I was telling a friend at a solar design company about the newest feature we deployed for AM Sun Solar. They’re a leading solar installer in central California. By integrating with their field operations tool (or field app), Bodhi now neatly packages the “End of Day” reports and photos submitted by the installation crew and sends them to the customer as informative installation updates within the customer portal.
Upon hearing that, my friend said,
“I love the End of Day Report function. The interplay between a business app for contractors in the field and a consumer app for homeowner reporting is sick!”
This is the power of the solar software stack. As described in a previous article, a solar software stack is a set of discrete solar software tools that communicate and integrate with each other, passing important data from one piece of software to another. The advantage of the software stack is that a company no longer has to find the holy grail — the one end-to-end software tool that does it all and that is perfect for their business.
Instead, a business can choose the specific software tools from CRM to proposals to customer portals that excel at delivering their stated function and are the right fit for an organization's unique processes and operations.
In this article, we’ll describe how AM Sun Solar is able to take advantage of the power of the solar software stack and pass critical information from the installation crews in the field to the customers to the back-office, all at the touch of a button.
The need to keep customers informed
Even though it may only take a few days in most cases, installing solar is hard work. The crew endures sweltering heat or puzzles through non-compliant electrical panels. And if the crew does it’s job well, the customer is almost never aware. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?
Therefore, bringing a bit of transparency to the process can be evidence to your customers of the quality of your work and the attention to detail that you bring to the job.
This in turn helps alleviate the anxiety customers might have. They're anxious that you might damage their roof. Anxious because they made a substantial investment and don't see results yet. Anxious that they may have chosen the wrong company.
AM Sun’s goal and challenge
AM Sun Solar realized that this was an opportunity. For several years, AM Sun has been using a field app to not only support their field operations but to keep the entire AM Sun team informed of a customer’s installation. At the end of each job, the installation crew fills out an “End of Day” report, describing what’s been done and documenting it with photos.
AM Sun wanted to take the End of Day reports a step further and send the reports to their customers at the end of the day. The goals were to
- Improve their customers’ experience with the updates and
- Help reduce the customer calls to the customer service team.
However, there was one major concern. The End of Day report was created to keep the AM Sun team informed and therefore contained lots of information and notes.
“The goal is to keep customers informed, but we don’t want to show how the sausage is made.”
Therefore, the challenge was to design an interaction through Bodhi that was informative but did not lead to more questions than it would have answered.
The software stack
AM Sun Solar are strong believers in how software can improve solar businesses. Salesforce is the backbone of their software stack (and I must add that they have the best Salesforce set up I have ever seen), functioning as a CRM and project management tool. AM Sun uses Device Magic for their field app. It digitizes the data collection process in a pretty easy to use mobile format for their staff in the field. Salesforce and Device Magic are the two main operational tools for this specific use case. Bodhi then comes in to provide the interplay between the operational tools and the digital experience AM Sun’s customers are expecting.
All three tools work together through various APIs and a managed package that’s installed in AM Sun’s Salesforce account. Customer and project information and tasks are passed back and forth between each software tool, allowing all the information to be updated in real time and the ability to hyper-personalize all interactions with the customer. Events like customer notifications are automatically triggered based on the information and predefined conditions.
Bringing it all together
When the big day comes, Salesforce pushes jobs to the installation crews' Device Magic account on their mobile phones. The jobs contain all the information the crew needs. The crews do their thing, taking photos and documenting the work as needed.
Then at the end of the day, the magic happens. The crew presses “Submit” on the End of Day report inside Device Magic. Then automatically
- An email of the report is sent to the rest of the operations team, the CSRs, and the sales representative.
- Specific project information and fields in Salesforce are updated, queuing up the next set of tasks needed for the project.
- The homeowner receives a notification from Bodhi where they can view a parsed and specially crafted message of the work completed that day, photos of the work, and the anticipated completion date.
This customer-facing End of Day report is just one example of the power of the solar software stack. In this case, AM Sun leveraged the digitization of their operations to further automate their customer support and enhance their customer experience at the same time.
Keep in mind however, that this is only possible by adhering to the key design principles when building out a solar software stack. Not all software tools can do this.
If you’re looking to build or rebuild your software stack, check out our guide: Guide To Building An Effective Solar Software Stack - 8 practical steps to get started according to the experts
And if you’d like to talk more about the solar software stack or how Bodhi can fit into your existing stack, contact us!