take to complete jobs are optimized for time and distance. There are a few different factors that go into route optimization.
The first most obvious way to optimize your service routes is to group appointments in the same neighborhood around the same time of day. This way your employees aren’t spending a lot of time driving back and forth. But, you should also take into account the materials that you need for each job and plan your routes so that the right vehicles are headed to the right jobs. Finally, consider the skills of each of your employees to determine who should be sent out to each task.
Optimizing your service routes saves time and money and leads to greater customer and employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, as you can see, there are many different factors to consider when planning optimized routes. Route optimization software like the one by ServiceWorks can create your ideal routes.
Reduce your business paperwork
With all the amazing technologies that exist today, it’s not really necessary to continue to rely on physical documents and files. In fact, piles of paperwork often lead to disorganization and missed information.
You can easily reduce your company’s paperwork by increasing automation in your business. Automate the payment of your bills and switch to paperless billing. Move all your customer payments online so you’re not dealing with paper bills or receipts. You can still send receipts by email or make them available on your online customer portal.
Minimize entering the same information twice
As you communicate with clients and vendors, you probably repeat yourself quite a bit. Conversations tend to follow the same general formats. To save time, create standard emails and form responses that you can copy and paste into a conversation. You can make small edits to personalize these responses before pressing “send.”
You can also automate client communication with chatbots. Chatbots allow customers to get their questions answered right away and save you and your staff from having to communicate with customers directly.
Consider a virtual assistant
So many time-sucking business tasks can be handled with technology. However, there are still some tasks that need a human touch. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all the moving parts in your business, consider hiring a virtual assistant.
Some of the tasks a virtual assistant can help you with include answering phone calls, responding to emails, and confirming appointments. There are VAs who handle social media publications and invoicing as well. Between automating your processes and handing off work to a VA, you’ll have lots of time left over to do more strategic business management.
Keep your staff happy
Your service business will run more smoothly when your staff is happy. Make sure that your employees know that you care about them and appreciate the effort they put into their work. Ask for feedback and recommendations—since they’re in the field every day they probably have some good ideas about things that can be improved.
If you plan to introduce new technology like the programs mentioned in this article, explain how these new systems improve the employee experience. Offer clear training and be open to answering questions.
Use ServiceWorks to manage your field service business all in one place
ServiceWorks is an all-in-one platform that can help your field service business run more smoothly, with online booking, invoicing, materials tracking, route optimization, and more. You can try ServiceWorks for free for 14 days without giving your credit card information.