There’s a reason everyone in the field service industry and beyond, knows the saying “time is money.” If the whole team in your field service business keeps getting bogged down by tedious tasks that only result in wasted time, money and other inefficiencies, this saying likely resonates more than you wish it did.
We’re willing to bet that like many, inefficient processes are one of your biggest field service management challenges. And it’s also a big reason you decided to bring on field service management software in the first place.
Perhaps you’ve made your plan for implementation and started training on how to use the software. But now you're struggling to meet critical implementation milestones, or finding that the implementation is off-budget or taking longer than expected.
What causes these challenges, and what can be done to shift the implementation of your new field service management software in a positive direction?
Here are some of the top obstacles we’ve seen businesses in the field service industry of every size face when bringing on new field service processes, how to overcome them and how to manage all of the change that comes with onboarding a new tool for field service management.
Most Common Field Service Challenges When Implementing New Processes
1. Scheduling conflicts
When delegating members of your team to help bring on new field service management software, think about your top field service management challenges, what you are trying to accomplish and what is needed for the implementation to succeed.
The person (or people) leading change to your field service operations should be strong communicators, have the bandwidth to be involved in additional training and have the authority to make decisions that keep processes moving forward. Remember, just because someone made the purchasing decision to use a new field service management platform, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best person to lead using that platform.
In many cases, this means that your field service managers will need to attend trainings and learn how to use the new field service management software.
Make sure field service managers on your team set aside time to learn the software while continuing to complete their regular duties. If that puts too much on their plate or conflicts too much with their schedule, consider delegating some of their tasks to junior members of the team while they train on new field service processes.
2. Prolonged implementation
If you notice that staff are having a hard time keeping up during the implementation stage, ask for feedback. Where are they struggling? Why are they struggling? Is it just one or two people, or is it the entire team?
There may be a few people who need some extra support, even extra time when learning how the software works. If your entire team is struggling to adapt, you may need to reevaluate and make adjustments to your field service operations while the team trains.
Just because you have to pause and make some changes doesn’t mean your implementation initiative will be a failure. If anything, taking the time to adjust field service operations based on staff needs will help ensure long-term success with new processes. You may also need to reevaluate when you notice implementation goals or objectives aren’t being met in a timely manner.
Usually, when the implementation of new field service processes gets off track, it is because the implementation planning wasn’t attainable in the time frame set for it, there weren’t adequate resources available, or there wasn’t a clear vision for how changes would be made during each stage of the process. You may need to provide more hands-on guidance, or even break down bigger field service management goals into smaller objectives.
Remember that the more intention and time you put into implementation, the better your team will understand the full range of features within the software and how they can be used to overcome field service management challenges.
By assessing the situation, you’ll be able to move forward accordingly.
3. Resistance to new processes
It’s one issue if people are struggling to adapt to new tools for field service management. It’s another issue altogether if they are refusing to use new systems. If active resistance starts to occur, make sure you have provided a clear picture of the benefits that will come from the new processes.
Are you implementing new software so that field staff don’t have to travel to the office to hand over completed work forms? Make sure you have outlined how the new processes will make life easier for the team.
It’s also important to be empathetic and listen to staff concerns when they are resisting change so that they feel supported during implementation.
Reevaluating goals, designating the correct implementation leaders and providing a clear vision are just small pieces of the puzzle when it comes to overcoming field service challenges and change management obstacles.
Other Top Challenges When Implementing New Field Service Processes
Here are some other challenges to consider as you implement new field service processes in your business.
Invoice and payment management: When you change how you collect and process payments, take special care to keep track of customer information and transactions when you transfer them between old systems and new systems. Lost data can slow down your payments and disrupt cash flow.
Route planning: Take time to double-check new routes. This helps you avoid mishaps that waste time for customers and technicians.
Time fixes rate: Switching to more streamlined field service management systems should cut down your first-time fix rate. However, it's a good idea to still keep a close eye on your averages as you transition to a new system– that way, you can spot potential problems and roadblocks that prevent you from delivering the best customer service, faster.
Customer experience: Speaking of customer service, be sure to communicate any process changes to each of your customers. Be available to answer their questions about how new processes affect them and to reassure them that they won’t see any decline in service.
Want to learn more about streamlining field service operations with software? Download our eBook, Managing Change Within Your Field Service Business, to learn how you can create a change management strategy to help your implementation initiatives of new field service processes succeed.