When mapping, geo-tagging and route optimization features are included in the business software your service business relies on, everyone will know you’ve got your best foot forward. It’s amazing a singular piece of software technology can go so far in demonstrating organization and accountability to both employees and your clients – you’d think mapping for service business software would be the standard, but you’d be wrong.
Amazingly, not all software for service businesses takes advantage of the latest technology for convenient mapping, geo-tagging and route optimization.
Remember the days when routing to a customer’s address could take as long as the onsite job itself? Those born after 1990 don’t know the troubles of folding maps and stopping in gas stations to ask directions. This Millennial Generation were the first to grow up using computers, relying on mapping software that optimizes the fastest way to drive to a destination. But like most established service business owners, I came along during a time when finding an address meant memory recall and good guess work to find the optimal route. We often relied on “that guy” in the office who was an address savant – someone who could recall any address by memory and tell you the best way to get there. “Take a left at Old Man Herlong’s Gas Mart and you’ll see three mailboxes … the third one is the one you want.”
Efficiency in business has come a long way since then. Dispatchers must be technically optimized to empower workers with reactive mapping solutions contained within mapping functionality for field service business software. Employees work remotely, receiving their job schedules on their mobile devices while keying in their action items on the go. They don’t want to call their dispatchers on the phone or have to key in addresses on Google Maps or a Garmin GPS unit. Instead, the address should be pushed directly to their tablet or mobile device where the service business software in use — for example, SM-Mobile from Thoughtful Systems — automatically has the best route available.
Here’s what to look for when selecting a solution with mapping functionality for business software:
- Integrated Customer Address Updater – When an address change occurs, the software should respond by displaying the new routes accordingly. Good service business software reflects an address change universally — as does the Scheduling Manager and SM-Mobile.
- Real-time Location Planning – Job scheduling software functionality should provide a geographical location and routing feature displaying upcoming jobs that day, that week or that month.
- Graphical Zone Reporting – Colorized by zone, mapping can assist dispatchers in knowing the best way to plan routes for their workers.
- Cost Savings Estimator – Quantify how much money can be saved by optimizing routes.
- Sales Territory Alignment – Using your own customer data, the software should align and optimize a sales territory map based on travel time and workload. Having control of your frontline sales strategy means understanding the nuances of sales territories based on geographical arrangements.
- Targeted Prospecting – Filter your business and customer data based on location, then find new customers by discovering trends and cost-effective routes. Sometimes customers are in front of you without you even knowing it.
- Route Optimization – Employees shouldn’t have to research or make decisions on the best way to find a customer. Route optimization means that the program presents the solution to the question without having to ask it.
- Data Analytics – Because reducing drive-time and mileage contributes to the bottom line of your business, mining the data and realigning strategy based on that data will help you make better decisions and optimize your assets.
- Employee Location Monitoring — Put the magic of GPS to good use. You can, using a combination of SM-Mobile and Scheduling Manager, monitor in real-time where your employees are at any time. This serves multiple purposes — it enables you to see which employee is closest to a new customer who has just called in wanting service, so you can call upon home or her to go service the new client. Also, you can know where your employees are at any time, and know what they;re doing.
While GPS devices from Garmin, Magellan and Tomtom empowered an older generation of us Babyboomers and Gen Xers, a younger generation takes for granted the convenience of map routing technology and built-in route optimization contained with any fine software for a service business by default.
If your business is based on delivering or servicing goods, visiting customers or making sales calls, a service industry software solution with integrated mapping functionality promotes making more calls per day, covering territories in a shorter amount of time and reducing overall time in the car and travel expenses.
Plato wrote “the beginning is the most important part of the work.” Where dispatching, routing and returning is concerned, there’s no question that a good mapping solution should be at the start and heart of any mapping functionality for business software.