Important facts to consider when buying Field Force Management software

With the increasing evolution of mobile technology and unprecedented sales of mobile devices, companies worldwide are getting connected, both with their customers as well as with their offices. From eCommerce giants to the best of the banking sector and even the hospitality sector, connectivity is the key. Especially for organizations that depend on a dedicated field service/sales force for their operations, the need for a robust field force management solution is widely felt.

In recent times, everybody working in the field services sector realizes the importance of having a bankable field force management solution for enhanced productivity. In earlier times, it was hard to imagine being connected with one’s field colleagues or back office staff in a real-time scenario, from anywhere. Today, it is possible not only to track your field reps, assign tasks on the go, schedule client meetings, create route maps but also upload content, all from the comfort of a simple mobile dashboard interface. However, there are a number of solutions in the market and many of them promise the world at expensive subscription rates, so how do you make a choice about which service is best for you (Remember, price comparison & support facilities are crucial during such consideration)?

To help you through the process of selection and successful integration, I have listed below a few basic requirements that you need to be satisfied with, when choosing a field service solution:

User Friendliness

If mobile software were to be like quantum mechanics, it would be totally counterproductive for your employees, since simply training them to use it on their devices would take days on end. It is ultimately the features offered within the simplicity of the user interface that will do the trick. Accessibility of information, data storing and transfer and other basic features are the things to look for.

Network Independence

While it is true that all geo-cordinates of the planet may one day be fully connected, it is incorrect to assume that such is the case right now. Your field staff may at times be required to visit clients at locations with little or no internet connectivity. It is thus fundamental that your software have adequate offline functionality as well. This would mean eventual alignment and server synchronization once the device returns to the network. Ideally, it should also be device independent and both your field team as well as your office team can have access to the information on their devices and not only on mobile ones.

Reliability

Distribution of access levels for field-recorded information on a ‘need-to-have’ basis are a ‘must have’ for your software. Across the worlds, there are many laws against data theft and nothing can destroy a company’s image if it is found that personal customer data has been compromised with. A high end encryption technology and segregation of information according to access levels are some of the absolute basics that your software should offer.

Free Trial

No matter what anyone makes you believe, you should always try out the software before making a purchase decision, if only to get the look & feel of it. But ensure that there is no requirement of a credit card for you to be trying it free. It should be absolutely free from all risks.

Conclusion

While the current generation of hand-held devices are revolutionary; going forward, things will only get more sophisticated. In such an environment of mobility, the field service industry cannot be far behind while making the most of these technological advancements. So choose your field management software carefully.

Contact us for a demo today! Try FREE for up to 5 users.

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Do I need Field Service automation?

Bob Dylan was spot on when he sang “The Times They Are A-Changin” way back in 1964. They always are and faster than anything else, it is always technology that is susceptible to rapid evolution.

This is true even in the domain of Field Service mobility today, than ever before. Field Service organizations are increasingly going mobile and getting connected by the day. Backed by superior enterprise mobility and smart cloud-based field force automation tools, even small & medium sized businesses are adopting automation for their businesses.

So why do I need to automate?

Earlier, due to the unavailability of mobile devices and software, organizations were restricted to working offline.  Even once the first generation mobile devices were introduced, they were slow, clunky, costly and generally cumbersome. Hand-held tablets and phones had limited capabilities and were not secure.

Today, mobile field forces, empowered by the widespread adoption of hand-held devices has rendered it easier than before and highly convenient, directly reducing overheads and increasing efficiency. With a good dependable software, the workflows become smarter than before and if the interface is highly intuitive, it can get everything from inventory management, cycle counts, rep tracking, beat recording to sales can done now without much effort and that too, in real-time. So irrespective of whether your field team consists of food delivery reps, technicians, collections executives, sales personnel or any other executives, automation will be highly beneficial to everybody.

The technician can now address a job ticket in a single trip since they have the tasks, routes and the required inventory mapped out for a single delivery – JIT. Automation also saves them the unnecessary scheduling and/or entering data continuously.

Similarly, as the Team Lead of a Field Force company, you can jumpstart the success process of your company by improving customer satisfaction due to your efficiency. Also, your customer communication channels are far more personal and customized than ever before. All of these are vital for enhancing service quality, reducing time and optimizing costs.

There is scope for numerous examples across multiple industry verticals for the adoption of field mobility software and it can run into pages but the bottom line is that a robust field force solution can result in some the following benefits, both for your field team as well as for your organization:

  • Enable swifter, more precise business decisions
  • Offer data-driven actionable insights for process optimization
  • Allow real-time information for instant resolution
  • Minimize costs while maximizing efficiency
  • Reduce inconsistent communication & messaging (both with clients as well as intra-organizational)
  • Empower all departments in the organization relevant to your field team to become fully efficient

While it may not be absolutely crucial to get your business a mobile field service solution right now, but that is only if you are not looking for a healthy financial future for your company. Whether you’re in the eCommerce, heavy machinery or even with the F & B sector, you already do or eventually will need to have a dedicated field team and that is the very reason it is high time for your company to automate your field service processes.

To know more about what field force automation can do for your business, contact us for a demo.

The Field Service Industry: Where Are We Heading?

Not too long back in the past, field service based organizations were heavily dependent on non-software based operational processes and were really not too focused on customer experiences. That was almost an afterthought. However, in my previous article, I had stressed upon the economy’s gradual transition into an increasingly connected world and unprecedented mobility, so as a result, the customer has complete access to information and whether a company likes it or not, delivering superlative customer experience to their customers will most certainly be pivotal to their financial survival. The consumer today not only expects but demands exemplary service from their vendor of choice, and a company’s success will now be measured by whether it can meet up to the same.

