Voice Documentation

Written by Chris Hackett, Dan Starr, and John Zarb

Voice Documentation is the ability to capture essential information from an individual so that that information can be used to benefit an organization.  Voice Documentation is the process of documenting field activities or events via verbal communications. 

voice documentation

With all of the tools and methods used today to automate the collection of information from the field, one old but reliable tool often goes underappreciated: Voice.  Voice calls have always been the go-to method to share a great level of detail quickly and easily.  However, they also often resulted in frustrations for the recipients of these calls in the office because they caused interruptions and, due to common “chit-chat”, they were often lengthy.  So, as wireless connectivity and smart devices became ubiquitous, field to office call volumes dropped significantly, ratios of dispatchers to mobile workers increased and productivity improved. 

However, the implementation of this strategy had challenges.  Suddenly workers in the field were being asked to type messages on small devices in all types of environmental conditions.  The challenges of these various conditions often resulted in inaccurate data entry.  The results of this strategy were, and continue to be, procrastination and the inevitable occurrence of errors and omissions.  This happens because much of the information is being documented hours after the events occur.

The ability to record and document voice calls within a web-based environment has the capability to compliment, enhance or replace written or other wireless form applications.  In addition, utilizing cloud based solutions allows for ease of data capture, storage and retrieval. 

The benefit to utilizing Voice is that the task can be accomplished in a minimal amount of time.  In addition there is a much greater level of accurate detail because the ease of use naturally results in the calls occurring right from the job.  The aforementioned benefits lead to an increase in customer satisfaction and an increase in overall work efficiency.

While the capability to utilize e-mail and wireless forms still exists there are certain environments where Voice documentation can prove to be easier to implement than with a traditional written approach.  When utilizing Voice Documentation the individual does not need to fill out forms (which can be cumbersome while wearing gloves) or type out a lengthy e-mail.  Additionally, in today’s diversified workforce, field workers may be more comfortable and accurate speaking in their first language than speaking, typing or texting in English. The voice notes are captured and then immediately attached to the specific job that the individual has been assigned to.  This minimizes the need for data collection and reconciliation at a later point in time.  All the information is gathered in real time with time and date stamp along with a GPS location stamp further documenting the event and filing in the appropriate database to insure data accuracy.  This information can be referenced when the employee returns to the office later in the day, the next week or several weeks later when, and if,  follow-up action is required.  Accessing the data at any point in time is rather simplistic.  The individual looking for the data simply pulls up the record of the company in question.  All of the Voice notes are located within that company’s record inside the firms Customer Relationship Management system.  The person seeking the information can then review by date to make sure that the appropriate record is being accessed.  In addition, any supplemental information that has been added since the original incident report can be reviewed as needed.

voice docuemnetation inbox

Why Utilize Voice Documentation?

There are several reasons why Voice Documentation can provide tremendous benefit.  First of all it allows workers to become more productive.  Rather than spending time filling out paperwork and electronic forms the field worker can simply press a button and deliver the updated information regarding their work order directly to the data base managing the client relationship. 

Secondly, the level of accuracy increases as field workers get the right data, about the right client entered into the data base tracking their job flows.  There is no issue with data integrity as the field worker’s entry is automatically captured in the data base and referencing their current job back to the client’s open record in the data base.  In addition, Voice Documentation captures the tone and tenor of the person communicating the message; an element of written communication that is lost and impossible to capture.  Voice capture leaves little or no room for misinterpretation of a communication by an office worker or dispatcher.  The field technician’s comments can be reviewed to insure that exactly what was requested is precisely what will be or was delivered. 

One additional positive element is the convenience of using Voice Documentation as opposed to some other method of data entry.  The individual wishing to enter data into the data base simply presses one button, speaks, and the data is captured for future utilization.  This level of convenience contributes to the capability of the field worker to be able to process more work in the course of a shift and therefore become more productive by processing more service calls. 

One last ROI for Voice Documentation that it greatly reduces fuel costs. Field workers who must call into the office to document an event, or even fill out a paper or electronic form are likely to be in their work vehicle with a running engine for air conditioning or heat comfort wasting valuable fuel while idling. Gasoline engines burn approximately ½ gallon per hour, and Diesel engines burn closer to 1 gallon per hour. These fuel costs run up quickly to alone offset the cost of many voice documentation solutions daily cost.  Fuel savings, reduced inbound phone calls into the office, unproductive hold-time, more detailed documentation along with the ease of archiving the voice documentation into a company’s CRM system, makes voice documentation something that many companies need to evaluate.

Voice Documentation has been and will continue to be a game changer.  The capability to capture valuable information from the first hand source provides a clear audit trail.  It also increases the overall efficiency of the field workers enabling them to accomplish more work per shift.  We will continue to see improvements in the technology allowing workers to benefit from Voice Documentation.  These benefits will be captured in a variety of industries around the world.  There is no limit to how effective or efficient the field service workforce will become with enhanced voice documentation capabilities.