A Year in Review: The Commusoft Business Blog 2019

Rhys Pattimore
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Oh how time flies! Just one more day and we enter not just a new year, but a whole new decade. Alternatively, if you’re reading this in 2020: Happy New Year!

It seems a little crazy to think that we’re here already, but it’s not too surprising how the time has flown by. 2019 was a big year for us here at Commusoft, with plenty of new additions, not just to features available on the product itself, but with new members of staff (including myself). Add to that, moving to our new head office in London, a brand new office in Chicago, (and new clients aboard in the US, too)! 

With all that groundwork laid, and more besides, we’re excited to dive headfirst into 2020!

Team photo 2019

We know that a good chunk of you will still be incredibly busy over the festive period, and beyond. Still, hopefully, you’ve managed to enjoy (or are recovering from) some much deserved time off, but during this time, it’s a fantastic opportunity to reflect, too.

We’ve covered a wide array of topics this year, with automation being a major theme, but there’s plenty more we’ve gotten around to, and it’s been especially interesting to see what you, dear readers, have been interested.

So, to round out the year, we’ve taken a look at the 10 Most Read articles from our Business Blog of 2019. With advice on Stock, Branding, Boiler Testing and more besides, it’s the perfect time to check out a summary of essential content (and resources) below:

#10 What mobile phone do you get for your engineers?
#9 How Your Plumbing Business Can Handle Non-Paying Customers
#8 10 Giveaways and Gifts to Increase Customer Loyalty
#7 How Much Money Should You Be Charging Per Hour? (Part 2)
#6 5 Ways Your Plumbing & Heating Company Can Win Estate Agent Business
#5 Do You Need to Do a Tightness Test on a Boiler for a Yearly Service?
#4 Best Practices for Creating and Organising a Stockroom
#3 What You Don’t Know About Tool Theft—And 10 Tips to Decrease Your Risk
#2 Here's Exactly What to Say When Breaking Bad News to Customers
#1 8 Vehicle Signage Experts Share Their Best Tips on Service Van Design

#10 What mobile phone do you get for your engineers?

It’s not surprising to see why this topic makes it into the top 10. Technology is constantly changing, and mobiles more than anything, seem to changes fastest. After all, it’s easy to lose track of which iPhone is the latest model, what changes have been made, and which bells and whistles you need or can do without! 

We make an effort to update our software not only to make sure it performs at its best, but the same goes offering advice on the most suitable phones to handle not just job management software, but everyday work-related tasks like taking photos, videos, sending emails, or the classic: making a phone call (all without the device dying on you when you need it most). You can also find the 2019 guide here (and we'll be sure to update in 2020).

#9 How Your Plumbing Business Can Handle Non-Paying Customers

Chasing payment isn’t especially fun for anyone, but it is - unfortunately - a necessary evil that you’ll have to deal with at some stage or another. Judging from the readership, it’s a problem many of you are dealing with, and we hope you’ve found the advice in this particular article helpful. 

Unfortunately, the chasing payment issue can have a tendency to escalate, so from the lightest nudges to more direct inquiries, we’ve covered all you need to know in order to make collecting those debts easier than ever.

There are a number of things you can do to help limit the chances of non-payment occurring, whether it’s introducing pre-paid deposits or payment plans. Check them out by clicking the title link above! 

#8 10 Giveaways and Gifts to Increase Customer Loyalty

Retaining customers is a tricky business, to be sure. But customers are your most precious commodity, so it makes sense to treat them well! That means giving them treats, especially as a reward for loyalty. These can go a long way to boosting your customer retention rates if used correctly. 

What you offer is up to you, but this post contains a few suggestions that many of you have found useful. Whether it’s providing discounts, free consultations, gift cards or promotional items, there’s plenty you can do to reward your customers. 

To help you take things even further, why not check out our Customer Service Cheat Sheet? Download it to see how you can improve your customer satisfaction ratings. Just click the image below.

