App design learnings: how simple should simple be?

App design learnings from our experience

We are designing for truck drivers. Plumbers. Electricians. Mechanics. In addition to office workers, home-makers.

In fact we have no idea who could be the next user for Simply C2.

For those who do not know, Simply C2, earlier called Grahak Setu, is an app for customers to log complaints directly with manufacturers.

Our CRM users are sophisticated business users. Designing for them did not prepare us for designing for “unsophisticated”- yes, the quotes are deliberate- users.

Here are a few of our app design learnings.

Simple is beautiful

App Design Learnings - Simply C2
Make it simple to do his primary task

The number one on the app design learnings list.

Simple is minimal. Minimal is what you need.

Our target users are busy. They do not have the luxury of waiting to figure it out. Also, they come to the app to do one simple thing.

Make that task stare at them.

B2B is hard to design for

The same app can be used by multiple users at different levels. While the boss may want aggregation and reports, the traveling salesman/ service technician may just want to see tasks for the day.

What we worry about every day. Saleswah CRM tests our ingenuity every day.

The solution is not to show the charts to the technicians or even the entire ticket closure workflow to the managing director sitting in the office. We must be able to present relevant and role-specific views and workflows to the users.

Doing that in the same mobile app, in the same UI and ensuring great UX is hard. Very hard.

Core set of target users with core set of functionality

Every app has a target persona. How you choose to define the target persona while designing the app and the workflows, will influence the usage and adoption.

We need a lot of users. But, first it needs to be useful to a core set of users and they need to find it useful. Really useful. And helpful.

App design learnings from Simply C2
Simplicity is the essence of design

Some of the users will say good things about your app. And, maybe start a virtuous cycle.

Doing this in B2B apps is hard.

Because the boss decides. But he does not use.

Sometimes words speak louder than pictures

Sometimes as designers we get carried away. With icons, pictures, mnemonics. And we forget that we are part of an echo-chamber of app developers and software nerds.

App Design Learnings - Words Speak louder
Simple words like “Help” rather than big ones like “Complaint”

So, if that floppy disk sign for “save” does not make sense to your target audience, please use the word “Save” instead. Sometimes what you lose in “aesthetics” can be more than made up in comprehensibility.

Localize, localize, localize

Start with translating the menu and the instructions. If your app is targeting a diverse geography and demography not very fluent in English, you have to do this. The best example in the Indian ecosystem of this is KhataBook. They have used localization as part of their design strategy- from day one.

App design learnings localize

Clearly one of the most important app design learnings.

Saleswah CRM is in 4 languages. Simply C2 is in 2. But, we are expanding our repertoire.

Sometimes, customization is the only way

This is especially true in B2B. Because in B2B segment, each customer will have a different customer facing process.

Sometimes they are able to let their customer facing process work with Simply C2. It depends on their perception of the ease of adoption of their target customers.

But, many times they are not. We have no choice then to re-build the Simply C2 process around UI/ UX that speaks to their clients.

Like we built for Initiative Water, a pioneering company based in Pune, India. Initiative innovates in the space of Multi-port valves, Water ATMs and Dosing Pumps and uses Saleswah CRM to manage their customer service centres across India. Their version of the customer facing app, the Initiative Grahak Setu is custom made for their customers alone.

They use the data they log from the customer interactions to tweak and expand their service network.

How to use location tracking map to make clear decisions

And, why Sales and Service CRM on the same platform make so much sense

This is a real story. On how a service location tracking map helped a customer do better resource planning.

Our customer runs an all-India sales and service network for machine components. And we help them run that using Saleswah CRM.

Till 2 years back, he had many service centers, all over India. Then they dwindled in numbers- as business took a hit. It’s roaring back, thankfully and they are adding them back. With one difference.

Earlier it was gut-feel. Now he can use data. Here’s what we did.

A brief background: how our location tracking mobile app works

Field service operations let their technicians use a location tracking mobile app. That is not new. Saleswah CRM mobile app has been using location tracking for the better part of the past decade. The Saleswah CRM location tracking mobile app has been used to help technicians navigate, comply with client requirements of proof of physical presence, and so on.

