Last week we talked about the five benefits of using a desktop for managing work orders, but what about using mobile devices?
In most cases, work order management (WOM) is best done from a desktop. This computer acts as the hub, sending information out to other users. For service-based businesses, the project manager or scheduler uses the desktop. Crews and others working off-site can access this information from their mobile device, using a streamlined version of the WOM software. While the mobile access isn’t as comprehensive as on a desktop, mobile users hold a wealth of information in their hands.
All WOM software offers different features, but let’s look at what users of Service Proz‘ mobile application can do from their phone.
- Check schedules
- See maps and routes to job sites
- Review and adjust project details
- Comment on project status
- Add before and after project photos
- Get client sign-offs on projects
- Mark jobs ready for billing
The Service Proz solution was made for small service-based businesses. Once the software is set up, the app’s many features will increase productivity and billable hours.
What do you like most about using work order management software? Tell us in the comments section.
Imagine your work order management (WOM) software to be a limitless file cabinet. Each customer has its own file, only searching through the digital file will take seconds compared to flipping through a paper file. WOM software is most powerful from a desktop, which can act like a command central sending out information to your work crews near and far. Here are a handful of benefits to managing work orders from your desktop computer.
1. Make sure work orders are complete.
WOM software generally requires you to enter data into a form. For every work order, the form stays the same. Those notes you scribbled in the car after a call with a client most likely aren’t complete. But, when you go to enter the information into the computer, it’ll be easy to see what information is missing — just look for the blank fields. You’ll also set a pattern with creating work orders, training yourself to remember all the details.
2. Save time with organization.
Because WOM software uses forms to enter data, you or your project manager will be entering information in a systematic way. The fields won’t change locations, and this means once you get used to your software, your eyes will know exactly where to look on the screen for the information you need.
(Want a comparison? Take three recent work orders you’ve written on the fly and put them in front of you. Can you quickly find the client’s name and number? How about the number of workers needed to complete the project? Is the equipment needed for the job even described on your notes? If these projects were entered into a WOM system, you’d be able to find all this information and more in a matter of seconds. All the info would be in the same place on all three work orders!)
3. Access existing information…
Today’s WOM software usually allows users to use existing customer information. By using this “autocomplete” action, you won’t have to go digging around for a client’s contact information. Find the client in your list of clients, and the computer will link the work order to the client.
4. …and info from past jobs.
WOM software keeps data from past jobs, and let’s you access that information with a few clicks. View costs, check labor costs, verify client payments, see before and after pictures — what information is available is based on your particular WOM program, but whatever you have stored is valuable when planning new and upcoming projects.
5. Know what’s available, at the start of the project.
WOM software synchronizes most aspects of your business. It keeps track of inventory and staff. A project manager entering data into a desktop version of a WOM program (such as Service Proz) will be able to check whether equipment is being used at another site or if it can be used with this job. The PM can also look into labor availability — and even schedule the job then and there with the client.
WOM software helps you in managing your business, but even more important, having information readily available and organized projects to your client that your company knows what it’s doing…and has the capability to do the work.
Looking for solid WOM software to use for your service-based company? The Service Proz Solution is specifically made to help keep track jobs, customers, and crews.
What do you like most about using work order management software? Tell us in the comments section.
Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the fourth of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management. Read the first part, “Getting the Most Out of a Lead”, here. Read the second part, “Organize Your Leads for Max Profits”, here. Read the third part, “Benefits of Using Mobile Devices for CRM Systems”, here.
Last week’s blog entry mentioned that 75% of small business managers are doing work from their mobile device, but we all know that a good amount of work is being done from our trusty desktop (or laptop) computer.
When looking for CRM software, it’s important to have access to your data through a desktop or laptop computer. These machines can quickly access data from other sources (for example, your email program, and they are often connected to large monitors that let you view a greater amount of details than what you can see on the small screen of a mobile device. Desktop software in general offers more functionality and options than one made for a mobile device.
Equally important is having information stored in the cloud. When user data is kept in the cloud, it does not need to be manually updated or backed up. There’s also virtually no delay. When you type in new information or upload a photo, it’s instantly viewable and editable by your team.
The Service Proz Solution is accessible through both mobile and traditional computers, and data is kept in the cloud. This is why for many of our users, work crews and managers access their company’s information on their mobile device while the office manager or project coordinator is the one sitting at the powerhouse.
How do you use your desktop to manage your leads? Do you use the cloud? Tell us in the comments section.
Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the third of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management. Read the first part, “Getting the Most Out of a Lead”, here. Read the second part, “Organize Your Leads for Max Profits”, here.
Let’s face it: Small business owners handle most of their day-to-day operations using their mobile device. A survey done by GetData in 2015 found that “almost 75% of managers of small businesses access their work data from a mobile device on a daily basis.” Whether it be a tablet or a smartphone, the mobile device has become the tool for small business owners. It connects managers to customers and crews, and holds information on projects and finances.
Since your phone is always by your side, it only makes sense to have access to your CRM system (customer relations management system) on your mobile phone. Here are a few benefits of doing business from your phone, and added benefits if you’re using the cloud.
