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Innovation or irritation? Field techs talk tech

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Innovation or irritation? Field techs talk tech

ProntoForms helps you keep your field techs safe and empower them to be efficient. Discover what technicians have to say about these tools
ProntoForms helps you keep your field techs safe and empower them to be efficient. Discover what technicians have to say about these tools

Field technicians are the heart and soul of any service-driven organization. ProntoForms knows these brave superheroes often risk life and limb to keep the lights on. At the end of the day, you want your field techs to return home to their families after a job well done and be ready to take on the many exciting new challenges a new day brings.

Technology has been a massive enabler for field workers and the many demands they face in completing their jobs safely and effectively. Increased communication and access to valuable information such as easy-to-follow formatted work instructions, detailed resource images, and documents such as manuals and parts lists provide the contextual insight needed to deliver excellent results. Replacing paper-based systems with digital tools has reduced the amount of administrative work, freeing field workers up to do what they love.

A burning question on the minds of many field service leaders and citizen developers is whether field techs feel that what technology offers is pure innovation or irritation. During EMPOWER’21, ProntoForms’ annual user conference, we spoke with David Russell from Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) and Richard Pena, a Quality and Condition Assessment Specialist at SUEZ to get their perspectives.

The field techs

David Russell from Johnson Controls has worked as a field technician for many years. He started out as a steamfitter and obtained considerable training over time. Now in his sixties, David holds a role that leverages his well-honed skills to repair highly complex assets.

Back in the 90s, he developed his own solutions to help him satisfy his customers using his Palm Pilot with spreadsheets. He visited customer’s sites and took pictures and recorded document models and serial numbers way before he discovered ProntoForms. He’s amazed when he looks back and sees how far technology has evolved over the years he worked in the field.

Richard Pena, a Quality and Condition Assessment Specialist at SUEZ is in his thirties and began his career in his late teens. He started out working for his dad as a journeyman and then moved towards his goal working as an inspector. 

Together, these gentlemen represent the old and new guard of field workers. One has seen the early moves towards digital transformation, and the other is extraordinarily adept in using the latest and greatest bleeding-edge technologies to support his work. The one constant for both men is they have both seen tremendous change and needed to adapt to exceedingly complex assets.

So, what exactly did they have to say about the use of technology in carrying out service work?

The field tech’s perspective on field technology

We were curious to know how technologies like ProntoForms impact a field service technician’s work performance and job satisfaction. The two techs we spoke with at EMPOWER’21 had plenty to say about the benefits of field-ready mobile apps. Most of their comments fell into several main categories:

Time savings.

Having information on hand saves your technicians valuable time. There’s no need for them to call or return to the office when they need support if you provide them all the data they need on their mobile device.

Forget staying late to catch up on paperwork. Using ProntoForms, technicians can enter information that’s sent to your systems of record in real-time, even offline. David Russell from Johnson Controls made the case saying, “ProntoForms makes it easier when we’re doing our preventative maintenance to provide value in reporting in a way that streamlines our work so we’re not spending a lot of time on it. That’s a big thing for me. I don’t want to set my wrench down and start filling out forms. I’d rather just keep working.”

Richard Pena recounts that a new form for their sales processes dramatically reduced the time SUEZ spent on reporting. It used to take anywhere from two weeks to two months to complete the report, describing a lengthy process of captioning many pictures and pouring over information. He notes, “Now with ProntoForms, I go out, do the inspection one day and with a day in the office, I’ll have it done completely – a two-day process. It blows my old reports out of the water.”

Speaking of water, Richard shares a story of when he used to have to inspect a 150 ft tall water tank before SUEZ adopted ProntoForms. The reporting system they relied on wasn’t ideal. His manager used to ask him to go back up if he missed capturing a piece of information. With relief in his voice, he told us, “The reporting system we have now is foolproof. All the information’s there. You just have to fill it in. Now in the form, you’re checking it as you go. It’s been extremely helpful. The process is a lot better.”

Field technology delivers:

Increased efficiency.

You likely have more data in your organization than ever before. It’s vital that valuable data isn’t siloed off or hidden in a filing cabinet. It belongs in the hands of your technicians so they can get the job done safely the first time around and deliver excellent service.

Richard mentions that the data he’s collecting makes its way across departments and regions for use by multiple stakeholders. He’s able to see his impact on his organization thanks to the free flow of information that arises when a business uses ProntoForms.

In Richard’s case, he describes a problem they used to have at SUEZ was that techs used to “…have to go back and re-visit some tanks because there’d be a lack of information. People would forget things.” He says that now all the information is populated into their reports, making the inspection process foolproof.

Knowing the history of an asset or job site is another way to increase efficiency. Dave shines a light on the benefits JCI has seen when he states, “Having access to the archives gives technicians the ability to understand what has gone on with a piece of equipment in the past. It provides a structure for techs of any tenure and skill level. It’s easier to find disparities when troubleshooting if you know what’s happened in the past.”

For one client with numerous heat pumps, JCI uses ProntoForms to consult an archive of the work that’s been performed and a service list of equipment that needs servicing. They take on the biggest problem first after looking at the customer’s equipment in the archives. If there’s ever a problem or a question arises, the technician can show that they’re adhering to code compliance for the work that’s been done. This information also helps the company grow its business.

Assured consistency for field techs.

Being able to ensure continuity falls on the shoulders of field technicians. Both the work they do and the documentation of what’s been done must conform to established requirements.

ProntoForms field service platform is respected for its ability to ensure a high level of consistency. David speaks to how our solution supports the younger generation of technicians and says, “When you’re going out to a job site to do preventative maintenance, for example, it’s structured. With the younger generation moving in, it’s hard to determine what we can expect unless we put a structure together for them. They fill out the forms in ProntoForms. They have a very strict regimen as to what needs to be done so the customer’s expectations are met.”

He goes further in addressing how this impacts customer satisfaction, adding, “We have to make sure we’re providing the quality they’re looking for because it’s a competitive environment. Having ProntoForms puts structure into what we’re doing and gives our office a reporting process so we can justify the time required to get the work done. It’s been really helpful in increasing customer satisfaction and continuity throughout our work environment with our peers.”

A positive customer experience.

Building upon the previous comment, both technicians we spoke with at EMPOWER’21 shared their dedication to ensuring customer satisfaction. Richard put it best when he explains his goal, “I just try to make sure the customer gets their value because that’s what really brings them back.”

He notes that having information on what had been done in the past has been extremely helpful in carrying out his work. This insight has helped both men open conversations about what the future holds and makes the customer aware of upcoming repair and service needs. Technology was also celebrated for its ability to “improve the company’s business acumen with their customers,” according to David Russell from JCI.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see why we’re a fan-favorite with field service technicians. They rely on our mobile forms solution to assist in the seamless performance of complex work. We help them stay safe and give them the tools they need to get home to their families at the end of a long day.

Click here to watch the complete session with David and Richard to gain additional knowledge on how technicians use field tech in the field. If you’d like to learn more about how ProntoForms helps increase field service efficiency, we’d love to give you a quick demo of our field team platform.

TrueContext Editorial Team

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