Cleaning may require manual labor, but today’s cleaning business and property management experts are increasingly relying on technology solutions to ensure this work gets sold, scheduled, and performed efficiently.
Service automation describes the process of using technology-based tools to streamline the delivery of a service. Automation helps deliver consistency across the cleaning experience and, in some cases, helps simplify the work your direct labor needs to complete. It doesn’t necessarily mean automating the service itself—although savvy companies looking to more effectively use their labor base are automating tasks such as vacuuming as well.
The bottom line is that your competitors are using service automation and often using it as a differentiator that helps them sell and maintain a strong profit share. Consider the following four strategies for improving your company’s service automation game—and one big bonus for next-level automation.
Marketing automation is all about simplifying the process of sending sales content to your target audience at the right time. It turns out that making the sale is all about timing. Benchmarking data consistently indicates that automated email messages see open rates much higher than traditional messages—as much as 70 percent higher. Automation can also boost conversion rates by more than 150 percent. This is because you’re sending messages when they are most relevant to your email recipients, not when you are ready. This may look like emails scheduled to go out to potential customers at regular intervals after they’ve taken some action on your website or to current clients reminding them it’s been some time since their last cleaning. There are numerous options available to help you find the right time to reach your prospects and, in some cases, craft the right message.
While an Outlook calendar or Excel spreadsheet can support the job of scheduling work, schedule automation tools can take this task largely off the manager’s shoulders. Software tools support around the clock booking to secure more regular work. Many of these solutions send automated reminders to cleaning staff and clients to limit missed bookings and their associated costs. Some tools also automatically send out paperwork to complete prior to the job, keeping human error from costing you in time lost.
More importantly, these automation tools are designed to easily resolve last-minute scheduling conflicts due to sick days or any other unexpected circumstances. For last-minute jobs, some automated solutions are supported by GPS tools that allow you to schedule a job to the closest available employees to further reduce wasted time.
Work Order Automation
If you’re managing jobs that may change from day-to-day, work order automation can get your employees started without delay. Work order automation prevents managers or employees from overlooking new tasks. These software solutions may automatically send tasks or reminders across the chain of command to the right individual and keep those tasks on the to-do list until they’re addressed. Automating work orders also makes it easier for everyone involved in the cleaning process to provide customers with a quick status report as requested. Plus, managers generally gain insight into all work orders in process at a given moment and can more easily track job completion and rapidly resolve any issues in real-time.
Accounts Payable Automation
For many business owners, collecting and doling out payments are among the biggest challenges they face. Automating these processes can save time spent moving data from paper to spreadsheets, reduce the risk of human error, and improve customer and employee satisfaction.
Whether you’re launching a recurring billing cycle or taking payments on the spot, invoice automation can streamline client payments. In some cases, completing an invoice may trigger the process of requesting a review or other feedback, tying job completion to your marketing automation.
And when it comes to paying your employees, the process of gathering invoices from a team spread across a diverse service area becomes much simpler with automated tools. Some tools act as virtual timeclocks, gathering data on employees in the field, that can be automatically converted into an accurate invoice. The result is more timely payment for employees and more time for owners to spend on more value-added activities.
Bonus Solution: Cleaning Automation
Given the time and money-saving benefits that come through automating business tasks, it’s no wonder that some cleaning companies are looking to achieve the same with cleaning. Like the solutions noted above, autonomous carpet sweepers can generate data about the tasks performed to prove its efficiency. This doesn't have to be an enormous upfront investment. Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from Softbank Robotics, developed and distributed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, are available with a subscription model. This model allows you to cost-effectively pilot the solution in your facilities. By deploying automated vacuuming solutions, cleaning companies free employees to complete time-consuming and repetitive work at a faster rate so they can then tackle higher-value tasks.
Contact SoftBank Robotics today to learn more about how to make Whiz your newest brand ambassador.