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Business / Operations / Technology / Management And Training
November/December 2016 Contractor Success

Taking Tech to Your Core

How technology can improve your core processes

November 28, 2016
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Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives; computer programs, apps, social media, cloud service, etc., impact us at every turn. We have become dependent on technology in both our personal and professional lives. However, have we really evaluated the impact of today's technology on enhancing the core processes we share as premier service providers?

In our article, “Sustain World-Class and Strategic Service” from the May 2015 issue of Cleaning and Maintenance Management, we identified the core processes—those that directly provide value to the customer—as the “cleaning system” and the “service strategy.” More than ever before, a wide, ever-expanding offering of technology provides ease of use and tools to not only sustain, but elevate, the core processes. From customer relations to the generation of highly efficient workloading and routing systems, technology has raised client expectations and redefined service delivery.

Working with our clients provides unique opportunities to see technology at work within organizations. In our experience, three current technologies stand out to us in how they directly support and enhance the core processes:  Customer relationship management (CRM) software, online survey software, and workloading and routing software. We have detailed these technologies with the core processes they support below.

Technology for the  Service Strategy

CRM Software

CRM software can help service providers keep track of all communications with current and prospective customers.

At its core, the goal in using CRM software is to keep customers happy and identify opportunities.

Good CRM software can drastically improve the service we provide customers. It can also increase staff efficiencies by placing all information about previous customer communication in a single location.

CRM software may also help to develop a comprehensive understanding of customers’ needs, wants, and concerns, which allows you to identify positive and negative trends and address them proactively. The software can quickly provide everyone in your organization a better understanding of what is happening with each of your clients, and can help to ensure items are not lost or forgotten by utilizing escalation rules. The software captures everything from calls and emails to contacts through a client portal, and makes it all accessible to the organization. This empowers those who interact directly with the customer to provide outstanding service.

Online Survey Software

Online survey software can help service providers evaluate customer satisfaction, customer interest in additional services, and employee engagement like never before.

Benefits of using online surveys include:

  • Ease of creation and distribution.
    You can easily style online surveys to match your business website with images, logo, fonts, and even a final redirect page to your website. Plus, you can distribute surveys through email and by sharing URLs.
  • Lower cost than traditional methods, allowing increased frequency of usage. You do not incur postage costs to deploy an online survey, and you can deploy them almost instantaneously. Plus, surveys reports are automated and integrated, saving data entry time and expense.
  • Higher participation rates.
    Because of their convenience, people generally prefer to complete online surveys rather than take part in written surveys or telephone calls. Some organizations have stated their returns run in excess of 40 percent.

The use of surveys can help to build brand loyalty and allow organizations to track and address otherwise unknown customer dissatisfaction. Surveys can also help you evaluate the effectiveness of your corrective action. Once the data from surveys begin to build, this information can prove to be invaluable to organizations searching for world class service.

Technology for the  Cleaning System

Workloading and Routing Software

Workloading and routing software brings a new level of ease and accuracy to the setup and operation of a high-performance cleaning system. This software can streamline many of the steps within the quoting, staffing, and service delivery process.

Key features include:

  • Detailed capture of facility data.
    Accurately capturing cleanable square footage is a fundamental part of estimating and developing a cleaning system, and today’s software can make it as easy as point and click. Showing a prospect or customer the accuracy of a space inventory analysis as the basis for the design of specifications, pricing, and systems development is powerful.
  • Up-to-date and adjustable.
    With access from anywhere and cloud storage, the most current information is a click away. Plus, you can make changes quickly and deploy them rapidly.
  • Live workloading estimates.
    The software can immediately reflect changes to space, specifications, and production rates in live estimates to allow rapid evaluation of changes.
  • Effective routing utilizing job cards.
    The software clearly defines and documents balanced and efficient workflow and task scheduling.

Users of workloading and routing software benefit from standardized data collection, a structured setup process, effective workflow development, and documentation. Often this takes place through the use of templates that speed up the process along with job cards and color-coded workflow mapping. In addition, this software helps service providers show customers and prospects detailed information of how they evaluated their facility, the services they will perform, and required frequencies.

Workloading and routing software empowers users to go from site evaluation to service delivery within one piece of software, which can lead to accurate quotations and effective service. Ultimately, it will help to ensure front-line personnel are completely informed on day one of a given job.

A Wise Choice

Today’s service providers have more technology at their disposal than ever before, and at times the offerings can seem overwhelming. We encourage every organization to embrace technology, but to evaluate it wisely. Before moving forward, consider the impact—both positive and negative—on existing systems. Technology does not exist in a bubble; it has wide-ranging effects, and its success or failure within an organization relies on more than just its purchase, as a great tool setting on a shelf is of no value. Once selected, make new technology part of your system. As you would any new product, test it to develop the correct application, ensure users have the proper training on it, and make it part of your organization’s culture. Technology alone is not a magic bullet, but the right technology in the right system can provide newfound opportunity for service providers.

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