Guide to Choosing Service Business Management Software Marketing and Business Intelligence
Systems analysis is an act of analyzing business processes, so that they can be broken down into rules and sets of procedures. This process must be done to figure out what software is going to “do the business” for you. It is this analytical process itself which can be very valuable, and the better it is done the more likely it will be that you will find the computer software that embodies and emulates those rules.
In the last post, we discussed some of the features you need to look for in choosing the right service business management software for your business. These included scheduling, customer management, and accounting. Below, we look at other important capabilities that you need to have in your service business software: marketing and business intelligence analytics.
Which Marketing Features Do You Need?
There are various specialized marketing programs available that you can add on to your system, such as Constant Contact or Infusionsoft. Each of these are good programs, but they require you to have your information stored in a different place. If you can find a software program that allows you to do marketing as part of the software, you can realize certain advantages, including:
- You don’t have to enter information in multiple places.
- You can use information in your database to fine-tune mailing campaigns, etc.
- Selection data needed to fine-tune marketing campaigns is in the same database, giving you more control and greater convenience.
You also need to make sure that the software you choose allows you to set performance metrics and to easily monitor ongoing performance against those metrics.
Lastly, there are some additional capabilities you might want to consider when choosing scheduling and management software for your service business. The right service business software should be able to help you with:
- Ensuring customer satisfaction with quality control settings
- Reducing overtime
- Cutting travel time / optimizing routes
- Email campaigns
- Billing and invoicing
- Staffing existing jobs
- Interfacing with accounting system
- SMS Messaging
Spend some time thinking about the features you are going to have in your ideal business management software. This requires thinking about your present business structure, and the procedures you use in your organization. Brainstorm with others in your organization about ways to streamline processes to save time and improve the business, for example, by spending more time with customers and paying more attention to marketing and sales to build up your business.
Some companies hire a consultant, a systems analyst, or an organizational consultant, to assist with this initial analytic phase. These days, software comes in all sorts of sizes and flavors, from the simple to the very complex. You don’t want complexity just for the sake of it, but so that you can use advanced business intelligence tools to analyze data as you record it and to provide better metrics for guiding your business through the waves and waters of the future. With the right business management software, you can surf the waves you encounter rather than being swamped by them.
Finally, it is very important to spend some time doing ROI analyses on the costs of your software investment! We often hear from people who say that such-and-such software is too expensive or that they want something cheap like QuickBooks. However, you need to remember that:
- Vertical software is very different from general-purpose horizontal software like QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel.
- You may pay a premium for better customer service/consulting.
- You want ongoing service form a company that has great support services.
- There may be additional costs for customization and the willingness to customize.
You can calculate various ROI measures, based on the particular parts of the software. At Thoughtful Systems, we once wrote an SMS messaging routine for a client, which saved him from having someone call a hundred and fifty clients each night to remind them they had a job tomorrow. With SMS Messaging, he could just hit one button and all the clients would be notified – the savings for him were huge!
When it comes to choosing the right service business management software – choose the software that suits your business!