Although you may be aware that Rapport has been promoted as a tool to help service companies maintain records and deal with service calls it did not start out that way, this side of Rapport was an extension to the original purpose.
The entire concept was borne from a need to be able to deal with service calls from a manufacturer perspective, the version that the independent repairers use is, in effect, a cut down version of the full Rapport. It has been used in this role since 2010 handling thousands of field service calls and is constantly being upgraded.
Rapport is used not only to keep records of service calls placed but to assist staff in dealing with calls quickly and efficiently, allowing them to perform “soft service” with little or no knowledge or expertise in the repair industry and then to distribute calls to appointed repairers as and if required.
Before Rapport was designed and built the problem that we faced was that all existing solutions were either clunky, cumbersome and really rather slow, overly complex or simply did not do what we required. Most were adaptations from uses in other industries, not geared to the specific needs required for large domestic appliance (LDA) servicing.
Or often as well as, being very expensive and all the more so considering that most are built on old proprietary operating system technologies.
Then there were the issues of usability.
Many of these systems required significant training and/or familiarisation with the system just to take a simple service call. For us, that simply wasn’t good enough, anyone should be able to do that intuitively in minutes if not seconds with no or virtually no training.
With no viable alternatives that did what we needed, we built out own system tailored to do exactly what we wanted.
As we use worldwide standard technologies that are universal in use it means that, not only can you install rapport to a local server and run it completely in your own network but, you can also run it online in the cloud.
The system can be installed to a standard web server of your choosing and can then be accessed by multiple operative in multiple locations, anywhere in the world.
Any remote workers, telephone operators, field service managers and more that you any wish to have access to the system can do, easily from any device at all, be it a smartphone, tablet or any PC.
You can even make this facility available from your own in-house server.
You don’t have to be in the office to get stuff done!
Hardware Cost Reduction
Of course all of this helps to reduce costs which is important to any business.
As we can access the system using any device with a web browser you are no longer shackled to expensive Windows machines, Macs and so on, you can use whatever you like, including open source operating systems such a Linux.
It doesn’t matter if you use low cost Android tablets instead of more expensive Apple ones as, they work the same way.
And you do not need expensive bits or hardware to run it all, you can use just about any device you please or happen to have to hand.
This is only the starting point of saving money using rapport.
For our own use internally we had a bit of a problem with almost all off-the-shelf solutions, they almost all were exclusively Windows based. As we use Macs, PCs and Linux based systems this was not suitable for our own IT environment.
We decided to make Rapport work using HTML in a standard web browser both for local network use and so that it could also be used remotely. Meaning that remote workers can also use the system in real time and on any computer that has a a web browser. Or a phone. Or a tablet.
This means that you can even operate a virtual call centre in a cloud environment with home workers taking calls, you don't even need to have staff in an office to use the system and, as it is so flexible, no special equipment is required to do so.
If fact, Rapport is probably the only system of its kind that can be installed and used on any platform or device with a web browser installed.
Using new technologies in this way not only freed us from being tied to one operating system but also allows us to make easy use of the internet and all the development of HTML5 and so on including interactive elements, video and more.
It also makes it cheap to install and operate.
As Rapport uses virtually no system resources other than the browser it can be used on almost any old PC that you happen to have, even a small net-top PC can run it. There’s no need to buy expensive hardware or to have the latest and greatest computers.