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Why You Should Use Your CRM’s Scheduling Tools

January 28, 2022

Not every customer relationship management (CRM) software offers scheduling tools. But many do, and if you’re not taking advantage of this feature, you could be missing out. Here are the top reasons you should be using your CRM’s scheduling features. 

Real-time Updates

For many service businesses, making changes to a technician, crew, or Sales Representative schedule is a cumbersome process. You’ve got to call, text, or email and explain the situation. Sometimes, you’ve got to do all three of those. 

If your business software offers a scheduling tool frequently, that’s a real-time solution. You can make adjustments to a crew’s daily schedule or a Sales Rep’s route, and those changes will publish with most tools nearly instantly. Training your teams to respond to their calendar (and maybe a text reminder to check it) saves your team a ton of time with back-and-forth communication. 

I ran the scheduling for the Sales team at a full-service landscaper. When there was a change to the Rep’s day, we had to call, text, and email them the new details and put them on their calendar. It was a hassle. 

If you can update the information in a single place, that’s far more efficient and helpful. Then your Customer Service team and your Sales team are on the same page constantly. 

Tracking ALL of Your Assets

Scheduling crews and jobs can be a bit of a headache. It is relatively easy to overcommit your people assets and your equipment using other methods. 

Have you ever had to shuffle around crews to make sure a job went off on time? 

How about the phone call from a customer asking when their job will run, and you’ve got to scramble to find the answer or call them back with an answer because you can’t find it easily? 

Have you ever experienced a delay on a job because you double-booked equipment? That can force you to either do a ton of manual work or make a call to a client and have to apologize that their job has been pushed back. 

None of these situations are fun. If your business software has a scheduling function, you should be able to see your available man-hours, backlogs, and available equipment at a glance. By properly utilizing this tool, you’ll avoid these awkward, frustrating situations for your business. 

Common Objections to Using a Scheduling Tool

I’m not so naive that I assume no business objects to using these tools. I’ve heard many different reasons businesses give for not fully utilizing the tools available to them. Here are the most common reasons I’ve heard. 

It’s Going to Cost Money to Implement

I’ve heard people complain about the cost of implementing a new tool or solution. 

First, let’s talk about investment v. overhead. Overhead is an expense, a cost of doing business. On the other hand, an investment is something you’re putting money into with the hopes of a return. 

It’s easy to say “No” to everything if you view it as overhead. If you see it as an investment in helping your company grow long-term, you’re more likely to try something new that helps you scale. Anything that helps your company grow over time isn’t necessarily wrong, even if it costs money. You wouldn’t view the purchase of another chainsaw or mower in this light, so don’t do it with your software either. It’s a tool that gives your company the ability to serve more customers, just like that equipment. 

Secondly, you don’t need to go crazy on the equipment. Perhaps a tablet for each crew leader with internet access should suffice. If you’re going to ask your crew members to clock in and out of jobs or access scheduling tools on their phones, you don’t need to pay for their entire cell phone bill. Simply giving them a stipend proportional to their use of the software, like $20 a month, will more than compensate for what you’ve asked of them. 

My Team Won’t Adopt the Change

I struggled with a leadership role I had at one time. I needed to lead a group of people in a direction that I wasn’t completely sold on. But it was in my job description to do it, and my supervisor had asked me to make the change. 

I met with a mentor who had several decades of leadership experience, and I asked him for advice. His answer has stayed with me all these years. 

“They’ll go where you lead them. If you tell them ‘This is the direction we’re going,’ and you’re excited about it, they’ll follow.” 

Sure he was wrong and determined to prove it, I did precisely that. I rolled out the change to the group I was leading; I was enthusiastic and excited about it (even though I was dying inside), and you know what? He was right. People embraced the change, and it was a net positive for the organization. 

This is going to be a bit of tough love, but if your crew leaders, supervisors, scheduling team, or Sales reps are reluctant to adopt the new tools – look in the mirror first. Ask yourself some hard, honest questions about how you’ve led through this change. 

Another approach is to offer incentives to your team to begin a new process. Offer rewards for the most continuous usage. Try offering a case of beer or an extra day of paid time off for the crew leader or Salesperson who uses the tools most consistently and effectively, and watch adoption soar. 

If this is a change that will impact your business for the better in the long run, you need to embrace it fully. Empathize with your team that change is hard and acknowledge growing pains. But make it a priority to help them understand the “Why?” behind the change, lead with enthusiasm, and you’ll get people to adopt it. 

Conclusion

If you’re using a CRM or business management software that offers scheduling tools, you should seriously consider adopting the use of that tool across your organization. It’ll save time, improve internal and external communication, and is far less of a hurdle to implement than you think.