Schedule new appointment

A year back, we introduced what was quite unique.

Grahak Setu: location tracking mobile app that lets your customer have control

We introduced Grahak Setu (Grahak- customer; Setu- bridge)- which was an app for the customers to log and track their repair requests (and do many other things, besides – read more, here). Grahak Setu works with a Saleswah CRM engine at the back.

This means that the user of Grahak Setu is a customer who needs service. And the users of Saleswah are companies and their employees who are providing post-sales service. The user of Grahak Setu does not know, about Saleswah.

Path-breaking innovations:

  1. A simplied but secure mobile based registration and logging experience for the customers.
  2. We allowed the customer to take control of his data- he could register, login, create his profile, add his equipment under his care to the “installed base”.
  3. While creating his profile, using the location tracking mobile app- we made it easier for him to create his profile by querying Google Maps using his GPS co-ordinates. And, when he shared his profile with the service provider (the relevant one using a Saleswah CRM account), he shared his location- GPS co-ordinates and postal address with the company as well.
  4. This made it easy for the service provider company to
    • send technicians to his site to attend to complaints
    • ship equipment back to him after repairs- if the repair was done at the service centre.

Over the last many months, a tremendous amount of data has come into the system, rich customer data: his installed base of equipment, warranty vs out of warranty status of his installed base. And, we have now extremely authentic service location tracking map data.

Location tracking map

The customer ran a report with the “live cases”- the open tickets and the sites.

Downloaded the .csv file which had columns like Customer Account Name, Site name, GPS location, postal address, Ticket nos, aging, and so on. Pushed the data to Google Sheets and then onto Google Maps. This is what he found.

It is clear where the installed base clusters are. So, he has important pointers about where to locate his service centers. And, since in his business installed sites are a good proxy for sales as well, he can decide on where to re-double his sales efforts.

The above is just an example of the decision-making that is going on the basis of location data. Great data, simple querying but very rich analysis, and tremendous actionable insights.

location tracking map
Clusters of sites of open service tickets

Sales and service on the same platform

This is another instance where having the Sales and Service CRM being part of the same tool is useful.

Easily create maintenance equipment checklist for your field team

checklist for preventive maintenance

Checklist for preventive maintenance on the fly

Every field service technician is familiar with maintenance equipment checklists. Let’s see why.

Every equipment under your care has a different maintenance plan. Not just schedule. Let’s take a battery, for instance.

An industrial battery requires preventative maintenance at periodic intervals. If in heavy use, then as frequently as every month. Preventive maintenance (PM) is done to ensure one does not need to come back for ad hoc maintenance/ repair for damaged batteries- basically the same principle behind PM that is followed for all equipment.

Now, every equipment that needs maintenance requires a checklist for preventive maintenance for the technicians to follow. Be it an automobile or a fuel pump or a battery. This is common sense as well as common practice. These maintenance equipment checklists can run to 5/ 6 items for simpler items like a battery vs hundred or more for an automobile.

As an example, take a look at the maintenance equipment checklist published by Alpine Power Systems.

maintenance equipment checklist for battery
Representational: maintenance equipment checklist for battery

Till recently the technicians went around with printed maintenance equipment checklists and noted their finding there.

The problem with maintenance equipment checklist so far

Committing your checklist for preventive maintenance to a paper based strategy has obviously 2 problems.

  1. Paper is tough to track, and audit. End of the day, someone needs to (or should) sit down with the sheaf of papers documenting all the PM activities that have happened that day and check if the right procedure was followed. Were the right observations made, corrective actions taken and customer feedback monitored?

In comes software. Mobile and web based. For capturing records for every maintenance activity performed. And being able to draw appropriate lessons from the past activities. So, obviously, maintenance equipment checklist should be the first to be computerized.

2. And, keeping history, maintaining records and learning from experience is near impossible unless you have a process for transcribing (error free) all the filled up maintenance equipment checklists. Regularly. And, have a software for analysing the historical records for trends to be wary about.

