Author: Shannon Spollen
Content Specialist/Events Manager
How Field Technicians Tell a Mobile Story
- Create transparency and increase trust for customers
- Keep employees accountable with time-stamped mobile media
- Protect against false claims
- Get additional context with mobile video, sketches and notes
Field Technicians: Mobile Story Tellers
Imagine reading a biography on NBA star Michael Jordan. You’ve just read a chapter covering his fourth title with the Chicago Bulls in 1996, when you turn the page … and he’s now retiring as a six-time champion from the Washington Wizards in 2003. Clearly, you’re missing part of the story.
People take more than 1.2 trillion pictures each year, 85 percent of them on a smartphone. Think about all the pictures you take with your phone – memories with family, something funny you observed, or a screenshot of something you then shared with a friend. We use the cameras in our phones for just about everything; why not use them out in the field, as well?
If you are a field service business managing your day-to-day operations off of paper, electronic photos likely do not have a place in your manual process. You may be familiar with the many benefits of field service management software overall, which typically includes media upload as a core feature. But you may not realize how powerful a tool electronic photos can be when integrated into a company’s workflow.
They allow technicians and administrators alike to put context to jobs that have been performed. This critical information gives customers the visibility they need to establish trust with your business, which keeps them coming back.
Today’s customers have no shortage of choices and information when it comes to picking someone to work on their property. They source multiple quotes, read reviews, and expect a seamless customer experience. You may think that performing quality work is enough to win repeat business. But today’s service teams need to prioritize transparency. Building trust through accountability is actually what will keep customers coming back.
Photos are one of the most powerful tools for accountability with your customers, from estimate to invoice:
Estimate: Win more estimates by giving your customers visibility into exactly what needs to be done, through photos, videos, and sound recordings. This documentation, combined with a simple, but thorough, explanation of the projected job gives the customer confidence that you have not only a firm understanding of the problem at hand, but also the plan to solve it.
Work Order: Show your customers your processes. This could include the removal of old parts installation of new ones, or anything else you did to identify, diagnose, and solve the original issue.
Invoice: Provide your customers proof of service so they understand exactly what they are paying for. Maybe they are before and after photos, pictures of an area inside their home or on their property where the work was performed.
Through the use of mobile photos, service contractors remain transparent with their customers. This can lead to fewer disputes, generate more positive feedback for the business, and most importantly, create a repeat customer.
Accountability for Field Technicians
While they are frequently the exception rather than the rule, almost every service business owner has dealt with a bad employee – it happens in every business. Unfortunately for service companies, one bad technician can lead to multiple disputes, which can result in not getting paid and a string of bad reviews that can’t be un-seen.
In addition to improving customer satisfaction, job photos can be a reliable form of employee accountability. Time-stamped photos from the field ensure that your employees are where they say they are at the time they are supposed to be there. Combined with GPS tracking, they provide a high level of accountability for employees – allowing business owners to address any discrepancies. Job photos can also serve as a form of protection for your business when false claims happen (and they generally always do).
- Video and audio recordings are a great way to add deeper context to jobs. Common examples include use in the animal removal industry to give an idea of where an animal is located on a property or inside a home.
- Sketches, drawings, and outlines provide technicians the opportunity to map out useful information that may be otherwise difficult to put into words. Pest control companies often use sketches and drawings to illustrate areas of damage and treatment, while landscaping companies use them to show measurements and locations on a property where work will be performed.
- Notes are the perfect tool for backing up other forms of visual media and can be used in any number of ways for a variety of different purposes. From property notes for future service (i.e. the customer has a locked gate or a dog) to service and invoice notes, technicians are able to communicate pertinent details that stay attached to the work order and the customer’s record.
Pictures have the power to provide your business with clarity – but they are often an underutilized method for businesses. While there are those companies not using them at all, others don’t go far enough with taking photos that are an integral piece of an estimate, work order, or invoice.
While you don’t have to photograph every moment on each job, a few photos or a video at each stage can provide a helpful context and provide additional transparency for your team and customers. If you’re searching or a field service management software provider, or if you have one already be sure to ask them if they offer unlimited cloud storage for photos, videos, sketches, and drawings.
While mobile phones may be most technicians’ go-to for taking photos on the job, there are various other devices that might fit your needs even better. Some businesses use snake cameras for inspecting inside pipes and small openings. For others, it makes sense to use a drone camera for landscaping, construction, pool design, and more.
Delight Your Customers And Keep Them Coming Back
Are you giving your customers the full story? Are they limited to reading about a job that was performed in a work order or in a line on an invoice? Or are they also seeing what was done with a picture or a video? Tell your customers the full story. Leave them feeling so sure in their decision to hire you for the job that they do it over and over again.