The complete guide to running a successful field service business

Learn how to raise revenue, engage customers, and get positive online reviews with field service management best practices.


Today, field service management is broken. Despite its potential to offer more convenience than brick-and-mortar establishments, customers are kept in the dark and are often disappointed by their services. The result? Business owners like you are forced to work around the clock to please your customers and coordinate every aspect of your services with customers, technicians, and back-office managers. Still, even though you work as hard as you do, you lose customers too often and constantly have to deal with disengaged technicians and overwhelmed administrators. 

This dynamic makes your life harder than it needs to be and can make growing your business feel daunting. . But it doesn't need to be this way. You can delight customers, increase your service quality and save yourself time by focusing your business around delivering amazing customer experiences.

We'll teach you everything you need to know about digitizing and simplifying field service management for your business, so you can improve customer engagement, reduce churn and empower your team along the way. We hope it helps you on your journey to strategizing a fantastic field service business.

Increase revenue with a scheduler built for field services

If you haven't found a solution that works for your field services, you're likely using Google Calendar and your personal phone for scheduling.

This system makes scheduling services for your business inefficient. Using this method, administrators can spend hours going back and forth with customers to schedule just one service. For business owners like you, it means being tied to your phone at all times, as one missed call means potentially missing out on revenue and opportunity.

This process is tedious and time-consuming. Not only does it make booking a service difficult for your team, but it limits your customers' ability to book your services with the flexibility and convenience they've come to expect with other services such as Uber and DoorDash. At the same time, your technicians need to factor in drive times and the best routes to get the most out of their daily schedules. 

To retain and engage more customers, you need to make it easier to book services with your business. You can achieve this with a customer self-scheduler within your business's website and with a great online experience. 

However, it's not enough to just get any service scheduler. Your scheduling software should offer flexibility for the customer while staying mindful of your team's internal schedule. Scheduling should also minimize onsite provider drive times, so you can increase the number of services your organization performs in a day.

A self-scheduler acts as a portal into your business that customers can use to: 

  • View personalized pricing and services before booking 
  • Schedule their service at their convenience
  • Reschedule, alter, or cancel their appointment whenever they want
  • Enter their payment information and approve additional work requests from anywhere

Based on our experience, up to 95% of your customers will self-schedule online. Instead of being bogged down by admin work, this will give you time to refocus on your business's strategy and other big-picture objectives. 

To achieve a "holy grail" service calendar, you need an automated, online scheduler built to optimize field service routes. For instance, Zippity's customer engagement service platform enables onsite providers to define all their service vehicle routes by drive times and service areas. 

The result is a 30% decrease in drive times per service vehicle, opening onsite providers' schedules up for more clients, admin work, or family time. By minimizing routes between appointments, you also increase revenue by 8% per service vehicle.

But even with a fantastic self-scheduling tool, a high-quality service job can be undermined by a poor digital customer experience. This leads us to the following requirement of a successful onsite service business: a strong digital customer experience

Raise customer retention with a digital experience

Today, field service businesses still fail to deliver a professional, digital experience to their customers. Once scheduled, your services may lack transparency and communication, causing your customers to question your business's effectiveness. Luckily, with the right technology by your side, you can make an amazing digital customer experience easy to provide.

Automate professional field service communications

One of the first setbacks of field service is that customers have to spend a lot of time waiting for a technician with little idea of when they'll show up. Even after their technician arrives, clients often have no visibility into their service's progress or results. Lastly, online payment and invoicing processes are slow and outdated, frustrating your customers and impacting your business' bottom line. 

Meanwhile, your technicians are often overwhelmed trying to meet customer needs with daily obstacles like last-minute scheduling changes, admin errors, long routes, and more. They don't have the time to create polished customer-facing service reports for every appointment, leaving customers to review and approve unclear service details and recommendations. And with upsells and needed additional work requests changing customer costs all the time, your technicians may struggle with awkward payment collection conversations with mad customers who feel misled.

That's why you want a system that can automate your previously manual communications. For instance, with Zippity, you can automate ten previously manual communications to customers through the admin portal and the technician mobile app for each appointment.

Zippity also allows customers, technicians, and admins to interact within the app, all on the same thread. They can share service photos, keep customers updated, and more, all within the Zippity app. 

