Prettying your email templates in Field Motion

FieldMotion field service management software has many parts to it which generate and send emails. Up until now, we’ve kept the design of those emails to be very bare-bones, but over the last few weeks, we took it upon ourselves to add a personalised touch to the emails, making sure the paperless forms of your corporate letters look just like the printed forms.


We added a configuration page for creating email templates, in which you can design the emails as if you were creating a document in Word. You can add images, tables, etc. This lets you create your corporate letter-head feel for the emails. Dragging the office look into paperless mobile forms!

You can set one of those template to be the site default. When an email is being sent, this template will be chosen if no other is already set.

In the Forms section, you can set specific templates for each Form type. So, if you just finished a task in your job management app and an inspection report to send off, you can make the email look different than a time-sheet report, let’s say.

As an example, here’s one I just generated for testing purposes (image on right – click to view):

Pretty, right?

Because emails are part of any workflow management software and you won’t be manually sending every email that your customers receive, it’s important that you have some measure of control over how they look.

If you want a demo of FieldMotion’s features, contact us and we’ll be happy to arrange it!

how to: paperless office

We created an online savings calculator a few years ago which calculates how much money you can save by going paperless with our field service management software.

It measures a few important metrics, but I think one of the most metrics is how much time is spent filling in documents, and the cost in paper for these.

In a traditional services company, the engineer goes to the office to get the orders for the day, fills in reports when out on the job using notepads, and then returns to the office with those filled notepads to have the details re-typed by a clerk. One company I worked with literally had shelved rooms with boxes on each shelf, each filled with notepads of reports.

Apart from the cost of those notepads (minor) and the cost of storage (grows year by year), the biggest issue here is that a notepad that sits in a box in a room is not readable by the customer or by the engineer. If you go visit that customer again and need to recap on what was done last time, you need to dig out that notepad.

And so companies invest in clerks whose major role is to retype those notepad reports into a digital format that can be stored in a database or folder of documents, and emailed out to the engineer or customer when requested.

The cost of a clerk is prohibitive – why are you paying someone to type up something which has already been written?

With service management software, the report is filled in on an app, using your mobile device, such as an Android or iOS phone or tablet. Because the information is stored digitally, there is no need to retype it. Simply take the information from the phone and store it in the database!

The next waste of paper is with the reports that you send to your customers. Do they really need a typed report? Most companies these days are perfectly happy to accept digital copies of your reports, which they can store in their own databases, and which can easily be regenerated by yourself if the customer loses their copy.

A clerk is traditionally needed in order to create these reports, as the format that an engineer writes in may not be readable to your customer. And a report can run for 60 pages or more, such as the PAS 79 2016 form used in fire risk assessment.

With field service software, though, the information can be entered into the mobile device in one format, and neatened up and output in another format automatically when it comes time to send the report.

With FieldMotion, we completely automate the process – the engineer fills in the details of their report as they work, and then when they have the customer signatures entered (again, using the mobile device), they mark the job complete, the report is automatically created by the workflow management software, and the customer has the report in their inbox within minutes of the job being done.

With our own office, it has gotten to the point that when I needed to draw something up to illustrate a point to one of my programmers, I had to go search for paper, and then had to go search for a pen afterwards.

Paperless office solutions such as FieldMotion not only reduce the storage requirements (and associated fire risk) in your office, but also speed up your job to the point that we have one testimonial which states “The best was when we measured from receiving a call – job to engineer- job completed- job invoiced took 25 mins in total – never known before within our company!”

Zapier integration coming to FieldMotion

One of the questions we are asked a lot when talking with clients is, “Does your service management software integrate with […]”, followed by any number of different software products, such as Quickbooks, Opera, Sage, Xero, Google Calendar, etc.

Instead of spending decades and linking individually to each of these, we decided to use the ready-made API hub Zapier. With Zapier, you can connect any of more than 750 different applications together with almost no technical knowledge at all. It’s really very simple! More than 1,000,000 people use Zapier.

We’ve looked through their app-list a few times, and as far as we know, we’re the only field service management software using Zapier. There are some project management, task management, and paperless forms systems in there, such as Trello or Asana, but no other field service engineer software.

To start off with the integration, we’re doing some very simple workflow – when you create a job in FieldMotion, you can (for example) have that job show up in Google Calendar. Or you can have that when a job is finished, an email is sent including details from the job.

For now, our Zapier plugin is beta-only. If you’re interested in trying it out, please contact us and we’ll help get you set up.

Zapier is actually an ideal match for us, because it’s all about workflow management, as is our own product! We’re really excited to get this out there and see what we can do with it.

Job-scheduling in the field with FieldMotion

As companies get larger, the jobs become more specialised. The person who used to do accounting and data entry now has someone to do data entry so can concentrate on accounting. The field worker who had to make on-the-spot decisions as well as carry out the jobs, is now a manager in charge of a team of specialised electricians, plumbers and whatever else is needed.

As the teams grow, you find that more decisions are being made back at headquarters based on findings made by the workers in the field, because there are too many workers to let them just decide for themselves and potentially get in each others way.

Example 1: availability-based job scheduling

As an example, let’s say you’re working on a job that involves doing plumbing and electrics. The team of diggers has finished up and the work area is ready for whoever’s next. Maybe the electricians are busy already? Or maybe the plumbers need to be somewhere in 5 hours so need to be first here?

With smaller teams, the managers might meet up and decide, taking time. With larger teams, you might have a site manager whose job is to make these decisions.

Why not just let FieldMotion decide? If you manage your jobs through our FSM (field service management software), then it already knows that the plumbers are due somewhere else, or that the electricians are busy. There is no need for a meeting between the managers. Using the FieldMotion Dynamic Scheduler, you can automatically order your jobs in such a way that everyone has time to do their jobs, with no clashes in schedule, no teams due on the other side of the country five minutes after finishing this one.

Example 2: decision-based job scheduling

Or let’s say that the job you’re doing involves making decisions based on the findings you make in the field. For example, let’s say your company does health-checks on house-bound people, and the decisions you make after these checks depend on what you find while doing your inspections.

You could hire a person and train them up to make qualified decisions on whether to bring in a doctor or optician. Or you could hire a person who just fills in forms and those forms are then read by a person who is trained to make the decisions. Obviously, it is more economical to train (and pay) 10 form-fillers and 1 decision-maker, than to train 10 field-based decision-makers.

But why are you paying for a decision-maker in the first place? If the decisions are based on simple rules (such as “how high is the blood pressure”, or “has the patient fallen recently”), then you don’t need a paid decision-maker for that. Just add the rules to the “on-complete” section of the form that’s filled out in the field worker software, and FieldMotion will make the decision automatically and book a doctor or optician for you immediately, and a recall visit will be created in a few weeks or months depending on the patient’s age or health.

If all decisions are based on simple rules, then you don’t need to train someone up to waste their time doing it – just let a computer do it for you, leaving you more time to go visit more patients.

A few tips to make your business more Environmentally Friendly

There are many things a business can do within their day to day operations to lighten their footprint on the planet. By introducing Eco-Friendly practices you will not only help the planet but your business will also reap the benefits, going Green will help your business bottom line and also your company brand and image.

If you would like your company to be more Green, start off with easily achievable goals and as time goes by you can become more ambitious.

Define your company Green Plan and vision for the future

  • Encourage all staff to get involved in helping to implement your plans because to change a company culture will require a contribution from all team members.
  • Set up short term and long term objectives – Check strategies and measure regularly to see what is working.

A few ideas to help you get started

1 – Print less paper

Don’t print every email, and when you do, use sustainable paper and print on both sides.

2 – Go Digital

  • Require all employees to keep their files in digital form and all documents should be distributed electronically.
  • All Field based workers should send information back to the office using a cloud based workflow management system like FieldMotion which allows field based workers to record data and capture signatures in the field and send it back to the office in real time.
  • Use a cloud based Accountancy package like Xero which allows you invoice electronically rather than post.

 

3 – Introduce a Recycling Program

  • Have paper recycling bins beside photocopiers
  • Recycle Bottles and Cans
  • Set up a compost system for food waste
  • Introduce a recycling program for electronics, many charities will collect these as they benefit from the proceeds.

 

4 – Power down

  • Switch of all computers, monitors and printers at night.
  • Switch of all lights when not in use, fit energy saving light bulbs. Also think about installing intelligent lighting systems. Zone lighting and detection sensors will save on energy especially at night, whole floors do not need to be lit for a few staff.

 

5 – Heating

  • Timed thermostats
  • Heating shouldn’t be more than 19 degrees Celsius which should be warm enough and comfortable for all staff
  • During summer months there should be a balance with the Air conditioning, you don’t want staff wearing coats because it is too cold.
  • Make sure your office is well insulated

 

6 – Bio-degradable cleaning products
7 – Car Sharing

Encourage staff to do more car sharing which will cut down on fuel costs for the business and staff. This will also reduce your carbon footprint. Car sharing will also encourage team building and help productivity.

8 – Motors

  • Use energy efficient motors and keep them well maintained . Don’t keep engines idling.
  • Vehicle tracking like TomTom can help monitor speeding and driver behaviour, also tracking can help a business plan out routes more efficiently to help save money on fuel.

 

8 – Bathroom tissue and paper towels from recycled fibre
9 – Bring your own mugs rather than using paper cups.
10 – Green Business

  •  Use other businesses that are Green or certified Green

 

If you would like your company to become more Green you don\’t have to do everything at once. Take baby steps and eventually things will start to fall into place. The most important thing of all is changing your work culture and involving staff to participate. Educate your staff and yourself on new ways to go Green and the benefits.

Reward employees that suggest environmental improvements that could save the company money as this will encourage employee participation and help your business take steps towards reducing your environmental impact.

If you have any other tips throw them in below.

Good Luck

Workflow Management System – 5 Must Have Features

There are many features available in even the most basic of workflow management systems. Choosing the right one is paramount in the smooth running of your business. Whether you are looking for a system to streamline your workflow or monitor your members of staff, it needs to be the best system for YOU!

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When you are choosing your Workflow Management System, make sure they have these vital features. Don\’t settle for a product that can\’t keep up with your daily operations. After all, the system is meant to make your life easier, not harder.

1. Cloud-Based

You are looking for a workflow management system, that\’s a step in the right direction. Choosing one that is not hosted in the cloud? That\’s taking two steps back! Your workers should be able to access data and reports anywhere and at any time.

2. Notifications

If your workers are using a system and aren\’t receiving notifications about jobs they should be doing, you are only asking for trouble. If they don\’t know what job they are meant to be doing, they can\’t do the job. This will only lead to abandoning the software and wasting even more money.

3. KPI (Key Performance Indicators)

When you start using a workflow management system you will discover that certain jobs or processes take longer than you anticipated. You may find that you are actually neglecting a certain part of your business. Either way, you will be able to tighten up on these areas as soon as you implement your new workflow management system.

4. Form Building

All businesses use forms on a daily basis and using paper is fast becoming obsolete in modern administration. Using a workflow management system will take away the pain of paperwork. Your forms will be entered into a workflow management system and you will be able to complete all forms on a mobile device, anywhere and at any time.

5. Simple to Use

The most important feature of a workflow management system is that it is simple to use. If you are implementing a new workflow management system into your business, you must ensure all of your workers are capable of using the system with minimal fuss. Think about it, no one ever complained because something was easy to use!

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So there you have it, the top 5 features that any workflow management system should have. You are going to the effort of looking for a workflow management system, why not make the effort to choose the best one for you!

Does Your CRM Software Do All Of This?

We have created a nifty little info-graphic. It shows the many features of our workflow management software. All CRM software platforms have a plethora of selling points, quashing the over-used phrase \’Unique Selling Point\’. Imagine it was as simple as having one unique selling point. That would be an easy sell. Take a look at our info-graphic below and tell us whether you have seen other CRM software platforms that have all of the features we have included below:

All of these features are included in our CRM software and from as little as 57p per day, per user you can\’t go wrong. Our CRM software will streamline your workflow and reduce costs throughout your business.

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Customer Success Stories

Read all about how our Customers of the Month were able to make huge savings and completely change the way they do business on a daily basis. Get in touch with one of our friendly staff members today or request a free demonstration.

Customer of the Month – October 2015

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Overview of Company & Services

RACE LTD offer a comprehensive range of commercial and domestic electrical services to businesses and home owners, our services include being able to design and install new electrical systems and maintaining existing installations. They also offer specialist niche skills in the provision of temporary electrical services to the construction and events industry. RACE currently have a division within their company dedicated to the OOH industry (Out Of Home) helping clients based within the media sector complete and certify electrical works this includes digital screens, back lit light boxes, trough lighting to paper and post bill boards testing and inspection to all formats from 6 sheet to large digital installations. They also have experience within the special build requirements that clients request from time to time.

RACE service electrical systems throughout the entire UK and have various packages available when clients require services via call outs and annual visits.

They currently hold a fully approved NICEIC Registration allowing RACE to design, install and certify all aspects of electrical installations.[divider scroll_text=””]

Why RACE Ltd started to used FM

We as a company decided to start using FIELDMOTION having being shown the benefits of real time working. We have some very demanding clients who require us to produce reports and certificates. We feel that by using FIELDMOTION we can meet our clients needs and issue these reports and documents in real time along with all of the stock control systems placed within the software this was a no-brainer decision for ourselves. The guys behind the scenes have been there whenever we have required their services and customer support is second to none.[divider scroll_text=””]

How have you benefited from it?

We now have the ability to control stock levels that we place with our engineers out on the road. This has saved us time and money by ensuring that we have no wasted visits to wholesalers, saving time, fuel and even making us a greener company! There is now no waiting for our engineers to return paperwork to the office as it is all completed in real time, allowing us to invoice more quickly and keeping our cash flow coming in on time![divider scroll_text=””]

Added Comments about FIELDMOTION

I just would like to thank the team at FIELDMOTION for the persistence they showed in getting me to take their software on board (I just seemed to be too busy but they never gave up). I would recommend at the very least letting the team show you what the system can do and I am more than sure they will impress whoever takes a look. I have already recommended this software to several clients and associates and guess what they love it and have signed up to FIELDMOTION too.

Ron Robertson, RACE Ltd

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Do you want to make savings and reduce paperwork like RACE? Get in touch with on of our friendly staff members and you could be making a huge difference in how you manage your workflow. Our workflow management software will change your life.

Dynamically Updating App Scripts

As any person who develops apps will tell you, the most painful part is when it leaves your laptop and is uploaded to the various app stores. In the case of Android, the Google Play Store takes an hour or two for the app to propagate, but in Apple\’s case, the average wait is a whole week.

This can be incredibly annoying; especially when your upload is an emergency fix for something which could potentially cause problems. We\’ve experienced it, and no amount of cajoling, praying, or bribery will make it go any faster.

To alleviate this problem, we\’ve come up with a new method that will leave the propagation in our own hands, meaning that there is no waiting at all – when we release a new update, it is downloaded to our app within seconds.

Not only that, but the downloaded code is actually more secure than if it were part of an app bundle.

Also, we can target /who/ gets the updates. We can target, for example, a specific company, or a development team, or a specific person or device.

Ok, so how? I\’m not going to share the actual code, but will describe the method we use, so any development team can replicate what we\’ve done.

Well, we start out with a tiny “core” app, which is distributed via the app stores. This core rarely needs to be updated, so it doesn\’t matter if it takes a week or a month for it to get through.

Upon first start-up, the core downloads a “login” script from our mobile server. This script simply shows the login screen and lets a person log in to their FieldMotion account. After logging in, the script then downloads user-specific scripts, and checks constantly from that point forward for any new scripts.

The trick is in /how/ this is done.

Scripts are downloaded over HTTPS, so they are not vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. The login script is generic and can be downloaded by anyone at all, so it doesn\’t matter if it can be read, but for the main app scripts, one step in security is in making it difficult for potential hackers to read your source code. Using HTTPS means that hackers cannot simply listen to your WiFi and copy down what is downloaded.

When the scripts are downloaded, they are then stored in the app browser using localStorage. Because Android and iOS compartmentalise apps, one app cannot read the localStorage of another, so this is one of the most secure ways of storing your scripts so they cannot be read even if someone has access to your phone.

Once a person has logged in, you can then send them the scripts that are specific to them, depending on the groups they\’re in, etc.

To keep their scripts up-to-date, you can set up a long-poll which constantly checks for new scripts to download. In the case of people that are using “stable” code, you can change this to a relatively delayed (every 30 minutes, for example) short-poll because it is less resource-intensive on the server side, and stable code doesn\’t need to-the-second updates.

