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by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 27, 2016


If you work for a field service company, you know how important it is to getting the right technician to do the right repairs for the right customer; and to complete the work order all in a reasonable amount of time. Successfully coordinating all these moving parts can be very challenging to accomplish, especially if you’re using manual methods—which is where service work order software comes in.

Adopting and integrating service work order software into your day to day operations can help streamline and automate previously tedious manual processes, both the field and the back office. Such automation leads to greater efficiency, and also enables you and your employees to spend more time focused on providing better customer service.

With all the software options on the market, however, it can be tough to know where to start when researching these service work order systems for the first time. In this guide, we’ll cover:

What Is Service Work Order Software?
Common Functionality of Service Work Order Software
Important Considerations

What Is Service Work Order Software?

Service work order software is a part of the field service software category; it's designed to help manage work orders sent to technicians and increase back office organization of work order history. Additionally, service work order software helps back-office staff respond to customer requests quickly, manage repairs and inventory across the service network and run reports to get valuable insight on service operations. It can also help easily identify the right technician for the job and dispatch them quickly.

Service work order capabilities are the core component of formal field service management (FSM) systems. These systems are at the epicenter of most all successful service businesses, both at the enterprise and small business level. At a high level, these FSM systems offer three core functionalities (aside from common reporting and accounting/financial capabilities and integrations):

  • Document management: Keep track of work orders, service contracts, and other valuable documents.
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  • Customer relationship management: Manage customer job histories. Automate marketing functions such as emails reminders for monthly, yearly service.
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  • Telematics: Monitor mobile assets in the field, including trucks, tools/equipment, and employees. Optimize routes based on real-time traffic reports. Identify misuse of company assets.

What’s more, systems with mobile access allow technicians to get all the information they need to complete work accurately and on time while in the field. These systems also update customer and repair data, service histories and inventory levels automatically, so technicians don’t have to re-enter information when they get back to the office. This saves time and reduces the potential for human error.

Many service work order systems offer customer self-service functionality. This can streamline the work order submission and creation process even further, and provides the opportunity for customers to leave valuable feedback about the service they receive. It also offers access to real-time information for customers who need answers quickly or after hours.

Common Functionality of Service Work Order Software

The table below lists capabilities common to most service work order software systems:

Work order generation Allows users to create work orders based on customer service requests. Some systems can create work orders automatically from requests submitted via email, Web form or self-service portal.
Scheduling and dispatch Assigns technicians to jobs, either manually by dispatchers or automatically, based on location, availability and skill set. Many systems send automatic notifications to technicians via email, phone or in-app alerts, along with relevant work orders.
Inventory management Automatically updates inventory based on what items technicians use in the field. May include automatic alerts when parts need to be reordered.
Invoice generation Lets technicians generate invoices from completed work orders, add parts and inventory items used and send invoices to customers electronically for them to approve or reject (and explain why).
Mobile functionality Allows technicians to receive real-time alerts and notifications for upcoming or past-due work orders. This includes the ability to view customer and job information, service history for the customer or location, update inventory with parts used, view photos or schematics, generate invoices, capture customer signatures and more from anywhere in the field. Some systems offer native mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.
Service contract management Helps users create quotes and contracts for customers, which can include installment invoicing terms. Some systems can automatically schedule customer payments.
Self-service portal Lets customers and other stakeholders log in any time, from anywhere, to access scheduling and repair information, place service requests and communicate with your company.
Reporting and analytics Allows users to run reports to gain deeper insight into service operations and technician performance.

Important Considerations

Keep the following considerations in mind as you search for the right service work order software for your business:

Integrations with other software systems. Make sure the system you choose can integrate with other software your company uses, such as accounting, customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning systems. Solutions that support integration out-of-the-box will be easier to implement than those that require customization.

GPS capabilities. Some systems come with GPS capabilities that are able to locate and monitor technicians on the map and provide turn-by-turn directions to service locations. This technology can also help keep technicians accountable while in the field. Consider a GPS-enabled system if you frequently send technicians to unfamiliar locations, and/or if you want to keep closer tabs on field service workers.

Preventive maintenance functionality. Some service work order systems offer tools that support preventive maintenance. These include automatic work order scheduling and dispatch for key assets showing signs of potential failure. Look for systems with this type of functionality if you want to implement a preventive maintenance strategy at your organization.

Mobile payment processing. Some service businesses are taking advantage of the affordability and ease-of-use of today’s mobile payment processor. Service organizations are using platforms like Square to collect payments at the point of service. This greatly expedites the invoicing process and gets money into service companies’ accounts much faster.

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