Other automated communication tools include: 

  • Technician estimated arrival time notifications
  • Service update texts
  • Emails about service logistics, customer account setup, and more
  • Professional service reports that include an executive summary, explanatory notes, and photos
  • Additional (and in-the-field) work authorizations and upsells
  • Future service recommendations
  • Service reminders
  • Digital invoices
  • Online payment

By using automated communication processes, you're saving yourself and your technicians from doing unnecessary admin work while also increasing customer transparency. Best of all, by making upsells automatic and onsite work authorizations possible, your business gains the opportunity to increase upsell revenue by 34% with customer approvals on one in every two service requests.

Empower your technicians to wow customers 

A field technician mobile app is another digital tool that you need to improve in-the-field customer interactions (and customer retention rates). By providing an app that connects to your organization's main operating system, you can consolidate daily operations and support your technicians in communicating with customers, so they can focus on their jobs. It'll be as if they have an in-the-field assistant by their side. 

Technician mobile apps can support your team and contribute to a better digital customer experience with the following configurable features:

  • Turn-by-turn directions to ensure technicians show up to appointments on time
  • Technician service updates to optimize service transparency
  • Pre-canned messages and a customer response tool to optimize communication throughout each appointment
  • Service checklists to ensure accurate, standardized processes and high customer satisfaction
  • Texts between admins, technicians, and customers within the same thread to reduce admin-work 
  • An online quote builder to accelerate upselling in the field 

These features provide transparency for customers, empower technicians and engage clients. Today, customers expect 24/7 responses and complete visibility from start to finish. Improving your communication processes will ultimately delight and retain your customers while also boosting your company's 5-star reviews. 

Get complete visibility into technician performance and the customer experience 

To optimize your field service business and its customer relationships, it's essential to see and control your daily operations. A comprehensive admin portal provides this oversight of your business's customer information, cash flow, and shop management. The result is more transparency into day-to-day operations and customer experience from start to finish. 

The software you choose should have an admin portal that gives you visibility into your service history and customer records. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is the key to not only build a personalized experience for customers, but to gain full visibility into your services and understand how to improve them and retain more customers. 

Your system should also connect with your existing billing systems from Quickbooks or Stripe, giving you all the tools you need to run your business from one place. These integrations also make it easier for your customers to purchase services with upfront payment entry and access to your business's fast, digital invoices.

For the business side, integrations give you more flexibility to stay organized and improve both accuracy and efficiency. Going back and forth between different tools can be mentally draining, and it can open your business up to needless errors that can cost you. 

Lastly, an admin portal can give you better visibility of your business's operations through revenue and appointment reporting, so you can find ways to create better customer experiences.

Here you can track:

  • Important KPIs for scalability (like total drive and service times)
  • Historical revenue generation
  • Job completion per day, week, month, etc.

You can leverage your appointment reporting to spot trends over time, find room for optimization and identify valuable business opportunities. 

An admin portal allows you to gain oversight of your onsite services and your team's performance, so every touchpoint is an opportunity to empower your employees while giving your customers optimal transparency into their services. The result is a happier, more loyal customer base and, as a result, an increased number of referrals. Besides reporting, there is another way to keep a pulse on your onsite service business and bring in more customers: reviews.

Get the customer reviews your business needs

Great reviews bring in more customers; it's as simple as that. Bur getting great reviews isn't as easy for onsite service businesses. Because you can't rely on a storefront or lines of customers to draw in new prospects, online credibility is essential. And nothing establishes credibility like reviews. Why do you need great reviews? They tell new customers that you're as good as you say you are. And because you don't have the advantages of a brick-and-mortar store, you must demonstrate your business's credibility online. 

With more than 25 current reviews, businesses can overtake their non-reviewed competitors' incoming revenue by up to 108%. You'll also be happy to know that positive customer reviews also help customers feel comfortable spending up to 31% more with your business.

To complete your business's digital experience, automate customer review requests to build a large portfolio of positive feedback on your third-party review site. With this feature, you can receive up to one review for every three customers on average and generate more customer acquisition as a result.

Leverage Zippity's field service management software to nail every customer experience

With the digital transformation we all experienced in 2020, field service is more important now than ever. Choosing the best field service management software is crucial to your field service business's overall success. 

Zippity is the only customer engagement service platform built around delivering premier onsite experiences and simplifying onsite operations. Use one system for your point-of-sale, CRM, and shop management to raise revenue potential, customer satisfaction, and online reviews. The result will take your business to the next level and in the long run, help you retain more customers.  

Make powerful, scalable field services a reality––while wowing your customers. Want to learn more about Zippity's customer engagement service platform? Watch a quick demo of our software here. 

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