Field service teams are rarely in the office. Instead, as the name implies, you can find them in the field. Teams that are always on the go don’t have the luxury of simple in person communication. Everything from spotty service to the actual work being performed can interrupt the flow of information, which can ultimately affect your ability to deliver timely, accurate service to your customers and to track relevant data with your home team.
The right software can not only bridge that gap, but make communication better than it ever was before. But with so many solutions out there, how do you know what you need? A customer relationship management (CRM) system, could be the answer as it solves for everything from tracking customer information to organizing billing to connecting your team.
You’ve probably heard of CRM software being used for in-office sales teams, and wonder if it’s right for a field service teams. Here are a few reasons why it is.
1. Better customer information means better customer service.
Let’s say you do a job for a client then a year later, they call you back for repeat service. It’s going to be tough to track down all their customer details if you’re just storing information in paper files or, even worse, your head. But with a CRM, all that information is accessible in a click. You’ll be able to pull it up immediately to both better understand what work and resources will be required, and to deliver an improved customer experience by taking note of past successes and failures.
You can’t remember everything about all your clients, but with a CRM, you don’t have to. Whenever a tech has a customer interaction, they record the information in your CRM. You’ll have improved, digitized records and look more organized and professional to your customers.
2. You and your team can access important customer information anywhere.
With cloud software becoming the standard for most CRMs, you and your team can access important client details no matter where you are—making CRM more than ideal for field service. The dispatch team can record a conversation that happened over the phone and the tech can record important notes from the site.
Since a cloud-based CRM works over the internet and doesn’t need special hardware, you can access your important customer information from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. And, as soon as one person at your company adds a note or updates a client record, everyone with the CRM will have access to this important information—no delays.
This means you and your team will always have the most important information at your fingertips, without adding unnecessary steps to your internal communications processes.
3. A CRM helps you win and keep more business.
One of the most critical components to closing potential new business is follow-up. After a lead gets a quote, you need to check in about questions and to show your readiness to do the job. A CRM makes the process of following up with your leads easier. It will track your leads and automate alerts so you know what quotes you need to follow up on and when.
A CRM will also help you market to your existing customers. With a CRM you can segment your customer list, so you can contact existing customers with targeted offers. Reach out to your seasonal clients with reminders and deals at just the right time, re-engage customers you haven’t heard from in a while with tempting offers, turn one-off jobs into recurring work—all of this is easier when you are tracking your customer information in a CRM.
So what type of CRM is right for you?
Choosing the right CRM can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of CRMs on the market and each brings a different feature set at a different price point.
A good CRM should be all about the “R” in the acronym—relationships. The two most critical players in your business’s relationships are customers and field service techs. Consider, or maybe even survey, the wants and needs of each.
Have you been lacking in timely communication with your customers? Do your techs have too much manual paperwork that slows them down from getting to the next job? Are techs missing relevant details when they arrive on site? Or maybe customers find the billing process confusing?
Make a list of the areas of greatest need. Every CRMs on the market prioritizes different features, so take the time to research and make sure that the CRM you choose helps you meet your customer relationship goals.
To advance this process, it may be useful to narrow down to systems tailored to your industry, such as a field service management system (FSM). At the core of any good FSM system is a CRM designed to specifically connect the many moving parts of a field service company. Good FSM systems build upon the CRM by adding:
- Crew schedules
- Work orders
- Route optimization and GPS tracking
- Invoices and payments
A CRM goes way beyond in-house sales teams and far past closing new leads. It helps manage the relationship on two sides so both your customers and your techs are more satisfied with the work. With the right research, you’ll find the CRM best suited to your industry and business, and it will help you provide better customer service, empower your team, and win more business.
Barret Hall is an experienced digital marketer who’s helped a number of small businesses grow their online presence. He works on the Jobber marketing team and writes about marketing, customer service, and technology at Jobber Academy.