Field Service Management has come a long way from the paper-heavy and time-consuming behemoth it used to be. In just a few years, digital technology has radically transformed the way the industry operates, and this change has led to increased time and cost efficiencies, faster response times, higher first-time fix rates and overall customer satisfaction. There is still room for improvement, however. One of our recent blogs brought out results of studies which showed that “52% of companies still use manual methods for the bulk of their field service tasks.” Even with the companies that use digital, “45% of technicians feel that current tools aren’t fast enough.” There are various ways in which this can be improved. Digital forms are one of them.
A digital form, in simple terms, is a digitized or electronic version of a paper form. It is fast replacing the hassle of pre-printed forms, which field technicians had to carry with them, collect data manually and then communicate to admins who would have to keep bulky records. Manual entry of these records meant that information would be prone to errors. The electronic version eliminates this time-consuming and inefficient process.
Digital or paperless forms can be accessed from any location on the mobile of field technicians. The data collected can be instantly communicated to admin personnel and other departments in real time for validation. This information can also be analyzed and used for business insight.
Digital Forms also come with features like automatic geolocation, time-tracking, photo camera for instant image capture, etc. Customer details and other variables can be automatically updated from previous records, making the process much faster and easier. This data is organized automatically according to customer variables and can be pulled up and used as a valuable source of customer data.
Related Reading: Take a look at ReachOut’s latest feature, that’s set to accelerate paperless field service management.
These digital forms are excellent tools, power-packed with all the necessary features to make a field technician’s work easier. It also makes the complete process smooth and error-free. Some of the features of a good digital form are:
Manual collection and management of paperwork is prone to human error and leads to delays in processing, mismanagement of information and even lost paperwork. This can affect your business leading to data gaps which could bring our business down. Using digital forms eliminates these issues and creates a streamlined flow of important data. It can also bridge the gap between remote workers and back-office processes, ensuring that data is used in the best interests of the company. Here are the ways in which field service business can benefit from these digital forms:
Digital forms can be programmed to include mandatory fields that need to be filled in before submission. Drop-down lists and the auto-population features also contribute to ensuring that all the relevant fields are filled accurately. These forms can be linked to the customer history and details of previous transactions to ensure that customer details and work order numbers are consistent. The same digital form can be automatically shared with back office staff, who can assess the need for additional information and start the verification process in real time. Document Version Control adds an extra layer of accuracy.
The benefits of digital forms are best seen in reporting. Dynamic templates for reporting will help with the collection and presentation of the reports. With most of the information organized in form fields and drop-down lists, field service technicians will not have to be burdened with writing long reports. Back office staff will also be saved the burden of data entry from illegible handwritten reports. This leads to added efficiency and accuracy in an otherwise error-prone process.
Field service industries are subject to compliance requirements, which must be strictly adhered to meet certification standards and obtain authorization. An error in this could lead to serious penalties and loss of licenses. Digital safety forms and checklists make the compliance process smoother, more effective and error-free. Formal and documented checks can be done to a high degree of accuracy through these forms, by ensuring that all required data is collected accurately.
With the data being accessible throughout the organization, it can be checked and flagged for compliance issues, which can be rectified immediately. Timestamps and GPS information provide an authentic digital trail of proof for audits. Auditing of machinery and equipment internally can be streamlined through digital forms as well. The needed approvals can be obtained from different departments effortlessly by form automation apps, which send the reports to all relevant parties and obtain their digital signature.
By equipping field service technicians with digital forms that improve accuracy and decrease time spent on manual entries and processing, organizations increase employee efficiency. This ultimately results in customer satisfaction. The data collected by, these digital forms can be used across your field service organization, where departments can integrate this data with business intelligence tools. This will result in actionable insights, which will help the business make better decisions.
These forms also allow for syncing of work orders and payment information, which improves the invoicing process significantly. Invoices are accurately and immediately generated and sent to customers. This also prevents billing disputes and other technicalities that could hinder customer satisfaction.
Related Reading: Find how an effective field service software can contribute to a happy workforce.
Having seen all the benefits of digital forms for field service companies, you no doubt want to get started on implementing this for your business. ReachOut Suite brings you the best customized digital forms for your business. All you have to do is get started with the field service software. Get in Touch with us to know how.