When it comes to your field service business, change is inevitable.
That’s not a bad thing though, and in many cases change should be embraced! After all, change encourages innovation, means progress, and can bring new, exciting challenges.
Of course, unexpected changes can be… troublesome.
I needn’t go into detail about the challenges those kinds can bring: we’ve all had our fair share of the unexpected. However, one thing (or really four) that we can discuss and which can help you in a great way, is to make sure your business is prepared with the right kind of support.
Here, we’re not just talking about support from your staff, or for your customers, although that is certainly a big part of it. We're also talking about how the software you use to help run your business can encourage growth, whilst growing with you, as well.
Join us as we take a look at some of the ways that great software can help and how it can give everyone the support they need to grow comfortably and take on new challenges with confidence.
- Look for Continued Support
- Establish Quality Communication
- Use Customer Insights
- Focus on Balancing the Books
1. Look for Continued Support
There’s a very simple explanation for why we upgrade, change, and develop new ways of doing things and really, even though we may not like to hear it, it’s because there’s always room for improvement.
That doesn’t mean the things you’re changing are necessarily bad—what you want to change can still work well—but when the context it’s used in or the situation it was designed for changes, it makes sense to think of a new way to adapt and improve.
After all, scheduling jobs on Google Calendars might work well when there’s only an engineer or two, and a free or cheap app will work for three, but neither is going to hold up for 25+ members of staff, with appointments changing day in, day out!
For your business then, not making changes can cause stagnation, or, even worse, can lead to you being overtaken by the competition who ends up reacting faster, both to customer demands and market challenges. Besides, it’s not just business practices that change, customers change, too. From the way they search, shop, and make decisions, not to mention the products and services they need. If you carry on the same old way, you’ll miss out eventually on potentially very lucrative business.
It works for the support you receive as well. If tools don’t upgrade, they can weigh you down. And when it comes to the job management support for your business, you want to be sure that whomever your service provider is, they’re also growing and changing with you!
We’ve covered a similar point before in what to look out for when buying job management software, but it also boils down to being aware of what you can get now and in the future from your provider. For instance, they may have helped you go paperless, but do they have the power to help you fully automate your business when you’re ready for it?
But just because you don’t need a solution they provide now doesn’t mean you won’t want it later, right? If you’re looking to grow your business and expand your service offering, then you’ll probably be glad to see that the software you’re already familiar with has more advanced tools. This way, when you’re ready, you can upgrade with ease. As a result, with just a little bit of training (rather than a lot) you can take care of a whole host of more complex tasks without having to start from the beginning with a new tool.
Perhaps all you needed last year was a database and a scheduling tool, but now that those have done their job and increased your revenue and customer base significantly, any business owner worth his salt would want more. Whether you’re looking at more advanced levels of stock control, or personalizing the customer experience: if the software you’re using has these in place, then all you need to do is upgrade. Any good software will offer tiered packages depending on every business’ needs.
That’s a whole lot easier than say, building it out yourself (if bespoke software is what you’ve been working with) or if it turns out the product you’ve been using simply can’t handle the pressure because it’s the free app combo equivalent of holding an installation together with duct tape.
The essence here is, whether you’re new to software or looking to upgrade, to keep an eye on whether the product is clearly growing by frequently updating the tools they have in place, or if they’ve created new ones that can make your business function better.
You can easily check this by going to their press release or product blog section (and if they don’t have either, it’s time to start asking some questions and raise a red flag). There’s a lot that defines what a great job management software is… especially if it turns out that there’s more beneath the surface than it first seemed!
2. Establish Quality Communication
Improving the way you communicate should be at the forefront of your mind if growing your business is a goal. But if you can’t communicate effectively then you’re going to have a hard time not just getting daily work done, but also getting everyone on board with the changes you want to make.
The quickest way to turn people off an idea, even a great one, is to present it poorly...
Inefficient communication is so often the root of many problems so if you want to make sure that everyone’s on the same page, then you need a system that’s going to help you do that, not only by being user-friendly, but which also takes care of a lot of legwork for you, whether it’s by synchronising data in real-time (or, if you don’t have access to the internet, plays catch-up automatically when you reconnect), but which also encourages automatic communication.
For example, this could be making use of something like automated service reminders that can give customers a nudge to take action, to the intelligent scheduling system that lets them put that service request into your diary, without anyone in your team having to lift a finger. Booking portals which allow customers to take action, send confirmations, and which can make sure everyone is kept in the loop will save you time, creating a cohesive experience that is both satisfying and incredibly useful.
3. Use Customer Insights
Making important changes to your business can come about for a few reasons; sometimes it could be because you’ve noticed a need, which could be due to conversations you’ve had with your customers or your staff.
In other cases, you could be taking a proactive approach and implementing changes because you realised a process might soon become outdated as your business grows, or perhaps a competitor started doing something you liked the look of and you want to benefit, too. In these cases it’s like preventive maintenance for your own business, where you can keep up with trends before you fall behind.
What you don’t want to do though is introduce a change when there’s no demand, but that’s where gathering insight comes in handy, helping you make informed decisions.
Ultimately, rather than guess at what customers need, if you want to take your business to the next level then you’ll need data to back it up. With that in mind, a robust CRM system that lets you access and organise customer data makes sense, right?
As a result, it can help you make specific changes that you can be confident will make an impact, like a better way to manage bookings and scheduling, or perhaps lead to you making use of vehicle tracking and engineer profile portals, which can have an added impact of improving customer satisfaction.
Not only that, but great data can be put to more practical use when to comes to admin as well; for instance: to save time when it comes to filling out forms (thanks to awesome customisable options) or when interacting with customers, be it on the phone, face-to-face, or in email: the better your data, the higher quality interactions you can have with your customers.
A personalised approach can make a huge difference and even a little can go a very long way to making them feel appreciated.
4. Focus on Balancing the Books
Time, patience, and planning: these are all important to the process, but it’s also true that you won’t get too far implementing effective changes if the money isn’t there, either.
Still, that doesn’t mean you need thousands of pounds to get the ball rolling - even if you’re watching your bank balance, a great feature of any software is the flexibility with which you can select plans, upgrade (or even downgrade) should a need arise.
It’s useful to look at the solutions a job management software offers (also taking note of what it doesn’t provide) so you can decide how it fits your business now, and into the future. After all, it can be reassuring to know what your options are, and that should be part of the discussion you have with the provider when it comes to purchasing or seeking advice, too!
With flexible software (like Commusoft) you may find that the changes you want now, or are keen to introduce later, are more affordable than they first seemed. Not only that, but if the tools that you gain access to—much like the customer insights above—inform the decisions you’re making about how to manage money, thus making it easier to get paid by your customers.
What’s more, along with all the other jobs you’ll be able to complete, that’s money you can reinvest back into your business. Faster invoicing, easy-to-use payment portals, and essential accounting integrations with programmes like Xero and Quickbooks, are just a few powerful tools that can help you.
With the right technical support and efficient processes in place that are designed to save you time, effort, and money, it means you can continue to rest a little easier, not only when you are faced with adversity, but also when you’re pushing forward to grow!
This is especially true if you know that the software you’re using is designed to grow and develop with you, too; giving you the best chance to make the right preparations.
Sure, you can take risks, try new things, and get creative, but in every effort you make, it will helps to have a strong, reliable foundation from which to build yourself up.
Whether it’s the way you communicate, prepare and send invoices, or even how you take care of scheduling, when the foundation is strong, great things will always come.