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Top Features To Look For While Purchasing A FSM Software

Published:
August 30, 2023

Table of Contents

So, you have decided it is time to invest in a field service management solution to help optimize your operations. With so many options out there, how do you choose? As you start evaluating different software products, there are a few must-have features you should look for to ensure you are getting a solution that will meet your business’ unique needs. 

The right field service management(FSM) software platform can be a game changer, helping you reduce costs, boost productivity, keep customers happy, and gain valuable insights into your field service business. The wrong choice, however, can end up costing you wasted resources, frustrated employees, and lost opportunities. Read on to discover the top features you should consider when looking for an FSM solution that will set your field service business up for success. 

Effective Field Service Management

Field service management is the process of scheduling appointments, assigning technicians, ensuring quality service, and meeting customer expectations. FSM is widely used by various lines of business like food delivery, transportation, health care, telecom,  and building maintenance services.

Key Capabilities 

When evaluating FSM software options, pay close attention to the work order, scheduling, and dispatching capabilities offered. These features will determine how well the software streamlines two of the most important parts of your field service operations. Work order management allows you to create, assign, schedule, and track work orders efficiently. Look for software that enables you to save time by easily creating work order templates. It should also provide an automated workflow to route work orders to the right technicians based on things like location, skills, and availability.

Key features  

  • The ability to create estimates, invoices, and bills from work orders
  • Options to upsell or cross-sell to clients during service calls
  • Reporting and analytics to gain insights into work order volume, first-time fix rates, and other key performance indicators
  • Integrations with other systems like CRM, accounting, and enterprise resource planning software

Automated scheduling and dispatching

Look for software with automated scheduling capabilities that can assign work orders to the most suitable technicians based on their skills, availability, and location. Automated scheduling saves dispatchers time and ensures the right tech is dispatched for the job. Correct technician assignment is important for any company wishing to use its available resources optimistically.

Prefer FSM software that uses a simplified dispatch board with drag-and-drop scheduling to make task allocation easy for dispatchers. Using a user-friendly interface, dispatchers can move and reassign schedules with just a few clicks. Also, your dispatchers can completely eliminate double bookings and streamline the dispatching process. 

Real-time technician tracking

Choose software that allows you to view your technicians’ locations and statuses in real-time via a live map. This makes it easy to redirect technicians as needed and provide accurate ETAs to customers. Some software integrates with GPS to track vehicles and mobile devices.

Work order management

Robust work order management features are essential. The software should allow you to easily create, assign, and track work orders. It should provide an overview of each work order’s details, including description, location, priority level, assigned tech, and status. The ability to add photos, videos, annotations, and checklists to work orders is helpful.

Real-time customer notifications

Select software that automatically sends customers notifications like appointment reminders, ETAs, and work order status updates via call, text, and email. The FSM software can automate the process of sending these notifications, freeing up your time so you can focus on other tasks. This proactive communication reduces no-shows, avoids surprises, and leads to higher customer satisfaction. 

Mobile app and offline capabilities

When evaluating field service management (FSM) software, one of the most important features to consider is mobile access and offline capabilities. As a field service technician, you are often out in the field without reliable Internet access. You need FSM software that will allow you to stay productive even when it is offline.

Look for software with dedicated Android and iOS mobile apps that provide full offline functionality. The apps should allow you to:

  • View and update customer information
  • Access job details like locations, contacts, and equipment log time, expenses, and activities
  • Capture signatures and photos
  • Create and email estimates and invoices 

Once Internet access is restored, the software should automatically sync all offline updates, ensuring all data is centralized and up to date. Some systems also allow office staff to make changes to jobs and schedules that will sync to technicians’ devices as soon as they come back online.

Robust offline capabilities provide flexibility and continuity of operations. Technicians can continue servicing customers without disruption, confident that their work will be properly documented and synced when reconnected. Office staff also have assurance that field operations are still progressing as planned, even when technicians are temporarily unreachable.

Estimating capabilities

Prefer robust estimating feature that simplifies calculating costs for services, parts, travel time, and other expenses. Look for software that lets you create customizable templates for different types of jobs. It should also integrate with your accounting system to access current pricing and costs. Some options even provide location-based estimating that factors in regional costs of living and doing business. 

