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Mobile apps can help contractors keep sales high

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The mobile workforce has been growing in number over the past few years, a trend that has been a big benefit for field service organizations. With a better ability to stay in contact with the home base without having to travel back to the office, keep up with customers and get up-to-date information in real time, these devices have been key to helping this industry stay consistent.

Joanna Turpin wrote on ACHR News that mobile apps are now shifting the way sales are undertaken in the industry. Gabriel Weiss, interactive marketing technologies manager, Mitsubishi Electric US Cooling & Heating Division, said a big reason has been convenience, as customers can now more easily see specifications, costs and possibilities via these apps, something that may have been lost when pen and paper were the tools of the trade. Using one application as an example, Weiss told Turpin that it is able to allow contractors to present customers with a 3-D model of what the unit will look like in their space and supporting specs.

"With this app, contractors can give homeowners a solid understanding of how the unit will blend into their space," Weiss said. "Contractors can email the image to the customer directly from the app, use it as part of the provided estimate sheet, and then give it to the installers, so they know exactly where the customer wants the unit installed."

Other things certain apps can offer include:
- Calculations and proposals for jobs to help customers visualize what they may get from the contractor's service
- The ability for customers to browse other service or product options, thereby allowing them to take control of the service process
- Information for technicians and contractors on the customers, including what they have in the building and the last service date

All of these tools will likely play a big part in helping to improve sales. When properly utilized, organizations can see a big benefit from these apps over the manual pen and paper method. Industry professional Steve Edwards said sales are about building customer relationships, according to ACHR News. By giving information to the client and contractors more quickly, sales will likely increase to allow for better business revenue.

Other ways these devices can be useful for contractors
Mobile contracting professional Brendon Sedo wrote on Construction Digital that these devices are being utilized more by professionals each year. No matter the industry contractors service, mobile devices can help them work on the go by having ready access to information that may have been stored at the office in the past.

"The great thing about mobile devices is the access to real-time information. If you need details on a product, or pricing, it's as simple as opening your browser and making a web search," he wrote. "If your client sends an inquiry through email you can respond to them immediately. With information at your fingertips you're always on the ball."

Other benefits include the reduction of paper and printing costs that comes with the adoption of smartphones and tablets, utilization the camera for work purposes and the ability to use tools outside for field service software to help on the job. For instance, watching a video on how to perform a certain task while at a job may be something that helps workers finish much more quickly.

Mobile payments could also be great way to improve sales
Another benefit of an increasingly mobile workforce is the ability to accept payments through these devices. Instead of waiting for weeks or months for customers to return money through an invoice, payment can be instant and organization's revenue stream can see benefits quickly.

Mobile Marketing Watch said many small businesses are already utilizing mobile payments in other industries, but field service businesses, such as HVAC, have been slow on the draw thus far. Officials from one payment company said higher efficiency and control can be had by adopting this mobile software, but thus far, cash and check remain king in the HVAC industry.

Payment provider professional Henry Helgeson wrote on Forbes that one huge benefit of mobile payments for any business is the ability to bring the offline and online worlds together and better personalize a shopping experience for clients. In the HVAC world, this could mean having a much better knowledge of when the company last served a client and when they may be due for an appointment.

Helgeson said businesses are often blinded by what he calls the "shiny factor" in new pieces of software, but a successful mobile workforce can certainly help improve organizational sales with a payment option. The days of processing paper checks and waiting for payment can be over once this is implemented, something that will only stand to improve an enterprise's revenue.

Content brought to you by FieldAware, the leading provider of field service management solutions.