- Tighten your sales cycle by having all your client, inventory, and personnel data in one place.
- See real-time status on prospective leads, and know what your sales team is saying and doing to close the sale.
- Add new leads as you get them in the field, and waste no time assigning them to your sales team.
Mobile devices are essential to managing your CRM program. Clients expect their service providers to have their information readily accessible, and service-based companies that don’t meet these expectations look unorganized and unable to provide top-notch service. If you haven’t already, it’s time to move your CRM system to your mobile device.
With the Service Proz Solution, you are able to access your CRM data from your mobile device while out in the field. Start saving time and streamlining your business today!
How do you use your mobile device to manage your leads? Tell us in the comments section.
Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the second of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management. Read the first part, “Getting the Most Out of a Lead”, here.
Organizing your leads in CRM, or customer relationship management, can be a chore, especially when you have hundreds of leads. Here are a few tips to keep your leads manageable.
Create Relationship Categories
Take a look at a handful of your existing leads, and think about how you know them. Are they former colleagues or strangers? Were they a referral from an existing customer, or did you gather their contact information from the internet? Come up with five or six categories that are not too specific so they can be used for different situations. For example, “Trade Show Attendee” is a better category than “AHR Expo 2015”, so it can be used for other trade shows you’ve gotten contact information for. You can always add extra, more specific information about the lead in your notes section. One piece of advice is to not use a number or code for a category — it’s one more thing to remember.
Keep ‘Status’ Updated
The status of a lead is important. You want to know whether the lead is likely to buy your service in the near future. Use “new” for leads you haven’t contacted. Then, change the lead’s status in your CRM system as their level of interest in your service changes.
Use “met”, “engaged” or “contacted” after the first contact and are still unsure if the customer is qualified to buy. Once you believe the customer is a possibility, use a status such as “hot”, “possible” or “future”. A lead that becomes a client can have their status updated to “active”, or simply move this customer’s information into your customer database. When a lead fizzles out, change the status to “inactive” instead of deleting their information — you never know if their situation will change.
Rate the Lead’s Quality
An easy-to-use rating system can help you sort through leads that have the same status. You can rank leads using a scale of 1 to 3, or if you have many leads, 1 to 5. A rating of “1” could mean that the lead’s company is young and unstable, or has a mediocre reputation. Whereas a “5” could be used for high-volume organizations with a highly respected reputation.
Assign Leads to the Right Employee
Every employee has his or her own strengths that should be considered when assigning leads. An employee with experience in fireplaces might not be best to pitch your services to plumbers, just as experienced employees might be better pitching your services to large corporate organizations. Randomly assigning leads is also an option, but your odds of landing a new customer increase when you can match your sales person to the right prospect.
Keeping your leads organized will make reviewing your leads less of a hassle. The Service Proz Solution contains a CRM module that allows sales staff to enter contact information for your lead. Within the module, staff can type notes after every contact or “touch” with the prospect. The system shows all this information in an organized layout, for both desktop and mobile viewing.
How do you organize your leads? Tell us in the comments section.
Focus on CRM, Part 1
Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the first of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management.
Not every referral will turn into a sale — turning a lead into a customer takes patience and constant contact. CRM, or customer relations management, software can streamline the process, keeping track of who contacted your lead and what transpired during that conversation.
Let’s start by talking about leads, and how to make the most of one. Every customer starts out as a lead, a person who either found your business or whom you found. This prospect might have filled out an online form, or you might have been handed this person’s business card by a friend, colleague or client. He or she might be within your target demographic and might need your service, but this hasn’t been verified.
When you get a lead, consider how viable this lead is. Some considerations:
- Does this person fit your demographic?
- Is this lead located in your service area?
- Was this lead given to you by someone trustworthy?
- What is this lead’s business reputation?
- How great a need does this lead have for your service?
After verifying the information and deciding that this lead can realistically turn into a client, it’s time to make contact. For most people, it’s easier and more effective to pick up the phone and make your pitch. In today’s business work, however, it might be more effective to use softer marketing techniques, such as sending the person an email with information about your service. You might add this person to your mailing list to keep them aware of your services and offers. Show this potential customer that you’re active in your business and that your business is worth investing in.
The CRM feature of the Service Proz Solution was built for service-based businesses to organize leads. The software allows managers to import leads and then assign leads to staff. Each time you contact your lead can be cataloged in the system. We call contact with a lead a “touch”. When this lead turns into a client, the system moves the contact information over to the customer section, keeping this record with it.
What do you do with your leads? Tell us in the comments section.
Deciding which crew should be going where can be a headache. Most schedulers’ desks are cluttered with post-it notes, and others have messy white boards covered with notes and arrows. Here are some tips on how to streamline your scheduling system.
The Service Proz app was made for small service-based businesses. Once the software is set up, the app’s many features will increase productivity and billable hours. Sign up for a free trial of the app, or contact us today to schedule an app walk-through.