Irrespective of whether it is Ecommerce, Finance & Banking, Telecommunications or even the Aerospace industry, clients nowadays expect the same level of service and transparency as they would from their pizza delivery staff. What is more; with mobile driven, easy-to-use and high-utility field force automation software, it is now easy for field staff to maintain a clear communication channel with their customers as they do with their own friends via the social media and mobile chat apps.

To deliver exceptional customer service, the future of players in the field sales & services domain will depend on how aggressively they deploy smart mobile devices to their field staff and integrate smart field management software.  This will impact not only the quality of service delivered but the collation of data captured by these software will enable a whole new generation of actionable insights and a better understanding of predictable analytics .

So what should you be doing to stay ahead of the pack in the near future? Here are some tips:

Uncomplicate the field staff’s job: Your mobile-driven cloud based field force automation software should help manage the FOS’ routine tasks and free them up to focus on better customer engagement to enable them to deliver enhanced value-added services. Create customized tasks for each visit with a comprehensive task builder software & record & view their responses.

Record, document & analyze data: Capture field data in real time and share the same with the office for analysis. This will, in turn, give you valuable insights and impact all processes across the company. Excellent customer service is the result of team effort and not the sole responsibility the field reps alone. The information will not only help in delivering high-end CSAT but will also provide useful inputs for product re-engineering, resource management and other areas.

Involve your customers: As re-iterated, ultimately, it is all about your customers. Technology in business is only as good as much as it conveniences the customer. Listening to the VOC  (Capturing, Analyzing, Acting & Monitoring) with the help of easy to use tools such as Feedbackify can help you go a long way towards reaching your final goal.

Get with it!

If you are still wondering whether you can afford to wait for the future to unfold, you may be left behind by the early adopters. So don’t delay any further and contact us for a free consultation & a demo that will unlock for you a new world of possibilities.

Do you know what your field staff are up to?

We are nearing times when everything from financial transactions to personal dating is going to operate in a fully connected environment. An ABI Research study projects that augmented reality is on the rise with Total Market Worth (TMW) to Reach $100 Billion by 2020 and another research by Flurry Analytics feels that mobile use is growing consistently by 58% year after year. With hand held mobile devices seeing this kind of unprecedented sales, it is safe to assume that we will soon be part of an online economy where everything will be connected. In this new order, can the field service industry be far behind?

This gradual yet consistent transition to technology and connectivity means that there will be a significant reduction in overheads and a substantial improvement in the quality of service offered by field sales & service teams, worldwide.  The efficient management of inventory and workforce ensures better customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

A workforce that is mobile can benefit hugely from a mobile-driven field force strategy. That is where technology comes into play and advanced SaaS field automation software offering end-to-end solutions enable enhanced field productivity and performance. This works best for companies with on-field service, sales, delivery or collections reps whose work is to visit identified clients on a regular basis to provide a variety of services, as required. These functions may include after sales maintenance of products, selling new products, delivering pre-ordered goods or collecting outstanding dues from customers.

Intelligent and intuitive automation solutions offer field service organizations a host of features such as tracking their field staff, uploading map locations for better reporting, scheduling FOS visits, managing FOS tasks, sharing content, selling goods & services, viewing routes, managing FOS attendance and tasks and lots more. Real-time communication with colleagues, supervisors and customers ensures smoother collaboration and information sharing for optimized productivity.

Irrespective of the industry vertical; mobile, cloud-based field force automation software is the future of all field service delivery teams. Remote monitoring and guidance will help an FOS to do his job in a much more organized and planned manner than ever before. Moreover, since some of the better automation solutions offer predictive analytics via business intelligence & data mining, they are able to provide valuable insights to further bolster performance and productivity. Identifying roadblocks or strengths using such analytics can reduce costs while increasing efficiency at all levels.

Stay ahead in the game

Gone are the days when your field force would report zero sales at the end of the work day and you had no way of knowing how they spent their time on the field. These new technologies are agile enterprise solutions that do away with cumbersome operation procedures to create a near Six Sigma environment. If as a business owner, one does not integrate these technologies into their field service businesses now, they will, sooner than later.

So wait no more, and embrace the change to up your game by several notches and be the leader in your industry.

Don’t buy your field force management software blindly!

Buying a field force management software requires serious consideration, especially regarding whether it is suitable for your needs, what the subscription will cost you and most importantly, what kind of support you can expect from the provider.

Some of the most important features to look for when buying a Field Force Automation software are:

Tracking your field reps: Look for a smart, intuitive interface that shows the location of your reps, beat plans & routes visited.

Uploading Locations: Can the software bulk upload the location data for those customers who need to be visited?

Scheduling FOS visits: Ensure that the software is adept at scheduling visits between customers & FOS conveniently.

Managing FOS tasks: That the software can create customized tasks for each visit with a comprehensive task builder & can view their responses.

Sharing content: Can you upload and share training & resource content on an in-built content library?

View routes: Is there a detailed map interface to help your field staff with visual directions to the required destination?

Manage expenses: Would you be able to categorize, manage & record all the on route expenses for your rep?

Record leaves & attendance: You should be able to manage and record leaves & attendance information for your reps.

Sell: Can you sell your products easily and monitor with our order management tool & invoice your customers instantly?

If the solution that you have set your mind on answers all of these questions in the affirmative, go for it right away!

What you need is an Intelligent, Affordable Field Force Management Software

Hope that helps!