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Smartphones are Smart Business

Billy Marshall
March 4, 2013

If you have been looking for an excuse to arm your field techs with smartphones, I am going to give you several in this blog post.

The goal of any business expenditure is to make your business more competitive by lowering costs, improving customer service, or increasing revenue.  I believe an investment in smartphones for your technicians can do all three.

Lowering Cost
The biggest cost to your business by far is the payroll expense for your technicians.  The way to lower these costs with smartphones is to maximize billable hours relative to payroll hours.  Simply put – deliver more jobs with less time spent planning, reporting, and traveling.  The smartphone features (coupled with the ServiceTrade app) that help deliver more jobs are:

GPS Time Clock – when you know where your technicians are working and their status (en route, onsite, job prep), you don’t have to call them (and waste time) asking for updates. When they know you know, they will also act differently.  Everyone performs better with management oversight.

Job Planning and Dispatch – when job details arrive in the palm of their hand, techs don’t have to waste time talking to the office, taking notes, or traveling to a place to print paperwork.

Map Based Planning – when techs can plan their route using a map displaying all of their work, they will travel less and bill more.

Faster Paperwork – when the paperwork is printed with all the customer details pre-filled, and the job report is delivered instantly back to the office using the phone as a mobile scanner, techs don’t waste cycles (or lose paperwork) delivering it back to the office.

Less Paperwork – when job notes can be entered onto the ServiceTrade job record using the camera and the audio recorder on the phone, the techs spend less time writing out notes and talking with the office to explain their cryptic, bad handwriting from a job two weeks ago.  The report is fast, detailed, and “in living color” for both the office and the customer.

The smartphone lowers technician costs by improving accountability, streamlining reporting, and optimizing the job plan.

Improving Customer Service
Great customer service is all about better and faster information (assuming of course that work quality is a given).  Smartphones coupled with ServiceTrade get you and your customers better and faster information through many of the same capabilities that lower cost:

GPS Time Clock – when you and your customers know where the technicians are, it saves effort associated with calling and verifying.  Good status information makes everyone more comfortable with the plan.

Better Job Reports – online job records with job photos and audio memos from the smartphone give the impression of thoroughness, and it establishes trust.

Job Planning and Dispatch – when technicians have location service history in the palm of their hand along with job details in the form of customer preferences and logistics, problems are diagnosed faster with fewer foul ups.

Map Based Planning – when you know where every tech is located and their job status at a single glance (based upon the GPS job clock), you can make dispatch decisions while the customer is still on the phone instead of calling them back after you play tech update bingo by calling and interrupting every job.

The smartphone improves customer service capability by giving everyone – the customer, the dispatcher, the tech – faster and better information about the job from start to finish.

Increasing Revenue
Higher revenue comes from selling more jobs and delivering more jobs.  We already reviewed how to deliver more jobs through tech productivity, so let’s talk about selling more jobs.  If we again assume quality of work product is a given, then the selling edge goes to the company that builds more trust with the customer.  Here’s how you build trust with the smartphone:

GPS Job Clock – sounds like a broken record, but showing the customer via GPS records when technicians arrive and depart builds trust in your billing.

Better Job Reports – the best sales lead in the world sounds like “I have some photos of broken equipment that were taken yesterday at your site.  Take a look at them online, and let me know if the quote I provided to fix it is acceptable.”  Quotes with photos (or video) get approved twice as often as those without.

Technician Professionalism – when customers see the technician as informed and armed with technology to provide a better job outcome and report, they trust that he is part of an organization that invests in their people and their customers.

So now you have the excuse and justification you needed to do something you wanted to do anyway – arm your technicians with smartphones.  Just by themselves, smartphones would probably be a good investment.  But coupled with the ServiceTrade mobile and cloud app, they are definitely a homerun for your business.  Have a look at this quick video to see more, or jump right into a ServiceTrade free trial.  We will help you get the most from your smartphone investment.

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