You have to wear a lot of hats when you run a home service company. You do everything from sales to marketing, payroll, and finance. And that’s not to mention actually getting work done and supervising employees.
Automating your business operations with field service management software is a great way to streamline all those activities. It helps you recover your time, work faster, and work more effectively. In fact, 85 percent of all small or medium businesses (SMBs) that adopt digital tools report that they helped improve their business.
For smaller services companies, making the leap to automated operations can seem intimidating. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be. In this article we’ll highlight five things you can do to make updating your operations easy.
Automating Your Operations Brings Your Team and Your Customers Closer Together
Business automation experts call the process of updating your operations a “digital transformation.” For a home or field service company a digital transformation usually involves replacing manual and paper-based practices with digital technology. Ideally, you would want to replace all of those older processes with a single technology platform.
A good digital transformation will bring a service business closer to its customers. It will help you communicate more effectively, get work done faster, and process paperwork more efficiently.
But SMB service businesses need to be careful how they go about a digital transformation. These are not projects to jump into quickly. In the early days, digital transformations were first carried out by enterprise-scale businesses. Today, many standard transformation processes are still shaped by the concerns of those larger businesses.
5 Best Practices for Automating Your Home Service Company’s Operations
Home and field service businesses in any industry have different needs from enterprises. They often are working with a smaller budget and have limited time to do the administrative switch-over themselves.
Here are five best practices you will want to follow to get your digital transformation right the first time.
1. Involve Everyone
Here’s the most important thing we think you should take away from this article: Updating your operations isn’t really about the technology. It’s about your team. Your ultimate goal is to improve the way you and your people work, not just to have the shiniest new tool.
That means you should involve everyone on your team from the get-go in your automation process. Getting buy-in from everyone on your team will help ensure that this significant change will be a success.
2. Have a Plan
Switching from manual to digital work practices can be a giant leap. Don’t just pick a service provider and then wing it. Take some time to organize a plan for how you want to update your processes.
If you already have everyone involved, bring them together and set some goals for automating your business processes. Different people will have different takes. Your accountant may want to streamline payment processing, while your crew leaders may want to keep better tabs on workers on the job. Collect all of their opinions, combine with your own, and develop a master update plan for your company.
3. Measure Progress Not Just Change
Don’t just track how many things you change. Your automation update should be about quality, not quantity, in the same way that it’s about your people, not just the technology.
Measuring your progress just in the number of changes you make rarely leads to good results.
Instead, after you switch, measure the actual impact different changes have on your company’s performance. For example, how many more new customers are you attracting digitally-supported marketing efforts than you were using manual processes? Are average time-on-job numbers dropping when crew leaders can set quality control checklists? Are you spending less on gas if you start using GPS-optimized daily route planning?
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Adapt
While you should start with a plan, you shouldn’t be afraid to adjust it as you go along. Home service companies need to be flexible and react fast. You need to adjust your plan to any new challenges or opportunities that present themselves.
For example, during your automation update, you might add a chatbot to your website to handle new customer intake, and suddenly in response, you get an influx of new customers. There was a whole untapped market out there that you just discovered that wants to interact with you through web and Facebook messages. So now you might prioritize adding more automated communications tools, like a phone bot, and setting up additional customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
You might’ve thought that optimizing your work crew performance was going to be your big gain. Instead, you had to be ready to adapt to the sudden influx of new customers driven by your automation efforts.
5. Find a Provider That Can Be a Full Business Partner
Field service management software is a living product that you’ll use every day in every part of your business. It becomes a core component of how you operate. You need to find a software provider with whom you can work as full business partners.
They’ll help you migrate files into the software, train your team, and offer ongoing support. They will also help integrate their software with any other existing software tools you might have. It’s a long-term relationship, and you should enter into one with careful consideration.
Updating Operations is Easier Than You Think
It takes a bit of planning, but any home service company can update its operations and improve how they work. If you stick to these five best practices, you’ll be up and running faster than you think.
Check out our complete home service digital transformation guide to know more about how to come up with an automation plan, or to learn what onboarding with Plannit might look like.
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