Forward-thinking field service management companies (FSOs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are digitally transforming their businesses to meet the changing needs of customers. Likewise, adopting repair management software is a key driver to help organizations overcome challenges, improve processes, and position themselves as innovators in the industry.
In this post, we will define the basics of repair service management software, cover its benefits, what to look for in a field service repair management software solution, and explain how this technology is evolving within the field service industry.
What is Field Service Repair Management Software?
Field service repair management software is a digital solution that leverages various technologies to optimize, automate, and streamline the processes and workflows for field service repair. Field service repair management software is typically a component and functionality of a unified field service management software solution. One of the main tenets of this software is to ensure that the best technician, with the right parts and information, at the least cost, is always dispatched for the job within the least amount of time.
Top Field Service Repair Challenges
OEMs and field service companies realize the numerous challenges of the traditional manual, paper-based approach to service repair management, which includes:
- Inefficient and error-prone processes
- Paper-based approaches that are time-consuming
- Lack of visibility into field technician workflows
- Limited insights into inventory management and customer data
Field service repair management has historically relied on these outdated approaches for managing, onboarding, training, and scheduling technicians. For example, a field service repair business may employ whiteboards, manually-entered (and printed) spreadsheets, work orders, and other paper forms. The management of these forms is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and error-prone.
Why Integrated Field Service Repair Software is Important
Some OEMs and field service repair businesses are not completely paper-based and deploy various point software and technology solutions in an attempt to hobble together an ad-hoc solution. While this is a step in the right direction of digital transformation, it can unfortunately create more challenges. First, the disparate solutions deployed may not integrate well with each other, existing systems, or future technology investments. Secondly, the data between the systems is not always shared in a way that guarantees the data is correct, up-to-date, and accessible. Third, the various point solutions may create more complexity and cost, which puts the company at risk for low user adoption and a wasted investment.
It’s important to delineate field service repair management software as a purpose-built technology solution and not an existing generic software that was slightly modified for the field service industry.
How Field Service Repair Management Software Overcomes Challenges
OEMs and field service management businesses can tap into a myriad of benefits when adopting an integrated field service repair management solution. The top benefits include:
- Removing outdated paper-based approaches – OEMs and FSOs are well-aware of paper volumes and speeds. Equipment repair planning software eliminates these time-consuming and error-prone approaches.
- Improving efficiencies – Repair planning software improves the entire planning workflow process, from initial customer contact to field technician availability management and scheduling. Billing and payment features may also be available depending on the software you use.
- Real-time scheduling – The ideal equipment repair scheduling software provides real-time scheduling insights for everyone involved, including the company, field technicians, and customers. Using mobile app technology, FSOs can complete a message or notification to convey all the critical repair information for a job (e.g. device type, customer history, location, repair technician arrival time update, work indication status, etc.).
- Higher control and visibility –Field repair software gives businesses greater visibility into where, what, and how their field technicians are working. These organizations can tap into critical insights into work order status to ensure top-notch service is performed. Customer surveys also help to keep tabs on performance metrics, providing actionable insights into service quality.
Evaluation Criteria for Innovative Field Service Repair Management Software
There are various marketplace vendors, and not all field service repair software solutions are the same. When considering solutions, look for the following features, functionalities, and benefits:
- Mobile Field Service Capabilities – Choose mobile-enabled equipment repair scheduling software to help provide all relevant job information to workers on the go. This includes mobile access to work orders, equipment information, warranties, service contracts, parts inventory, equipment history, forms, customer location and history, and more.
- Contractor Management – Many FSOs and OEMs work with a blended workforce already, and the concept is only growing with the graying of the workforce. Therefore, it’s important to choose software that empowers you to manage both full-time and blended workforces. Questions to ask the vendor: Is the equipment repair technician software easy to integrate? Is the software easy to onboard both contracted and employed field technicians and office staff?
- Self-Service Customer Portal – In the modern business market, a customer portal is no longer a special feature, it is a staple for any customer centric solution. For instance, in the United States, 88% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service customer portal. Likewise, your repair scheduling software should also serve your customer base. Look for software that includes a customer portal for self-service engagement. Notable features include an easy-to-use portal, real-time job status updates, technical repair locations, and a communications component. Providing customers with this minimal level of transparency and control can improve customer satisfaction and customer retention.
- IoT Servitization & Predictive Maintenance – IoT devices are not just consumer devices, various IoT connected devices are used in the field service industry. For instance, company computers, mobile devices used by field workers, and smart home appliances. The use of IoT technology can also help field service companies increase their bottom line. For example, IoT devices can relay critical real-time data to field workers who can better diagnose the need. This improves efficiency, preparation and service workflows.
Moreover, predictive maintenance, a type of servitization, is an approach for field service businesses to proactively improve customer experience, retention, and profitability. With the help of IoT, AI, data analytics, OEMs and FSO can mitigate equipment failure and send a field tech to repair the equipment before it fails.
- Augmented Reality – AR (Augmented Reality) is an interactive experience that enhances a real-world environment by overlaying computer-generated 3D elements onto an existing environment, all in real time. Moreover, AR can be used as a visual aid for field workers by overlaying device diagrams or instructions into equipment in the field. By accessing this critical information in the field, technicians are better enabled to complete a repair job on the first try.
- Major Appliance Brands – The ideal appliance scheduling software needs to work with major appliance brands. This ensures that the software is capable of handling high-profile accounts, as well as serving brands that technicians are familiar with. Here are questions to ask the vendor: Does the software work with major appliance brands and/or provide real-time information on parts inventory, appliance manuals, and specific nuances of the major brand appliance?
Deploying a Unified Field Service Repair Management Solution
As covered, it’s essential that you select a software solution that is purpose-built for the field service repair management industry and that is also part of a unified solution. Look for a technology partner that combines all of the various technologies, features, and functionalities into an intuitive solution that your workforce and customer base can easily adopt and continue to use.
ServicePower’s field service repair management software improves customer experience and meets the essential evaluation criteria covered.
Discover how ServicePower can help your business improve the repair customer experience and drive revenue.