Being able to access data and information while in the field is becoming increasingly important for businesses in today’s mobile environment. It makes businesses more efficient by boosting productivity and eliminating the need for unnecessary administrative work.
Field service businesses that still rely on paper struggle with having to reproduce information multiple times and the possibility of losing information like client details, invoices and work orders in the field.
Plus, the time gap between the information being gathered in the field and transferred to an official company document can be days, which can irk clients who are used to having instant access to information.
Australian company ServiceM8 (pronounced “service mate”) aims to streamline the way field service businesses run their entire operations.
“ServiceM8 basically gives them access to their entire business in the field,” Darren Ford, Strategic Partnerships Manager for ServiceM8, said during a recent interview.
Field service management app
ServiceM8 is an iOS app suited for any business that has staff working remotely in the field at various locations. From a central dashboard, jobs can be sent directly to field staff without the need for time-consuming phone calls.
As an example, Ford said, if a client calls into a plumbing shop with an emergency like a burst pipe, the office admin staff can use ServiceM8 to easily access that client’s profile, which contains all their contact information. Then, the admin staff just has to type or dictate notes about the current job request into the app.
On an accompanying map, the admin staff can see where all field staff members are, plus what those staff members are scheduled to do throughout the day. The admin staff can drag and drop the new job order onto one of the field staff members’ icons and that worker will receive a notification on their iPhone or iPad that they’ve received a new job order.
This eliminates the need to call and check where people are and what they’re doing, and instead allows them to instantly assign new work as it comes in, Ford pointed out. Field technicians are not interrupted by phone calls or having to write down details and they already have all the information they require for the new job.
The app gives the field staff directions to the new work site, and tracks their time traveling to the site and time spent on the site. It then helps them with all the procedures they need to do while on site like forms they need to fill out or tasks they need to complete, such as taking before-and-after photos.
ServiceM8 even allows field staff to invoice the client and take payment from them while on site, which eliminates the need to have office staff write an invoice and send it to the client later.
“We’ve reduced the time for payment to zero, because now businesses can get paid immediately in the field,” Ford said.
A lot of small businesses are still using manual tools like pen and paper, or electronic systems like Google Calendar and Excel, which can all do one task, but can’t work together, Ford noted. ServiceM8 replaces all of these things while being intuitive to use.
New franchise-specific service
Around since 2010, the Darwin-based company has customers in 30 countries in a range of field service industries like plumbing, electrical, HVAC and even snowplowing. And it’s just released ServiceM8 Franchise, which was specifically designed for franchise businesses.
With ServiceM8 Franchise, each franchisee gets a ServiceM8 account and the franchisor gets a head office account, which is like an overall account which encompasses all the businesses in the franchise. The head office account has call center capability and can generate reports based on analytical data from all the franchisee accounts, as well as access all those accounts.
The head office can also manage and deploy account settings, templates, forms and pricing lists. For example, the ServiceM8 Form function allows franchisors to create professional looking forms and reports that can be used across all franchises to maintain branding and consistency, whether those are forms that clients need to fill out, or procedural forms for staff to follow when performing duties.
“It allows for amazing control and for the franchisor to build packages of process and procedure which empower franchisees to excel and do their job really well, while keeping the overall franchise brand at a high standard.”
ServiceM8 piloted its franchise solution with various companies like Exceed, We Fix Windows and Doors before its recent launch, and the feedback has been positive.
“The roll out of ServiceM8 was good,” Exceed, We Fix Windows and Doors CEO, David Dovey said. “Franchisees picked it up on the first go and the support from the ServiceM8 team was fantastic. Since using ServiceM8, everyone, including our customer care center staff, are less stressed because operations are smoother. Franchisees are also loving the ServiceM8 app, which reduces admin time and allows payments on site. We are looking forward to an improvement in our cash-flow as a result of this feature.”
By streamlining processes, allowing for real-time analytics and increasing branding efficiency, ServiceM8 has created a new way of doing business for field service franchises everywhere.
For more info head to: www.servicem8.com/franchise