This is the case at One Roof Energy, a solar energy provider in San Diego, where laborers and service reps spend most of their time in the field meeting with customers.
To streamline appointment booking and get better oversight of how the reps are doing on the job, the company recently deployed a smartphone app from ClickSoftware for managing the scheduling and dispatch of sales reps.
“It’s been a tremendous change,” said Hussein Yahfoufi, vice president of technology.
Rather than calling around to see who is available, dispatchers post open customer requests via the app, and the reps can book the appointment and have it saved to their calendar. This speeds the booking process, prevents double bookings and allows reps to visit more customers each day. And when they make a sale, reps use the same calendar feature to schedule the installation as soon as the agreement is signed, rather than making several calls back and forth between the home office, installers and the client to set up an appointment.
Along with improving the customer experience, it has enabled the company to keep closer tabs on its sales force. Using the data in the app, managers can see who’s working when, what their close rate is and how many customers they are visiting.
That creates greater accountability and makes it easier to manage their performance, Yahfoufi said. For example, if a rep closes a deal, he immediately sends the rep a congratulations note, and if the rep loses a sale, he can follow up and offer on-the-spot coaching. “It’s been a great talent management tool,” Yahfoufi said.
However, he was worried when the company first rolled the app out that some reps might not appreciate the GPS features. Some reps felt like they were being watched, even though they could turn the tracking feature off.
To ease their concerns, he made sure HR was involved in early training and communication about what the app was for and how it would work, he said.
“As a tech guy, I saw this app and thought this is just cool technology, but HR understood how the employees would feel about being tracked,” Yahfoufi said. “They helped us address those people concerns, and made sure our reps understood how they would benefit from using this technology. That made them feel more invested.”