In this article, I’m going to take you through the exact process I use to evaluate how well a company is using ServiceM8. This will allow you to find ways that you can improve your business efficiency and processes.
Improvements here, in the central workroom of your business, equal more clarity, better communication and time saved.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had a ServiceM8 account for 10 minutes or 10 years, it’s always useful to have a look through periodically and evaluate how you’re using this powerful job management tool.
ServiceM8 isn’t like your accounting software. It doesn’t generally have a dedicated professional or company looking at it and using it every day. It’s just you and your team.
The time & energy ServiceM8 can save is related to how it’s set up and how you use it on a day-to-day basis.
I start with the Job History section.
I filter by job status, looking first at the number of jobs in the system that have a status of Quote.
I then look at the reporting section to see how many new jobs the company is bringing in each month. If there are more than 2 or 3 week’s worth of quotes then I’ll take a look at how they’re quoting. Namely, whether they’re using Job Templates or the Services add-on to speed up the data entry and quoting process.
I’ll look at whether they’ve got a structured, customised price list. I’ll review whether they’re writing job descriptions (I’ve seen many accounts where there’s no job description whatsoever, so the team just seem to have to guess what the job is!).
I then look at the Automation section to see if they’re automatically following up with people they’ve sent quotes to.
I then assess the number of Work Orders in relation to new jobs per month. For example, if there are 200 work orders and the company get 50 new jobs per month, then that indicates a 4-month backlog, which is very high!
At this point, I look at the job completion process:
- Do they have queues set up to manage jobs on hold?
- Are the engineers adding notes when they’re done at a job?
- Are many of these jobs sitting in the unscheduled jobs list, waiting for something else to happen with them.
- Is pricing clear and easy to add?
A quick look at the job queues across the top of the dispatch board tells me what I need to know about how well they understand the workflow and movement of jobs through ServiceM8.
Lots of Work Orders, plus lots of jobs in the Unscheduled Jobs list, plus a lack of customised Job Queues means that the user doesn’t have a good grasp of how to see what needs to be dealt with next.
They’re probably feeling like they’ve ‘lost’ jobs in ServiceM8 and they don’t know what to focus on.
Materials & Services
If there are only a few items in the Materials and Services list, or there are lots of wordy items with no item codes, then I know that the ServiceM8 user doesn’t have a good grasp of how to manage their pricing.
In the retail industry, it’s clear that every individual product needs its own ‘SKU’ – its own code – an identification number.
This is needed to allow the merchant to see what they’ve sold. To run reports on what’s selling well and what isn’t. To do stock takes to understand what’s gone missing. To know more about how well an item sells depending on where it is in the store, or how well it’s advertised, talked about or promoted within the store.
Can you imagine running a shop without product identification numbers?
How would you know what you’d sold?
How would you know what you need more of?
It’s exactly the same requirement for service businesses, but because the product is less tangible (i.e. it doesn’t come in a box that you can touch), service business owners don’t realise that they need to think the same as a shop owner.
You need to know what you need more of.
For example, would you know whether you need more plumbers to sell more tap changes and repairs, or more heating engineers to sell more boiler services?
This concept is referred to in the coach/consulting world as the ‘productisation’ of your services. Thinking about the services you offer as if they’re real, physical products.
Once a service business owner understands this concept, then they understand that they need to create codes for their products. This is probably a topic for another article. Needless to say, if there are no product codes then I know I need to work with the business owner on pricing.
Once I’ve taken a look at the pricing, I then head on over to settings > document templates to see how the quote and invoice templates are laid out.
The way your quote and invoice templates are constructed can mean the difference between your customer accepting vs rejecting your quote. It can also mean the difference between your invoice being paid promptly vs ignored.
Pricing factors into this as your price list structure and naming conventions dictate what you can do with your quote and invoice presentation.
I go into more detail on this here – invoicing styles for ServiceM8 document templates.
Next, I head on over to the Invoicing section and take a look at the Awaiting Approval tab.
If there are hundreds of jobs sitting in this section, it means they’re getting marked as completed, but they’re not being moved forward. Perhaps staff are unclear on the invoicing process – i.e. who’s invoicing the customer, and for how much. Or perhaps they don’t understand the point of the Awaiting Approval section.
I then move to the Invoicing Summary to see how much money they’re waiting for. If it’s a lot, I check out the Automation section again to see if they’re automatically chasing for payment.
I also take a look at their email templates, to make sure it’s clear how to pay within the email template itself. I find out if they’re using stripe and if they’ve added their bank details to the email that goes with the invoice (because why make it harder than it needs to be for your customer to know how to pay you!)
If the company has the Automation add-on set up, I’ll generally have a chat with them about their payment terms and the expectation they set before they do the job.
- Do their customers know when the invoices are due?
- Could this be included in the quote email?
- Could more be done to take payment on completion whilst standing in front of the customer?
I move onto the templates – email, SMS and job templates.
If these are all just the out-of-the-box versions (or non-existent), then I know they’re not making the most of the time-saving options that ServiceM8 has to offer.
How well these templates are utilised tells me about how much time can be saved.
Data quality in dictates data quality out
A company’s ability to report well – i.e. get good insight out, completely depends on the quality of data they’re putting in.
Good data in = Good information out.
Bad data in = Bad/No information out.
You get the point.
This part of the audit therefore not only looks at their ability to run reports – i.e.
- Do they have the Advanced Reporting Pack add-on switched on?
- Are they using Wink reporting?
- Do they have the google analytics tracking in place for any online booking pages?
But also the amount and quality of the information in –
- Are they adding a job description for every job?
- Have they built out their price list?
- Are they completing jobs promptly?
- Are they making lost work unsuccessful promptly?
All of these questions give me a picture of what the reporting capabilities are like.
Pro tip – using the Advanced Reporting Pack add-on you can download the full set of jobs into excel. You can then use excel to create filtered lists and pivot tables and charts to slice and dice the data any way you want.
These are the ‘extras’ available to be customised to suit each business.
The reason there’s so much good stuff in here (hidden away and switched off) is that the ServiceM8 team understands how important it is not to overwhelm someone when they first start using the product.
This gives the business owner a chance to run through the list and evaluate what features they need. They have the control to be able to turn these on and off.
I go through all of the add-ons & features to see which ones are switched on and being used. I know from the kind of business and industry they’re in, which add-ons make sense and which ones aren’t a priority for them.
As a general guide, the following add-ons benefit all businesses.
- Advancing reporting pack
- Email inbox
- Simple online enquiry
- Staff leave
- Weekly activity reporting
These are generally not required for certain types of business or beginner to intermediate users.
- Multiple locations
- Record history
For Specific Use-Cases
These are super useful if you’re doing recurring work
- Recurring jobs
- Autopay feature for recurring jobs
These are vital if you work with landlords or property management firms (think those with multiple properties but only one billing address)
- Client sites
- Recurring jobs
- Live statements
- Email inbox
This is the analysis that I do as part of a free ServiceM8 account audit. I hope you’ve found it helpful!
Feel free to share this with your fellow ServiceM8 users and other business owners.
I’d love to know what changes you make to your account after reading this article.
If you would like me to complete an audit of your ServiceM8 account for you, you can sign up here:
I provide all of my recommendations in a clear report and I include all of the links to ServiceM8 articles to allow you to take care of the recommendations yourself.