Field Service Management Industry User Research Report

In early 2015, Capterra surveyed 100 service businesses of all shapes and sizes to compare what types of field service software they actually use.

Published by Andrew Marder, May 6 2015

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Field service management software is the nerve center of most field organizations. Whether we're talking about plumbers, contractors, or pest control services, a company's management of invoices, customers, and appointments can be centralized with a field service software package.97% of field service software users saw an impact on their business.Tweet This

Capterra surveyed users of field service management software to give you a better understanding of what's being used now, what features are hot, and who's in need of software.

Overall, it's a relatively pretty picture. Users are, by and large, happy with their solutions. Ease of use and increased functionality are topping the list of requirements for buyers.

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Key Findings

  1. 74% of field service companies counted functionality or ease of use as a top priority for choosing new software.
  2. Across surveyed areas, 97% of field service software users saw some impact on their business from implementing new software.
  3. Over half (51%) of respondents are using customer alert features.
  4. The relative ease of switching means 81% of software users ended up being satisfied with their purchase.

Why pick the software?

When choosing field service software, price, support, and training all take a backseat to usability. Asked to rank the importance of different factors in their buying decision, 74% of respondents placed "functionality" or "ease of use" in their top two. Nothing else came close.

Field service software: most important reason for chosing software

Reasons for the choice of field service software selected.

The popularity of the software, meanwhile, had little impact on buying decisions. Half of the respondents placed popularity dead last.

The relative value of a brand name has been diminished, in part, due to the dominance a few players have in the space. Instead of having to worry about finding a trusted brand, buyers can focus on finding the software that's best for them.

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Popular field service packages

Unlike many other software sectors, the size and broad functionality from the larger vendors has led to some domination within the space. While smaller niche players are abundant, most companies still opt for one of the big names.

Field service software: most popular brands

Brand of field service management software being used.

The most popular software provider was FieldOne accounting for 28% of respondents. Service Power and Explorer Software tied for second with 12% each, while ClickSoftware came in third with 10%. No other provider cracked the 10% mark.

That's represents a substantial deviation from Capterra's Top 20 field service rankings, where ClickSoftware came in first followed by Wintac and Coresuite. The difference may simply be due to sample size or it may stem from the fact that this survey collected information only at the customer level, not the user level, which is incorporated in the Top 20 list.

The small selection of providers means that the competition for new features and customers is fierce, driving a quick innovation cycle and leading to satisfaction across the sector. Field service software is quickly become an "innovate or die" field.

Moving away for more features

Given that features play such a large role in purchasing decisions, it's no surprise businesses switch mostly due to a lack of features. Over half of service businesses switch software for more features.Tweet ThisIn total, 58% of switchers did so due to their previous software lacking functionality. More surprisingly, only one respondent cited ease of use as a reason for switching.

Field service software: reasons for switching products

Why businesses switched field service management software

The second most common driver for switching was a lack of support for the previous software. As field service is in a contentious phase, vendors left behind are going out of business or having their products acquired by stronger companies.

Some of the switching happening now will be to larger vendors after a smaller player has left the field. That's not to say small vendors can't succeed, but buyers are clearly taking size into account.

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Most popular features of field service software

The most commonly used feature of field service software was customer alerts, which 51% of respondents reported using. Of functions that were missing from their software, 14% would like quote creation.

Field service software: most used features

What features are most used in field service software.

The field service industry is seeing a shift in its overall culture, reflected in software usage. The days of looking for the cheapest provider and simply signing up for them are gone. With strength returning to the business world, more emphasis is being placed on the customer experience.

Features like customer alerts, mobile applications, and e-signatures can help service organizations distinguish themselves.

Most desired features of field service software

Unsurprisingly, the features field service software users are clamoring for are those that help bring in new business or make getting paid easier.

Field service software: most desired features

What features are the most desired in field service software.

Quote creation inside your FSM software makes turning potential jobs into real jobs easy and error free. Integration with customer relationship management software centralizes the view of your customers, making it easier to get new business. Mobile payments give businesses one more way to get paid.

These are big opportunities for small businesses to convert more people to paying customers. As reflected by these stats, cash is still king in the field service business world.

Satisfaction with software purchase

Overall, respondents are happy with the products they've landed on. Only 19% said they were neutral or dissatisfied with their field service software, while 26% were very satisfied.

Field service software: customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction with their purchase.

Happy users ran more demos, on average. Customers who reported being satisfied or very satisfied ran 2.1 demos before making a purchase, while neutral or dissatisfied customers ran just 1.7 demos.

Field service software: satisfaction rate vs. number of demos

Customer satisfaction based on number of demos.

Satisfaction also increases directly with tenure. Businesses using their field service software for over 5 years are 95% satisfied with it.Tweet ThisCustomers just starting out with a product are, on average, just about satisfied, while customers with the longest tenure — five to ten years — are very satisfied.

The short implementation time — only 2% reported taking more the two months to implement — means there's relatively low switching costs, so those unhappy with their purchase can quickly move away.

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Impact on the business

Before you can determine if you're really satisfied, a business has to address the impact new software has on their day-to-day operations. Our field service software survey found the biggest impact from field service management software on customer interactions. Customers paid faster and were more likely to sign on, once the company started using the new software.

Field service software: software's impact on the business

Impact of features on the business.

83% saw an impact on customer payment times and 90% saw an impact on the number of customers won using quotes. It's a great result and both speak to the potential value new software can bring to a company.

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Cost of implementation

Of course, talking about revenue without talking about the cost of the revenue is pointless. Keep in mind that costs include time and cash, both of which can vary greatly depending on the size of your business and the work you're willing to put in.

Field service software: software implementation time

Time needed to fully implement software.

To start, 65% of respondents spend two to six weeks looking for their software. That was close to in line with expectations. After finding a solution, 87% of companies took less than six weeks to get their new software up and running. Most — 74% — took between two and six weeks.

As far as cash money — barring some very extreme outliers — businesses expected to spend $8,500 per year, on average. In reality, their implementations ended up costing $7,200 per year. The median cost of new field service software is just $1,500.Tweet ThisThe median cost, though, was much lower, with expectations at $1,250 and reality coming in at $1,500.

Conclusion

The competitive nature of the field service management category means customers are happy and development is robust. Very few respondents found major failings with their software, likely due to their being able to easily swap it out for a competitor if need be.

While there are plenty of developments on the horizon — more mobile, the internet of things, an increased focus on efficiency — the space is well placed to address those changes. Smaller players will continue to see some success, but will probably need to take on the more popular functionality offered by larger players to keep themselves competitive.

Based on our survey results, things are looking good for field service.

About the Author

Andrew Marder

Andrew Marder

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Andrew is a content writer with Capterra. In previous lives, he has been a financial writer, project manager, and banker. He picked up his BA from SUNY Potsdam and his MA from Virginia Tech. He loves his wife and kid. Follow him on Twitter @CapterraFSM.