Another benefit to this method is that you no longer need to compile your code for each phone. It can take a few minutes to install new code on the Android or iPhone. This can be very annoying if it\’s just a one line change you want to test. With this method, though, you could do your development on-line using a code editor such as Code Mirror, and have it pushed to your test phones as soon as you click Save. If happy with the code? Just push it to a release group for your users.

To summarise, the main benefits of developing your apps this way are:

  • Dynamic upgrades on /your/ schedule
  • Code is more difficult for hackers to analyse
  • You can decide who gets what scripts
  • No compilation needed anymore – just test and release

 

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What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software Really About?

Everybody who works or has worked in a call centre or sales based environment will know what a CRM is. They may even have been told at one stage that they need one.

Either way, the real burning question is this:
What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software really about?

Well you have come to the right place, let\’s get started.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. I know what you\’re thinking. Whaaat?!

Yes it is a bit of a mouthful, but as always technical terms are meant to sound like that, technical. It is actually quite simple to explain really. It refers to a piece of software that tracks all communication with your customers, past, present and future. Depending on your service provider, the features will vary but it will always be known in the business as a CRM.

Most CRM\’s will have features included to keep track of past, current and potential customer details like contact numbers, email addresses etc. Other service providers can allocate leads to a sales rep and keep track of correspondence with support teams and much more.

What is the ultimate goal of implementing a CRM?

It\’s quite simple really. The goal is to create a process that your company can use to increase productivity and effectively interact with current and prospective customers.

You will find throughout companies that implement CRM software, leads will be allocated to sales agents when desired. This increases productivity as the sales agent doesn\’t need to go through many different avenues to get details for each call, everything is in one place. Everything they need for each and every call.

Everyone is using the cloud these days, everything from storing pictures of loved ones, holiday videos and even storing songs they have downloaded. CRM software companies are no exception to this. Most are stored in the cloud making it just that much easier for a company to maintain their system without the need of big, chunky servers with a designated room.

The Burning Question: Do I really Need One?

To be completely honest, YES!

Imagine this:

You have records of all your customers stored in an excel spreadsheet. You need to find mobile numbers, email address, account numbers, some of which are missing from one but included in another. Then add those records to another spreadsheet, which you then finalise and prepare for the managing director of your company. Imagine doing this for 10,000+ customers to be split and distributed accordingly.

Well I don\’t have to imagine this: I had to do it! Needless to say the mere mention of Microsoft Excel makes me feel uneasy.

A CRM is a piece of technological magic. It will automatically keep track of your customer info so you can focus on the bigger picture, expansion. Whether you are a big or small company, a CRM is an absolute dream to have implemented in your company and it will make it easier for you to manage your workflow and it will also increase your workflow.

Which CRM Software Is Best For Me?

There are a lot of CRM software options out there that would work for your business but it all depends on how you want them to work. Settle on what features your business really needs and when deciding on CRM Software, ask yourself these questions:

  • Sales

Will your sales team be able to know who and when to call with the current processes you currently have in place? If the answer is no, implementing a CRM will give each sales agent a much better insight into which potential customers could be turned into actual customers.

  • Initial Contact

Do you make contact the same way for all prospects? Is it always by phone, email, LinkedIn, all of  the above? A CRM could make your customer interaction much simpler for sales agents.

  • B2B

Is your company one that regularly deals with large B2B contracts and require you to interact with lots of different people within lots of different departments? If this is the case, a CRM would enable you to pull all of the relevant data you need based on the company details you have.

If you want to know what will work for your company, ask and answer these questions for yourself. Take a look at your daily processes throughout your sales department and as a whole. Let that be your guide on whether you need a CRM system.

What Is The Most Important Feature Every Company Will Need?

Perhaps not a feature per say but to properly communicate and track your company\’s leads and current customers at every stage of the buying process, your CRM needs to achieve this. Full Stop!

FIELDMOTION\’s Workflow Management Software can do all of this and much more. Click here if you would like a free demonstration of our software.[divider scroll_text=””]

The Bottom Line: If you are running a business and want to keep expanding, you should get a CRM. Every business\’ success relies on the ability to delight your customers. If you know all you can know about your customers, you can deliver first class customer service while solving problems at a much faster rate. I hate this word but you would be delivering a \’Bespoke\’ experience in which a customer feels special, which will in turn, help you grow and prosper.

Want to see our CRM in action? Check out our Free Webinar today!.