Many organisations need to record an acknowledgement or confirmation from an external party that some activity has been completed. Examples of these acknowledgements could include:
- Confirming delivery of goods to a customer.
- Confirming that a service has been performed.
- Acknowledge receipt of key information.
- Confirm that an inspection has been carried out.
Businesses will often use paper-based solutions to record acknowledgments as these are easy to understand and implement.
However such solutions will need someone to process the paper work at a later time, keying key information into a records system, or perhaps just filing it away in case it is needed in future.
If obtaining acknowledgements is a key part of your process, delays in processing paper work can degrade you ability to monitor business performance.
In this article we show a few IT based solutions for recording acknowledgements.
Although we describe methods of recording acknowledgements, the same approaches apply to confirmations, consents, approvals, etc.
Online forms, such as those created in Microsoft Forms – included in all Microsoft 365 business subscriptions – can be used to capture pertinent information about an acknowledgement. Power Automate flows can be triggered when a form is submitted to record the acknowledgement against relevant business records.
Microsoft Forms cannot be pre-filled, so either the person providing consent or the company representative would need to fill out all needed information. If this is a time-consuming activity there might be reluctance to fill in the form.
When Microsoft Forms are submitted by people from outside your organisation there is no way of validating the identity of the individual making the submission. Therefore you can’t be sure that the person named in the form is actually providing an acknowledgement.
If a greater degree of confidence in the identity of the person providing the acknowledgement is needed, we can capture signatures for face-to-face acknowledgements, or use transactional emails.
A limitation of Microsoft Forms is that it has no facility to capture signatures. Instead we can create a Power App to record the details of the acknowledgement and provide a space where a signature can be drawn on the screen.
Consider the example of the field service engineer visiting a customer to make repairs. The engineer’s Power App might provide all details of the work to be undertaken and could automatically record information such as the job start time.
Once work is complete, the engineer logs all relevant information in the app, and then asks the customer to confirm that the information is correct. The customer can do so by drawing their signature on the screen.
The app then saves the image of the signature, along with details of the acknowledgment to the relevant business records store.
Email acknowledgement requests
You may have a scenario where asking for a signature is not possible or appropriate.
Instead of signatures we can use transactional emails. In the field service engineer example, above, once the engineer completes the job they once again log all relevant work in the app. Logging the job as complete automatically triggers the sending of an email to the customer describing the work done and asking them to provide their acknowledgement.
The customer either clicks a button or a link in the email to record their acknowledgment.