Is your head in the cloud?
30 July 2019
Gary Jones from Service Geeni explains how cloud-based service management software (SMS) can help cleaning companies to save money and boost their bottom line
New technologies are helping businesses of all kinds to become more productive, more efficient, and more customer driven, and the cleaning industry is no different. In particular, cloud-based service management software (SMS) has become a popular choice.
Delivered over the internet, SMS is an integrated IT solution that can help with a huge range of tasks – from scheduling jobs and maintenance to tracking staff and invoicing. The beauty of SMS is that you can choose the functionality your business needs, and add modules as you grow.
But, investing in technology always comes at a price. And, with managing costs an ongoing challenge, it’s vital that any tools you implement are affordable.
Benefit from a more stable cash flow
SMS comes with low entry costs. You tap into a tried and tested system that is ready to use, customisable, and which works with your existing IT. So you don’t have to worry about setup costs.
At the same time, with 24/7 support included, you don’t have to employ people to manage your IT. Furthermore, you don’t have to fork out for licences or upgrades, and there is no need to install and maintain costly hardware or out-of-date software. Everything is taken care of as standard.
Also, most cloud-based service management solutions are provided on a subscription basis. This means that they are an operating expenditure and provide a more stable cash flow than traditional IT arrangements.
Crucially, this reduction in cost doesn’t mean a downgrade in IT. Instead, the cloud provides enterprise-level IT at an affordable price. So, it’s not difficult to see why cloud-based solutions are tempting cleaning and maintenance businesses.
Using technology to drive business growth
But, ensuring a stable cash flow is the bare minimum you should expect when it comes to the cost benefits of modern tech. As well as looking at affordability, it’s also vital to establish how you will make money and achieve ROI.
Firstly, SMS helps to make your cleaning business more productive. For example, by providing your teams with everything they need, wherever they are, you can reduce the time spent between jobs, and eliminate the need for employees to make time-consuming trips to the office. What’s more, by automating repetitive tasks, processes can be consolidated and streamlined. So, your people spend less time on mundane duties, and more on those jobs that make you money.
With SMS, you can also locate and track cleaning and maintenance teams, so you always know where your people are. Armed with this information, you can assign tasks to the right people. For example, you’ll be able to automatically calculate the distance between the job and the nearest available employee. And, of course, time is money.
Moreover, by enabling cleaners and maintenance staff to mark jobs as finished directly from their smartphones, there’s no delay between completing tasks and invoicing. And the sooner you get those invoices issued, the sooner you get paid.
The equipment used by cleaning companies –such as power washers etc. – is crucial to operational success. So, keeping your machines up and running is vital. Despite this, many businesses still wait until there is a problem before carrying out maintenance.
With SMS, rather than waiting for a malfunction to occur, repairs and inspections are carried out at set intervals. As well as stopping faults from escalating, this allows you to identify and resolve any issues before they become a problem. And, crucially, removes the cost of unnecessary downtime.
Keeping customers happy
SMS dashboards provide your customers with access to all the information they need, so they always know what’s happening. At the same time, SMS technology can be used to make it easy for customers to feedback on the service they receive, so you can respond before any issues become a problem.
Studies show that customers who have a positive experience with a company spend around 140% more than those who have a negative encounter, so SMS can help you to increase sales and profits. And, when it comes to retaining and generating repeat business, the financial benefits are clear.
Moreover, with improved customer service, your people spend less time dealing with complaints and can instead focus on business improvement.
Reducing the cost of risk
The financial penalties for non-compliance with data protection laws are significant. And the cost to your business and your reputation should a data breach occur could be catastrophic.
Keeping you compliant, with SMS your cleaning company can move away from paper-based processes to digital checks with no room for error. Cloud vendors also make security a priority, with a reliable, secure infrastructure in place which tends to far outstrip what most businesses would be able to build. However, make sure that your provider commits to an acceptable level of security as part of your SLA.
Access to money-making business intelligence
With access to all the information you need, in an easy to understand format, you can examine trends and uncover insights that will help you to optimise the performance of each element of your cleaning operation, and even launch new services.
So, with better IT helping you to keep ahead of the curve, the question isn’t “can you afford to invest in SMS?”, but can you afford not to?