Each day, your field service technicians collect and manage hoards of paper-based form data that they then pass on to your back office staff. This leaves room for human error, lost paperwork, and processing delays.

By not using field service mobile forms to automate data collection, your business risks making significant mistakes that can hurt your business. Paper forms simply aren’t cut out to manage the unpredictable and remote nature of field service operations.

Maybe you’ve already invested in field service software but aren’t yet using mobile forms. Yet, 45 percent of technicians say that their biggest frustration with their current tools is that they’re not fast enough, while 38 percent say that they’re unable to access all of the information they need.

Almost half of field service technicians say that administrative tasks make up the worst part of their day, yet accurate data collection is essential for the success of any field service business. If your technicians can’t capture data easily and quickly in the field, your business will suffer from data gaps, which threaten your agility as a business.

Mobile forms can bridge the gap between remote service delivery and the back office processes that ensure you can make data-informed decisions.

I’ll go through 4 of the reasons your business needs to consider using mobile data collection forms:


 

Record more accurate information

Being able to create custom mobile forms that are relevant to business processes means that organizations can capture the information that they deem necessary.

Creating form templates that require certain fields to be filled before submission, options for autopopulation, and drop-down lists means that the recorded information is more accurate than paper forms. Additionally, mobile forms can be tied directly to work orders and customer numbers to avoid mistakes.

There’s also no need to manually duplicate the same information, because mobile forms can be shared directly with the back office. Therefore, document version control is also handled with more ease.

They also help to reduce the risk of human error, such as lost or misplaced documents and incorrect data input. With mobile forms, additional information such as photos and signatures can be added to documentation.

Example of custom mobile form in FieldAware (Source)

Improve data compliance

Certain field service industries that are subject to compliance requirements, such as authorizations and certifications surrounding equipment and personnel, are under greater pressure to ensure that their data handling is accurate.

These conditions require formal, documented checks, and without tools to handle the management and recording of data, organizations face penalties as significant as the loss of license to practice.

Digital forms create an accessible audit trail and an accountability log for data. Data compliance requirements mean that all data that runs through a field service organization needs to be correctly captured, stored, and managed.

Mobile forms allow technicians and other staff to capture data more accurately, which helps to achieve compliance targets. GPS information and timestamps also create a digital trail of proof for both audit purposes and use when dealing with customer complaints.

Mobile data collection forms also help to detect issues quickly and automatically. As mobile forms can be made visible to multiple parts of the organization, when issues are flagged, they can be sent to the back-office to help with compliance verification.

Example of a custom mobile form in Jobber (Source)


Inform business decisions

Mobile data forms do the job of collecting and storing data in one place so that it can be collated and used to inform decisions across the business. By using this data alongside business intelligence tools, field service organizations are able to take data-fueled action.

For example, custom fields in mobile forms can help organizations identify patterns such as employee fix rates and equipment maintenance rates.

Example of custom mobile form fields in Synchroteam (Source)


Improve invoicing

As work order and payment information can be synced together in mobile forms, the invoicing process becomes much more streamlined. Invoices can be sent instantly to customers without waiting for the accounting department to ready them, and eliminates the need for a visit to the office to deposit paper invoices. This frees up technician time and relieves the back office staff of manual data entry.

Mobile form invoicing also helps to prevent billing disputes with customers, which take up time and money in labor costs. By recording information digitally with on-site customer approval and signatures, field service organizations are able to reduce chances of customer dissatisfaction.

Are you ready to start using mobile forms to automate data collection?

Mobile forms have the potential to revolutionize the way your business deals with data, and if you’re not capturing accurate data, you’ll be unable to make smart data-driven business decisions.

Check out the checklist below and see how many statements you answer “yes” to. Then, check out our recommended actions for how you can get started with mobile data collection forms.

Recommended actions:

  1. Know exactly what kind of data you want to collect using mobile forms, including the information you collect using manual methods. Secondly, clarify what you want to achieve by automating data collection, e.g., increasing first time fix rates. This will help you decide on what type of field service solution you need to help you achieve your goals.
  2. Clarify exactly who will be responsible for all parts of the data management journey. Without knowing who will be held accountable and responsible for data management, collection, and analysis, your data processes will be interrupted and chaotic.
  3. Your field service technicians will likely be collecting the majority of data, and you need to equip them with the right tools to do this. This includes providing comprehensive training in software, processes, and compliance risks.

If you’re ready to start looking at software with mobile form availability, check out GetApp’s catalog here.

Note: The information contained in this article has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The applications selected are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations.