With the rapid advancement in technology comes a shorter depreciation period. Combining this with an ever-growing population means that natural evolution is an expanding field service industry. However, this expansion also comes with enhancement; gone are the days of solely servicing copper phone lines with minimal customer interaction. Field technicians are now relied on to act as the face of your company, while still deploying and troubleshooting complex technology. Typical interactions in the field can now include adding or updating customer payment methods, processing payments for various services and fees, and having customers sign agreements, to name but a few.
To carry out all of these responsibilities efficiently and in tandem, technicians need to be plugged into the same ecosystem that in-house staff operate out of. Although you may be able to have your field technicians call in and communicate with a customer service representative for these tasks, this then eats up the time for both your employees. And in some cases, time-sensitive communications like this between departments is not always possible. To get around these interdepartmental hiccups, some might opt to have their field technicians print off their work orders and carry them throughout the day as they complete their jobs. Unfortunately, this still has its downfalls as the information they are referencing could be outdated, due to new developments being found after the technician has already left the office for their first job. There’s also the aspect of human error to take into account, as their physical work orders could be left at another location, thereby leaving them without information as basic as the customer’s name and address. As a result, you’re back to square one trying to get in touch with another department and utilizing double the resources.
At Sonar, we've created a mobile application that aims to streamline processes and overcome obstacles found in fieldwork. From within our Sonar Field Tech app, field technicians have fingertip access to all of the customer information they might need, and the ability to perform a wide variety of actions, such as the ones listed below:
- Arrive on time, every time: Technicians are able to see a live view of all jobs assigned to them each day from within the Job List view, but can alternatively also view these jobs from the Map view for a complete picture of where their day will physically take them. Each job in the list provides information for the customer account, the associated contacts, and details for the job, along with the ability to enable the built-in navigation to help them arrive at the site on time. Technicians can quickly and easily check into jobs, subsequently complete or fail them, and have any changes made by dispatch be automatically reflected within their list.
- Data capture on the go: Minimize callbacks and help ensure easier troubleshooting in the future by allowing technicians to better document the details of a job. Through the mobile app, technicians can add detailed notes, upload documents and pictures, and even collect e-signatures at the door with the app’s built-in digital contracts; as a result, you can say goodbye to unnecessary paperwork and duplicate data entry.
- Add payment methods and charges onsite: The field tech app allows for customer payment methods, such as credit cards or bank accounts, to be added while at the customer’s premises. Applying charges or discounts, processing payments, and generating a one-time invoice are also all possible, and help to limit the need for your billing department to continuously follow-up with customers to secure payments for any outstanding fees.
- Make inventory adjustments on the fly: Through the app, technicians have fingertip access to inventory and are able to assign equipment to customers, as well as infrastructure, and make inventory adjustments on the go using the in-app barcode scanner. As a result, you can help to reduce inaccurate stock counts and simplify equipment assignment for your technicians.
- Seamlessly interact with tickets: Technicians are able to delve into the tickets of their customer’s account, providing them the ability to answer any questions thrown their way without having to reach out to alternate teams. With this access, they can also add any relevant information via a new comment on the ticket. Often customers will recall information after they’ve spoken over the phone, and being able to relay that to the technician standing in front of them not only saves time for the customer and inhouse staff, it improves the customer experience.
- Add notes with ease: With notes being an effective way to transfer information to the next viewer of an account, it makes sense that technicians should be able to interact with this feature too. With the app, they’re able to instantly reflect specifics such as how to access the property or whether there’s a potential danger to technicians on the property including situations like a dangerous dog or even a wasp nest cozying up to the CPE.
There will also inevitably be times where your technicians are in the field, and cellular data and WiFi are not available; with the field tech app’s offline mode, you can help avoid any resulting delays in successful job completion. When a data connection cannot be made or is lost, the mobile app will still remain functional, and actions performed during this offline time will be logged under the Offline Queue. Once the connection is restored, changes are automatically synced and technicians are then able to continue with their day, without the worry of remembering certain job details that they would otherwise need to upload when back in a serviceable area.
The Sonar field tech app is available on both Android and Apple devices and is continuously being updated to help improve the daily lives of technicians in the field. Only the device user can access customer data folders through the application itself. However, to ensure the security of your instance and your customer data, we recommend that users with a rooted or jailbroken device do not use the Field Tech app, as these devices could allow access to the data in an unintended way. While anyone can download the Sonar field tech app, users on your instance will need to have specific permission levels in order to use the application’s features. These permissions are typically enabled upon creating the associated field technician role within your Sonar instance, and the minimum requirements are listed in this section of the Sonar Field Tech App article, available through our knowledge base. While security best practices would dictate that the mobile device being used is password protected, the ability to remotely remove a user’s access also provides another layer of protection for your customers.
Hopefully, this article has provided you some insight into the benefit of having your field team utilize the Sonar Field Tech App to support their day to day tasks. Further information on the field tech app, including quick “How To” guides for various actions, can be found within the Sonar Field Tech App documentation, as well as in our Sonar Cast video on the topic, and our Vimeo page.