Why You Should Embrace Technology to Grow Your Service Business
- January 31, 2019
- By: Vonigo
This article about how service businesses should embrace technology is by Steve James, a small business marketing expert based in Vancouver, BC.
Every service business owner wants to expand and grow on an annual basis. What can you do in 2019 to ensure a smooth transition into a new and more profitable level? Embrace technology.
The growth of these business tools makes them more and more affordable for every business size and model. Today’s technologies are also built to be scalable. You can start with just enough to be used by a small company and then expand your use of technology as you grow. This means a tighter purchasing cycle, with no wasted storage, operations, or communication bandwidth as you grow.
For home service businesses, this is especially important. Your customer service happens remotely from your ‘central office.’ You can check on prospect follow up, the point of service, and reconciliation in real time. Here are a few ways to grow your business with technology.
You no longer need a storage space full of servers to run software or store your data. You can now run software in the cloud — which is hosted on virtual servers and accessible from anywhere. Cloud software is fast, secure and can connect everyone in the company no matter where they are. Everything from your service business management software, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), accounting software, and more are hosted in the cloud. Even Microsoft Office has switched to a cloud subscription model.
Cloud software is more affordable, consistently upgraded and supported by vendors. It can expand to meet your needs as you grow. You use them on an ‘as-a-service’ basis. You don’t purchase them outright, but pay only for what you need.
Let’s be serious about your communication to both customers and prospects. E-mail is the way to communicate with both prospects and customers. You have people’s permission to contact them; you can add links to your website, video links, hyper-targeted messaging to different segments of your audience (see CRM, above), and add these e-mails to other marketing campaigns. Sending permission-based marketing emails to your subscribers isn’t SPAM if the info has value. Send them information they can use and they will always welcome your e-mails.
Of course, you should also be looking at a system to communicate with your workforce when they are working at different addresses. One that uploads customer and payment information directly into your system. This is where a tool like service business management software can be invaluable. It will prove to be a game-changer when you can see exactly what is happening in real time across your company.
Speaking of communication, ensure that you are utilizing all relevant social media avenues to get your message out. If you feel that automated messages can help, then go for systems that allow you to plan and add your tweets, posts and the like in advance. It means that the implementation of social media can happen at the same time as planning. However, be careful with this – it does take away the opportunity to add, reply and forward in real time that all good social media campaigns require.
Chatbots are also gaining in popularity. It’s no longer simply for the ‘big fish’ in your niche. Firstly, they enhance service. Customers interact with chatbots as they would with human representatives, but they’re cheaper and more efficient, and responses to queries come back almost immediately, based on pre-programmed logic. It’s better to think of a chatbot not as a replacement for human customer service, but rather as a dynamic FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. If a prospect has a common question, a chatbot can issue an immediate, relevant response.
While chatbots primarily communicate in text, they also employ rich content such as images. This is valuable as it means businesses can showcase products and services.
With chatbots tipped to revolutionize e-commerce, service businesses should consider leveraging them as part of their wider business strategy. You needn’t be an expert developer. Simply work out the use-cases for chatbots in your business using Facebook Messenger, Kik, Telegram, etc.
What different types of payment can you take? The more the better, including ‘exotic’ systems such as PayPal credit and crypto-currency: The more options you offer, the more customers you can attract.
Incorporating paperless invoicing and various digital payments into your service business management tools makes it easier for all involved, and can get you paid faster. It is easy to organize and ensures that everyone ‘is on the same page’, meaning that your business runs faster, more efficiently and – most importantly – increases customer service and experience, customer retention, engagement and drastically improves overall productivity.
Finally, a word about your website: The days of using your website simply as a static, online ‘awning over your door’ are over.
With a little more forethought, you can use these platforms to show video, written information like blogs, optimize a central place for all of your social media feeds, show customer testimonials and reviews, introduce people in the company and more.
Remember also to make them mobile-friendly, as over half of the searches now take place from the palm of prospect’s hands! A website that is not optimized for mobile will also be penalized by search engines. Competitors with mobile-optimized websites will win search clicks that could have otherwise been yours, if your site was responsive to mobile.
Will your small business invest in technology? For SMBs in the home service industry, it means you can now act as if your business is a much bigger one. You can achieve growth through improved efficiency, increased revenue, and better service for clients.
Want to learn about how service business management software can help you grow your business and become more profitable? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo.
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