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How to manage a virtual field service office during the pandemic

The reality of managing and running your field service company has dramatically changed over the course of the last few weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and altered the way we work and interact with each other.

Amidst the chaos, your field service company probably falls into the category of essential services. This means you’re allowed to work even if your government has ruled a general lockdown for the country during the pandemic. But besides still providing service to your customers, you need to be taking precautions to protect your team.

We’ve already given a few tips on how to confront the coronavirus pandemic from your field service business. Here’s a few more to learn how to virtualize your office, and therefore reduce contagion risks.

How to manage a virtual field service office during the pandemic

Digital scheduling and dispatching

Are you still using pen and paper in your field service company? If so, you’re probably forcing your workers to work in close proximity, which increases the chances to get infected. This pandemic may be ironically the best time to take the step into digital business management.

Most field service professionals are already using management software like Synchroteam – a system that enables you to schedule and dispatch teams, manage inventory and invoice customers, among other tasks.

Field service software digitizes most of your work. This allows you to fill in, update and share paperwork without physical exposure – neither for your team nor your customers.

Adopting a field service management tool has other benefits, which generally increase the efficiency and profitability of your business. So if you’re ready for it, give Synchroteam a try with our free demo!

 

Accessing computers remotely

Perhaps you already have most of your staff working from home. However, for many field service businesses, the central computer back at the office still holds important information. Job lists and schedules, customer service stories, invoices still to be sent… these and other important documents may be difficult to access during the pandemic.

Luckily, technology is here to lend you a hand. There are a few software tools that enable to remotely access the computers back at the office. This means you can retrieve documents stored on them and edit them just as if you were sitting at the office – while you’re actually at home.

One of the most popular remote access tools is Chrome Remote Desktop. It’s free, it’s easy to use and enables anyone with a Google account to access a remote computer from another device. Just bear in mind that is has to be properly configured in the remote system, so you’ll need to make at least one trip to the office before staying at home during the pandemic.

Another well-known remote access software is TeamViewer, which is also offered for free for personal use. You can access remote devices (it supports even mobile platforms like iOS and Android) and work on them as if you were physically in front of them.

 

Remote estimates and customer support

Now it’s probably not the best time to pay a visit to your customers. Most people won’t be happy with the idea of letting someone into their home, even if they have issues with power, pipes or the heating system that need attention. How should you act in these situations? Again, technology is the answer.

Instead of revising the customer’s installation in person, a good option for these pandemic times is having a videocall with your customer. They can show you where the issue is, and the technic can assess the need for intervention, and generate a quote if necessary. This estimate can be easily created with most field service software tools, like the invoicing engine included in Synchroteam.

Plus, there are a bunch of free tools you can use for these videocalls, many of which are so popular that most people already know how to use them: WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts…

 

Digital invoicing

Last but not least, we shouldn’t forget about the last step in any field service job: collecting payment. One of the recommendations to avoid virus spread in the pandemic is to use credit cards instead of cash. Fortunately, many field service management software tools like Synchroteam already have that covered.

Credit cards are a great way to pay these days. You don’t have to exchange them with anyone (unlike banknotes and coins) and you can swipe them without getting too close to another person.

Plus, with the payment processing module included in Synchroteam, you can easily collect the money right from the job site. Once the payment is processed, the system will automatically email a confirmation message and a copy of the invoice to the customer.

Digital scheduling, remote access, videocall-based quotes, online invoicing… all these tools will help you continue to deliver a good-quality service to your customers while protecting your team from the pandemic.

 

Image by Dejan Krsmanovic

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