Field Service Representatives (FSRs) protect GE Capital from risk. They spend their days visiting customers to physically verify that all financed inventory is on premises and accounted for. Over time, this process has resulted in a level of familiarity and comfort between the FSRs and dealership staff. This time spent with customers—unguarded moments on location—has long been recognized as an opportunity for GE Capital to identify new business opportunities.
A legacy application had been put in place to seize this opportunity. But it was slow, cumbersome, and required FSRs to login from home to organize and write what they might have heard or observed at the end of their long day. Needless to say, application adoption rates were low and a great wealth of information was being lost.
I was part of a team to develop a suite of Apps for the field service representatives, I was responsible for the experience strategy and design of the iOS apps. I led the UX work, producing all major deliverables and conducted the user research. I worked alongside a creative director and an iOS app developer.
A day in the life of a field service rep
From an overcomplicated process to organized focus
The Field service group wanted to increase the level of participation within their market intelligence program with their field service reps that were on the ground talking with customers on a daily basis.
We simplified the submission process from a series of disjointed steps that had to be filled out in a certain order before the user could move on to the next step in the process.
The solution was comprised of two parts, hardware and software.
The benefits of using a mobile device were clear and obvious and would enable a software solution that was accessible anytime, anyplace. But what device?
Simplification was achieved through focus.
At its core, the value of this tool was derived from one single thing ... the comment.
FSRs used a variety of outdated phones and services, making a forward thinking solution difficult at best. The first step was for the business to invest in normalizing the complex landscape, providing all FSRs with current, standardized smartphones that were enabled for secure cellular connections.
This guiding principle lay behind all software design decisions: The simpler the solution, the more likely FSRs would be to actually use it.
The legacy software was a complex maze of screens that forced users to classify and categorize the nature of an entry, and the business unit it pertained to as a first step.
The design team turned this experience on its head, creating a single-screen experience that allowed FSRs to painlessly and immediately enter a comment (by keypad or voice), and move on with their day. The multiple steps required to classify the comment were reduced to a few simple “tags”, easily selected from the same screen.
Comments are flowed into Salesforce, and automatically routed to the GE Capital representative best able to act on the opportunity or solve the problem.
The decision to create a native application as opposed to a mobile optimized website was strategic ... solving a critical problem. Many FSRs visit dealers in remote locals with poor cellular connections. A native application allows for use in “offline” mode, with data automatically submitting once connectivity is re-established.
Additionally, this allows for the utilization of common interface elements native to the device operating system—such as navigation trays and list selectors—that provide familiar and intuitive user interactions.