If you run a small plumbing business and haven’t yet shifted to a field service management solution, we understand. Shifting is an added expense, and changing to FSM software means you have to adjust a lot of your existing business processes and practices. And that can be hard for any plumbing company.
Let’s walk through why you should consider making that shift. What possible solutions exist for your small business within an FSM software suite?
This is probably the most important reason to make the FSM shift that we’ll outline in this article. If you use a more traditional, paper-driven approach to manage your business, the integration of various operational aspects -- i.e. ‘silos’ talking to one another effectively -- can be a challenge. What if everyone’s important information was in one place, and cross collaboration was a cinch? (Not to worry; there are ways to set up access permissions with FSM software to safeguard info that requires a little more security.) Integration of different business resources makes decision-making smoother too, because executives and leaders can look at various parts of the business holistically instead of getting a bunch of different reports and having to integrate the information themselves.
This is a crucial aspect of any plumbing business, and field service management tools make it easier. First of all, scheduling and dispatch can be integrated. Secondly, if a plumber’s route has to change, or if there’s another customer shift, the system can be updated automatically. Because scheduling and dispatch features are also integrated with GPS, the plumber’s mobile device can display where to go next in addition to the best route to get there. The final advantage here is inventory. If a plumber knows he or she needs three specific parts or tools for a series of jobs that day, this plumber can be scheduled to a stop at a warehouse or supplier before, or in between, other appointments. It’s all done with quick-clicks and drag-and-drop features, which save a lot of time compared to traditional methods.
- Sales and customer acquisition
Here, you can track how your sales team is doing, and you can see new ‘leads’ in your sales funnel. You can also run a series of reports on customer acquisition costs, referrals, renewals, and lifetime value of a customer (depending on how long you’ve had him or her as a customer). Reports are typically viewed on the dashboard, an intuitive way of organizing and grouping information for maximum decision-making ability. Think about it like this: you could go into your FSM software suite and pull up a report on new orders per plumber. In real-time, you’re now seeing which of your plumbers are good at marketing the business to existing clients and which need work. That can lead to training possibilities and other business adjustments. It all points toward growth.
Your business probably has a series of KPIs that are important to monitor. Some examples include: first-time fix rate, employee retention, customer retention, and revenue per product. You can load this information into your FSM software and easily track any KPI in real-time. This is a massive advantage, especially for a small business -- which tends to have a lot going on and not as many resources as an enterprise.
This has been a game-changer in field service and plumbing. If your plumbers install the FSM software on their mobile devices, they can keep up with everything from the road. This includes looking at their appointments, getting customer information, getting inventory information, being re-routed when customers cancel, and invoicing customers (including capturing signatures!) right from their phones or mobile devices. Staying in business requires your plumbers to meet client needs on-site, so having a way to easily connect with your plumbers as they generate revenue is important.
But how do you choose an FSM?
Thankfully, we’ve put together a checklist for you on how to choose your FSM software. What do you need to be thinking about? What considerations need to be in play? It will vary from business to business, but this checklist is a good benchmark to begin with. You can download it now. If you have any questions, definitely contact us.