Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is constantly improving and being revamped to suit the needs of a more diverse business world. From being a traditional device for sales strategies, CRM has evolved into a much more diverse application for broader business functionality. CRM systems can now be found that manage marketing tasks, help secure new clients, manage customer service, and more.
The growth, flexibility, and customizability of CRM systems has also allowed businesses to grow accordingly in terms of expanding CRM to other parts of their organization. More often than not, field service, which is a customer-centric business, becomes one of the areas mentioned. However, some are skpetical about utilizing CRM software to manage a field service operation. Here are some reasons why it would be a good and a bad idea.
Field service organizations are like any other company. They stay stable by acquiring new customers and making sure existing customers keep using their product or service. CRM systems are very good at managing customer relationsips, as their name implies. Aiding companies market to customers, managing the activities and opportunities of customers, and of course selling to customers, are some of the specialities CRM systems offer. Furthermore, you can use CRM to manage marketing campaigns and provide superb sales service through tracking customer opportunities.
Field service organizations are more dependent on the customer and making him/her as happy as possible. This is where CRM systems can come in handy in areas such as quoting, opportunities, lead management, aggregated customer information, sales access to service history, integration of email and app plug-ins, marketing campaign management, and service sale excellence.
In addition, CRM software is able to keep up with growing trends within customer service. These trends include aligning sales and marketing departments and eliminating the line between marketing and customer service. In any case, field service needs are extremely diverse and CRM may not have the capacity to conform to all of them.
Saving money and retaining customers by performing above the level of satisfaction are obvious necessities in a field service organization. That being said, CRM software might fall short when it comes to performing certain functions necessary to sustain a good one.Â Here are a few problems one may come across:
Scheduling is a complicated matter in the field service business. You have to keep track of who is on the road, who is closest to the job site, who has the right tools for the job, and who has the knowledge to use those tools. Unfortunately, CRM systems typically do not come with a scheduling system, especially one that can cater to the complex needs of a field service organization. A scheduling system that is up to date and running well can have many benefits such as reduced travel time, improved customer satisfaction, better matching of technician skill sets to different jobs, reduced overtime, and more. Running on a CRM system alone would therefore be inefficient.
More and more companies are beginning to see the value of warranties in terms of generating increased revenue. Therefore, field service oranizations that try to run on a CRM system that does not have a program to manage warranties will definitely be missing out. This increased revenue stems from warranties actually improving customer relations because they support a lasting contact between the customer and your company. This also makes warranties a very lucrative opportunity for a lasting company.
Mobile capabilities for field service workers are non-existent with CRM software which can definitely be a disadvantage for companies, especially in a growing technological world. Integrating the mobile devices of employees into the work day has shown to make workers more efficient which means more profit for the company. Having to rely a lot less on paperwork and more on a simple and integrated mobile system is a huge bonus for workers who are reliant on accurate and timely information.
Quoting (the negative side)
This was mentioned as a “pro” because CRM softwares do have quoting capabilities but they are more geared towards consistent general sales processes across industries. The only down side is that quoting in the field service industry is a time sensitive matter, and this is where CRM software falls short once again. Furthermore, it is very important in the field service industry to quickly convert quotes into work orders in order to increase communication with the customer. CRM systems are unfortunately incapable of doing so.
Much like quoting, CRM systems are capable of creating maintenance contracts but the problem remains that they are not very compatible with field service needs. Long-term maintenance contracts are unable to be managed by a CRM system as well.
Managing equipment and inventory
Managing equipment and keeping track of inventory is another major aspect for field service organizations. CRM systems do not offer ways to oversee or even update this information, which becomes a difficult ordeal when it comes down to knowing which tools and/or parts to purchase, if replacements are even needed at all.
Billing and invoicing
Systems allowing workers to bill customers on-site save both time and money and still maintain billing accuracy. However, CRM systems once again do not offer any programs for this because they are not technically designed with the field service in mind.
There is no current CRM software that allows for quick and easy communication between managers and workers in both the office and the field. A lack of communication does lead to a suffering or failing field service.
Due to the relative similarity of sales needs from company to company, there is not much need for CRM systems to be that different from one another. In a field service organization, there are much more diverse sales processes but there exist no such options for CRM software customization to cater to this diversity.
As stated previously, CRM software can be extremely helpful if you are looking to manage sales, market campaigns, or improve customer service, but unfortunately are largely unhelpful when having to perform field service operations. Field service organizations attempting to run their business through CRM software will have quite the awakening when they see a loss in effectiveness compared to organizations that run on integrated field service management. If you are trying to convert a CRM system into something that can perhaps be helpful with field service operations, it may just be a lot easier to implement a system that is specifically designed for field service. In this way, you will be saving an immense amount of time and money.