What does experience provide? Experience, in business, often makes the difference between success and failure. And prolonged experience in a specific field indicates expertise, knowledge and insight.
With 15 years experience in developing and providing state of the art field service management software, RedZebra has an enviable pedigree in this field. In this article RedZebra’s founder, Richard Crafts, answers a number of questions on the company background, its development over 15 years along with his predictions for the future of the industry.
1. What made you want to start a business in field service management software?
Working in the field service software industry, prior to starting RedZebra, I understood the issues and challenges faced by service companies every day. I’d learned that businesses need user-friendly, comprehensive software supported by knowledgeable people to make the everyday tasks and challenges they face much easier. While starting the business was a daunting prospect, help and support from many sources enabled RedZebra to take shape. Valuable feedback from our clients, praising the user-friendliness and capabilities of our software, told us we were delivering exactly what they needed.
2. How does the business look now compared to 15 years ago?
There have been many significant changes and challenges over the last 15 years during which time I’ve learned a lot. Several years ago we moved to new, larger offices, to accommodate the expanding RedZebra team and provide the location and space needed for continued growth. We renovated what used to be a Forge and an antique shop, transformed these premises into a contemporary, enjoyable place to work. It’s also next door to a pub which is a bonus!
The team has grown in all areas and continues to expand as our customer base develops. We recognise that a healthy, comfortable, inspiring workplace environment is fundamental to the happiness and motivation of our staff who we value enormously.
3. How has field service management software progressed over the 15 years?
Service management software has undergone significant development over the last 15 years in parallel with advances in available technologies. For example, cloud servers and storage have made a huge difference to performance speed and the software options available.
Another notable advance over this time period has been the development of low cost devices which have helped make our software readily available and accessible to all companies, regardless of size.
The functionality of our software solutions has also increased to meet market requirements and keep pace with developing standards in our industry. Our software tools now set the standards which others attempt to match.
4. How has the market for field service management changed during the last 15 years?
Customers are now far more aware of the benefits provided by our field service management software and its importance in the context of their operations. They have high expectations regarding the functionality of our software tools and these expectations are continuously developing.
A specific requirement, for which our software receives many testimonials, is that the tool must have a great looking, user-friendly interface. Software usability is an important attribute that’s recognised for being beneficial to the smooth running of every service operation.
5. Where do you see Field Service Management Software over the next 5 – 10 years, both for RedZebra and the market in general?
Keeping up with continuous technological advances, alongside market demands and customer requirements, means that we are constantly developing our software to add new features, capabilities and functionality. Predicting what customers are likely to need and then responding to these future needs in a timely manner is a big part of our product development strategy.
I anticipate that in the very near future customers will want to improve communications with their own customers. This will be supported through the wider use of online customer portals that enable operational efficiency by making information customers want to see readily available and enable customers to interact directly with support processes.
Today’s customers expect access to user-friendly customer service portals enabling them to interact directly with customer support teams. In addition, customers expect well constructed knowledge bases from which they are able to help themselves. They want to enter their own service request details and track progress online and they expect timely responses and quick resolution to their reported issues.
Field service management is challenging with customer expectations often driven by their experiences in other areas, such as ecommerce. Field service management software must therefore provide more than is expected in order to keep pace with growing customer expectations.
RedZebra has gained a wealth of experience over the first 15 years of the company’s existence which has been invaluable in the advancement of our field service management software to keep pace with what the market demands.