The success of technical service companies lies in serving the customer as quickly as possible and with perfect quality. Be it the fault clearance of a telephone line, the installation of a fiber optic line or the dismantling of an old system. The customer expects perfect service. In this article, the greatest benefits are highlighted and supported with practical examples, so that you can directly take away impulses for your company. After all, digitization of order management, including field service processes, is the key to greater competitiveness and excellent customer satisfaction.
The transformation in business from analog structures to digital processes is omnipresent. Your company, too, is undoubtedly already amid the digital transformation. The main question is: How can you design your internal processes to meet the digital world’s requirements? In this article, I want to show you the five benefits of digitizing your order management. Here, I specifically address the needs of technically oriented service companies.
Supplementary articles on the topic:
- Guide to digitalization for decision-makers – More clarity in practice
- ADKAR framework – mastering change in digitization projects
1. Increasing the efficiency of your internal workflows
At the beginning of the Corona pandemic, a paper was still the leading medium for passing on information. Whole mountains of files were dragged from A to B across the yard, to the site manager, to the customer, and elsewhere. A massive flood of paper, not in 1984 but still in 2020. Looking back, it felt like the Stone Age.
- The site managers of one customer were still looking for the connection cable to load photo documentation from the construction site onto the office client from their digicam or smartphone.
- Another customer’s accountants were still distributing the printed files that had to be processed that day.
- Another customer’s warehouse staff was still issuing withdrawal lists on paper to document the withdrawal and consumption of goods. Only to enter everything manually into the ERP system afterward.
After implementing a professional and individual order management solution, these everyday tasks became a thing of the past.
This is because the same customers now work almost 100% digitally, exchange data conveniently via the cloud, and know at all times the current work order, the exact compliance with the contractually agreed SLA, the material stocking of each of their colleagues’ vehicles on the construction sites and much more.
They request colleagues for troubleshooting, report their work back promptly, and quickly prepare measurements that only need to be checked and approved.
This makes processes efficient, and the tools used offer a high level of convenience for the employee.
2. Cost reduction through process automation
Cost reduction through process automation is an essential topic for companies of all sizes. By automating business processes, companies can save time and money and improve the quality of their products and services. Business process automation allows companies to focus on their core competencies and free up resources for other business areas. There are many ways to automate business processes through specialized enterprise software. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and customer relationship management (CRM) software are commonly used to automate processes.
For technically oriented service companies, special order management software offers particular leverage. Because where CRM systems lack sufficient functionality and the large ERP systems are too expensive and too inflexible to be adapted or extended, good order management software offers a decisive advantage. As a rule, it already maps the most essential processes in the standard and can easily be enriched with further process logic using no code or low-code approaches. The configuration of such a software solution is not witchcraft and can be tackled even by people with less technical experience. Mainly because there are now many providers who offer their systems as “Software as a Service” (SaaS) and thus take care of all the necessary maintenance and updating work themselves.
Thus, the most essential interface functions are already mapped. Making documents available on multiple devices, displaying approval procedures and release processes, time recording and control, status displays, order completion notifications and invoice releases are just a few of the automation options that such a solution already brings with it when it is installed.
3. Time savings for all involved
Another benefit of digitizing your order management is the time saved for everyone involved. By using software solutions such as an electronic order book, clients, contractors and also service providers can concentrate on the essential tasks more quickly and easily. Searching for information in paper documents is time-consuming and sources of error are pre-programmed. With a digital solution, all parties involved have access to all relevant information anytime and anywhere – thus avoiding errors and saving time.
Examples of this are:
Instead of creating order folders, the required information arrives directly on the corresponding end device, e.g. a smartphone or tablet.
Instead of laboriously phoning all the service technicians several times a day to check the current status of the jobs, the feedback from colleagues is visible on a central view and in real time.
Instead of manually creating and photographing a sketch with the completed work, the services performed are selected directly, on the basis of which billing can take place.
Instead of manually coordinating different trades and querying their available times, they can be conveniently added in the software.
4. Reduction of error sources
Mistakes happen. Because mistakes are human. The bad news up front. Software will not eliminate errors. But it can ensure that errors are detected more quickly, or do not occur in the first place.
A good example are the data fields that every software has. Data fields can be assigned with certain commands. Each of you has probably received an error message when the IBAN or a phone number was entered incorrectly or in the wrong format.
In order management, especially when several trades have to be coordinated with each other, errors can be avoided. For example, a process can only continue when the previous trades have finished their work.
This may be the case, for example, when a final invoice is issued. A practical example I had was that my customer was only allowed to send his customer one invoice for all services of all trades. Thus, there was a very high manual effort to request the services from the trades, collect them, validate them and then list them in one document. And to do so in such a way that these services could be conveniently posted in the ERP system.
In this case, invoicing became possible only when all trades had documented and acknowledged their part of the service. This eliminated almost all possibilities for errors along the process.
5. Strengthening your customer loyalty
Digitizing order management has a number of benefits for companies. For one, companies can reduce their First Time to Response (FTTR) and meet their Service Level Agreements (SLAs). They can also get to know their customers better and respond more quickly to their needs.
They also get better data about their customers and can use it to improve the quality of their services.
A concrete example would be the intelligent route optimization that is part of the dispatching module of an order management software. The better the planned routes, the more accurately the service technician can predict when he will be at the customer’s site. Messages such as “Your technician will be with you tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.” are thus a thing of the past.
By using an order management software, the duration of the complete order processing can be significantly reduced without losing quality.
The higher reaction speed and the shorter order processing time almost inevitably result in higher customer satisfaction.
Using order management software is a must for technical service providers, regardless of the industry! There are many more positive benefit points to using such software than negative ones.
Nevertheless, there are some pitfalls from software selection to implementation, which of course have not been considered in this article.
And yet, the following is true: If you want to at least keep up with the competition and fight for customers, you have to digitize your order management.
The rest will be mercilessly overtaken left and right.