Challenge with computerizing maintenance equipment checklist

Then comes the challenge: do you have to have different software for maintaining, say a laptop than for maintaining a washing machine? Or for a diesel generator set? Because the preventive maintenance checklist to be used for capturing the details regarding each type of equipment is very different, as you can understand.

Or, should you custom develop- with the help of your software vendor, a checklist for preventive maintenance for the equipment that you maintain? And, look for him again when the firm needs even a minor tweak?

Not easy huh?

That’s where Saleswah CRM comes in.

Checklist for preventive maintenance: Mobile app driven totally customizable

We provide you the ability to custom design, not one, but scores of product category maintenance equipment checklist – one for each type of products you have under maintenance. Not just that; you can create custom forms for visits – as well. These checklist for preventive maintenance are available instantly to all users once designed by the admin.

But, hold on. When you have scores of forms with you on your mobile app, that’s just the same as carrying around multiple paper forms for different product types, right? Ah, no. Saleswah CRM is smarter than that. When you are attending to a an equipment under maintenance, the software will show ONLY the relevant form to you. Without your intervention. In fact, you can’t pull up a wrong form even if you tried.

All this works- without a single line of code, any need for “implementation consultants” getting involved and any spend on time and money.

If you would like to have a demo of how to create maintenance equipment checklists – contact us for a demo.

Customer service CRM software focuses on customer retention

More than customer retention, support is a major way to gain new customers as well

A case for Customer Service CRM software

With 2021 behind us and having learnt from our experience, we can safely say that customer support is what keeps a company afloat.

Sales to new customers is expensive, time consuming. Customer support is cheaper and the effects are longer lasting. Support helps retain customers. Support helps spread the word among other prospective customers.

Support is also a great source of ongoing revenue.

The years 2020-2021 were years for our Customer Service CRM Software to come into its own. Ad hoc tickets, scheduled maintenance, AMC and Warranty coverage, spares, logistics. For field service as well as for customer service operations managed out of service centers.

And all this at scale- from a team size of 10 to hundreds. Very customizable. And very very affordable.

customer service CRM dashboard

Who is the Saleswah Customer Service CRM software for?

Saleswah Customer Service CRM software will help you improve customer satisfaction.

Field service CRM software

If you have a medium to large sized field support team that goes to customer locatto attendnding to complaints on installed equipment- high value capital goods (think DG sets, utilities, compressors, chillers, petrol dispensers) or even white goods like AC, then Saleswah service CRM software will help run your service operations.

Service Center CRM software

If you have one or more service centers around the country and your customers bring in or send in products for repair, the customer service CRM software helps too. Think laptops, mobile phones, printers, hearing aids, even cars or even some white goods.

What sets it apart

– A great new mobile app- helping deliver a full fledged service experience at customer site.

Build your own: Every Saleswah customer sees a totally different CRM

– No need for consultants to implement. And there is no need to budget for months of even weeks to implement and adopt. A typical Saleswah customer service CRM software implementation takes just a few days and rarely requires technical support or coding.

customer service crm software customized formsCustomization by the user: add custom fields to all modules, even create custom forms for all types of tickets and even equipment. Push the form to the mobile app for use by your field support team.

Customer service CRM software focuses on customer retention 5

– Any size of operation- hundreds to tens of thousands, any types of products. Browse a particularly complex implementation case study.

What did we do for the Sales CRM?

– As with the customer service CRM software, the accent was on mobility. The mobile salesman will now really like the interface. We also added integrations with Google Workspace (sheets, contact, calendar, gmail), Office 365, QuickBooks Online and added the ability to get leads directly into your Saleswah CRM account from IndiaMart.

– As in the Service CRM, major modules are now user level customizable- add your own fields to Account, Contact and Deals.

– Capture leads from your website- embed a lead capture form on your website.

… and, that’s not all.

Across the sales CRM and customer service CRM software, we have revamped our reporting tool and made it possible to define your own reports. And export the results to csv or Google Sheets.

We now have added notifications across most critical actions- so, whether it is a new lead, a task that got assigned to you or an appointment that is due in 10 minutes, Saleswah will prompt you on your web browser and on the mobile.

