What to Know Before Buying Time Tracking Software
Companies that deliver commercial and residential cleaning services use cleaning service scheduling software to manage their customers, serve specific needs, and establish two-way communication with their employees on a daily basis. Software like this helps cleaning companies reduce their costs by enabling better allocation of human resources and subsequent time keeping.
The ability to grow your cleaning business is dependent on your ability to deliver quality customer service, as clients would expect, and a strong piece of scheduling software is usually a critical component to alleviate many of the barriers to providing good service, and in turn, growing your business.
Cleaning service scheduling software helps to improve customer satisfaction by offering good quality services both on time and on schedule. Most cleaning service solutions generally come with basic timekeeping functionality, and beyond that, a myriad of features for personnel and financial management that can help you improve your business.
Why Invest in Cleaning Service Scheduling Software?
Today, manual pen and paper systems are a time-burden, and take away the time you need to spend selling and growing your business. They are simply outdated when it comes to sustaining the level of customer service that you want your business to be known for, especially when it comes to catching no-shows and ensuring employees arrive on time and stay for the entirety of their allotted shift.
Most cleaning businesses seem to start off simple, with low-cost and convenient methods of scheduling jobs, but as much-welcomed growth comes, that task becomes increasingly difficult.
Even using some of the simplest online calendars like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook will let you create a simple schedule, but many cleaning businesses quickly outgrow the basic functionality and need something more robust to keep track of multiple locations, employee schedules, and overseeing managers.
Good cleaning service scheduling software will:
• Help you plan and enforce your cleaning schedule, and grow with you as you expand your capacity to serve more clients.
• Improve the efficiency of tasks and save time by tracking employee information and schedules.
• Enhance customer service through the reduction of overbookings, scheduling mistakes, and missed jobs.
How to Choose Cleaning Service Scheduling Software
Making the investment to acquire a quality piece of software that's designed to improve customer service is a critical purchase that every cleaning business owner must take. Here are 5 things you should consider before buying a new scheduling software.
1. Required Functionality
The first thing you need to do is spend some time evaluating exactly what you prefer and/or want to get done. Start by outlining any of the complaints customers have raised about how your business currently tracks employees, scheduling, and handles mishaps (i.e. no-shows or reschedules):
• What can the current system not do?
• What’s kind of new features will influence employee behavior in the most positive way?
• Which processes take more time than others?
Have a time limit so you don’t spend too much time on the negatives. Having a wish list, where you outline the things an ideal scheduling software should do for you, can help with this. It’s a good idea to include employees who will be doing any part of the scheduling and customer service activities in this process.
No industry can claim to have a true all-in-one system that meets all the needs of all businesses in the industry. Fit is a very important consideration, since it determines how well the new system will integrate with the existing programs and processes. Some software is targeted for larger companies, and some for smaller companies -- finding the right target size is key. If you did Step One thoroughly, then your ‘fit’ analysis will be a bit easier.
Be sure to ask the software representative any questions you might have about the integration with programs used in employee scheduling, employee records, timekeeping, sales and marketing, and accounting software. QuickBooks is perhaps one of the most frequently requested and expected integrations, though there are many other programs that you might be using that require the integration to improve efficiency.
Although there are a few options that provide a one-time purchase fee , most are based on a monthly subscription and the majority of the latter charge on a per user basis, meaning the number of employees you have clocking in and out of the system. Depending on your business, a one-time purchase or fixed monthly charge may be a bit friendlier to your cash flow and make the investment easier to carry. As you’re considering the costs, don’t forget to look beyond the advertised prices for other periodic or regular costs like support fees, upgrades, early cancellation, and service fees.
Ensure that your success is as well-positioned as possible by enquiring what level of setup services and support is provided and at what price. Don’t forget that you need to invest time to set up and learn how to use the system, so be realistic about it. Document all these processes, so that you’ll be able to help or train a leadership employee when your business has grown to a level that you can’t handle all the support queries and calls by yourself.
The best way to compare a huge list of features is differentiating between which ones are standard and which ones are truly special. Have your priority needs side-by-side with the features the cleaning service scheduling software offers.
The trickiest part is that you still won’t know how good a program is before you’ve seen and used it. However, it’s still reasonable to narrow down the field for better testing. As a rule of thumb, be your own decision maker; don’t let sales hype sell you on the standard features and make sure the software does specifically what you need it to do. If possible, try out their free trial to confirm that the features you need are part of the solution you need and they operate how you want them to.
5. Business-Specific Considerations
Most cleaning service scheduling software comes with the basic features a commercial cleaning company needs in order to be successful: multiple clock in and clock out methods like Phone IVR and GPS, a call activity dashboard, automated timekeeping reports, and scheduling. But depending on your business some more robust features may be required such as no-show alerts and advanced scheduling features. Ensure that these are covered in the software.
The potential to professionalize your cleaning industry business cannot be ignored, and with the right tools, great customer service, and proper marketing, any business in this industry can be poised for success. However, many business owners tend to underestimate the competitive nature of the market, going for mediocre tools, which often lead to remorse down the road. With the proper research, the right mindset, and the tips we have discussed above, choosing the right cleaning service scheduling software for your business will be easier and rewarding.