Imagine being able to print something from anywhere, whenever you need to. If a customer wants a printed invoice at the end of a job, voila! You can use your mobile device to print to a portable printer in your truck, and hand them a copy. If your office needs that same invoice (so they can sign off on it) before you leave your job site, you can print to the office printer as well. It is instant gratification in its simplest form, giving you the power to keep detailed records, stay on top of your business, and provide that little extra customer service for your clients at the same time.
Companies like Google and HP are offering printing in the cloud; just another one of the many benefits of cloud computing. This functionality allows you to print to a printer of your choice from any device that offers email services. Printers that offer cloud printing services come with a specific email address. As long as you have this email address, you can print to the printer from anywhere, at any time, without being directly connected to the printer. While this may seem counterproductive to the “green” movement, businesses have to face that fact, that at this time, it is not possible to be entirely paperless. E-print can help give your customers peace of mind, allow your technicians to capture signatures and approvals in real time, and allows your business to keep detailed records for auditors and tax purposes.
Cloud printing, or e-printing, is just another fascinating new technology that can improve your business processes. Combined with a robust service management solution, you can keep your business organized all while wowing your customer. Learn about printing in the cloud today, and think about its potential for your business.
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Have you had experience with cloud printing? How has it helped your business?
I recently had my carpets cleaned by a great company, Shannon Carpet Cleaning, as part of my end of tenancy agreement. By the time Mr. Shannon had finished cleaning the full apartment (even the bathroom is carpeted, yuck, I know, but let’s not go there!), only an hour had passed and the carpets looked spotless and smelled amazing. When it was time to pay, he handed me a hand written receipt and a printed postcard with the company’s information on it: an approach that left me bewildered. Let me explain why.
After paying, we launched into a ten minute discussion about SEO (search engine optimization) spurred by his asking where I had found his company. I had simply “Googled” carpet cleaning in my area, and Shannon Carpet Cleaning popped up as the first option that wasn’t a paid for advertisement (this is called ‘organic search’). As I regaled my tales of difficulties that home service businesses run into in establishing their presence online, Mr. Shannon seemed surprised. He explained this by commenting that while SEO might sound complex and forbearing, once you understand the concept it is easy for even a small business owner to implement. In fact, he added, it is a huge mistake not to. I agreed, knowing far too well the importance these days of search engine optimization, particularly for the competitive home service business market.
This conversation left me puzzled for the rest of the day. How could a perfect businessman, who does great work, provides good customer service, and understands the value of a strong online presence, miss such an important part of the business transaction: professionalism through-and-through. To the customer, having your home serviced is just as much about the overall experience as the end result. A lady with leaky pipes wants a clean, trustworthy plumber that doesn’t track muddy water through her house, and has a guarantee at the end that the pipe is well fixed. A corporate business who needs their windows cleaned wants a professional who comes during a quiet time of day, and dresses in an identifiable uniform to match expectations within their building.
I was looking for a seamless end to my home service experience with a printed invoice and consequential receipt, perhaps with a coupon for services next time. It is important for home service businesses to realize that impressions are important. Running your business in a professional and memorable manner helps you to keep customers and attract new ones. This is hard to do if you are using a planner to manually schedule appointments, and a receipt pad to track payments. Research a workforce management solution that is right for your business. The extra cost will be easily met by the added customers you will gain from streamlining your business. Letting a workforce management system work for you will transform your business into one that appears to be a successful thriving business with many employees. So let the software do the work for you and leave your customers with a smile on their face, by giving them a great end-to-end home service experience. First impressions surely count, and so does the complete experience.