Already have Saleswah? Write us and tell us what you liked or even what you didn’t about what we did last year. If you haven’t experienced Saleswah yet, go and sign up for a trial- here.

Prevalent frauds in field service management -1

I will write a few stories – based on personal and professional experience- where I see how fraudulent practices impact the companies providing services and/ or the consumer.

All cases are real and from my first hand experience. Today is the first, the case of the air-purifier field service management.

A few days back we wanted our room air purifiers serviced. It is one of the most well known white goods companies. We called their call center, a service ticket was logged and the technician was assigned to our case.

He landed up at about the appointed hour, did a thorough job with both ( we have two) and then asked for payment.

I paid in cash- he charged me for 2 services, got me to sign off on the “FSR” – which also doubled up as the receipt, and when he was tearing off the top page I saw what was odd.

Except for my signature and date, there was no other impression on the “self-carbon” copy- meant for submission back at his office.

See the possibilities.

He can fudge my rating; in this case, there was no need to, because I had rated him well; but, it is always a possibility.

He can misreport the time of arrival and departure.

Prevalent frauds in field service management -1 6

He can claim that he serviced only one air purifier rather than 2. And pocket the charges of 1 service.

He can claim that he used some consumables- non-chargeable to the consumer, but obviously costing his company something.

Prevalent but preventable

Now, shameless plug for Saleswah Service CRM- field service management software.

If this company was using Saleswah CRM mobile enabled field service management software, this would not have happened.

  1. I would sign on the mobile screen, after I rate him- also on the phone. So, no chance of a fudged rating. Oh, and if your company policy demands that he takes a picture of the client, or the equipment, he can- and the pictures will be sent along with location tags, address etc to your database.
  2. The mobile app will record the start and end time and location of the service call/ visit. And the location.
  3. The receipt can be generated right from the app; configured by the type and quantity of the service availed. No more revenue loss for the company.
  4. You can specify in your service policy that all spares or consumables being used must be entered in the mobile app and and have that implemented/ enforced.

Sign up for a no obligations, unlimited, free trial.

Service CRM nurtures your installed base, grows your revenue, and creates customer delight

Why Service CRM

Most people agree that is takes 5 to ten times as much to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one happy. So, it’s natural to want to nurture the installed base – folks who have purchased from you in the past.

As a CRM strategy, nurturing the installed base takes different paths.

Most models focus on logging events and interactions – meetings, proposals, quotations, orders (won/ lost). Then you have history and you can create your own interaction plan. Even have the system trigger you for pre-determined actions.

The other approach is to approach it from a service CRM mindset. Keep proper track of what you have sold, attend service calls, make him happy that he bought from you.

Image upload from service crm mobile app
Send pictures from site

And, yes: you can generate revenue from the service operations as well. Have the service CRM help in reminding you to send quotations for contract renewals. Send out spares quotes.

These approaches need not be “either-or”. You can do both.

You can’t do service if you don’t have sales- but, service is just another way of selling. Service CRM is not just a product – it is the way you think.

Sign up now and experience Saleswah CRM. It’s not just sales. 

Field service case study of heavy engineering equipment

service crmSaleswah CRM is being used for field maintenance of about 35000 Diesel Generator Sets by a customer. Many of these DG sets are located in remote parts of India. They are installed in Telecom Towers for providing backup power.

A service team of about 30 managers oversee 90 service dealers who employ about 700 service technicians. The service technicians attend to field visits- for repair and preventive maintenance. They are kept supplied with spares. The service is provided under stringent SLA conditions.

See this for more details of the implementation.

The field technicians use the Saleswah CRM mobile app- for service  to update the status of the ticket from the field. The service dealers and the managers use the mobile app to stay updated on the open tickets status. They also use the web based application for more involved tasks such as approvals, audits, billing, certification and so on.

After couple of years of use, the customer shared their feedback on what their strategic and operational objectives were and how close they have come to meeting them. We put their feedback in the slide deck that follows.

Have a look at the field service case study.

[slideshare id=87521886&doc=servicecrmprsentationcasestudy-180208134101]