Field Service Management Software, also known as FSM, is a comprehensive software platform designed for field services businesses to organize, streamline, and run their operations.
We’re going to dive deeper into what is field service management software, whether it’s right for you, what are the differences between different field service management applications, and how to choose the right field service management software for your business.
Field Service Management Software, also known as FSM, is a comprehensive software platform designed for field services businesses to organize, streamline, and run their operations. The software application will typically run on the computer, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, and other tablets with data often hosted in the “cloud” for easy data management.
Basic field service management software includes job scheduling & dispatching, customer management, estimates & invoices, and employee timesheets. More advanced field service management will also include maintenance agreements, asset management, customer booking portals, project management, integrated phone systems, custom form builders, customer communications, price books, sales tools, and more.
There are three primary reasons why field service management software is different than a CRM, sales software, and other programs.
Generic software systems designed to be used in any industry will typically not have the specific functionality needed for service businesses. The same CRM that services large technology companies will not have the same functionality that’s particular to field service businesses. While some customization can be done, the fact that they cater to a wide audience means it has to remain largely generic out of the box.
When a software is designed specifically for that industry, it will have features and functionality that fit better for that industry. In the case of field service, that includes scheduling, dispatching, customer management, etc. that’s well catered to field service businesses. One example is maintenance agreement functionality. This functionality operates very specific to service businesses who need to manage service agreements for their customers.
Field service management systems will typically include functionality within the platform such as CRM, timesheets, scheduling, sales tools, etc. Rather than having to use many different software solutions to run your business that are patched together with integrations, everything lives in one application that is interconnected.
One of the biggest reasons that field service management applications drive a lot of value is that the different features, functions, and records are interconnected and interrelated. For example, your customer profile record will be attached to all of that customer’s estimates, invoices, jobs, payments, files, photos, assets, etc. It makes finding information 10x easier and faster.
You are not required to have a field service management software to own and operate a service business. You are, however, required to properly report sales tax, payroll tax, and income tax for the business. Many businesses rely solely on an accounting system like Quickbooks as their platform to manage their tax obligations.
But should you use a field service management application? If you want to provide a better customer experience, win more repeat business, command a higher price-point, win more deals, stay more organized, and save time and effort, implementing a field service management application has shown to have the biggest return on investment in achieving these goals. As your service business continues to grow, the value of having a system multiplies as complexity and activity increases. Most companies that use an FSM wonder how they ever ran their business without a proper management solution.
There are multiple different field service management solutions with a wide array of functionality, platforms, interfaces, industries, and depth. Many solutions fit into categories on a spectrum, but ultimately have a focus that lends themselves to be better towards a certain ideal focus.
Below are the main areas that FSMs differ:
While any FSM should be catered towards field service management, not all field service industries operate the same. An HVAC company operates very differently than a landscaping company. While there is a lot of overlap, there are also many nuances that cause them to have different needs. Even within the same industry, different companies can be catered to different kinds of work, whether residential vs commercial or maintenance vs new construction. The industry and work type plays a big role in how the business operates and how well suited the software is. Most field service management solutions cater better to certain audiences based on their customer base breakdown and feature-set.
A one-man service business operates very differently than a 1000 person field service business. Because of this, it’s difficult for the same application to cater well to both size businesses. Not only in terms of software, but also in terms of software and implementation. The onboarding, implementation, and support requirements for a single man company are typically much less and different than implementation of a large company. A field service management with mostly very small businesses will struggle to onboard, support, and operate a very large business, and vice versa.
You can take 5 companies from the same industry, and they’ll all operate very different in terms of workflow. Some field service management applications are very tailored to a specific workflow that’s designed, which can make it difficult to use a different workflow. On the flip side, if you have a specific workflow in a very generalized workflow solution, you may find that you are making unnecessary clicks to follow the flow you need. Finding the right balance of streamlined flow but flexibility to carry out your process can make or break a solution for your needs.
While complexity and ease of use are not always mutually exclusive, increased complexity and robust levels of functionality often require more training to learn how to use. Different solutions cater to different levels of complexity. If your primary goal is ease of use and learning, you may want a solution that is simpler so that it is easy to use but at the cost of robust features. On the flip side, if you want advanced functionality in a deep feature-set, be prepared to spend more time learning how to use and operate the software.
Everything in life has a price, and it’s something that is considered in every transaction. You’ll find systems ranging from a few dollars a month per user to several hundred dollars a month per user, and everything in between. The biggest difference you’ll typically find when it comes to price point is the level of robustness of the software solution and the level of support that accompanies. For cheaper solutions, they are typically “transactional” in nature, offering little to no support due to unit economics. For those looking for great support, you’ll likely need to end up spending more for the manpower required to help customers.
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