Why Customisation Through Software is the Way Forward to Improve Field Service Efficiency

Rhys Pattimore
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Who doesn’t love customisation? The ability to create, tweak, and personalise something so that it’s unique to you isn’t just satisfying - it can help to make your business stand out from the crowd.

Not only that, but customisation options that exist within your software—and which are also enhanced through the power of automation—will empower your business to take customers on world-class journeys!

While customisation and automation do make for a truly powerful combo, it’s important to rationalise the complexities behind them, as without the knowledge you need, it can be all-too-easy to get complacent, or even worse, use software incorrectly, which can hold-up your business, rather than help it.

  1. Get the basics right, then forge ahead!
  2. The human benefits of digital customisation.
  3. The power of digital integrations and automation.
  4. Customisation at a granular level.

1. Get the basics right, then forge ahead!

Consider the following example:

graphic_angry_review-01Say you’re part of a company that uses a software solution, but you find that things aren’t as efficient as you feel they should be. You dig around and find that someone else (who’s no longer with the company) set up the system, did all the training, but neglected to pass their knowledge on properly. As the current Operations Manager, you’ve now been given the task of setting things right...but you’re annoyed and unimpressed.

However, even though at first sight it looked it, you realise the fault isn’t with the software, but rather how it was being used. Now, any software provider worth their salt should be willing to help you solve the issues you’re faced with, even if it feels like a lot of work. The important thing is sticking with it, learning the right way to do things, and implementing solutions correctly.

Software can be an undoubtedly fantastic tool, but like any tool, if it’s used incorrectly it won’t give you the result you’re looking for. After all, tools should make life easier, but as in the example above, without the proper preparation it can mean:

  • No personalised experience for every customer
  • Invoices can still take forever to get paid
  • Customers may go to a more user-friendly competitor
  • Reviews will be even harder to come by
  • You won’t benefit from the time and money you could be saving...

graphic_computer_tools-01Of course, once you’ve got the basics down, that’s when you can truly start to tap into the potential that’s bubbling away beneath a software’s surface. There’s a whole range of complexities that with the right touch can elevate your business to new heights and give you the ability to customise features in ways that suit your business more specifically.

That’s the power of customisation.

Moving forward, just as you got to grips with the basics, it’s important that as your business grows that you learn to harness the power of customising and automating more tasks to further streamline and improve your overall efficiency.

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2. The human benefits of digital customisation.

Working hard is no bad thing, but working hard for no good reason certainly isn’t ideal. Hard work should be rewarding, not painful. Instead, optimising the way your admin team works will understandably affect their mood and improve their productivity.

Seeing as how a lot of our interactions are digital these days, it can be all too easy to forget about the human element. Thankfully, it’s reassuring to know there are steps you can take when using software—and particularly, in a world where so many of us continue to work remotely—to maintain a human connection, but enhanced with digital tools.graphic_man_ladder

You want to keep your staff busy with tasks that flow easily from one to the next. For example, a straightforward example (for argument's sake) would be for them to “Follow Steps 1 through 5 to send an invoice to the customer”. However, if you find that Step 1 leads to Step 4, then back to Step 2, then 3, all because a number was wrong, or the email bounced… well it’s a convoluted example for a reason: that level of confusion simply shouldn’t exist.

That’s where automation can help, by taking over various steps to maintain a higher degree of accuracy so you can ensure processes are being completed correctly.

As Commusoft's Founder, Jason Morjaria, puts it:

Automation creates consistency—You’re not relying on a person to do something (or forgetting to do something). You know it’s done in a particular way, every time.”

As we said though, that doesn’t mean forgetting about the human element. In fact, you’re enhancing it and as a result of being given the right tools to do great work, their productivity, job satisfaction, and general efficiency will increase and these benefits can carry over to customers, too!New call-to-action

Thanks to automated processes and interactions, you’re more likely to provide exceptional same-day service, keep customers well-informed with great online customer service, carry out jobs at a faster rate, and generally manage disruptions without customers ever getting wise to it. As Field Technology Online reports:

“Enabling customer service reps with the right tools both physically and mentally is essential to creating a productive, engaged, and capable workforce.”

Ultimately, if your team is equipped with the right tools, you stand to limit negative impacts on your customers; so empower your staff with tools that they can use effectively and support their needs on a human level, so you can support your customers, too!

3. The power of digital integrations and automation.

The benefits of automation don’t just come in the form of custom workflows and pre-set processes that run automatically within your chosen software solution. They also come through integrations that match up with external software, too.

As you may already be aware, a field service software integration means bringing together separate sub-systems from different solutions, in order to improve functionality. Think of it as a type of “software symbiosis”, where together, they help your business be more efficient.

A typical example would be integrating an accounting software (like Xero or QuickBooks) with your customer database software. When inputting the customer information (name, address, job number, payment details, invoice, etc.) into your database, an integration will transfer those details to your accounting system automatically, saving you from wasting time by having to do double the data entry.

[Integrations simplify] the execution of business processes by allowing for the free flow of data between all systems, thereby creating seamless data connectivity, a reduction of errors, and improved internal workflow. It also helps capture data about your customers that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.” - Field Technologies Online

While yes, you could have a particularly attentive employee doing this work manually, why would you when an automated solution is easier to establish and can help them invest that motivation into worthier tasks? Instead, empower you staff to do more:

“Integrating your solutions improves visibility and allows your technicians to be better informed and more flexible while performing their jobs. They become better problem solvers and will help your clients by increasing first-time fix rates and equipment uptime.”  - Field Technologies Online

Custom integrations aren’t unheard of either, so if you have a solution you believe could work, it’s certainly worth approaching your software provider: you never know, your suggestions could go on to impact the wider field service community!

4. Customisation at a granular level.


System level customisation is one thing; there’s a time and a place for solutions where “one-size-fits-all” of your customers, but individual personalisation creates better experiences for everyone.

Naturally, as your business grows, there comes a point when you don’t want commercial customers to receive the same generic messages as your domestic clients.

Having a system that allows you to take personalisation features to a much deeper level in terms of details (e.g. setting up a customer type, then customising certain communications so that they only reach said type) means you can start to develop more meaningful customer relationships that are specific to the individual, rather than a generic “To whom is may concern”.

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This granular level of customisation can really help your staff to save time in the office or in the field, and make customers feel more valued. Utilising automated workflows that are capable of applying the correct data means you stand to benefit from a variety of different types of communication:

While these may sound simple, when you dig deep, there’s a huge amount of customisable potential sitting within your software, and if applied correctly, you can reach customers on a personal level. And wouldn’t you want to have someone who feels like a friend helping you with a problem, rather than a complete stranger?After-sales care Portal graphics-03

The fact is, if you can configure your communication, the mobile experience of your engineers, the office experience for your admins,, then what seems like a detail will actually add up to allow your business to operate at a completely different level.

After all, true workmanship lies in the details and that’s how you stand to blow your competition out of the water!

The Takeaway

As you can see—and really, we've only scratched the surface of what software customisation is truly about—the right tools within your job management software can make a huge impact. It can influence the way you train employees, manage jobs, take bookings, and even help streamline the way you record and use customer data!

Of course, achieving these goals will require effort to implement effectively. But a big benefit of automation is its flexibility, so you’re never constrained should you want to make changes later down the line. That’s why great software comes with customizable features, as well as different plans, so that your tools can grow with your business.

Not only that, but good software should also make complex tasks easier to handle, so if they're designed in a user-friendly way, taking control and customizing the options that are available to you can be incredibly easy. In this way, you can make the most of your software and use it as a support to grow the winning service that you already provide into something that goes above-and-beyond, every single time with little additional effort.

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