Top Five Questions to Ask When Evaluating Landscape Management Software
March 9, 2021
Buying landscape management software is a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider, and a finite amount of time. Whether you’re using a consultant or searching for software on your own, it is critical that you know the right questions to ask. In this blog, we’ll share with you the five most important questions you should be asking during your software search
Is it easy to use?
The complexity of a product doesn’t equal its value. It’s just the opposite. The sweet spot for software is to find one that has all the functionality you need, with very little complexity required to operate. This makes training much more manageable and allows more team members to get value out of the software. You’re going to be spending a fair amount of money on this project. Isn’t it better if more people can use it?
Also, consider if the software has a companion app and if it is limited or fully-functional. Limited apps only allow you to use a small number of features and require the desktop version to be useful, while a fully-functional app has access to all the features the desktop version does. Crews with a fully-functional app can make work proposals, respond to customers, and track data and live in the field. This makes your crews more autonomous and agile.
How does this help our customers?
Your goal as a business owner is to win customers for life. When you’re searching for software, keep the customer top of mind. You want your customers to evangelize for you, and the best way to do that is to make sure they have an incredible experience. The right software can do wonders for your relationships. The software can allow you to quickly contact them with work proposals, updates and answer any of their concerns electronically. Before software, keeping in touch with customers in a timely manner was a burden. Now, software allows you to manage more customers while providing them with a better experience.
Good landscape management software will also help you elevate your marketing efforts. By having access to digital communication, you can create many more “touchpoints.” The more times you can engage a customer, the more your company will be reinforced in their mind. Large corporations spend thousands of dollars on marketing software. The benefit of getting the right landscape management software is that you can market to your customers without breaking the bank on a different marketing platform.
Am I buying a product, or a partnership?
Business owners are usually hesitant to buy software or switch because they view the implementation process as a hassle that isn’t worth their time. These concerns can be alleviated if you have the right implementation team helping you along the way. Search for a company that views you as their partner, not just another sale. Listen to the language they use in their sales pitch. Are they saying “we,” “us,” “together,” or “partner”? If they are, this is a good indicator of how the rest of the process will go.
The quality of customer care you receive after implementation also varies widely. Some companies will outsource their customer care or have only limited assistance. Look for a company that offers around-the-clock service and can solve problems quickly. Read reviews left by current and former customers that describe what it was like working with a software company after the sale. It can’t be understated how vital the post-sales experience is.
How easily does it integrate with our current operations?
Many landscape companies use the “duct-tape method.” They’ll use QuickBooks, scheduling software, route planning software, and have customer data stored on another platform. This usually happens when a company expands quickly and has to add software as they go. Landscape companies reach a point where they need a better solution, hence management software.
That old software doesn’t just disappear though. More than likely you have tons of customer data and significant information stored in them. Find out whether the software you’re looking at can integrate data from your old platforms. Having built-in integration to platforms you’re already using will make the transition to a new software more seamless.
What insights will it give us about our company?
Now that you’re going to have software storing all of your data in one location, what can you do with it? Business insights might not be a glamorous feature you’re searching for, but they can be a potent weapon in your arsenal. What separates struggling companies from thriving ones often is their use of data to power their business decisions. It’s essential to find out what reports and dashboards you can create with the software.
For example, SingleOps has over 30 different reports you can create. These reports can help you determine your sales team’s strengths and weaknesses, which crews are the most efficient, and if you’re losing profit margins in a specific area of your business. Once you have the data, then you can make informed, smart decisions. Finding out what ways you’ll use company data shouldn’t be overlooked when considering different software.
The best landscape management software doesn’t come cheap. This is why it’s essential to ask the right questions to make sure you are getting the best fit for your company. Management software tends to have similar features, but what sets them apart are how easy they are to use, the customer care you will receive, and if they truly understand your business. Since you know the right questions, go out there and transform your business.
Another fantastic season of Green Industry Perspectives is in the books. Season three featured ten prominent landscape and tree care business leaders. Over the course