The arsenal of tools at our disposal determines the output deliverable to customers, without whom we have no purpose. Service providers are faced with countless tools such as A.I. technology, automation, and cloud-based networks, but which tools are simply fads, and which genuinely improve efficiency?
Unlike product orientated businesses which require tools for manufacturing and testing, service providers are orientated around intangible products, facilitating their network by delivering a trade, ranging from knowledge through to solutions, delivered by the likes of teachers, cleaners, or I.T. technicians to name a few.
A lack of physical product creates the challenge of tracking and managing a service, this is where the tools come into play.
1) Customer Relation Management software (CRM)
A fundamental tool for improving efficiency is a solid customer relationship management tool. CRM software such as ‘Monday’, enables capturing and organisation of contacts, to build and nurture relationships through features including data tracking, remote connectivity, and automation, creating a deeper understanding to better serve their needs.
2) Project Management software
Digital task management is without a doubt, incomparable to traditional paperwork, save yourself time and money by tracking your business and employee’s data electronically.
With a plethora of management tools available online such as ‘Evernote’ and ‘Trello’, you are sure to find one suited to your needs, however basic or complex, whether free or expensive. So set yourself reminders, automate mundane tasks, analyse data for improvements, and assign tasks to individuals.
3) Social Media Scheduling software
Once your project tasks have been managed, you can divert your attention to social media and build your customer base, and as with project management software, automation can be applied through to social media scheduling tools such as ‘Mailchimp’ and ‘Hootsuite’.
A healthy social media presence won’t go unnoticed, with every post published, you are improving your odds of staying top of mind, if you’re not present, your absent, simple.
Social media interaction is a sure-fire way of converting your platform into an active discussion hub, your network collectively communicating will reveal insightful knowledge which can be used to improve customer service.
Smartphone Applications (if applicable)
Our smartphones dependency makes expansion into apps a great opportunity to improve efficiency. Apps, can establish a direct channel to customers, improve communication, and track real-time services. Based upon the complexity of the app, it can be basic, used simply to share information/promotions and create bookings, or it can be advanced, offering integrated tracking functions and management control. The added benefit of this tool is effective customer retention.
Web-Based Administration Portal
Service providers are required to juggle numerous customers at any given time, a tool to improve efficiency would be a portal to manage multiple unrelated services in real-time, with the ability to modify and reallocate tasks within a single dashboard.
The tools identified each play a considerable role in improving efficiency for service provider’s, so I suggest implementing these tools if not already in place.
There are plentiful tools out there, some serving specialist purposes, others catering to a buffet of tasks. There is no ‘best’ tool for the job, it is based on your requirements, but even then, it’s each to their own taste, so make use of free trials, that’s what they are there for.
It would be great to hear back from you on which software options you chose, how effective they were in improving your efficiency and would you suggest any additional tools not mentioned, so feel free to share your experiences.
An article by Gautam Gajjar.