What Is Field Service Management? (With Advantages And Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 23 September 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Companies that have ongoing operations outside of the office often develop strategies for managing their off-site employees. One such strategy that companies use is field service management or FSM, which primarily involves sending service technicians a location outside the company premises for maintenance, repair or consultation services. Learning about these systems can help you develop a strategy to manage your off-site workers effectively. In this article, we discuss what FSM is, outline its advantages, provide its benefits and explore tips for choosing an FSM system.
What Is Field Service Management?
Field service management refers to how businesses oversee the work conducted by employees working off-site. It primarily involves managing the optimum availability of off-site technicians and staff members. Field service typically involves employees and technicians who visit a specified work location to work on the company's behalf. For example, a company might send an equipment technician to instal, repair or maintain a heavy piece of equipment. A robust FSM framework is essential to ensure it gets repaired or serviced to continue to work as planned.
Some industries using FSM are telecom, mining, healthcare and air conditioning. Companies that provide these services use FSM software to manage and communicate with employees working in the field and ensure that they have the required data and material to perform their job duties. These systems allow companies to schedule work, delegate tasks, manage product inventory, provide dispatch orders and gather data from those employed in the field.
Advantages Of Using Field Service Management
An effective FSM system benefits employees, customers and employers in several ways:
Businesses that follow FSM protocols can help improve communication between clients, administrators and technicians. With a tracking system, companies can easily understand their technicians' location. It helps technicians meet clients at the correct place and perform their services efficiently. Employees can use the management systems to communicate with administrators upon encountering a problem. Based on the information collected, the company might update its systems. In addition, administrators might use the FSM system to evaluate the effectiveness of their customer service.
A company's good service management can improve workplace efficiency and productivity. Access to structured systems ensures employees know the protocols for handling concerns when working in the field. For example, if an AC repair technician encounters a problem while repairing a television, they might follow a standard procedure to rectify the mistake and report it to the supervisor. When employees know they can handle situations outside their workplace, it improves their efficiency, reduces stress and helps them stay productive through challenging situations.
An FSM system can reduce overhead expenses. With a structured FSM system, administrators can keep track of scheduling concerns and improve how team members communicate with each other. A business's focus on inventory management reduces operational and business expenses. If team members communicate well, it reduces errors and helps a company save money. Employees might work efficiently, using their available resources to complete tasks. Inventory management means employees can optimise the resources and provide excellent services to clients.
Enhances flexibility and efficiency
FSM systems make customer service easier and provide flexibility in the workplace. An FSM system provides more insights into the work process and helps coordinate jobs, satisfying employees and customers alike. These systems can ensure technician schedules and optimise work order routing. It might help companies spend less time documenting details and enhance the task completion rate.
Ensures reporting and monitoring
Typically, FSM systems can provide technicians and administrative staff with easy-to-understand information about their work duties. It can help in improving decision-making. These systems can calculate the job completion rate and average revenue per job.
Improves employee experience
An effective FSM empowers employees by providing the resources required to complete a job. For example, a company might create an application that updates the technician's schedule when a new client provides a service. The FSM contains every essential document like information resources, messaging features and employee handbook. When information is available in a centralised place, it becomes easier to access information and services required while working in the field. This might enhance the employee's experience and make it easy for them to complete their goals.
Who Benefits From FSM?
Apart from helping companies manage their off-site workers, FSM can benefit the team in different ways, such as:
FSM systems might automate the scheduling process for dispatchers. Typically, when dispatchers receive an appointment, the FSM system can recommend the next available field service dispatcher with the right expertise for the job. When a change occurs unexpectedly, the FSM system can source a replacement. The system can automatically adjust schedules even when a customer cancels an appointment. This feature helps align the dispatcher to a new or similar job requiring tools, skills and equipment.
Customer support agents are professionals who personalise every interaction. These professionals require constant access to knowledge base articles and use automated workflows. A robust FSM system works behind the scene and improves the responses and recommendations. It helps agents easily find what they need and resolve complicated requests. Also, using these systems, a customer service agent might connect customers to a skilled technician to better resolve customer queries.
During peak seasons, organisations in the field service might hire extra help. A robust FSM system allows contractors to start working on their projects. It can help in accelerating onboarding and help contractors get immediate access to knowledge base articles, experts and training materials. Even when working on-site, these professionals can communicate with colleagues and consult with experts.
FSM gives customers the control or convenience they require. It helps customer schedule their appointments from a portal, application or website. Customers can update on their appointment on the service day to ensure the technician does not wait too long. They can even set reminders on their appointment time and estimate arrival time and the contact details of the technician visiting them.
What Are The Main Components Of FSM?
FSM comprises various components, such as:
Dispatch management: This component helps designate and assign field technicians to various customers and clients.
Contract management: The contract management feature helps manage the service-level agreement (SLA) and ensures that the company fulfils its SLA commitments. SLAs primarily include the types of services provided and the quality standards expected from the commitment.
Employee training: The employee training component provides service teams with the skills required to do their jobs. It helps in staying up-to-date on product and service changes.
Job scheduling: Job scheduling helps in employee scheduling and service appointments.
Work order management: This component of FSM assigns work orders to qualified employees and tracks them to ensure the completion of work.
Tips For Choosing An FSM System
When selecting an FSM system, focus on the following aspects:
Know the team's responsibilities
For choosing the right FSM system, start by identifying the core functions of a team. Knowing a team's core responsibilities makes it easier to select a system that directly supports the teamwork responsibilities. For example, a team of air-conditioning service professionals might be responsible for completing visits to repair and maintain customer ACs. Technicians might benefit from systems that help schedule visits and maintain a directory of customer records.
Collect data about teamwork preferences and needs
Next, before choosing an ideal FSM system, focus on your team's primary responsibilities and identify their core responsibilities and work habits. If you work in a small team, you can now ask them about the features that might benefit them. Using a system that focuses on your team's work preference can ensure a better employee experience and improve workplace productivity.
Identify your management goals.
Before using an FSM system, identify the management goals of your team or company. Knowing about any weaknesses and areas of improvement can help reach those goals. By aligning the features of FSM with the management goals, teams and companies can provide excellent customer service and avoid potential service delays.
Make regular assessments
Even after choosing and implementing an FSM system, continue to evaluate its effectiveness. As the need and goals of your business might change over time, it is essential to update the systems to account for changes. Choosing a scalable FSM can be an appropriate choice. With time, you can add more features to your current system or use another system that fits your requirement.
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