Build a business case for your management to invest in field service management software

As a manager handling a team of employees who go on-site and resolve customer issues related to your product/service, buying field service management (FSM) software to help you manage the workload of your team is critical—especially as your business scales and the team grows.

However, such a purchase decision will often require management buy-in. The management needs to completely understand the ROI associated with such a product. 

To build a solid case to purchase a field service management solution is a two-step process:

  1. Understanding the problem: What problem are you trying to solve and how does solving that problem align with the vision and mission of your organization? 
  2. Documenting the solution: Write down how field service management software will solve your current problems. For this, a visualization of the current support workflow and how the new software will improve the process will really help the management get a clear perspective on the problem and the solution. You can also highlight how the cost of the software works out over time versus the benefits derived from the solution.

Understanding the problem

In order to help you identify and articulate your requirements and the challenges you are trying to solve, we have created a set of questions to guide you through this process in this free eBook: ‘A Buyer’s Guide to Evaluating Field Service Management Software’.

Documenting the solution

Documenting the benefits will be the most crucial part of building your case to the management. The benefits of a software solution might not always be quantifiable. Some of the benefits could have an indirect impact on your business. 

For example, 

  1. An FSM  solution might be able to intelligently schedule tasks to your personnel—who need not wait to be assigned a new task once their previous task is completed.
  2. The solution might help your business achieve better route optimization by showing the shortest path your field service agent will need to take to go to a customer’s location and also route the agent to work on the next task that is closest to their current location. This will also lead to a reduced wait time for your personnel and increased utilization rates, thereby improving your team’s overall productivity. Not to mention reduced wait time and downtime on the customer side.
  3. A field service management software solution also impacts how efficiently you run your team as the processes to be carried out by your dispatchers will be relatively less labor-intensive. Also, since many of your manual tasks can be digitized by the software, the field service technician to dispatcher ratio will improve. There will be a reduction in the time spent speaking on the phone and coordinating with your field service agents. 
  4. An FSM solution makes it easier to handle emergency service requests. Most importantly, when a field service technician moves from one customer location to another, they will have the right context about the problem (including the service history) through the field service management app and will carry the right tools to solve the issue (which will also improve inventory management). Customer feedback can be viewed instantly on the dispatcher’s app and the level of customer satisfaction can be gauged easily.

There will be a significant impact on your company in terms of improved customer satisfaction and customer experience. There will be more recurring revenue and more customers. Also, your field teams will be more mobile (literally and figuratively) as the software will enable them to work faster, and be leaner and more professional. 

As a manager, you will get overall visibility of how your team is performing and you can also forecast trends by using the reporting features available in the field service management tool. You can also quantify how such a solution will make life easier for your own field service team by quantifying revenue forecasts and margins by taking sample numbers.

You can build your case by also showcasing case studies where usage of a field service management software has improved service levels (like fix rates) of an organization. Your management should be educated on what your competitors are currently doing to improve customer service levels and how you can either play catch up or be one-up over your competitors. 

From the cost angle, it will be better if you get quotes from other field service software solution providers and document the features offered by each of them. It would be better to score these solutions based on your use case so that the management gets a better view of the options available in the market as well. Apart from the software purchase cost, there could be other hidden costs such as training costs (for dispatchers and field technicians), integration costs (to integrate field service software with current software used by the organization), and implementation costs. Currently, all major field service software providers are moving to the cloud (SaaS) and they are less expensive compared to on-premise software solutions, especially when you take into account integration, onboarding, and maintenance costs. Finance leaders in your organization should also be notified of your search for a software solution so that they can be prepared to create space in their annual budgets if your management gives the approval for a field service solution.

Apart from costs, there could be other challenges in implementation that a manager should foresee. As a manager, you should work with the shortlisted software providers on coming up with a reasonable implementation plan for your organization. Having an ROI measurement plan in place that will periodically check how much improvement the software has brought into effect, in terms of service efficiency and service satisfaction, will also help prove your value addition during audits.