Collecting information in the field seems easy: you write down everything and then go back to the office to hand in your paperwork.  Someone in the office then deciphers your notes and usually retypes everything into some type of software application. If you’re lucky, you didn’t miss anything but many times you have to call the customer back or even make a second trip to get the missing details.

Technology has introduced new methods of collecting job site information. Unfortunately most of these solutions are nothing more than a static digital form – you don’t have to decipher handwriting but you’re still missing valuable information.

The only real way to collect all of the information you need is to use a logic-based form approach.  Consider these 4 “must have’s” when looking for your next mobile solution:

  1. Optional Questions: In some cases you’ll want to include optional questions but only prompt the user to answer them if they apply to the situation.  For this reason, optional questions are good and cause the field person to think, to make sure they get all the information the first time.
  2. Required Fields: Required fields can’t be skipped – they are critical for collecting consistent and complete information in the field. And required fields are a “must” for concise, accurate reporting.
  3. Branch Logic: This isn’t simply “If you answer “A” then ask question 2 or if you answer “B” skip question 2.  Logic should be built in a way that, depending on your answer, you get one or more different questions which could be a completely different path or simply one or two “extra” questions.  Branch Logic can be complicated to build but it should flow seamlessly for the user.
  4. Repeating a Form: You must have the ability to repeat a form without asking redundant questions.  For example, you show up at a job site and are required to take a photo of the area, input a contact person’s name or the time you arrived but you shouldn’t have to answer those questions each time you fill out the form while on the same jobsite.

When considering a mobile solution for your field service team, don’t settle for digital forms that simply replace handwriting with typing.  Opt instead for a logic-based approach that gives you all of the information you need every time. Your team will be more efficient, you’ll save valuable time, and your reports will accurate. And all of that means better customer service and lower cost of service.