In addition to housing ServAssist on the iPad, small businesses can greatly benefit financially by equipping the mobile worker with iPad technology. In keeping with trends of recent years, though, end users in small businesses are more likely to employ their iPad for both business and home use. With its keyboard-less form, the iPad isn’t likely to replace an office desktop PC; more likely, it will augment your end users’ desktop PC and fill a role somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop.
The iPad has its advantages in a business setting. Consider:
- It helps you go green. Since the devices are meant to be toted around and shared, you can eliminate paper memos, notes and the like. Your business can cut paper costs and add green-initiative bonus points.
- It offers flexibility. The nimbleness of the iPad creates possibilities for depth in presentations, particularly away from an office setting. It can perform tasks that might have been clunky with a standard laptop, like monitoring core business functions on the go and giving sales presentations.
- It saves you IT time. The iPad’s accessibility can save IT hours, as you’d now need to spend less time assisting less tech-savvy end users. The iPad can be employed for targeted tasks by your field service workers who might not ordinarily use a laptop or PC.
- It increases productivity. There may also be an unintended advantage to bringing the iPad into a small business environment: Because the device currently only runs one app at a time, it makes multitasking much harder, which, statistics show, could actually improve workers’ output.
In recent years, field workers have acquired the tools to help them more efficiently perform their jobs and communicate with the office. Cell phones were the first key mobile devices that increased communications between the back office and field crews. Smartphones took it a step forward, enabling mobile workers to access email and the Internet at any time from any location.
Mobile intuitive, always-on devices such as the iPad then appeared, taking mobile workforce productivity and effectiveness to a new level. These devices benefit the service tech in the field, and it also enables the back office staff to get information quicker, reduce data entry, increase collaboration, and provide more information to management for quicker decision making.
The primary reason the iPad has been so successful for businesses is that Apple designed it to be easy for a computer novice to operate and sophisticated enough to provide instant access to business critical applications-whether the user is at a jobsite, in their truck, at home or at the office.
Field workers can video-conference service/support managers for assistance analyzing technical problems without dispatching supervisors to the job site. Free applications like Apple’s FaceTime and Skype are key elements in this solution.
Access to technical information:
No longer do mobile workers have to depend on carrying a library of technical manuals (which are often out of date) with them on the truck. The iPad can replace all those manuals and also give them on-line access to manufacturer’s websites for support.
Electronic Work Order Creation and Completion
Applications like Yargasoft’s ServAssist eliminate expensive mult-part forms providing a real time tool for collecting and transmitting work orders to customers and the back office.
Apple’s cadre of app developers have a choice of free and low cost invoicing systems available for the iPad
Credit Card Processing
Every major banking institution offers a free credit card process app that allows swiping and processing credit card payments directly from the iPad.
Using an application that is accessible by the field crew and the back office staff increases the communication and collaboration for everyone. This mobile access brings the team together to help them profitability handle their specific aspects of the project and changes.
Mobile devices can also benefit back office employees that don’t use them. The financial team, for example, can route documents-invoices, purchase orders, etc.-for approval and receive data, such as timecards and purchase orders from the field by providing the jobsite crew with mobile access to business management software applications.
The management team, which often travels from one jobsite to the next and works nights and weekends, has access to real-time, accurate information and reports-regardless of where they are. This ability to access up-to-date data on specific projects or company financials provides more insight into their business and quickly alerts them to areas that need attention. An iPad minimizes disconnect between management and field crews, and provides data access to help hone their business strategy, improve cash flow control, and keep financials in the black with accurate return on investment (ROI).
Using Siri with the ServAssist App
Siri Integration with ServAssist
Apple has done a phenomenal job with human interface engineering. Siri is just one example of the time and effort Apple has put into enhancing the user experience. At ServAssist, we have taken advantage of all user interface enhancements available in iOS 7.
It is important to realize that Siri needs more processing power then that which is available in your iPad mini or iPad air. Siri is processed in the cloud, on the Internet, so Siri is only available when you have an Internet connection. When using Siri, you will notice that there is a delay between the time you finish speaking and hit done, until the time the words appear on the screen. That’s because your iPad is transmitting your voice signal out to the Internet, being processes by Siri, then being returned to your iPad device as text.
In ServAssist, any time text can be changed, a keyboard will appear. On this keyboard, a little microphone will appear to the left of the spacebar. This microphone is your access to Siri. If the microphone is grayed out, that is an indication that Siri is not available. To access Siri, press the microphone button and wait for the beep, then begin speaking. Speak clearly and concisely, avoid slurring words and using slang terms.
Siri will automatically capitalize a word at the beginning of a sentence. It does not know, however, when to place “periods,” “commas,” “quotation marks,” “parentheses,” or when to capitalize a letter that is not at the beginning of a sentence.
Siri Integration with ServAssist
For our example we used sample text:
Mr. Stoner called in to request service on his personal workstation. He is wondering, “why is my hard drive making a sound like a jet plane taking off? This is very annoying!” His workstation is a Hewlett Packard with windows 7.
First, check to insure the sound is coming from the drive and not the power supply fan; if it is, indeed, coming from the hard drive, he would like it replaced with a 2 gb drive.
