Support revenue using mobile devices to capture signatures and data from the field
One of my clients was recently looking to refresh their field service
technician's hardware and was considering whether they might be able to roll out
tablets rather than upgrade the existing laptops.
Essentially the techs only needed storage for technical and part manuals, Internet access and email for communication. Tablets are certainly capable of fulfilling these requirements and are considerably less expensive which is always a powerful motivator.
During this same time period another dilemma was confronting the service department. They were losing a significant amount of revenue from chargeable, time and material calls where the customer was disputing the invoice and service could not produce a signed copy of the service call report to substantiate their invoice to the customer. It seems the existing procedure for processing the call reports no tracking ability to insure the techs a) Actually filled out and returned a signed copy of the report and b) once it was returned that it was properly filed and retrievable.
Many months ago I had setup a SharePoint site for them for a sales related project but at the time we also created a document library to scan date-batched service call reports to for archiving. You know, eliminate the paper and all... Well this process fell by the wayside and the department was losing revenue. A new solution was desperately needed.
Electronic forms would foot the bill but since they were using SharePoint Foundation they did not have access to InfoPath forms. After some research and testing on our in-house SharePoint Enterprise instance we came up with a solution to the problem. With a new mail-enabled, document library in the service department's sub-site we installed a new application to create electronic PDF forms. Using the original pdf file from the paper version as an underlay we inserted all the necessary data fields in the form including mapping specific fields to document library columns as metadata. The parts sales prices and final totals were setup to automatically calculate as well.
After some testing and training we rolled the solution out to the techs. It was a tremendous success. They have nearly 100% compliance, the completed forms are emailed back to the SharePoint document library and indexed automatically. Using views and/or filtering we can identify the chargeable reports, compare form count to tech closed calls as a cross check and we have all the customers emails for marketing purposes. The customers are impressed by the use of technology including using their finger to sign the forms which are emailed to them immediately. It was a huge win all the way around.
This technology opened up a whole variety of other opportunities with this client. The next step is to tackle the delivery and acceptance forms.
If this is something you think your organization could benefit from contact me here.