10 Major Misconceptions About Field Service Apps

By katie simpson on July 23, 2014

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Misconception #1 Field Service apps aren’t worth the time or money investment in switching. My paper forms work fine.

On the surface, paper seems cheaper than investing in a field service app. But, paper costs you in another way: time.

With technicians in the field, it can be hours or days for service tickets or reports to return to your office. Then, you have to enter this information into your systems (if you can even read the crumbled carbon copy). Only then can you send out invoices, or purchase orders for new products. Your technician may have finished the job at 8 am on Monday, but this process could leave you billing a client the next week.

Of course, this process also has pitfalls: forms go missing or become damaged. If they come back, forms can be missing important information, or have bad calculations. Sometimes, customers call, having lost their copy of an invoice and need you to send them another copy. Internally, paper makes it hard to track your technicians and provide quality oversight.

Paper seems cheaper up front, but it’s costing you hundreds of hours of extra unbillable work.

Misconception #2 Our employees are not technically savvy. They rarely use or even send an email. We like the idea, but it will be too hard to implement here.

Over the past couple of years, GoCanvas has worked with thousands of organizations. Many of our customers have been electricians or contractors. The beauty of a custom mobile app with GoCanvas is that it can be as easy as you’d like. You can create mobile apps as simple as our driver’s daily log, or our basic work order. Your employees can have a mobile app experience that is simple, fast and painless.

Admittedly, some of our customers have had hesitation by their employees in this transition. Their advice to other companies:

a) Start with a test group.

Companies often use the trial period to test out their mobile apps for any potential issues. Often, they will start with technologically savvy users and their complete opposites. Even during the trial, their co-workers start seeing that using GoCanvas makes their work faster and easier. Employees begin approaching and asking to go mobile!

b) Reach out to your Senior Mobile App Consultant.

Every customer at GoCanvas is assigned a consultant. Available via phone, chat, or email, they are here to help answer any of your questions. Something that may seem impossible, could need a simple fix. With years of experience, they are ready and available to make your mobile app experience and adoption a seamless and easy transition. 

c) Integrate with your back end system:

People love when something is easy to of use. With GoCanvas, it’s easy to integrate your data with backend systems and remove the job people hate the most: data entry. One New England client says it best:

“When employees get used to finding the data easily, they will ask ‘hey, what about this form?’“

Not only will this mean your employees are freed to do other tasks, they also become mobile -app advocates on your behalf.

Misconception #3: We want to go mobile, but we want our own custom mobile app. 

That’s one path you can take. But do you know how much it will cost? AnyPresence did a survey of IT professionals and found:

  • Over 50% spent more than $50,000 and 3 months to develop a mobile app
  • 24.3% spent $100,000-500,000 and 6 months developing a mobile app

For custom development, that’s only the beginning of the costs. MGI Research found that most mobile apps will need to be updated at least four times between 2012-2014! Those are costs that just keep rising.

A subscription service with GoCanvas will often be cheaper and far more powerful than what you’re able to create for your own company. With our annual plans costing $210 per user, you’ll be spending a fraction and begin using a mobile app today.

Going with a subscription service has other benefits as well. Your IT staff and resources won’t be taxed with creating and maintaining your mobile apps. Companies of all sizes, have found that they can easily create their own mobile apps with drag and drop interface. Using GoCanvas requires no technical knowledge to thrive.

You can have a custom mobile app experience, for much less.

Misconception #4: My team writes faster than they type. This will slow down our processes further.

Our mobile apps can bypass the need for typing in several ways to make your inspections, surveys, or checklists even faster. They include:

  • Drop-down lists: providing a range of pre-written answers to fill in.
  • Checkboxes: click once, and all done.
  • Light dispatch service: pre-populate service orders with date, time, address, even the issue the technician needs to address, before they even arrive on site!
  • Reference data: add in your own information into apps such as price lists, or material reference numbers to make inventories, or price quotes faster and more accurate.

On top of these powerful features at GoCanvas, many smartphones and tablets have talk-to-text ability. So even if your users have to fill in descriptions, they can often talk into their device, and it will transcribe for them.

More importantly? Your workers never have to do data entry again. Every form filled out on smartphones or tablets go straight to the cloud. You can easily integrate these submissions with any system you have. The end result? Companies save thousands of dollars on administrative costs.

Most of our customers find that mobile forms take less time, have less errors, and allow them to capture more information than ever before.

Misconception #5 I have team members in places where they can’t get the Internet.  So going mobile won’t work for our business.

GoCanvas understands that lots of companies have workers in remote places. Internet isn’t always available. With our app, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to fill out forms. Your workers could be a mile underground and they’d still be able to fill out a form with GoCanvas.