** Keep in mind, when speaking to Siri, there is a 30 second dictation time limit. For this reason, we have broken our service notes into two paragraphs.
Siri Voice Commands in Action
To end a sentence say “period,”
To end a sentence with a question mark, say “question mark,”
To end a sentence with an exclamation point, say “exclamation point,”
To place a comma between two words say “comma,”
To capitalize a word that is not at the beginning of a sentence precede the word you’re going to capitalize with the term “cap,”
If the word I want to capitalize has the word “cap” in it, I must say, “cap next”, then the word.
What is ServAssist?
ServAssist – An app for Mobile Service Contractors
ServAssist is an iPad application for mobile service contractors that replace the paper work order, designed to be as easy to use as the built-in Apple mail app.
- Complete integration with iPad contacts, calendar, camera, mail, and maps.
- Customer information and tickets can be exchanged via e-mail and SMS.
- Customizable and configurable to user preferences
- Industry-tailored solutions (IT, Plumbers, Electricians, etc.) are also available
Why is ServAssist Valuable?
ServAssist produces an accurate, timely, and professional work order that is e-mailed to your client and head office immediately. You save time, errors, and money.
How is ServAssist Different?
The app integrates contacts, calendar, service tickets, and maps into an intuitive, easy to use application to document activities during the job, not after the fact.
How does ServAssist Work?
ServAssist is a complete work order app housed entirely inside the iPad. Unlike many “electronic forms” apps presently in the marketplace that require a “cloud” base module, ServAssist does not need a communications link to capture all work related information. The app takes full advantage of all electronic communications available natively to the iPad. It completely documents work as it’s being performed; capturing all labor, materials used, and providing before and after visual documentation of work completed.
ServAssist Redefines the Work Order
ServAssist for the iPad replaces your present service work order with an intuitive electronic interface. Its ease of use encourages you to document your labor and materials used as the work proceeds; instead of after the job has been finished. This eliminates the need for you to mentally reconstruct your activities after the job is complete. Instead of presenting your customer with a hand written, multipart form to sign, ServAssist produces a professional document for them to sign that can be easily transmitted to them immediately. Your office also gets a copy of the completed work order as soon as the job is done, not at the end of the day or the end of the week.
ServAssist Accelerates Operations
- Showing “at a glance” what service calls you have today
- Grabbing customer information from your “contacts” directory, rather than retyping it into a form
- Integrating with device maps for directions to the job
- Point and click material and labor items from a preloaded directory.
- Describing “work requested” and “work performed” by typing or speaking into the iPad.
ServAssist Reduces Errors
The ServAssist app allows the service contractor to fill out the work order as they’re doing the work, not in the truck after the work is complete. The work order will be provided to the customer with an accurate, professional, and legible document with no scratch-outs or misspelled words.
How Does ServAssist Work?
Unlike many “electronic forms” applications in the marketplace that require a “client/server” or “cloud” module; ServAssist is self-contained and functions as a complete, stand-alone app to capture all work related information. Completed tickets can be sent to the Home Office and Client by using the built-in Mail app available natively to the iPad.
ServAssist completely documents work as its being performed capturing requested and performed services; all labor and materials used; and providing before and after visual documentation of work completed.
The user-interface is designed simple and effective. ServAssist is refreshingly simple and intuitive, allowing you to focus on the task at hand, not wrestling with a clumsy, poorly-designed piece of software.
Customizable to Your Business
ServAssist is customizable to the unique elements of your business. When you first launch the app, you can customize the PDF Service Order with your company information, tagline, and logo. You can also configure an email address where copies of your Service Orders will automatically be sent.
At any time, you can also configure and import a resources list with your parts, materials, labor, and rates. What’s on your truck can be in your hand for accurate and complete invoicing.
Streamlines Service Call Activities
Work orders can be produced easily and quickly, and can now always be up-to-date! ServAssist uses your iPad contacts so that customer information does not have to be re-entered into a form.
It also integrates with Calendar to schedule and view your work appointments, and with Maps to give you spoken, turn-by-turn directions to the job location.
While at the jobsite, ServAssist captures the Requested and Performed Services. It takes full advantage of Siri® Voice recognition capability to reduce or eliminate the need us use a keyboard – allowing you to “dictate” your work order information. You can even attach a job photo to your
Reduces Errors and Improves Business
By capturing all of the activities, labor, materials, notes and pictures of your service call, you are ahead of the game! No longer do
you need to spend time in the truck – or in the office on weekends – to keep your paperwork up-to-date.
When you are finished with the service call, ServAssist displays an attractive, customizable, PDF ticket which can be signed by the customer. This ticket is sent to your customer and your office using the iPad Mail app. All of this is done from within the ServAssist App!
No more need to purchase expensive carbonless multipart work order forms. No paper getting lost! No coffee spills or poor penmanship to deal with!
By the end of the week, your paperwork is done, your weekend awaits, and you know exactly what’s ahead for Monday.
ServAssist® is a registered trademark of YargaSoft, LLC. Google Maps™ is a trademark of Google Inc. Siri®, iPad®, iTunes®, and iCloud® are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Dropbox™ and the Dropbox logo are trademarks of Dropbox, Inc. The contents of this document are © 2014 by YargaSoft, LLC. All Rights Reserved.