Invoicing options

Seamless invoicing is key to getting paid on time. FSM software should generate professional invoices that you can customize with your company branding. It should track all billable hours, services, parts, and expenses to compile into detailed invoices. Options like batch invoicing multiple customers at once and recurring invoicing for ongoing service contracts will save you time. Electronic invoicing that lets customers pay online is ideal. 

Integrated payment gateway

Integrated payment processing means accepting credit card and ACH payments through the software. It streamlines your accounts receivable by automatically posting payments to the correct customer invoices. You can use field service management software that integrates with third-party payment apps like Stripe, which makes it easier and faster for your customers to pay for services. Integrated payment options can help your businesses improve your cash flow and reduce hassles. 

Contract management

Robust contract management functionality is a must if you service clients on a contractual basis. The software should allow you to create and store details about each client contract, including service level agreements, renewal dates, and billing terms. It should also sync work orders and schedules with contract requirements to meet all obligations.

Inventory and parts management

Inventory management is crucial to know what parts and supplies you have on hand, track usage and re-order levels, and ensure technicians have what they need when on a job. Look for FSM software with robust inventory management functionality, such as 

Reorder alerts: The software should notify you when the stock of an item falls below a set threshold so you can reorder before running out. Set different thresholds for critical parts that need to be in stock versus less essential supplies. 

Usage tracking: Look for a system that logs when parts are used on a job, deducting them from your inventory totals. This gives you an accurate count of current stock levels and helps determine realistic reorder points. It can also uncover usage trends over time to improve purchasing decisions.

Barcode scanning: If the software supports barcode scanning, technicians can quickly deduct parts from inventory when used on a job. This streamlines the usage tracking process and reduces errors from manual entry. Some systems even allow scanning parts into inventory when they arrive to update stock levels automatically.

Low stock alerts: In addition to reorder alerts, the software should notify you if any items fall below a critical ‘low stock’ threshold. This acts as an emergency trigger to reorder essential parts before the stock is depleted, avoiding potential job delays or even cancelations.

Effective inventory and parts management with the right FSM software gives you greater control and visibility over this key area of field service operations. Make sure any system you evaluate can handle the demands of your business and keep your technicians fully supplied.

Integration with business apps 

Regardless of your business software, your FSM software should integrate with it to streamline your operations for seamless field service management. With these integrations, you can easily access everything from within your field service management (FSM) system. By enabling your different software to synchronize, you can centralize your workflow in one place—and you can focus on what is important.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms

Your CRM system stores all your customer data, contacts, communications, and more. FSM software integrated with your CRM allows field technicians access to customer information in real-time. They can view service histories, open tickets, and update records right from the field. This results in better customer service and fewer errors. Popular CRM systems include Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zoho CRM. 

Accounting and invoicing software

FSM software linked to your accounting platform can automatically generate invoices, track payments, and handle billing. Expenses, inventory usage, and timecards are seamlessly transferred between systems. Your technicians spend less time on paperwork, and your accountants gain better visibility into field operations.

Customizable dashboards 

Choose software with dashboards you can customize. See key metrics like the number of work orders, revenue, customer satisfaction, and technician productivity at a glance. Add visuals like graphs, charts, and gages to spot trends quickly.

Customization

Every business has unique needs, so the ability to customize the software to fit your processes is key. Look for flexible options that allow for custom fields, forms, schedules, and more. You want a solution built around your business requirements, not the other way around.

Next steps

That cover the major features you should keep an eye out for when looking for field service management software. Remember, the solution you choose should make your technicians’ lives easier, give your customers a great experience, and help your business run more efficiently. Focus on the capabilities that really matter for your needs. Make the investment in a tool that will support the growth and success of your organization for years to come. The returns can be huge.

Take a look at Zuper, which offers field service management software that fulfills all your business needs of scheduling, route optimization, live location tracking, and mobile-app alerts to customers. You can customize the software according to your requirments. To try our software, click here, it’s free! 

Author

Shyamala Gowri
Shyamala Gowri
Shyamala is all about content-based marketing. Whether discussing customer service, strategies, or service management solutions, she’s in! She loves creating content that simplifies complex tech and highlights its real-world benefits.

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