Once you have access to the internet again, all your forms will be automatically submitted to the cloud.  

You can go mobile without constant access to the internet.

Misconception #6 Getting information back more quickly is great, but I need to dispatch information to my employees. Can you do that?

Getting technicians information can be an expensive struggle. While you can call or email employees information, it’s easy to lose or miss in a busy day. Sure, your employees could come back to the office between jobs. But they’ll do fewer jobs a day and use way more gas.

At GoCanvas, we offer a light dispatch service to help you get job information to your field technicians. Dispatch allows your home office to send forms, like a service report or a repair form, with pre-populated information.

Your technician will receive a notification on their phone that they have a new dispatch. There, they can get information such as a customer’s name, address, or what issues they need to focus on at the site.

You can stay updated on their work as well: admins can see when a dispatch has been opened, started, and finished. With a light dispatch your technicians can do more billable work in a day, and you can easily track their progress in real time.

Misconception #7 The GoCanvas generated PDF doesn’t look like my form

Do you share this information only internally? If so, does your form need to look a certain way? If your formatting was for finding documents, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Every form filled with GoCanvas is a searchable PDF document.

You can create a filing system for how you organize your documents today. With GoCanvas you can name your form based on entries inside it. For instance, you could name a service report based on customer name and date. Each form will automatically generate a file name that’s easy to search for your documents.

Is your PDF for external use? We can still put your logo and company information at the top so it will include your branding. While a new format, your customers will still have the feel of your brand.

Companies using GoCanvas find that our generated PDF differentiates them from their competition. Their customers love receiving easy to read information in their inboxes. Even better? The companies spend less time helping their customers find missing invoices, or clearing up confusion. This means more time for companies to grow their businesses further.

Misconception #8: I like capturing data on the mobile devices, but I don’t need information in the cloud. I need to integrate it into our other systems.

Being able to collect and store data quickly and efficiently is great, but we go far beyond just collecting information. That’s why we established integration capabilities.  We have an open API, which, via webservices, allows the customers to connect their GoCanvas database with almost any software or system out there with a webservices structure. You can integrate with:

  • Quickbooks
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • Sharepoint
  • Peoplesoft
  • PeachTree
  • Sage
  • And more!   

Many customers integrate their data from GoCanvas with others systems via CSV or Excel formats. With bulk downloads, you can easily have data from GoCanvas in whatever system you use.  Chances are if you need to integrate, we have specific experience with your backend systems. 

Misconception #9 I’m way too busy to build a form and learn a program!

You don’t have to learn a program to use our app.  Our drag and drop app builder makes it easy to create or edit any app for a perfect tailored fit.  No coding, no html knowledge required.

Don’t have time for any of that? Browse our collection of Field Service Automation mobile templates. Have a specific form in mind? You can do a quick search as well. All of these templates are ready to use and editable. Just push ‘Get App’ next to the template you want to get started!

With years helping thousands of companies transition, we’ve seen many companies fully implement GoCanvas well within their 30 trial day period. They come to find that a small time and money investment in GoCanvas can save their businesses thousands of hours and thousands of dollars. Well worth the investment of time and money to transition.

Misconception #10 That sounds great, but my employees are too busy. We don’t have time to implement another program. 

Transitioning to GoCanvas isn’t like other programs. We’ve launched as many as 5,800 users in a 24 hours. With over 14,000 apps in our store, organizations can download an app and use it within the same hour. No matter what industry you’re in, we have something to help you get started today.

Employees often find that going mobile is easier, and faster for them. Some ways to help employees get started with GoCanvas include:

  • Letting them use their own smartphone or tablet
  • Find a champion inside your company. Let your employees see the benefits from their coworkers
  • Include field employees in the testing process. With a month long trial, you have time to test to figure out what works and doesn’t. Letting them be part of the process ensures that the app is easy to use for them.

Once employees start seeing the benefits, they won’t want to look at a paper form again. With real time information, you save far more time in the long run with mobile apps than sticking with paper.

Sharing that information with your employees is also faster when you go mobile. Make as many changes to your apps as you like: Every update you make can be sent out directly to your users. From Kalamazoo to Kuwait, your users can have the newest forms as soon as you make them.

There are a lot of myths around field service apps. Having worked with hundreds of companies in this field, our customers find that going mobile saves them both time and money. Employees may be hesitant about change, but going mobile will make their work easier and faster. Going mobile can give your business a productivity boost, strengthening your bottom line.

Are you ready to save time and money?

Try GoCanvas today for free. No credit card required!

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