Intro to optimizing your service operations.
How to save time and improve the customer experience by streamlining your business operations.
Square InvoicesSquare POSSquare Virtual TerminalSquare Messages
Whether you run an accounting firm, a gym, or anything between, you probably manage a mountain of operational tasks every day. Between generating new business, negotiating contracts, and billing, managing service operations can take a significant amount of effort and leave you with less time to get your real job done. Integrating your business operations can lighten your workload and help you improve customer communication, close the deals faster, and get paid on time.
In this guide, we’ll show you how Square Invoices and other omnichannel tools work together to help streamline business operations, improve the customer experience, and save you time to focus on growing your business.
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01. Organize your back office
Map out your back-office workflow.
A smart operations management strategy is the key to streamlining your workflow. For service organizations, operations management can be distilled down to four strategic areas: pricing, closing new business, billing, and getting paid. These key areas can help you understand the current state of your business operations and find out where you can make improvements, without hiring an operations manager. We’ll dive deeper into each topic later in this guide.
How do you price your services? You might have a standard rate for your time, offer tiered packages, or customize your pricing on a project-by-project basis.
How formal is your sales process and how much planning does it require? Some service businesses negotiate using formal contracts, while others make deals with just a handshake.
What’s your billing cycle like? Depending on the project, you might collect an up-front deposit, set up recurring payments, or request payments at key milestones over the course of a job.
Do you take payments from behind a desk, out in the field, or some of both? Many organizations need flexible ways to let clients pay.
02. Customize your system
Customize your Square account to fit your business.
Strong operations management starts with a strategy to integrate all your processes. Your Square account is a powerful tool that can integrate all of your business operations in one place, so it’s worthwhile to spend some time setting it up. Here are three quick strategies for customizing your account to set your organization up for long-term operational success.
Add services to your Item Library
While many service businesses customize their pricing based on the project’s duration and complexity, others use a standardized pricing model. If you have a standard hourly rate, offer basic packages, sell any physical goods, or account for taxes and discounts regularly, add them to your Item Library. You can easily add your items and services when building an invoice or checking out a customer, which will help make the billing process faster for you and more transparent for your customers.
Set up your Customer Directory
Customer management is an extremely important part of running a service business, but it can get complicated quickly. Having a single source of truth can help you manage customers, build relationships, and drive repeat business in the future. Square Customer Directory is a resource you can use to store all of your customers’ contact and payment information, service history, and preferences. You can also look up a customer’s outstanding invoices right from Customer Directory.
If you’re currently tracking your customers with a spreadsheet or other manual method, you can import customer data into your Square account. This will let you easily see sales data, track customer activity, and improve planning in one place.
Build invoice templates
You can create professional, branded invoice templates ahead of time so that when it’s time to bill a client, you’re ready to go. Customize invoices with your company’s logo, brand colors, and business information. You can also add custom fields for additional information like terms of service, your cancellation policy, and more. Creating a few unique templates for frequently invoiced services is a strategic way to maximize your productivity.
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03. Speed up the sales process
Speed up the sales process.
Whether your sales process is simple or involves multiple steps, going back and forth with a prospective client about a new job can take up a lot of time. Managing new business often requires strategic planning, resources, and strong organization. Here are a couple of strategies you can use to optimize your business operations, improve time management, and close deals faster.
Keep customer communication organized
Keep customer communication organized
Managing customer communication is easier when it’s all in one place. When you start talking to a prospective customer about a job, you can add their contact information to your Customer Directory and use Square Messages to keep communication and planning organized. Square Messages keeps all your customer emails and text messages in one place, so you can see the complete conversation thread anytime.
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You can improve customer management by adding notes, attachments, or time-based reminders to customer profiles in Customer Directory. Creating customer groups is another strategy to help you and your employees keep track of all jobs and improve customer service across the board. For example, you can create groups for new and repeat customers to better tailor your marketing to each group. You can also create groups based on the project status, like “prospects” or “won deals,” to filter your Customer Directory more easily.
Minimize the back-and-forth
If your business follows a more formal sales process, you can create multi-package estimates to present customers a few options at once with different price points per package. Customers can easily review and approve the one that best fits their needs, and you can convert that approved estimate into an invoice with just a click.
Before starting work, you might want to get a signed commitment from your client to avoid any potential disputes later. Square Contracts offers a library of pre-written clauses to help you set clear expectations up front and secure a digital signature.
04. Bill clients efficiently
Bill clients on any schedule.
Streamlining your billing is an important component of operations management. The way you bill a client can depend on the scope and complexity of a project. Smart invoicing software can help you save time and stay in control of your funds. Square Invoices makes it easy to create a custom payment schedule for each project, track the status, and send automated reminders to ensure you’re paid on time.
Collect deposits up front
With Square Invoices you can request a deposit up front and create a separate due date for the remaining balance. This way you can keep track of multiple payments for a project from a single invoice.
Set up recurring payments
If you regularly provide a service, you can automatically bill repeat customers with a recurring invoice to increase efficiency. Saving the customer’s card on file is a strategic way to get paid faster and improve service quality for your clients.
Schedule payment installments
For longer or complicated projects that require more planning, you can use Progress Invoices to schedule multiple payments based on specific milestones or phases of the job. This helps you track payments from one invoice and stay in control of your cash flow.
05. Get paid anywhere
Get paid anywhere.
When you wrap up a job, the main objective is to get paid as quickly as possible. Whether you’re in an office or out in the field, Square offers flexible hardware and softwareto take payments from clients on the spot. Every transaction syncs with your Square account, no matter which payment method you use.
Request a payment from anywhere
You can send invoices from anywhere via email or text, or manually by sharing a payment link with your client. You can also use Square Virtual Terminal to record credit card payments over the phone on your computer.
Get paid on site or on the go
With Square Point of Sale you can easily check out a client when you finish a job. Square offers several portable hardware solutions so you or your employees can take a credit card payment right then and there.
Take payments in the office
Square Terminal wirelessly connects to your computer for seamless in-person payments. Customers can tap, dip, or swipe their card and print a receipt with Square Terminal’s built-in printer.
06. Sync third-party apps
Integrate third-party apps and APIs.
Square syncs with the third-party apps you already use to run your business operations. Connecting apps you currently use with Square tools is a simple way to increase productivity for your organization. Square APIs let you create advanced, strategic solutions to optimize your company’s operations even further.
Quickbooks Automatically import your Square data into your accounting software. Learn more >
17hats Connect your Square activity with your small business management software. Learn more >
PandaDoc Create an integrated operation by syncing Square with proposals, quotes, and contracts. Learn more >
Square App Marketplace: Millions of sellers use the App Marketplace to discover and install apps that they rely on to run their businesses.
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