This latest release of RIDGIDConnect adds some features that should get most of you pretty excited if we have been listening well. One major thing we added is the ability for you to allow your customers to upload media to any job you permit them to. This opens the doors to a few more things than it sounds like.
Open up any job and check mark the box to allow customers to upload media. Simple enough. "What's that get me?" you ask. A lot of new capabilities! First, let your customers save you a trip to the site by sending you a picture of what they are seeing. A lot of times a simple picture will give you enough information to bring the right parts to a job or send the right worker to the site. Being able to communicate at the speed of the internet might give you a leg up on the competition that needs to send someone onsite to give an estimate for work. After work is done, the customer may find fault in your work, or notice an issue, and want to show you what is happening. Again, they can easily attach an image or video to the report to save the frustration of a customer trying to communicate what is wrong. Best of all, RIDGIDConnect allows you to store this all securely so you have a living file on all the customer interactions.
It doesn't have to be a video or picture from a camera that you ask your customer for. Think about the forms you already exchange. When you create a job for a customer, you could attach a pre-work survey to collect the information you need for the job, and then ask them to upload the form when it is complete. Why not do the same after a job is done with a satisfaction survey? You will automatically have all of the information for a customer in one easy to manage place without needing to put paperwork into a folder and printing emails and faxes out so that your job data is all in one place. Your customers will most likely thank you for saving them trips to the fax machine in the process or the cost of a stamp.
We have seen some neat things happen over the last few weeks. First, we have a new tweeter (is that what they are called?) from the development team in charge of our twitter account, so expect to see more updates from the source there now. We have seen some activity from Australia that we weren't expecting, but glad to see! We have some new developers on the team working on some of our new mobile clients and product integrations. Oh yeah, and we have been working on a lot of new features that you have all asked for. Here is a basic rundown of 10 high points since launch...
- Removed the credit card requirement from registration
- Job Scheduling in the job report template (ability to assign, set priority, change status, start/end time)
- Ability to filter jobs on assigned to. Defaults to your jobs when you go to the job list. Great for users that have multiple technicians in the account.
- Ability to create Teams and assign jobs to teams.
- Revamped the flash uploader to be way cooler and easier to use. Be sure to sign in to the installed desktop client and update your version today!
- Revamped the flash player (maintains aspect ratio, hover-over play bar)
- Drag-and-drop sorting on the job page for media elements. Now telling your story on RIDGIDConnect is even easier.
- You can now search for media based on who uploaded it
- We now show special graphics for the different types of attachment files instead of just showing a paper clip. For example, Excel files will get their own graphic, PDFs get their own graphic, etc.
- Added the ability to tag media (although you can’t search on this just yet. in the future you will! Great for seeing how much of your work is around one application or another)
This is just a few high points that I figured I should share. We streamlined some of m.ridgidconnect.com for your mobile devices, but I will wait to talk about mobile for a bit longer;-)
If you want one-on-one attention getting started with or demonstrating RIDGIDConnect just click on Contact Us (http://www.ridgidconnect.com/Public/ContactUs.aspx) on the site and let us know. We would be happy to help in any way we can make you successful in using RIDGIDConnect.
The technology that is available for contractors to take advantage of today is impressive. Thermal imaging cameras detect evaporative cooling and depict the heat differential of a surface. The same sensor that detects you are about to walk up to a door at a grocery store and triggers it to open can be found in tools that allow you to scan the wall and detect conduit, metallic pipes, and electrical wires visually. And a tool as simple as the SeeSnake micro allows contractors to look into the tightest of spaces and see what problems exist without the need for extensive demolition.
In the H/VAC-R trades one cool new technology helps in the diagnosis of cracks and fissures in heat exchangers. This is a common problem as equipment ages. The system, called Visual Defects Detector (http://www.visibledefects.com/crack_det.html), combines a uv-dye with a camera to record the visible leak paths that exist in the walls of the heat exchanger. When you think about it - sure, using a uv liquid as a leak dector is straight forward, but this application is a fast and efficient way to do so in what can be a tightly confined space. Plus, cracks in a heat exchanger can be a safety risk to occupants.
Technology is a great enabler. What never comes in the box though is a set of instructions on how to transform that tool's capability into a profit.
So now you have found a leak or crack in a tight space how are you going to share that insight with your customer? Sure, if they are present they could look over your shoulder at a video monitor. But, how often does it work out to be that convenient. What if you need to show the boss what you found or the estimator in the office so they can work up a quote? Recording and saving that data collected on the job site is the first step, but making it so that you can share that information in a way that drives your business is the key to driving your top line up.
RIDGIDConnect allows you to take the information from the job site and organize it with your notes and media to create a compelling report. Your customer, coworkers, or other third-party can receive an e-mail link to open a web page and view your findings. You can easily mark up images to call attention to the specific problem that needs to be addressed.
A RIDGIDConnect job report puts the information at the finger tips of decision makers. You reach your customer where ever they are. At home, in the office, on the road. People can access their email and view an on-line report much easier today than dealing with a DVD or sifting through their regular mail to find an estimate.
Your time is money. When you find an issue that can be converted into a billable service don't let the opportunity pass you by. Use RIDGIDConnect to share, store, and simplify how you communicate your findings and turn your insights into income.
I have had a few questions asking if you can put invoices, drawings, or other files on RIDGIDConnect. Yes! There is a potential to get very organized here for you and your customers. Many of you will post the videos and images from a job, and then upload a copy of the invoice for the customer as a PDF file. On top of that, some will upload warranty information, product literature, promotional flyers, and so on. You can put any common file type that you want on the site, but remember your customer will need to have the right software to open the file (can't open an Excel file without Excel!).
As with anything else on RIDGIDConnect, if you need help or have any questions, just contact us using the link on the bottom of the site. We have dedicated staff ready to lend you a hand.
Last week was the Pumper Show. There was far more interest in RIDGIDConnect than I expected. It was fun to watch people light up as they began to understand what we have put together. At first the response was: "I am fine with DVDs." This soon changed as I would start discussing the advantages (bookmarks, snapshots, markup, security, integrations to your site, logo customization, mapping...). By the time they saw how easy it was to do all of these things, they were nearly speechless ...in a good way! I certainly learned that it takes more than a minute to digest all of the features that are in the site and decide if RIDGIDConnect is right for your business. If you would like someone to walk you through the site or train you in some of the hidden features, let us know via the Contact Us link at the bottom of any page on RIDGIDConnect. For a few more notes on what was in our booth, check out this blog from one of our distributors.
Switching topics, last week we also added a new feature to RIDGIDConnect for Job Scheduling. Let me know what you think so far. Simply create a new job in advance of doing the work. You have the ability assign the job, set a time and date for the work and give a priority. We are keeping this quiet for now as new features are added in. Do you have a suggestion? If so, leave it in the comments of this message. I am also very curious how many of you are using smart phones in the field and\or using GPS to track employees.