Software is changing the world. At first we thought it was the ‘computer revolution’ but time has shown that the ‘software revolution’ is far more important. Industry by industry has been transformed by software. Our pest control industry will also be transformed. This post gives a few examples of how software can improve and even re-invent your business.

A recent post discussed the ‘Value of Software’. In this second part offers examples, to clarify this idea.

Most of these functions below are provided by any good software package. Companies without good software will be not have these advantages. They lose and you win….

1) Highly flexible PreScheds create regular scheduled WOs that a note card system can never match. PreSched system are dramatically faster than manual systems, and don’t miss cards! Work Orders will be created for any number of weeks or months, landing on your schedule book at any time of day, week, or month. Support for both Approximate Dates and Actual Dates should be offered.

2) Data Mining. In the past, advertising was the primary way to grow a business. Software, though, gives new ways to reach into your existing customers providing both better service and more business.  You should be able to search and cluster data from anywhere, everywhere, any time. Then you should be able to send a letter or email to those customers with one click.

3) CRM  You should always strive to take better care of your customers. A robust Customer Resource Management component is critical. It should be easy to keep copious notes from every call or email, and any number of contact details. For example, 4 phones and 3 emails, with easy searching from one place. And the ability to search all note fields everywhere, from only one place is a wonderful tool. Who was the customer who asked about ‘fireants’ last week, or what was the location that had glass shards in the crawl space?

4) Reminders that automatically notify your customers of their upcoming service dates. Software can automatically send reminders by text or email, at the interval that your customer chooses. This function alone will save you hours of office time.

5) Send Invoices and Statements by email. Save stamps and get paid sooner.

6) Integrated payments and card processing. Don’t leave your software to log into some web site. Don’t pay a monthly fee to rent a terminal. Process card payments directly from within your normal payments screen. Dramatically faster, easier, and safer.

7) Mobile clients on iPads and iPhones that let your technicians directly enter their products used, make new appointments, look up and edit customer information, and even put in new customers. At the end of the day, a two-way sync moves all new office data onto the mobile device, and uploads the mobile device data back up to the master copy in the office. Not only does this dramatically enhances the technician in the field, it saves a huge amount of data entry time in the office. This is a double win. And customers love your modern skill set!

8) Daily, Monthly, and Yearly stats allow you to track how each technicians is doing, each service, and each town. A business axiom is that, ‘those things that are tracked, are those things that are managed’. Stats tracks your critical business metrics. They give you insight into your progress, and shows areas where progress is needed.

9) Remote access via iPhone into your business and critical details when you are out of the office. Every owner and manager has to be away sometimes. An iPhone dashboard allows you to keep an eye on things when you have to be gone. Where is each tech today? What checks are waiting to be deposited? How much were the last three deposits? What are our A/R totals?  What is customer John Doe’s phone number? These, and other questions are quick to be answered no matter where you are… and easily from your iPhone!

10)  Compiled Customer history and stats. Quickly see what service and volume a customer uses or doesn’t. Find and sort by any compilation. Being able to view this data lets you provide better service and helps to grow your business.

11) Integration of Prospects and Customers. A prospect record can be as important as a customer, and deserves a full place inside your the CRM section of your software. Remember, a prospect is a customer who just hasn’t yet started using your services. Manual systems (cards?) or poor software isolates prospects. Good software keeps them right among your customers with only a different status.

This list could easily be a hundred items long. But is merely offered to show you a few things that every software package should offer. Look at software as another full-time employee in the office that is incredibly fast, never is late, and is available at a cost lower than any ‘real’ employee. Those companies without topnotch software will be consumed by those who do. It is that critical. Software gives your company agility and a very real competitive edge.