Tips & ideas on adapting your workflows, systems & practices to inspire customer confidence and support business continuity.
Review your practices around why you visit customer sites e.g. to quote a job. Are there jobs where you’d typically attend the site in order to provide a quote?
Now may be the time to review this practice and explore alternative ‘remote’ quoting workflows where the client provides the required details, photos & videos to enable you to quote the job without physically going to site.
This kind of approach can help respond to household & business concerns around minimising visitors, while making it possible to quote jobs and keep working coming in, without the additional time & cost of visiting sites. You can then pitch the ability to quote jobs remotely in your marketing.
If you need to see what you’re dealing with in order to quote a job, the next best thing to being on site is plenty of information, photos and videos.
You can create templates specific to quoting certain job types to give the best chance of the customer providing the level of information and detail needed to reliably quote the job remotely.
For example, an email template seeking to quote Job Type X without attending the site might include:
Take advantage of the ability to text customers to ask questions, through their job card. Texting is all about being quick, easy & direct — you don’t need to be super-formal, as long as you’re friendly and professional.
So if you need one or two small details to quote a job, just send the client a quick text through their job card, either online or in the app. Keep in mind that customers can also attach and send photos through your SMS portal.
If you can systemise how you price and schedule certain job types, then now’s a great time to set up some online booking pages for these services using the Services Add-on.
The potential outcomes of an online booking form are flexible. So, if you wanted to make it easy for customers to get a price themselves, request a quote, or book a job, you can make pages which allow an online customer to:
As the customer can select certain options as part of completing their online enquiry or booking, you can also use this as an opportunity to make them aware that you’re taking COVID-19 precautions.
For example, you could include a statement that you’re taking COVID-19 precautions to protect customers & staff, and require the customer to confirm that they’re not self-isolating for COVID-19 reasons:
Another benefit of systemising how you quote certain jobs, to the point that a customer can generate an instant price and book online, is that this same systemisation can be used internally to empower staff
Common business continuity advice in planning against the impact of COVID-19 is to cross-skill roles and responsibilities within your business i.e. ensure more than one or two people can perform certain jobs/tasks, so in the event they’re unable to work, someone else can fill in rather than have your services and/or efficiency severely reduced.
When you activate the Services Add-on and create a service in which you can work through a series of questions to reliably generate a price and schedule the job, this can be applied when creating a new job, either in the ServiceM8 app or online dashboard i.e. a team member with little prior experience or expertise will be able to work through the questions with a client in order to generate a price and provide a quote.
Common precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 include practising good hand hygiene, and social distancing by minimising physical contact and keeping a 1.5m distance between you and others where possible.
To help ingrain your precautions into how your team act on site and interact with customers, you can include them as standard checklist requirements in Job Templates:
- Wash hands before entering
- Explain to client you’ll keep your distance
- Install widget X
- Complete Form Y
- Take 'after' photos
- Wash hands outside
TIP: ensure your vehicles are stocked with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or fitted with a water tank + soap, to allow field staff to practise good hand hygiene.
Not only does this help protect your field staff, and by extension your entire team and business, but it will reassure customers and demonstrate professionalism.
If you have developed a more involved process or have client reporting requirements, you could consider making a Form to capture the relevant information (check out a video on the Forms Add-on here). Note that Forms can be set as Mandatory to complete upon Check In or Check Out.
The coming months will be tough for small business, and cash flow will be as important as ever. Review your invoice payment terms, and ensure you’re not providing a longer timeframe than what’s reasonable to get paid the money you’re owed.
Wherever possible, we’d recommend getting paid upon job completion, while you’re still on site — it’s great for cash flow, and avoids administration in chasing payments.
However, if you want to keep your distance from clients and avoid handling cash for the moment, promote the ability for customers to pay their invoice online — this way, staff can simply tell the client they can pay their invoice online, and be on their way.
In the event you need to defer the attendance of a job due COVID-19 (e.g. a client has advised they’re self-isolating and shouldn’t have any visitors), then you’ll need to manage these jobs in a clear and structured way.
It may be best to create new Queues for this purpose to keep the issue front-of-mind when managing jobs where COVID-19 is an issue. Queues provide a structured way to manage unscheduled jobs which are waiting for something to happen (such as waiting for a customer to exit a quarantine period or receive an “all clear” to attend a location).
Keep an eye on your KPIs and reports surrounding revenue, productivity and efficiency, to better inform decision making and adaptation.
ServiceM8 has a range of standard reports in the Reports tab of the Online Dashboard, as well as snapshot 28-day reports in the new Business Dashboard. You can also set weekly reports on productivity, invoicing and efficiency to post to the Activity Feed (online and in the app).
Disclaimer: Information related to COVID-19 is for context and does not constitute expert medical advice. Please consider your own situation and the official advice from your country and/or jurisdiction’s public health authorities.