So you’ve hit your breaking point. Maybe the physical paperwork has piled up beyond what you thought possible, or maybe your current software just isn’t meeting your growing needs. Either way, the end result is the same, and now you’re in need of new field service management software.
No doubt, you’ll have a wishlist chock full of features you want your new software solution to include. If scheduling and routing are on the top of your list, you’ll definitely want something that specializes in those areas. No matter what you’re looking for though, there’s a crucial element to software that buyers often overlook: training and support. After all, the greatest software in the world is worthless if you don’t know how to use it. When evaluating potential platforms, carefully consider what each software provider does to get you up and running.
Demos and Trials
Before you make a purchase, there’s a good chance you’ll want to see exactly how a software package will operate for your specific business. And that’s smart! Most software companies offer free trials or demos to sate their prospects’ desire for a test drive. (If a company doesn’t offer a trial or demo, that should tell you something about their faith in their product.)
Insist on speaking to a skilled representative from each software provider you evaluate. Have them show you the different ways your business will benefit from their product. At the end of the day, they shouldn’t just want you to purchase their product. They should want you to be happy with your purchase and be ready to use it to its full capabilities long-term.
Most likely, you’re looking for a new field management software because your business has outgrown your current job process. If you used another software program or a spreadsheet to log customer data, you should find out if you can preserve or import that data when you migrate to a new system. Many software providers offer out-of-the-box integration with QuickBooks or other accounting programs, and some offer custom data conversion services to help your company get up and running smoothly. Don’t be shy! Ask each provider about your options.
After you purchase software, you’ll have to get it up and running on your computers and mobile devices. These days, many field service management programs come as web apps, which don’t usually require much of an installation process. While this might sound like a good deal, the companies that provide these solutions can sometimes leave you to your own devices when it comes to setup. This can lead to costly mistakes and wasted time.
A dedicated implementation team, like the one Smart Service offers, can ensure a smooth transition from paper or a previous service to your new field service management software by remotely connecting to your machines and installing that software for you. Having someone ready and able to do this takes the burden of the transition off of your shoulders and allows you to focus solely on your daily operations and goals.
Some software providers don’t offer training, leaving new customers to learn the software on the go. Others charge exorbitant rates for training sessions. Pay close attention to how each software service chooses to provide training. Online resources and manuals can help, but there’s no substitute for a dedicated trainer or onboarding specialist. Make sure the company you choose offers a flesh-and-blood human who prioritizes your success. These specialists can show you tips and tricks (often specific to your company and job process) to make sure you get the most out of their product.
In addition to initial training, some companies offer continual guidance or resources. Options for additional and ongoing training as your business grows and you hire new employees are important to keep everyone on the same page. Be on the lookout for companies that proactively offer training resources. Online guides, tutorial videos, active blogs, or reoccuring podcasts and webinars are all great indicators that a company takes their customers’ needs seriously.
Once you’ve purchased a software service or started a trial, a well-staffed help desk serves as a valuable resource. When you call your software provider, you want to know that whoever picks up your call has received comprehensive training and can clearly and expertly deal with whatever problem you have.
Over 50 percent of companies in the customer service industry have some or all of their tech support based overseas. Almost 90 percent of those businesses make that decision in order to cut their costs, but there’s just no substitute for quality service. Calling someone who shares your business schedule and can quickly evaluate your issue will really help minimize the stress you feel when something in your software breaks. In these situations, you have enough on your mind without dealing with language barriers or other hurdles.
We touched on trying to find a service that’s proactive in assessing the potential questions and concerns of their customer base through additional training resources like blogs and videos. Another way companies can be proactive? Regular software updates. Regular updates show that a company listens to what their customers want and prioritizes staying ahead of the curve, providing the best product they can.
To recap, here are the five support and training considerations to keep in the back of your mind when evaluating software:
- Do they have a demo?
- Do they offer personalized training?
- What additional online training services do they have?
- How knowledgeable and accessible is their help desk?
- Do they regularly address customer needs and update their software accordingly?
No matter what’s on your wishlist, when you’re ready to find a new field service management software, looking at the provider’s training and support features is a good measure of the company itself.
Madison Capitano is the blog and social media voice behind the field service management software Smart Service. When she’s not writing, posting, or tweeting, you’ll probably find Madison swimming a few laps, cooking, or relaxing with a good book.