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#7 How Much Money Should You Be Charging Per Hour? (Part 2)

It’s rare that (in cinema at least) Part 2 of a series is better than Part 1. However, there are exceptions to the rule. Think of Spider-Man 2, The Godfather Part 2,  Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back (though let’s avoid the technical argument over the Episodes numbers). 

In this case, Part 2 of How Much Money Should You Be Charging Per Hour takes #7 and is more popular (this year at least) than Part 1! You can click here to see how it all started, but both articles seek to answer a question that is no doubt often on the minds of many. 

#6 5 Ways Your Plumbing & Heating Company Can Win Estate Agent Business

Winning new business, especially if you’re working on commercial and not just domestic contracts, is incredibly important. It has the power to truly help you scale and grow your business at a quick pace, but it also comes with challenges you need to be conscious of and take care not to fall victim too.

Though the advice may seem straightforward, there’s a lot to be said for simple yet effective tactics to prepare your business to improve quality. From preparing properly, setting decent prices, and even dressing to impress, our 5 step guide holds vital tips you’re sure to find helpful.

download guide to win more business with estate agents

#5 Do You Need to Do a Tightness Test on a Boiler for a Yearly Service?

Practical advice can often be easy to overlook, especially where tech and software is concerned. Fortunately, our post on tightness tests, particularly where gas safety standards are concerned, is of great importance to our audience. We’ve worked closely with plumbing and heating businesses for a number of years, so it’s great to see that this insight is as important to you as it is to us.

#4 Best Practices for Creating and Organising a Stockroom

Stock control is a big deal for any field service business and it’s evident you all agree considering this post coming in at #4! 

Not only have we spent a great deal of time investing in ways to help our own customers with stock control, launching our own stock control feature earlier in 2019, but with plenty of additional (free) resources, and guidance in the form of blogs and articles available to peruse, there’s plenty to learn.

You might also be interested to read our recent chat with Wolseley UK, focusing on stock control and automation!

#3 What You Don’t Know About Tool Theft—And 10 Tips to Decrease Your Risk

Keeping your property safe is of paramount importance and while it’s unfortunate that we have to take steps to protect our equipment, staff, and property, it is essential that you’re doing all you can to decrease the risk of being affected by opportunistic criminals. 

It seems you all agree as well! That’s why our 10 Tips ranks in here at number 3! For many field service businesses, your tools are your livelihood, especially if you’re operating as a smaller business, the loss or theft of tools can have a devastating effect on the jobs you can complete when considering the time and cost it can take to repair or replace tools. 

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#2 Here's Exactly What to Say When Breaking Bad News to Customers

It’s a big one. Giving customers bad news, or news they might not be expecting (a big price tag, for one), can be tricky, to say the least. No one likes delivering it, but you’ll be bound to deal with it at one stage or another.

For instance, a little warning can go a long way to make sure you’ve set the right expectations; don’t go in promising the world to a customer when you know full well you might not be able to deliver on those promises. Under-promising and over-delivering is one such way to limit the damage of delivering bad news, especially if it comes to delays to projects or exponential (but necessary) price increases.

In this particular article, we’ve lain down some precise advice you can put into practice immediately to defuse tension and resolve issues all whilst you continue to provide a quality customer experience.

#1 8 Vehicle Signage Experts Share Their Best Tips on Service Van Design

At #1, we’ve seen a great deal of interest in branding! It’s certainly true that standing out from the crowd can be difficult: it’s not just price, reviews, and recommendations that you have to rely on, but a quality brand can get you noticed, winning you work, or cause you to be forgettable. First impressions make an impact for people and businesses, so it's no wonder this guide to vehicle branding is so popular.

The Takeaway

And with that, we bring 2019 to a close. Onwards and upwards in 2020 I say! It’s a brand new decade with lots of excitement to come.

To make sure you’re keeping up to date with all the advice we’ve got on offer, plus new resources, tips, and more, so—if you're not already—why not subscribe to the blog? It’s completely free and you’ll receive weekly updates to help you out!

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