Three Mobile Technologies To Optimize Your Business
The mobile industry is booming, but new technology is never a good reason to change from a current system.
The best reason to consider any technology change is for a return on investment. If the new technology can’t make the business more profitable, productive, or efficient, there’s no reason to consider changing.
The trend towards mobile provides a tremendous opportunity for contractors to examine their businesses and consider how deploying mobile technologies can help drive revenues back to the bottom line.
Let’s look at three technologies that can help optimize your business processes.
HERE’S A TYPICAL WORKFLOW IN THE HVAC WORLD:
A customer calls requesting service and speaks to a dispatcher who takes some preliminary information along with the address and dispatches a service technician. The technician arrives on-site with a multi-part form (estimate, sales order, or work order). The technician will complete the form on-site, which usually involves re-entering data already provided to the dispatcher.
Once approved and the work completed, the technician and customer sign the form, the customer provides a check or credit card information, and then the paperwork and payment go into the truck/van, sometimes for very extended periods, before it makes its way back to the office where an office administrator will re-enter the information from the paperwork, process the credit card payment or deposit the check, and update the transaction information in the accounting system.
In addition to the costs of paperwork and inefficiencies of having multiple people record the same information in multiple places, there is significant liability to the business in having paperwork and payment information being stored in the truck or van. If credit card information is lost or stolen, the business could be liable for tens of thousands of dollars in fines for each credit card compromised in addition to lost revenues!
There are three inexpensive and relatively easy-to-implement mobile technologies that can greatly reduce the inefficiencies, liabilities, and costs.
First, if you don’t already have a mobile application that will support your business, you’ll need one. This is typically a costly and time intensive endeavor, but there are mobile based forms solutions that are very low cost and very easy to implement; and they can be configured to accomplish the same objectives. Some providers of mobile forms include gocanvas. com, doForms.com, and devicemagic.com.
Next, you’ll need some way to connect your mobile forms application back to your home office accounting system. This will allow the data to be sent from the home office to the mobile device and vice versa. You can have a connector custom written based on the forms application and back-end system, if the forms vendor doesn’t have one; you can use a mobile bridge technology such as simplyconnectedsystems.com.
Finally, you’ll need some way to process a mobile payment and have that transaction also make its way into the central accounting system with the forms information. Cyogate.com and authorize.net offer mobile processing options. These both are easily integrated with the other systems you are using to move your information from the field to the office and vice versa.
WITH THESE THREE COMPONENTS PROPERLY CONFIGURED, THE WORKFLOW WOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
The customer calls and speaks to the dispatcher who begins a work order on the in-house system. The dispatcher selects a technician from a drop-down list and clicks a button to dispatch.
The technician receives the dispatch on his mobile device, along with a mobile work order containing all of the information collected from the dispatcher. The technician finishes completing the work order on his mobile device, collects any authorizations needed by the customer, and is able to process either a credit card or an e-check in real time while still on location.
The customer is automatically emailed an invoice and/or receipt, and the work order data, along with the corresponding transaction data, is automatically transferred to the in-house accounting system with no re-keying of any information.
This eliminates all paper-based forms, rekeying of data, and the liability of having paperwork and payments sitting in a truck/van. It also speeds up time to payment, and, if processing credit card payments using a mobile swipe device instead of by phone, merchant processing rates are oft en reduced. This equates to thousands of dollars in monthly savings to many businesses.
So, with some well-thought consideration, the movement towards mobile truly offers a great opportunity for businesses to optimize their processes and increase profits.
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