Stories of high failure rates related to using new field service management software are enough to make some contractors stick to ineffective routines. These failures often occur because businesses expect the software to work as expected from the start. The reality is that software for field workers is just like purchasing any new tool; you need to learn the ins and outs of it to make it work best for you. The same goes for new software programs. With the right planning and pilot program, your software will help grow and strengthen your business.
Tips for Ensuring the Success of New Field Management Software
- Know your goals: Choosing field management software because it has features that seem beneficial is the wrong approach. Instead, choose a program that will help your business meet its goals effectively. To do this, you must first outline what a successful software implementation looks like. How should the software improve your company? Goals might include:
- Maintaining more accurate records
- Improving communications
- Increasing conversion rates
- Tracking sales activities better
- Tracking worker schedules better
When you determine goals for your field service management software, you are better able to choose features that support them.
- Know your sales process: From the time that someone asks for an estimate to the time that you finish a job, several steps take place. Ensuring that your employees follow the lead nurturing and sales processes that you expect will improve the bottom line. Outlining these processes will help ensure the field management software reinforces them.
- Management and employee buy-in: The top reason new software fails is because end users (i.e., field technicians) don’t use it. In addition to determining how your business will benefit from the software, you must determine how it can make your employees’ jobs easier. When software simplifies job processes, employees are more likely to use it. Features that make field service work easier include:
- Mobile accessibility
- Instant access to update job statuses
- Easy access to essential job notes and permits
- Auto generated sales reports
- Simplified communication with coworkers and customers
- Add custom features: No two contracting businesses are alike. The best field management and CRM program for your business is one created specifically for your industry, such as 360e for electricians. The programs come with a set of pre-defined features. Use the goals that you outlined in the previous steps to determine which features and fields to add.
- The right tools: Software won’t work without the right electronic devices and equipment. For cloud-based programs, like 360e, make sure your computers have reliable, high-speed Internet access.
While most individuals already own a smartphone, it’s not fair to ask workers to use their personal cell phone provider’s data services to conduct business. If you don’t already provide workers with mobile devices to use in the field, consider an arrangement in which the company pays for the extra data usage on personal devices.
- Training: Some field service management programs are simple to use without training, but this doesn’t mean that you should skip it, as there are always tips that an employee can use to increase productivity. Provide employees with documented procedures for using the software. Demonstrate how the program will help them meet expectations, serve customers better and improve their own skills. Take this time to communicate the company’s vision and goals. This can also be accomplished with a series of YouTube videos.
- Pilot program: Allow employees to test the software for a period, such as a month. Depending on the size of your company, ask employees to voice their concerns and suggestions to you or their team leaders. When employees know that you value their input, they’ll be more likely to use the software and provide constructive feedback. Use this information to track progress, modify plans and add custom features as necessary. During the pilot program and beyond, measure internal satisfaction to identify how the software and employees can use it best.
- Test again: After the initial pilot program, allow employees to test the software with the latest customizations. Depending on the changes made, you may need to provide additional training. A well-tested pilot program helps ensure a successful roll-out and greater employee buy-in.
Field management software failure stems from quick roll-out processes using programs that don’t align with a contracting company’s goals or employees’ needs. When you take the time to customize and test the software, you support your customer service efforts and give workers the tools they need to succeed.