1. Check the map.
There’s no point to zig-zagging across town. A good scheduler will assign jobs to crews that are relatively nearby. This can be accomplished by setting up zones within your service area, either by zip code, by location of streets and waterways (ie, east of I-75, north of Bixby River), or by distance around landmarks (ie, 10 miles around City Hall). You might want to take your crew’s habits into consideration, such as the location of preferred lunch spots.
The Service Proz app feature called Zip Codes and Zones will help reduce your business’ fuel consumption. You can set up zones by zip code and assign crew members to certain locations. Your scheduler will then only have the ability to code a work order to crews that are able to work that zone.
2. Group projects that will require similar equipment.
Carting around heavy equipment costs your company money in gas and in wear and tear of company vehicles, not to mention unnecessary time and manpower. A scheduler can assign a crew jobs that will require similar tools. A good rule of thumb is to write up a detailed work order, complete with a list of special items needed, so your scheduler knows exactly what needs to be accomplished on site.
Adding details about projects is simple using the Service Proz app. When writing up a Work Order, project managers can type details in the description field and include photographs of the site. Schedulers can access this information when planning the crews’ schedules, and the crew can also view the project details prior to the job.
3. Know your team’s limits.
Unless you’ve hired Superman, your crew can only work so many hours a day. Think about the project from start to finish when calculating a crew’s time. This includes loading and preparing the service vehicle at you facility at the start and finish of the day, along with loading and unloading equipment at the job site. Travel time to each destination needs to be accounted for, too. Schedules can also be padded with an extra 15 minutes at each site in case the crew needs to speak with a client.
The Capacity Calculator tool on the Service Proz app allows managers to determine how many jobs your crews can handle, based on the number of hours each project requires and the number of hours a crew can handle that day. The Service Proz app also manages personnel, so the scheduler knows when field techs are out sick or on vacation.
After several requests to fully integrate our mobile solution with the desktop version we have now deployed Apple Version 2.0.
The NEW enhancements for our Apple App.
- Better visibility and functionality from an Admin Level along with some enhancements at the Field Level.
- Admin Personnel in the field now can access any work order and Schedule a Work Order from anywhere. You can see your field level technician’s work load and adjust if necessary, directly from your smart phone or tablet.
- You can Unassign, Assign or Reschedule an appointment with just a few clicks.
- The Work Order Request feature received enhancements.
- The Picture attachment function has been improved and now the user can choose the resolution at which to save a photo within the app.
- Now the user can see Work Order History and Customer History from a smartphone or tablet. You now have the ability to perform full work order management and schedule a work order from a smartphone.
- Use Google Navigation for Driving directions within the app for easy mapping to appointments. Pull up directions for any appointment along with tracking the most efficient use of your technicians’ time and fuel costs.
All functions at the User sign on level are enabled from the admin level:
- Define exactly what your field level personnel can and cannot do inside the app.
Please call or contact us for a trial run and see how our solution is a perfect fit for your business software needs.
Every day, business owners are faced with this statement: to change or not to change. Imagine how many times you visualize something that will benefit your company but you never do anything to follow thru with it. The reasons people don’t change their ways are endless and sometimes not seeing the value of change is the problem. The value of change is especially not seen when it comes to technology, because technology is something not everyone has become accustomed to. Not only is technology in the small business world more affordable than ever, it is also more powerful.
Changes made ten years ago were driven by the growth of our businesses. As our company grew, so did our binders and number of forms. We used more sticky-notes and put more white boards on the wall. But the small business world has evolved. Today change means computer training, learning a new software, understanding your smart phone or social media, and so much more.
The programs available today are affordable—you won’t find yourself having to take out a mortgage on your first born! However, you might have to give a little to get a lot. You have to be able to weigh the value of giving up some of your processes you have become so accustom to. For example, you like and feel comfortable using paper forms and work orders for your crew, however you are now looking into a program that allows your crew to get their work load and so much more on their phone or tablet.
Once you understand the process and program completely, I feel confident that you too will see the huge benefits of moving forward and changing your business with new technology.
The benefits of this program keep getting better and better. Your crew would soon be able to use their tablet or smart phone to get from job to job, that means no more paper maps! They can also now snap a quick picture with their chosen device instead of carrying around a camera that has to be uploaded to a computer at the end of every work day.
To change or not to change…you decide!
The new year brings new and fresh possibilities to your business! Why not start out 2015 by streamlining your workforce, scheduling and increased mobility for your business?
With Service Proz you can start out the year with a bang with our workforce management software.
Some of our updated features include:
- The Service Proz app is now updated to seamlessly run efficiently with iOS 8
- Image attachment
- Mapping and scheduling
- Storage of important data in the cloud
- Team oriented clock management
With Service Proz; using workforce management software in the office, at home or on the go with our mobile app will take your business to the next level. With features like scheduling and tracking, customer tracking, technician management and recurring billing and inventory management your company will never miss an opportunity to increase sales and workforce management!
You’re not going to want to miss jumping on board with Service Proz system in 2015!
Contact us today for a demo of Service Proz and find out how we can provide to “provide practical, efficient, dependable and logical software that improves the operational efficiencies of home service businesses.