Custom forms (also called eforms) are a brilliant tool to benefit any field service business.
Whether you’re checking off tasks at an appointment, collecting feedback, or ensuring asset compliance, filling in forms and creating certificates will take up a significant portion of any engineer’s day.
Making forms simple, easy, and flexible so that they can meet any-and-all of your needs is essential if you’re looking to improve productivity, satisfy regulatory requirements, and boost the efficiency of your field service business.
Let’s explore 5 reasons why your field service business needs eforms that are customisable and how they can assist your services, in more detail:
If you want to use software that allows you to create custom forms, you’ll want to go with a solution that gives you options. This is what makes creating eforms easy: rather than manually creating all the information from scratch, you can instead pull from a vast amount of questions and tweak answers in the way to best suit your needs.
Once created (and thanks to the cloud connecting their digital devices to your database), these forms can be made available to engineers who can then easily fill in forms and create certificates on their mobile or tablet devices, at every job they attend.
Forms can be as simple or as complex as you like. The whole idea is that custom forms let you tailor-make eforms and certificates that meet your specific needs.
By using forms that adapt to the needs of the engineer and relate to a particular customer’s specific wants, you’re only going to make work move more quickly.
This is particularly true when using job management software on mobile devices that are capable of differentiating, say, a customer who manages an estate agency versus another who manages an office block. Their expectations are different, as is the information you want from them. Varied forms mean that your team can tackle every customer’s unique needs.
Customisable forms will also help you business to adapt to all sorts of changes. After all, nothing stays the same forever, and it pays to ensure you can evolve to address changing needs within your business (like new services you’ll provide) as well as externally for the unexpected.
Consider the pandemic, for example, where a COVID-19 compliance form helped to add a whole level of essential safety checks to reassure staff and customers. Knowing that the risks of coronavirus were being considered inspired confidence in an uncertain time; but not everyone was able to adapt to use these forms and checks as quickly as they’d like.
With customisable forms then, your field service business can rely on being able to adapt and react quickly to changing needs, no matter their size or scale, rather than play catch up and continue to keep customers happy, too.
When available within your job management software solution, you can do all this without having to pay the hefty price tag to get forms redesigned, purchase templates, or use certificates made by an external, more expensive service.
2. Boost productivity and only obtain data that’s necessary
The clue is in the name, but “custom” forms go a huge step further than their standardised digital counterparts to help you improve data (and more).
While standardised forms are a great way to prevent paper waste and reduce the errors arising from paper-based admin, many field services companies we speak to find standard eforms too rigid and generic. This limits them from obtaining more useful information, whilst also not really saving them any time.
Productivity is a tricky one for a lot of field service businesses to improve. It’s not that engineers aren’t doing their work, but that more tedious admin and frustrating processes can slow things down to a point where data entry, even when it’s meant to save time, ends up being far more laborious than it should.
Rather than get stuck using the same old forms for every type of job and appointment, with the right management software you can instead get more creative and customise a wide variety of eforms for your team to help them work faster and smarter than they have before.
A big way custom forms make an impact in this way is through dependencies.
When customising forms, you can use dependencies to add or prevent additional questions from arising. These are questions that only get shown based on specific conditions. For instance:
A series of different follow-up questions can be asked to the query “Is the environment safe to work in?” If “Yes” is selected, a list of questions about how safety measures are being met may pop up. If “No” is chosen, an entirely different set of health & safety questions could come up instead.
These may instead prompt the engineer to determine if a site is safe to work, or lead them to postpone the job if risks are too high. Ultimately, with dependencies, your team can work more efficiently to fill in only what’s necessary, rather than answer all of them, or leave fields blank.
Much of this feature will be powered by your customer database which makes completing eforms and certificates incredibly easy. That’s largely thanks to automation literally filling in data for you. This means that while they work in the field, engineers can capture data faster and even benefit from the information that’s already been collected on the system, even if it was from another engineer who’d previously attended a job at the same site.
This also creates a better experience for customers. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to answer the same questions multiple times; but with software, these tools both simplify and enhance data entry so your team can prioritise great work.
Tip: Circumstances will change, of course, so while you can rely on automation, you could also consider a prompt that asks an engineer to double-check details periodically. In this way, you’re doing your due diligence. That could mean setting a dependency prompt that says: “Have the customer’s details been updated/confirmed within the last year?” If “Yes”, the query closes, if “No”, then follow-up queries can come up. Easy.
Either way, as a result of automation, dependencies, and specific questions, your team can create more streamlined journeys for customers to enjoy and prevent engineers from having to take a lengthy pop quiz every time they turn up or sign off from a job!
3. Store data securely, and share certificates easily
Customisation brings with it a great deal of flexibility that goes far beyond using only paper forms and certificates. They let you digitise data, track information, and share it with your customers, all lightning-fast.
Thanks to cloud-based storage and secure encryption of your management software’s database, you’ll be able to keep hold of your customers’ data and rest safe in the knowledge that it’s secure.
This process also makes accessing relevant files and folders far simpler on your job management system, with relevant certificates and eforms being just a few clicks away on a customer’s profile and listed against specific jobs, rather than buried in a convoluted filing system.
Digital storage also carries with it physical space-saving and environmentally friendly benefits, with eforms helping reduce the amount of paper waste produced by your company and the need for physical storage or for posting of files. This means that paper checklists aren’t being filled in, only to become forgotten relics in an ageing filing cabinet.
Best of all is the speed with which you can share files. With a few clicks, you can convert forms and send over certificates as PDF documents, via email. Customers can continue to store copies of their own and easily print them, only if the need or desire should arise, which helps them save space and reduce paper waste, too.
4. Improve compliance
Maintaining asset compliance plays a big part for a variety of field service businesses, whether it’s in your efforts to prevent SLA breaches, meet additional contractual obligations, or be assured that your team is maintaining the standards you’ve set for your own company.
Customisable eforms and certificates make this process infinitely easier because you’re benefiting from the flexibility to adjust these forms and certificates to any and all assets you know you need to take care of for your customers, or even KPIs you may want to track.
Even if they’re your own company standards, the nature of customisation means you can create anything: whether it’s a safety form, forms for specific types of jobs, checklists, assessments for training, or whatever else you have in mind. By ensuring engineers have access to these forms, you can easily generate certificates and reports, all of which can go toward proving compliance.
Furthermore, eforms created with quality software are much more secure than filing cabinets because they come with advanced encryption tools to keep them safe from any data breaches. This is a nice bonus for average customers, but absolutely essential when working with estate agencies or commercial clients, as they will ask for proof that the information you’re storing about them is held securely.
5. Build up your brand, your way with custom eforms
Customisable eforms also bring an excellent opportunity to promote your brand, not just by doing excellent work more efficiently, but literally in the way you produce the certifications you store or send to customers and regulators.
With it, you’re not just able to create the custom forms we’ve highlighted above, but as soon as a form is complete, your engineer can instantly email a PDF version to the customer, so they don’t have to wait around.
On this form, it won’t just be the customer’s name, their relevant addresses, and any captured signatures, but thanks to customisation options, it can have your company’s branding automatically added to the form along with the engineer’s assessment and answers from the prompts you’ve set.
The form can look however you want, but templates in your system ensure branding consistency is achieved across any and all forms you decide to create, building on the professionalism of your services.
The Takeaway on eforms
In a nutshell: digital forms, eforms, certificates, custom forms (whichever name you prefer) are the same forms and checklists that your business uses every single day.
However, now you can have complete creative control over them! This means they’ll meet the exact requirements of your services, every time.