Gone are the days of providers resting on their laurels and built-in customer bases just because they can. Today’s utilities recognize that customers demand more than ever before. The way to accommodate that demand is through operational changes that improve the customer experience. They also act as a conduit to newfound efficiency and cost savings.

Many utilities have already realized that accomplishing operational improvement goals is possible with a pivot from paper-based systems to cloud-based software. But if your utility hasn’t, there’s still time—and once you see the potential of what’s possible, you’ll never look back. Read on as we recap the top four benefits for utilities leaving their legacy systems in favor of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms.

Cloud-based software enables better communication

Roughly 97% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind. Mobile connectivity has become so ingrained in our society that we rely on it for everything from directions to entertainment. Why then are some utilities so hesitant to introduce it in a commercial setting?

Cloud-based SaaS platforms like field service management software are accessible from any internet-connected device. A technician in the field will have the same access to work orders or customer data as a dispatcher in the office. More importantly, they both share the same ability to add new information to the record. Details can include historical documentation or customer preferences to make them happier. Paper-based processes don’t foster two-way dialogue. They certainly don’t encourage project awareness either, since only one employee can review each piece of paper at a time.

Related: How to Select the Best Work Order Management Tool

Digital intervention can standardize (and stabilize) operations

There are always ways to get a job done. The problem is that there are multiple ways to get the job done, which means utilities run the risk of promoting inconsistencies. Here’s an example: Let’s say ABC Electric Company is still using paper-based processes and has three different schedulers putting in orders for customer requests. One of those schedulers might routinely forget to include the customer’s phone number on the order, while the other two aren’t consistent with the way they write up their requests.

These problems don’t exist with a robust software platform because the system won’t allow it. Utilities can designate certain fields as required so that it’s not possible for an order to be entered. Additionally, common complaints or requests can be entered as drop-down selections. This way, technicians always have accurate and descriptive information on a job. Since employees spend less time creating orders and making phone calls in preparation for a job, there’s more time available to dedicate to customers. Field service management software creates the type of guardrails that aren’t possible to implement with paper. This is a great thing for both your customers and your employees.

Related: Say Goodbye to Paper and Hello to More Efficient Driving

Field service management platforms can facilitate dynamic scheduling

One of the most valuable parts of an internet-connected device is that it’s capable of providing a location. That’s powerful functionality to have when your workforce is in the field and not all located under one roof—an obstacle that historically has thrown a wrench into utility operations. Now, a scheduler for a utility deploying field service management software throughout its ranks can use those locations for dynamic scheduling.

In the event an emergency occurs, schedulers can identify the nearest technician and dispatch them immediately to the job. Remember how we said the software also improves communication? That’s especially important in a situation like this, where the technicians will be unexpectedly arriving to a new job. But with just a quick scan of their mobile device, they’ll have all the information they need in seconds. In situations where paper-based processes are still in play, the utility could lose valuable time with the scheduler making phone calls to multiple technicians until they find one in the right location.

Dispatch the right tech every time with software

Field service software helps you to optimize scheduling. Utility leadership can add notes indicating certifications, skill sets, or specialties within the software. This way, schedulers and dispatchers always select the right tech for the right job. If there’s one thing that’s going to make customers happy, it’s improving the chances of a first-time fix. This is much more likely to occur in organizations that embrace field service management software over the antiquated paper. Without that intel, schedulers must rely on their memory. In large organizations, that’s just not feasible.

Related: Field Service Scheduling Is Good Customer Care

Final thoughts on making the move from paper

One recent study found that 71% of the 150 utilities it polled used cloud software as part of its operations. And it’s easy to see why since this technological advancement is revolutionizing how utilities serve customers and helping businesses save on the bottom line. EnSight+ offers a field service management software solution for the utility industry that is completely customizable to your needs. From work order management to asset and inventory management, scheduling and dispatching to fleet management, our solution can transform your field operations. To learn what we can do for you, book your free demo today.

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