Today, field service businesses face numerous challenges, including a rapidly changing economic landscape, shifting customer base, evolving technologies, graying workforce, and more. Many field service businesses are focusing on field service cash flow to remain competitive, agile and adaptable.
While improving field service cash flow may be top of mind for organizations, it’s imperative to examine the various strategies and opportunities before deploying any approaches to addressing cash flow challenges.
Let’s take a closer look at some key best practices, strategies, action items, and approaches that can help field service businesses improve cash flow. Armed with these insights, you’ll be better positioned to understand and implement what needs to be done to increase and manage your cash flow.
4 Tips to Increase Your Field Service Cash Flow
Leverage innovative field service management software
Traditional field service cash flow management approaches, which include paper-based and manual processes, are not always adequate for today’s evolving needs. Fortunately, field service management software empowers field service businesses to scale quickly with the fluctuating demand for services without sacrificing service quality or company budgets. Field service management software helps you tap into technological innovations and digitally transform your company for improved efficiency.
Not all field service management software is equal. Also, not all field service businesses’ needs are the same. The software you deploy must be intuitive so your workforce (whether it is full-time or a blended workforce) will eagerly adopt it, and in doing so, you drive better efficiency. Furthermore, depending on the field service management software you deploy, a customer portal with mobile capabilities and predictive maintenance can improve customer retention and ultimately, drive revenue from new and repeat customers.
Expediting invoices to improve field service cash flow seems like an obvious strategy but it can often be overlooked with all the other field service businesses priorities. Field service management software can obviate the need for relying on outdated systems that are often manual-based and error prone. The centralized software can digitize the invoices efficiently, accurately, and quickly.
Some field service businesses use various disparate software in an attempt to manage cash flow. However, the different solutions do not always integrate and work in accord; the result is that more complexity and inefficiency is created – and that can negatively impact your cash flow.
Select an integrated field service management software solution that delivers a holistic approach – even at the invoicing stage. When evaluating field service solutions, consider the following capabilities:
- Automated invoice creation
- Customizable forms and workflows
- Built-in estimates and pricing
- Mobile payments without hardware
- Reduce business operations costs
Business operations for field service businesses are tied to team management operations. Overall, the goal is to manage field service levels and operations, reduce costs, and drive revenue. However, as mentioned, field service businesses currently face evolving challenges that make the journey to reach these goals complex. Having the right field service management solution is vital to reduce business operations costs.
Let’s examine some benefits and opportunities of deploying field service management software to simplify team management to increase cash flow. To maximize these benefits, look for a field service software solution that includes:
- Advanced scheduling including work order management – This helps maximize workforce deployment efficiency.
- Outsourcing – What happens when your current staff is overloaded? Is there a way for you to efficiently outsource the work? Having the capabilities to manage third-party contractors can augment operational agility.
- Parts management – Businesses need to accurately monitor parts inventory, depot repair activities, and other components to ensure field service technicians have on-time parts delivery and equipment functionality.
- Contract management – Business operations need to efficiently manage warranties, sales, and fulfillment of service contracts in a centralized, intuitive way.
- Communication – Field service businesses know that time is critical to the business, customer and field technicians. Adopt a solution that helps manage the communication systems so that all vital parties can obtain up-to-date information wherever they are.
As an example, appliance business Electrolux saved $1M year over year and reduced technician travel time by 15% after deploying field service management software to reduce business operations costs and improve cash flow.
- Embrace data-driven decision making
Simply defined, data-driven decision making is based on using data, facts, and metrics to help guide strategic field service business decisions. For many businesses today, it’s all about the data; in fact, the big data market is predicted to grow to $274.3 billion in 2022. The velocity and volume of data is impressive, but at the crux of all this data, is the need for strategic and actionable data insights.
Field service businesses making the digital transformation will also experience a dramatic increase of data - lots of data. How you make sense of that data and putting it to work for you is critical to improving field service cash flow.
Deploying the right field service reporting and analytics software is the first step in turning that data to work for you. Field service reporting and analytics software culls the data, analyzes it, and then produces data-driven business intelligence.
Benefits of field service analytics include:
- Increased visibility
- Improved operational efficiency
- Augmented forecasting and planning
Overall, field service businesses need accurate, up-to-date, and accessible data insights as a foundation for important decisions such as improving cash flow. More importantly, these critical decisions are backed by data and not decisions made on a whim or guess. While there are marketplace vendors who purport they are data-focused, not all providers are the same. Take your time while evaluating field service reporting and analytics software solutions to ensure that your business partners with a technology provider who is experienced in delivering on that promise of data-driven analytics and reporting.
Improve field service cash flow, improve the customer experience
Adopting these strategies and solutions can help better position your field service business to improve field service cash flow. Many of the approaches and best practices covered are also inherently tied back to the customer experience. Whether it’s increasing your first-time fix rate, augmenting customer retention rates, or saving money from having to return back and redo the job, you are engaging positively at these important customer touch points. And satisfied customers equate to paying customers and increased cash flow.
Ready to improve your field service company’s approach to improving cash flow?
Explore how ServicePower’s visionary software can help you get there with a custom demo.