Field Service Buyer Report – 2018

By: on April 2, 2018

Software Advice works with tons of field service businesses every day. Our expert advisors consult service businesses on their business and the software options that are best for their unique needs.

These free consultations have resulted in some shocking data: 60 percent of field service software buyers are falling behind the competition by using inefficient tools like QuickBooks, Excel spreadsheets, email or even paper files instead of dedicated field service software.

If you’re part of this 60 percent—or if you have a field service system that seems “broken”—this article breaks down field service trends to help guide you in the software selection process.

We’ll cover the technology service businesses are currently using, pinpoint the critical challenges they’re facing and highlight the top applications and features.

Key Takeaways:

• Only 40 percent of field service software buyers currently have an existing system in place. The rest are using a combination of Quickbooks, Excel spreadsheets, email, or manual methods like paper files and work orders. [Read more]

• 35 percent of buyers listed the need for newfound efficiencies and automatations as the driving factor for their new software endeavor. [Read more]

• 33 percent of buyers all requested the same features: contact management, billing/invoicing, scheduling and dispatch work order management. [Read more]

Field Service Software More Available Than Ever—60 Percent Still Not Using It

On average, small businesses are a resilient bunch—often making much out of very little. But there certainly comes a time when investments in business infrastructure must be made.

Many of the field service businesses we work with are at a breaking point in their operation. It could be because of tremendous growth, or it could be because of plummeting sales.

In either instance, the stress of outdated manual processes and their monotonous daily tasks will destroy your service business from within. Manual methods expose the business to unnecessary, detrimental human error and often results in leaving money on the table or letting it fall through the cracks.

But the streamlined automations and efficiencies of field service management software remove this human error. The software puts automations and alerts in place to ensure your service business is maximizing profits.

Common Field Service Management Methods
common field service management methods

Analysis of the conversations we have with field service software buyers indicates 40 percent are currently using actual field service management software. This other 60 percent are using a combination of Excel, QuickBooks, and/or manual methods like paper work orders.

If you’re surprised that only 40 percent of the businesses we speak with are using field service software, keep in mind that this number was at 15 percent for our last buyer’s report in 2014.

Buyer’s Already Using Field Service Software: 2014—2018
Comparison of field service software usage from 2014 to 2018.

Clearly, businesses are catching on to the benefits these systems provide. Not to mention there are new user-friendly, affordable systems hitting the market each year. You can see your peers are rolling field service software into their operations—are you being left behind?

80 Percent of Buyers Needing ‘Newfound Efficiencies’ Aren’t Using FSM Software

The beauty of our advisor calls is that they really make field service business owners/operators think about what’s needed in their new software. A great place to begin this conversation is to address operational pain points callers are facing. Any new system should alleviate as many of these pain points as possible.

Common Field Service Management Pain Points
Efficiency and faulty systems are top reasons businesses need new FSM software.

The top pain points our buyers are facing are troubles with their current FSM software and a need for more operational efficiency and automation (35 percent, each).

Obviously, those buyers complaining about their current system are innately already using FSM software. But only 20 percent of buyers with a FSM system in place listed the need for greater operational efficiency.

Need for Greater Operational Efficiency: Using FSM Software vs. No FSM Software
Field service software provides unparalleled operational efficiencies.

This goes to show the positive benefits that even subpar field service software can have for operations. Even affording your business one newfound process automation can put hours back onto multiple associates’ calendars each week.

A similar story is found when looking at buyers who listed “managing growth” as a pain point (16 percent). While 16 percent isn’t hugely significant, a closer look reveals that only 19 percent of those buyers listing growth as a pain point already have software in place.

Growth As a Pain Point: Using FSM Software vs. No FSM Software
Managing growth is a top reason businesses adopt FSM systems.

We’ve cut our data set to a lower number than preferred to get this result, but there’s still significance in the discrepancy.

This perfectly highlights how difficult it is to grow and scale your field service business when relying on manual methods to complete daily operational tasks.

Adopting field service management software affords your business newfound operational efficiencies, which enables you to:

1. Employ GPS tracking tools to improve punctuality, decrease fuel costs, and grow overall productivity.

2. Gather valuable data and create reports that measure key metrics like contract leakage, jobs scheduled, and jobs completed per day.

3. Define and implement a work order process (with essential automations) that matches an optimal customer journey.

One-Third of Buyers Requested the Exact Same List of Features

Every field service software buyer we consult lists their “must have” functionality when calling Software Advice. Few buyers only request one application. So we looked at the most popular combinations of field service software applications and found that a third of buyers are explicitly listing the following combination:

Top Requested Field Service Application Combination

Most popular combination of field service software features that buyers request

The importance and impact these capabilities provide your field service organization can’t be stressed enough. They provide newfound operational efficiencies and automations to get more done each day. But if there’s only one reason you choose to adopt a field service management system, let it be this:

Your competitors are adopting field service management tools, and your customers are expecting the experiences they provide. If you can’t offer these experiences, your business will fail.

Here’s the total breakdown of requested applications.

Top Requested Field Service Applications
The top requested field service software features and applications.

Additional field service applications and the benefits they provide include:

  • Inventory management tools help field service back offices and technicians in the field keep a real-time count of tools and supplies necessary for the job. Inventory can be monitored at various warehouses/offices as well as within each mobile vehicle in a fleet.
  • GPS tracking capabilities provide unparalleled insight for dispatchers and drivers in the field to get from one job to the next as efficiently as possible. This improves on-time rates, lowers fuel costs, and helps technicians get more done in a day.
    Many GPS tracking systems also offer tools to monitor technician driving habits. These can help hold techs accountable for any undesirable driving habits.
  • Customer management systems document valuable customer information such as contact info and prior service history. These can be used in tandem to send personalized marketing material to get customers setting up repeat/additional jobs.
  • Mobile payments have become a must-have tool for field service organizations primarily dealing in one-off jobs. With the availability of card readers on the market today, you should be able to find one for your technicians to get them paid onsite rather than via invoicing.

Find the Best Field Service Management Software for Your Business

If you’ve decided to adopt a new field service software system, there are steps you can take to ensure proper selection. We’ve outlined these steps in-depth here, but they include:

  1. Identify and rank your operational pain points
  2. Determine the applications that correspond to these pain points
  3. Ensure your existing business data will integrate with your new system

And of course, be sure to checkout what your options are by visiting our field service management directory page. Here you’ll find product information on over 150 field service systems.

You’ll also be able to read real user reviews from your field service peers on most all of these systems. And once you have a good idea of the market, feel free to give us a call at (855) 998-8505 for a free software consultation.

You may also like:

Achieve Field Service Optimization With Proper Software Selection

3 Field Service Metrics You Need to Monitor and Why

Software Needs Cycle for Field Service: Scheduling and Dispatching and Beyond

Compare Field Service Software