Supporting your field service with cloud ERP software

Should a service-providing company that strives to provide excellent customer service consider implementing a cloud-based field service management solution? Can a service-providing company even provide excellent customer service without cloud-based field service management software? The answer to the first question is ‘yes’, and the answer to the second question is ‘yes, but it’s much harder.’

Let’s take a look at what field service management is and how a cloud-based ERP system, which provides field service automation among other things, plays a role in securing customer satisfaction.

What is field service management?

Field service management is the action of managing a workforce that is deployed to perform a service at offsite customer locations. Industries utilizing field service management tools include real estate and construction, telecommunications/cable, utility, home/office cleaning, HVAC repair, and many more.

A field technician’s interaction with customers is one of the determining factors in a service company’s overall success. The term ‘interaction’ covers the entire appointment, from when it was made to when the invoice is paid. Customers rate their experience on:

  • Timeliness (did the tech arrive on time?)
  • How efficient the appointment was (did the technician have the tools/resources they needed to complete the service?)
  • Cost (was the invoice explained to and approved by the client?); and professionalism (how did the technician treat the customer?)

The last item is more of a training issue, but every aspect of the service is important to the customer.

Unfortunately, many service companies still rely on spreadsheets, paper-based work orders, and phone calls, or emails to communicate their field service needs. These manual processes have resulted in time delays and human error. Ultimately, both the company and the customer pay the price.

Here’s the good news: Field service automation and field service tracking are available via field service-specific cloud software (or Software as a Service) integrated within a comprehensive and mobile enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

How cloud ERP solutions support field services

Cloud-based ERP systems act as the heart of an organization. Data from integrated business processes, systems (accounting, inventory, CRM, purchasing, etc.), and third-party applications flows to and from the ERP in real- time, allowing users to be on the same page, at the same time. Employees access the system over an internet connection, which means they can use browser-enabled devices to connect to the solution from wherever they are and whenever they want.

When businesses needed to pivot to a remote workforce during the COVID-19 crisis, those who were already relying on cloud ERP software were ahead of the game. Service companies know all about managing a remote workforce. Utilizing a cloud-based ERP system to streamline and automate their field service management processes will help them leap ahead of competitors – especially those that may be resisting the many benefits of cloud software.

What are the benefits? It can depend on the cloud ERP solution. ERP systems come in all shapes and sizes. It’s critical that service organizations research their options and evaluate the features and benefits of each one.

As a rule of thumb, the right field service management software will be able to seamlessly connect customer service, inventory management, dispatching, routing, accounting, and billing workflows. Acumatica cloud ERP and Acumatica Service Management provide this seamless connection along with the following features and benefits:

  • Scheduling: With a visual Dispatch Calendar Board, dispatchers can create new appointments or assign resources and the personnel with the appropriate skills to scheduled appointments. Calendars can be filtered based on appointment requirements and resource schedules can be viewed by day, week, or month. Service requests, customer information, and product history are instantly available to field technicians.
  • Route Planning and Map Integration: Dispatchers can chart routes using GPS, saving technicians time in searching for each appointment. Last-minute appointments can be automatically added to planned routes, notifying technicians instantly and sending the new service order to their mobile devices.
  • Appointment Tracking: Status updates are available in real- time. Resources used and notes/pictures are automatically available.
  • Mobile App Operations: Receive payments, enter expense receipts, and capture signatures with a mobile device while onsite.
  • Dashboards and Business Intelligence: Personalized dashboards and drill-down reports allow users to access past information and gain insights into future needs.
  • Flexible Billing: Invoices can be generated based on estimates or actuals. Companies can define different billing rules by the customer and service type.

Comparing features and benefits is a great way to decide which field service scheduling software integrated within a cloud ERP solution is right for each business.

Field service management made easy with help from the experts

Another great way to research options is to speak with actual software specialists, such as MNP Digital, a company that is committed to helping organizations find technology that “increases your flexibility, creativity, and agility, rather than stifling it.” They are experts on Acumatica’s cloud ERP software for field service management and will make the process easy as they anticipate and solve your business needs and problems.

To get the conversation started around a solution for your organization, reach out to us today.

Request a free consultation to explore the ROI of an ERP solution for your organization.

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Our team of dedicated professionals can help you understand what options are best for you and how adopting these kinds of technology could help transform the way your processes function. For more information, and for extra support along the way, contact our team.

Author: Dan Caringi

Dan Caringi is a Partner with MNP Digital and a leader within the firm’s national Digital Solutions practice.