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Cloud Expo: Article

Working in the Cloud and On the Job

When working in the cloud, there are no risks or compromises, only faster, better, and more accessible tools for communication

Professionals who work in the service field often have to juggle several tasks at once. Service techs have to make sales presentations and deal with customer service and still fix the problem they were hired for. They're basically a one-man show that travels from site to site, the ultimate multi-tasker, with so many projects and phone calls to handle that a person can't help but wonder how most even survive each day. But there's something out there to help these guys out with their busy life. By working in the cloud, contractors and techs can gain an extra pair of arms to make each day count.

When your techs show up to a job they bring their toolbox and a bulky laptop. Their hands are extremely full. Everything they need to know is on that computer but it takes minutes to load, and they have to be on the phone at the same time talking to the office. If a problem should arise, they may have to leave the site and only return after obtaining the information or ordering the parts that they need. Then what happens if there are errors in that information? They have to head back again to the office. The tech wastes gas and the client wastes time. No one's a winner here.

With your current setup, your service techs might not have access to immediate information because it's all manual. The situation could be improved with instant access to what is needed: information. With the cloud, your techs would be able to pull out their phones to access job, client, and other information instantly, not to mention replacing that bulky laptop with a slim smartphone that'll fit in any pocket.

When working in the cloud, there are no risks or compromises, only faster, better, and more accessible tools for communication. The smartphone becomes just as important as the wrench in a plumber's toolbox.

It'll Always Be There
What happens now when a loyal long-term client calls for a tech to solve a problem? The job is scheduled for the next day and files have to be sorted through at lightening speeds to obtain the right info. Sometimes a different worker is assigned to a job and hasn't talked to the previous tech. What if the files were lost or thrown away? If your tech is working in the cloud, going back to visit an old job or obtaining a new job from a loyal client isn't a big deal. They can have previous notes and billing statements available on-demand. All they need to do is open the app on their phone to see every note anyone in the company ever made. The same thing goes for a different tech visiting the same job. Every worker has access to a large amount of data that is available at the click of a button. Managers will also be able to see what projects techs are working on. Never again will your techs say "I wasn't the technician on that job", everyone will be able to work together with the same access to information. Best of all, the information is safe, secure, and always within reach.

Even years later the information will still be there, ready to be used when fixing another sink or repairing more ducts. With cloud providers keeping your information safe, wouldn't it be a safer, better idea to be working in the cloud?

When Hammer Meets Nail
The cloud is growing, and using it to manage your business means simplifying a complex and slow process. Managers can see directly what projects are being worked on and can participate in helping those projects move smoothly.

Say for instance, your company receives a service call from a new client. You make a few notes: "Customer says sink is backed up" or "AC unit won't turn on". You then send a truck to visit the client. With the cloud, the tech snaps pictures and enters notes into his mobile device, and you can read everything he does from your own office computer. You instantly notice that it's a different problem and not the one he seems to suspect. You send him an alert, and together devise a new proposal to hand to your client. You're able to instantly accept the proposal and email or print it out to put into your client's hands. You show the client that you're on the top of your game and secure the job. After they accept, you send out invoices and orders for parts needed for the job. Your consultant puts on his tech hat and gets to work. At every step, you and your tech can stay in touch with each other and the client, just in case more problems arise. There are no nasty surprise additions to the estimate because you have access to all of the information needed to fix the problem.

You are able to communicate with your on-site consultant/tech and together you both achieved your goal: to satisfy the customer with fast high-quality service. There's no doubt that the customer will refer you to friends and family, and will probably call you back in the future if some other problem comes up.

More Stories By Jennifer Hutchison

Jennifer Hutchison is a tech blogger currently based in Los Angeles. She has covered a wide range of topics including beauty products, travel, books, technology, and small businesses. Jennifer is a graduate of CSUN, where she majored in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She is the Online Marketing Specialist for InfoStreet, makers of SkyDesktop, a free Cloud-based desktop.

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