By Tony Nicolaidis, Chief Revenue Officer of Successware
Business management software can provide scalability for a plumbing business looking to streamline operations, reduce administrative work, digitize files, and more. Still, the process of identifying the right business management software can be overwhelming considering all the solutions out there. Here are the top features to look for in business management software and why these innovations will help your business grow.
The most important aspect of any growing business is the ability to collect, store and analyze your data.
Typically, an analytics-based reporting dashboard will give you access to key performance indicators (KPIs) such as total revenue, gross margin, cost of goods sold, EBITDA, historical technician tasks and productivity. Reporting tools will allow you to combine this data into a high-level overview. You should also look for software that allows you to generate reports on everything in the software, such as accounts receivable and payable, commissions, equipment, inventory, jobs, marketing, purchases and chords.
Even more valuable than the ability to access reports is the ability to customize them for your particular business. For example, a plumber will have different needs versus an HVAC technician, or a small business versus a large business. Make sure your business management software is flexible and customizable enough to meet your business needs.
Customer service and employee management
From your customers to your employees, everyone who interacts with your brand expects communication and operations to be accessible and efficient. Your business management software should alleviate the difficulties associated with administrative work and reduce unnecessary paperwork.
An omnichannel communication platform integrated directly into your business management system is a great tool to support customer service functions and provide a better experience for your customers. Some platforms will integrate with the softphone system, allowing you to track and record customer calls, keep customer call history and store customer details, helping you with your marketing efforts . You will be able to make incoming and outgoing calls and send SMS and emails from the same communication platform. These omnichannel solutions will also automatically assign the source of leads based on the phone number dialed by the customer, eliminating the need for your customer service representative to ask, “how did you hear about us?”
As always, customers are looking for convenience. If they are able to book appointments online through your software, your brand will feel more accessible. On the dispatcher side, online booking automatically fills the available time slots, which simplifies the dispatch table. As for the business owner, a digitized system allows employers to assign technicians to jobs based on their availability, skills, and distance traveled, helping you assign the right technician to the right job. .
At work, business management software integrated into a mobile app can reduce paperwork for technicians with features like online payment processing, digital forms and invoices, and more. Technicians can do their jobs more efficiently and digitally, enabling your business to deliver a professional and modern experience to your customer.
You may be familiar with traditional hosting, where you can pay for a set amount of storage space on a server. Traditional hosting allows information to be accessed only from specific locations and places the responsibility on the company to maintain and update the server.
On the other hand, cloud hosting stores data virtually on multiple servers and data centers that can be accessed from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. Cloud hosting has proven to be more cost effective, convenient and customizable, it is why so many companies have moved to the cloud in recent years. Benefits of cloud in business management software include:
· Availablity : Cloud hosting offers the option of accessing their servers with an internet connection. If one server fails, another immediately takes over, which means the system is more reliable overall.
· Data backup and disaster recovery: With the ability to access data through remote servers, data can be backed up and retrieved from data centers across the country. Therefore, in the event of a system crash or failure, your data remains secure.
· Storage: With the cloud, you can add or reduce resources such as bandwidth, storage, RAM, etc. depending on your overall usage. Therefore, businesses will only pay for the amount of storage needed for their particular operations.
· Security: Cloud hosting offers artificial intelligence (AI) and firewalls to further protect data from hackers using malware or viruses. Additionally, files stored in the cloud are usually encrypted or scrambled, making it difficult for cybercriminals to access. The cloud provider also manages updates to security settings, reducing administrative tasks for your teams.
· Work from anywhere: If you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can access your business data and information from anywhere in the world. As simple as that!
It’s easy to see the appeal of business management software and harder to determine which features will benefit your business the most. Overall, innovations in cloud hosting, reporting, and operational functions are universally useful to plumbing businesses. More importantly, business management software should allow your brand to operate more efficiently and take your business to the next level of growth.
Tony Nicolaidis is Chief Revenue Officer of Successware, a business management software company for the home services industry. In his current role, Tony leads sales, sales operations and customer success. He is also essential to the development of Successware’s future growth strategy. Prior to joining Successware in 2020, Tony gained over 30 years of experience in the contractor space through various roles with brands such as Stanley Black and Decker (SBD).