The service industry covers a wide range of professions — from accountants to designers, contractors, photographers, architects and much more. But every service business — no matter what type of service it provides — needs the right tools to help it start and scale efficiently.
Here are the top five new technologies and tools that everyone in the service industry should be using:
The data is undeniable: cash-only businesses won’t cut it for much longer as Brits now only carry an average of £22 in their wallets. In addition to meeting customers where they are, accepting card payments on the spot with mobile card payment tools also reduces your reliance on invoicing and keeps you from having to chase down clients when they forget to pay. The perfect solution to paying plumbers, or settling bills with builders, mobile card readers and digital payments are the fantastically flexible way to make sure you get paid for your services.
The Square Reader enables you to accept contactless cards, mobile wallets and chip and pin cards, and is yours for only £39. We’ll even throw in a backup magnetic stripe card reader so if chip and pin cards misbehave or an international card comes your way, you can simply swipe it through. Both readers are small enough to fit in your pocket, can be charged conveniently with the included micro USB adapter and have no recurring monthly fees or lock-in contracts. You can feel safe knowing that you’re only charged a fee when you accept a payment.
Online invoicing software
As soon as the work is complete, businesses that are enabled to send invoices on the spot save valuable time after hours. E-invoicing tools and apps can get you paid quicker than traditional processes (such as calculating and formatting an invoice in Excel). Square’s free invoicing software enables you to send unlimited e-invoices from the Square Point of Sale app or your online Dashboard and your customers can pay you quickly and securely with the click of a button. You’re charged only a flat fee when a customer pays you online, and you can also leverage other powerful features such as Card on File (which allows you to save a customer’s card for future payments) or recurring and scheduled invoices (which allow you to send invoices as part of a recurring series or at a future date — great when you’re charging clients for retained services).
Having the ability to manage your staff across all your locations - or employees gone mobile - lets you stay on top of your business no matter where you are. Track your busiest trading hours and make sure you have enough staff on hand to provide great customer service, ensuring that you’re optimising your operations for success.
Integrated accounting software
Streamlining your front-of-house operations is important for servicing your customers efficiently, but getting the back end sorted also helps you save time and run your business smarter. Integrating your point of sale with cloud-based accounting software allows your transaction data to flow seamlessly between platforms, improving accuracy and reducing the need for manual data entry. Square Point of Sale integrates with Xero, giving you easy use of the world’s best cloud-based accounting software. Check out the many more valuable integrations you can enjoy with our POS app in the Square App Marketplace.
Business intelligence and reporting insights
Once you have the tools to streamline your service business, it’s time to leverage data to help you grow. Using data from last year’s business performance gives you insight into everything, from which services are most popular and which locations are benefitting most from marketing activities, to where you could fine-tune your pricing based on demand.
Square Analytics, which uses all the valuable data captured from your point-of-sale system, gives you an unparallelled level of insight into your business operations. You get an ongoing view of comparative sales reports, the busiest times of day, customer frequency and feedback, sales numbers by employee and much more. Best of all, it’s free to access all of these reports from your Dashboard.