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August 19, 2019

First General Increases Customer Rating and Improves Productivity using Encircle


Location: Hamilton, ON

Founded: 1986

Industry: Restoration

Delay getting documentation back from the field

Encircle's documentation tools for photos, videos, and notes

Improved productivity and transparency with insurance carriers

First General is a leading restoration network in North America with over 85 locations. Shawn Thomas, owner of the First General Hamilton-Burlington, Ontario branch has earned high customer approval ratings by providing fast, efficient and superior disaster restoration services.


Communication with property owners and insurance companies is critical to a successful restoration project. Being transparent about job status, selection of materials, procedures, and work schedules are just a few ways that First General helps build customer confidence. Shawn Thomas knows that customer satisfaction also plays a significant role in meeting key performance metrics used by insurance companies.

“I need updates from the field every day,” explains Shawn. “If people are busy and don’t have time to complete paperwork, then everything is delayed. Minor hiccups are common in most jobs, but if I can get ahead of things and provide answers quickly, I avoid having small items turn into major issues. There is no single magic tool for running a restoration business, but to have a competitive advantage, you need to integrate technology into workflows to exceed policyholder and insurance carrier expectations.”

In the restoration industry, gathering field documentation is a very manual process collected through methods like pen and paper, digital cameras and email. Not only would Shawn’s team have to go to a job site numerous times to capture information required for a claim, the administrative team would then spend a significant amount of time assembling the data – uploading and organizing photos, transcribing handwritten notes, and then making sure files were grouped and associated with the correct claim.

Shawn recognized that technology opened up fresh opportunities that could make his company stand out from the others. As a result, he looked to Encircle – a real time solution with built-in productivity tools for centralizing information and streamlining field processes.



After rolling out Encircle, Shawn’s team was quickly up and running. “Encircle is easy to set up and use – which is key because the faster you can get buy-in from your employees, the better the results they will deliver.” Shawn explained how Encircle’s built-in functionality immediately helped expedite and simplify processes: “Now, when my team arrives on site, they get all the information they need on the first visit instead of having to go back multiple times. They take photos and use voice-to-text to document necessary details. Everything happens in real-time and is uploaded to the Encircle platform for other users to see. Right away, anyone who needs to review information has the access they need. Instead of waiting for different pieces of information or chasing down details, all photos and notes are instantly accessible to the entire company and saved in the cloud. This is saving hours, and sometimes days, in claim processing time.” 

In today’s digital age where speed matters and customers expect technology to be ubiquitous and ‘always on’, First General clients and business partners want instant answers. Speed matters. “With Encircle’s real-time capabilities, I work faster and deliver better service too," describes Shawn. “No matter where I am, I can review photos and the latest notes and quickly answer customer questions with confidence, knowing that I’ve got reliable information. Encircle enables me to build trust with customers – and when I do that, I have a customer for life."



“There is no single magic tool for running a restoration business, but to have a competitive advantage and exceed policyholder and insurance carrier expectations, you need to incorporate technology into your workflows."



With powerful features that are easy to use and collaboration tools that make everything easy to see and share, First General Hamilton-Burlington uses Encircle to improve productivity and transparency with insurance carriers. “Encircle’s reports are far more professional, and have considerably more detail than the reports previously available. It makes the job for adjusters so much easier. The best part is that I get accurate, quality, visual reporting at the press of a button. Insurance companies are taking note of my performance.”


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Learn how Encircle can help you and your field teams ease the documentation burden.