Don’t neglect forms – they are a key to great field service performance

Technology is a powerful tool that can act as a force multiplier when it comes customer service, efficiency and operational effectiveness.

But there’s one element, that can often be overlooked – a critical element that determines whether your technical solution is a success or creates more issues than it solves.

The forms that lie at the heart of your field service solution are the part of your system that people interact with the most.

Why forms matter

Forms can contain different features to suit a variety of requirements. For example, you create compliance forms and risk templates to assess the risks and possible dangers at a work site.

For customers that log jobs remotely, simplifying the data entry process not only saves them time but ensures that pertinent information is captured accurately and in a way that makes sense for your field service team. That can include limiting options that are specific to that customer. For example, if they have a specific type of HVAC system, the support form can limit the number of options they can choose from. Not only does that simplify their experience but it also reduces the likelihood of incorrect information being provided.

When a Scheduler enters information for a new job, they need to be able to move quickly from field to field in the form. Information, wherever possible, can be pre-populated to save time and reduce errors. Backed with intelligent software, that form can even provide options to enable tasks to be allocated to the most appropriate field worker.

In the field, technicians need to have accurate information so they can achieve first-time fix. Those well-designed forms completed by customers and schedulers help field service workers in the field. And having forms that make it easy for technicians to capture information using text, voice recordings, images and videos is a huge boon as well. A well-designed form makes it easy for them to capture information on the spot rather than relying on their memory when they return to their vehicle.

Creating great forms

For organisations transitioning from paper-based or manual systems, it might seem that the simplest way to bring a form into a digital platform is to copy the paper form to a screen. But rather than taking an analogue process and moving it to a digital platform, it might be time to rethink the entire process.

Digital platforms are far more flexible than paper-based systems. They can be pre-populated with information from backend systems and can limit what is seen so that data entry is simplified and streamlined. Rather than having every possible field on the screen, a digital form can only show what is needed for a specific context.

Technologies such as handwriting recognition and speech-to-text can make data entry easier and once information is entered other processes can be automated. For example, if a customer requests service for a particular model of printer, the job can be allocated to the most qualified and available technician as their skills, qualifications and even location can be used to allocate the job.

The key is to look at the entire process from end to end and design forms that support the optimised process rather than simply copying the old manual process. Well-designed digital forms delivered through a reliable and flexible field service software solution increase efficiency, reduce errors and result in superior customer service.