Field service providers are increasingly searching for innovative software solutions to boost efficiency and better manage their field fleets. This pursuit for efficiency is particularly important for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) in the field services industry.
To compete in a competitive industry, SMBs need to cut costs and maximize the utilization of their smaller fleets. That’s where field service scheduling software comes in. A field service schedule is a constituent of a larger field service management (FSM) software suite.
With cloud-based automated field service schedules, field managers can easily schedule and dispatch field agents in minutes.
What are the main benefits of field service scheduling software? Why are they so useful for small businesses? What is the effect on the customer experience and the efficiency of field service operations?
In this article, we’ll discuss NUMBER of the top benefits of Field Service Scheduling Software for SMBs.
1. Cloud-based schedules can be shared and updated instantly
Cloud field service schedules are instantly synced and updated whenever any change is made. Dispatching schedules can often change rapidly, and it is extremely difficult to keep all field agents’ paper-based calendars up-to-date.
For instance, the schedule at the start of a day can look far different from the live calendar if emergency callouts and appointments are added. Field agents can be notified instantly if their manager adds an appointment to their schedule during the day – reducing the likelihood of missed appointments.
Moreover, a centralized scheduling platform makes it easy for dispatch operators to know exactly which agents are available, making scheduling far easier. Ditching paper-based calendars reduce the likelihood of miscommunication – and agents’ schedule can be pulled up on any device. No more losing a schedule on a job and missing appointments finding a replacement.
2. Appointments can easily be canceled and rescheduled
With an FSM scheduler, dispatch operators can easily move and cancel appointments when needed. It’s as simple as dragging an appointment block to a different time or hitting delete. When this change is made, agents can be automatically notified.
Often, field service providers deny appointment amendments too close to the appointment time. Why? Because traditional scheduling relies on clunky solutions like spreadsheets, emails, or paper calendars, it can be time-consuming to accommodate a reschedule request and communicate that to an agent.
A synced calendar facilitates reliable same-day appointment changes as the schedule is automatically synced instantly after a change is made. This makes scheduling conflicts improbable whilst also giving dispatch operations and customer support agents real-time visibility of field agent capacity.
This is particularly important for small field service providers with a limited number of field agents. The key to profitability for them is utilizing their small fleet as effectively as possible. A cloud schedule makes it easier and safer to pack agents’ schedules to capacity.
3. Improved customer experience
The role of a field service scheduling application is to digitalize your field service operations and sync schedules. The benefits for operational efficiency are clear, but such a software solution also has a profound impact on the customer experience (CX).
The adoption of cloud-based management tools across the industry has left many consumers used to receiving automated updates from their service providers and retailers. For instance, many Amazon shoppers are so used to receiving delivery estimates and real-time tracking, that they are likely to expect that from field service operators too.
Field service schedulers can automatically provide customers with updates on the whereabouts and estimated time of arrival of field agents. Increasingly, customers are more comfortable with using digital tools than chasing up agents over the phone.
Automated updates and real-time tracking help increase customer satisfaction. This is also freeing up customer service lines by reducing the number of calls asking for an update on an agent’s status – reducing waiting times for genuine support queries.
4. Empowers customer service & support teams
On the topic of customer support, a digital cloud field service schedule makes it easier than ever for admin teams to respond to customer queries and make new appointments.
Previously, it would take an age for telephone support agents to find the relevant details about a customer’s appointment. Checking email chains or spreadsheets is not only time-inefficient, but as we covered before, the information may be out-of-date.
With an FSM scheduler, customer support can quickly pull up appointments and see all relevant details about the booking. From here, customer support can:
- Amend or cancel appointments as previously mentioned.
- Add notes to the appointment for the attention of the service agent (e.g. which door to enter, who to expect, or more information needed about the repair).
- Log complaints and commendations easily.
- Book new appointments and follow-ups in seconds.
5. Timesheets and working patterns are automatically logged
Logging working hours and filling out timesheets is a crucial admin task every employee in a field service organization needs to do. It’s especially important these timesheets are accurate as many field agents in an SMB are paid hourly or are contracted.
Therefore, the ability of an FSM solution to automate the filling out and submission of timesheets is particularly useful for saving time on the job. Through a calendar app, agents can clock in at the start of the day and clock out when needed. Hours worked will automatically be calculated along with any overtime and breaks.
This makes it easy for HR and payroll to calculate pay, observe working patterns and control overtime. This automation helps reduce timesheet errors and eliminates the need for unnecessary paperwork.
Many scheduling applications also include the ability for staff to request PTO (paid time off) & annual leave straight through the application. This helps streamline the process and avoids understaffing issues caused by PTO conflicts.
The Bottom Line on Field Service Scheduling Software
SMBs in the field service sector need relentless efficiency and a great customer experience to differentiate themselves from fierce competition.
A field service scheduling software system helps SMBs retain control of their schedule, reduces scheduling conflicts, and gives customers a better view of their appointments. Through the power of the cloud, every agent’s calendar can be synced together. Missed appointments can be avoided by reassigning agents at a moment’s notice.
What results is a more efficient operation alongside happier customers. A field service scheduling app is vital – alongside the rest of a Field Service Management (FSM) suite like what FSM leader ZUPER offers for small field service operators to succeed in today’s digital world.