On my last post I defined field service software, though looking at it I didn’t actually create a real definition. So, here it is:
field service software [feeld] [sur-vis] [sawft-wair, soft-]
A software system that allows a business to more efficiently manage their scheduling and field operations through accurate information.
But what does that have to do with customer service?
That was the first bullet point at the bottom of my last post. There are 3 key ways to improve your customer service through field service software.
- Better office information and speed
- Billing accuracy and speed
- Fewer lost appointments
Office information and speed
Most field service software includes a “Customer Relationship Management”, or CRM, module. Everything that happens with or for a customer is tied to their record in the software. Every appointment, and (if you’re using a paperless system) everything that happened on that appointment, is right there in front of your office manager. So when the customer calls asking about when you were there, when you left, and what you did… well, all the answers to those questions are available instantly, not floating under your desk, scrawled on a sticky note.
Billing accuracy and speed
Believe it or not, your customers want their bill. If you did good work, they are happy to pay for it. But they expect it in the next few days…. Not weeks. The longer it takes the more problems you’ll have. “You weren’t here that long!” “You didn’t do all that!” “What does this line mean?”. You’ve heard all those before, and while a certain percentage will always complain, the faster your invoice gets out the door, the better off you are. Also, two words: CASH FLOW.
Fewer lost appointments
No one likes to talk about it. It’s like everyone’s dirty little secret. But it happens. From time to time, you forget to return to a job site. Or forget a scheduled appointment all together. Customer service. //cough/. When you use a field service management tool, fewer things fall through the cracks. I can’t speak for other systems, but I assume they have it: You need a tool that forces you to manage the incomplete work orders, especially for those busy parts of your season.
A few things to note about customer service. It’s not about the price. It’s about the experience. It’s about building trust through the little things that intersect the customer's life. And when you do that, your referrals (essentially word of mouth marketing at it’s simplest) will kick itself up a notch.