6 Common Problems Field Service Companies Have (and how to solve them)

Cristina Maria
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Any company that sends out employees to meet with customer needs to focus on excellent customer service. 

Every time one of your engineers goes out on a service call, they are representing your company. And anything that goes wrong—from a late arrival to a higher than expected invoice—can have a negative effect on how your company is perceived.

Even worse, if a problem occurs with a new client’s job, with no other reference for what your service is like, they could be lost forever.

Everybody makes mistakes, but these days, with the ability to share both good and bad opinions so quickly and easily on social media, companies can’t afford to provide second-rate customer service.

With so much at stake and such a lot to gain or lose, what can you do to reduce any field service problems?

  1. Reduce your paperwork
  2. Information about your engineers in real-time
  3. Better customer service
  4. Increase your first-time fix rate
  5. Reduce costs
  6. Engage with customers and increase customer retention

 Let's get started!

1. Reduce your paperwork

If you’re wondering what sorting your paperwork has to do with improving your field calls, imagine a world where your engineers don’t have scraps of paper, odd notes, paper quotations, and invoices to carry about for every single job they have that day.

This is a world where everything is done on the engineer’s tablet or mobile, including billing the customer at the end of the job, receiving payment, and collecting those all-important testimonials.

Wouldn’t that give a more professional impression on each call?

When using a powerful job management software, all of the information is at your engineer's fingertips, from the customer’s details to their service history. No more fumbling about with bits of paper or losing information. This is what a paperless office really means.  

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2. Information about your engineers in real-time

Without a good system, managing engineers can be difficult at its best and massively inefficient at its worst. And there’s a great chance that appointments could be delayed or missed, leaving decidedly unhappy customers.

With the right system, however, every engineer can check their diary on the go via their tablet or mobile, and receive updates exactly as they happen, avoiding as much as possible the chance that they could miss appointments and emergency calls.

In addition, having a software that allows the company to track their engineers and easily book their time, making instant updates as circumstances change, and enabling everyone to manage their time and resources more efficiently. 

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3. Better customer service

If a business has manual systems or multiple software systems, it’s very easy for things to slip through the cracks and get lost. And this means one thing only: wasting time and money.

In that sort of situation, it’s not just the business that suffers. Customers can find that getting an engineer takes longer, communication is more difficult, and that repairs are not completed on the first visit.

A centralised software means there is only one system and it integrates seamlessly into your accounting package (for example, Commusoft works perfectly with Sage, QuickBooks or Xero and many others) and your payment gateways, it tracks parts, schedules engineers, and a whole lot more, allowing your business to work exactly as it should.

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While all of those things are great for business, they are good for your customers too, as every part of the process flows and things can be done far quicker and more efficient, with fewer mistakes.

4. Increase your first-time fix rate

There’s nothing worse for a customer than to find that their boiler still isn’t fixed after that first call out. It’s frustrating for both you and them, and from a business point of view, it’s incredibly inefficient and time wasting.

A good software solution will include a database to record the details of the customer’s appliances, including their make and model, which is ideal for engineers as they can quickly see if there are any standard faults with a particular model.

Then, they can order parts to fit perfectly. Add in an accurate service history and engineers have everything they need to get the job done, reducing the number of jobs which aren’t completed on the first visit.

One of the key features is tracking the repair job and recording any ordered parts that are still outstanding, thus avoiding appointments that give the customer false expectations and waste everyone’s time.

5. Reduce costs
Doing everything the manual way takes more time and, therefore, costs more money. Every delay, every extra unnecessary step in your processes, and every admin task that could be done more quickly by a proper system is an extra cost your company doesn’t need.

Admin tasks don't have to be a drag. With a job management software, diary management, invoicing and asking for testimonials are automatically done as part of the system, freeing up your staff to do more important things that build your business. This ensures that the whole process, from taking a customer call to invoicing for the finished job, runs smoothly and more efficiently.

The system also manages your suppliers and inventory, saving time and either freeing up staff for other work or allowing you to operate the company with less staff. Invoices can also be issued on site and paid on the spot via payment integrations, thus improving cashflow. 

 Learn more: Finance and Field Service Management: Expert Advice to Managing Cash Flow.

6. Engage with customers and increase customer retention

Customers like to be kept informed and to feel listened to. They like engineers to come when they say they will, and, naturally, they also appreciate a rapid repair if they happen to have a gas or water leak.

While a manual system and a great customer service team can provide a good customer experience in the end, a job management system can take your customer data and engineer schedules and turn them into an excellent customer experience.

For example, Commusoft's database puts customer information within the easy reach of admin staff and engineers, allowing them to offer customers the correct details and to communicate with them better, keeping them up to date on with when they can expect their engineer to arrive. 

The system can also track regular visits such as Gas Safety Inspections and boiler maintenance visits, and send service reminders to new and existing customers.

This not only provides a helpful service that customers appreciate, but it also drives business for the company and increases retention.

While companies can provide a good service and solve field service problems, in the absence of a specialist system, the difference to both the business and its customers is easy to see. Everything about a job management software should be designed to streamline your business and make life easier for everyone.

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