Guest post by Craig Lloyd:
The iPad is a great device for computer technicians to carry around while out in the field. It’s a small and portable, yet powerful machine capable of assisting computer technicians with their work. Here are just four ways that computer techs can take advantage of Apple’s tablet.
1. Organizing Client Information
A great iPad app that’s specifically targeted towards computer technicians is called iFix. It’s an app that aims to ensure that repair orders and client data stay organized and can be easily and quickly accessed. You’re able to add specific information about each client including info about their computer, a list of their service orders, status of said service orders, and a history of past repairs for each client. The app also has a handy search feature where you can quickly look up a specific client or bit of information in a very short amount of time. Essentially, every text field in the app is searchable.
The only drawback of iFix is multi-user support and the lack of database backup options. The developer said that these features are being worked, but that was a year ago, so just be aware of this if these features are important to you.
If iFix isn’t measuring up to your needs, an alternative is an app called mHelpdesk. It accomplishes some of the same features that iFix achieves and it can even schedule and sync appointments with your Google Calendar, as well as the ability to create and email invoices in PDF format. It even has a pretty comprehensive billing system of sorts that allows you to create estimates, email invoices, and record payments.
CommitCRM is another great piece of software geared toward computer technicians that keeps track of clients. While it doesn’t have a dedicated app for iPad, it has a feature-packed web interface that can be accessed through the web browser on the iPad. Just like other popular CRMs, CommitCRM is widely-used, so the community support is undeniable. However, it’s not free (or cheap), but a 30-day trial is available for anyone who wants to give it a try before diving deep.
2. Easily Accepting Credit Card Payments
The iPad is a great device to use as a register of sorts that you can use to accept credit card payments. You can hook up a Square credit card reader to it and begin taking credit card payments from clients right away. It’s an easier – and possibly cheaper option than having to open up a merchant account at a bank and purchase bulky processing equipment. There’s no cost to get started using Square – just a small transaction fee of 2.75% for every swipe.
If Square specifically doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, other options for easily accepting credit card payments via an iOS or Android device include PayPal Here and Intuit’s GoPayment, both of which have awesome competing features.
3. Remote Support
There are many remote support applications available. LogMeIn Ignition is just one option that’s wildly popular, but I find TeamViewer’s iPad app to be dead-easy to use. You simply enter in the TeamViewer ID and password for the computer you want to access and you’re controlling the desktop remotely within seconds. And just in the case the client is rather computer-illiterate, installing TeamViewer on a client’s machine is very simple and doesn’t involve multiple, confusing steps. They even have a standalone version that can simply be launched right after being downloaded — no installation required.
Something that we all kind of loathe nowadays is doing inventory. However, the Computer Inventory iPad app can makes things a little easier. It allows you to manage your entire business’s inventory all the way down to what software is installed on which computers. It can also act as a more minimalistic CRM of sorts — being able to keep track of the type of machine a client has, as well as what software they have installed, that way you don’t have to keep asking them every time they report a problem to you. The app also allows you to export your lists to XML and email formats to send and store them accordingly.
Are you using an iPad app in your computer business that we didnt mention here? Let us know! Drop us a comment.
Guest post by Craig Lloyd. Craig has been tinkering with computers for over eight years and is CompTIA A+ certified. For the past three years, he’s been writing about and sharing his love of technology at various websites across the internet.