Service Firms – Use SharePoint Online to Stop Losing Potential Customers & Making Costly Initial Estimate Visits

This post is a result of an experience I just had in getting an estimate to repair my pool. It got me wondering why service firms need to send someone to give you an estimate when, in some or many cases, they can ask you to take a picture(s) of what you need done and either provide an estimate from them or use them for follow up questions and then an estimate.

My pool is Pebble Tec and about 16 years old. As you will see in the picture below, it has a crown around it and that crown has eroded in two place. Trying to find someone in the Phoenix area during the summer to do this type of repair is hard for two reasons: 1. They are very busy because it is the peak time. 2. It is a small job. I needed to make a lot a calls to find two contractors that were willing to give me an estimate. The first one told me it would be two weeks before someone could come out and give me an estimate. The second came out the next day, because they already had someone scheduled in the neighborhood, and provided me with the estimate. The second company seemed reasonable so I told them to schedule the work. Consequently, I cancelled the first contractor. After speaking with the second contractor it was evident to me that neither had to come out to give me an estimate, they could have done it from cell phone pictures and saved travel time and transportation. Also they could have figured out if they wanted the job, how long it would take, which employee would do it and when they could schedule it in. I would have been fine with this since it meant I did not need to hang around for the person that would do the estimate. So taking pictures would have made it easier on me and them.

I set up the simple SharePoint custom list below to track the opportunity and respond back to the prospect. When the perspective customer’s call comes in, the information can be entered and they can be asked to email pictures of the needed repairs.

The paper clips are the emailed pictures that are attached to the opportunity. In my case they looked like this:

 

I decided to do picture attachments instead of setting up a Custom SharePoint Picture column because I think in most instances a potential customer would have multiple pictures…a SharePoint Picture column can only reference one picture (of course you can have multiple columns but that can unwieldy). One drawback to attachments is that PowerApps do not support displaying attachments so you could not view the lead fully on a cell phone or tablet.

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