Challenges faced by Field Services companies
The Field Services market has seen significant growth in recent years: assessed at a value of $1.78 billion in 2016, it is expected to reach $4.45 billion by 2022 (Stratistics).
And that doesn’t mean just big companies. Small and medium-size businesses are also part of the equation! In fact, Gartner has predicted that software solutions for managing Field Services will help smaller companies grow. Considering that around 52% of service companies still rely on paper processes, they have everything to gain by adopting better tools and optimizing their practices. Here are a few options to help them.
The challenges facing Field Services companies
The problems reported by employees of Field Services companies are mainly related to tools not being fast enough and a lack of information needed to perform their job efficiently.
To address this problem, they need effective and reliable tools— in contrast to the time-consuming manual processes that can cost a great deal of time to employees on the road. Those manual processes also entail a significant risk of errors and lost papers. If customers sign on paper to acknowledge delivery at the door, the company has to wait until the delivery person brings the paperwork to the office before it can be processed and billing can be triggered.
The same applies to customers who have gotten used to prompt digital communications. If too much time goes by between the delivery and the billing, problems could arise, not only in terms of the customer experience but in terms of the company’s cash flow.
The solution: managing data directly in the field
The solution would be for these companies to use a mobile app or tablet. Seventy-five percent of those businesses with more than 50 users have either begun the process or are planning to do so. It gives workers easy access to their schedule at all times, as well as the ability to communicate in real time with head office. If something comes up, they can directly advise the office and correct the information in the system if needed.
Here are three benefits to using a data management solution in the field:
- Integrity: Manual processes often lead to errors. Papers may be illegible or get damaged or lost, and it could have an impact on the customer at the time of billing, for example. But if the information is digital, it’s easier to ensure its integrity and security because it is captured directly in the field. Once it’s in the system, you can control which workers have access to it. This is especially important today with the introduction of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.
- Accessibility: Not only do workers have 24/7 access to customer information, with no worries of papers getting lost, they can also notify the office once a delivery has been made. Workers can collect data in the field, such as signatures and photos documenting the delivery, and send everything directly to head office. This means greater transparency each step of the way for both the company and the customer.
- Automation: Once the information has been captured digitally, it would be a shame to stop there. It is now much easier to automatically trigger the next steps, such as sending a confirmation notice, a correction or an invoice to a customer. The information gathered in the field can also be automatically corrected and entered into the company systems, which again guarantees greater integrity of the information.
These three benefits are related mainly to the productivity and efficiency of service companies, but the customer experience is enhanced as well. So there’s a double advantage for companies that decide to go for it!
I’m sure you’re thinking that these solutions are geared to large organizations only. But that’s not the case. There are some solutions designed for small and medium-size businesses, who have the same needs but different systems and technicalities. To find out more, talk to one of our advisors free of charge!