Zoho: Customer Relationship Management System Review

The key to a successful business lies in many factors: a winning business plan, superb marketing efforts, and a well-executed business strategy, among others. Zoho, one of the leading software providers offering products to assist businesses with their day-to-day operations and is packed with a list of systems crafted with high-end technology to provide companies and organisations a convenient platform for their transactions. We took advantage of Zoho’s 15-day trial for their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to test its features and user-friendliness for sales and marketing teams.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Multichannel

Zoho boasts a multichannel system that allows carrying out all forms of communication with your prospective clients through email, live chat, and telephony.

all activities-zoho overview
An overview of all ongoing activities in Zoho
  • Email. Zoho’s email is matched with many existing emailing systems including the big ones like Gmail and Outlook, meaning it wouldn’t require a lot of work in case an organisation decides to transfer to Zoho. Zoho’s emailing system lets the users know one an email has been sent and filter each email status. Moreover, it provides reports on which among your email templates are opened by your leads. You can use this kind of data to improve your future email marketing contents. Customising emails through drag-and-drop is also possible so you can reach out better to your leads and customers using your logo and personal designs. Users are also allowed to send bulks of email within the CRM itself. Team leads and super admins can get an overview of their whole team and their activities. This will help them assign leads equally to each staff and see if which team member is the most productive and give them some rewards. In addition, Zoho SalesInbox integration synchronises your data with your sales pipeline and gives you notifications on your most important leads. This prompts you to set a reminder and schedule your next follow-up call with a potential client.
  • Livechat. You may be ecstatic to know that a website that has a livechat support gives satisfaction to any visitors. Live chat does not only gives real-time answers to customer queries, it also gives assurance to website visitors and potential customers that you care about them by being present whenever they need to know something about your offers and services. You can study your website visitors and identify the recurring ones. These recurring visitors can be prioritised in the pipeline for follow-ups. Lastly, the livechat feature can provide reports on the demographics of your website visitors which can be used for your market study.
  • Telephony. Reaching out to your leads within the CRM can be done in just a few clicks. All calls are automatically logged in after the call so you can keep all your records organised. During the call, there will be a pop-up window which can be used for taking notes, details, and reminders of your previous call. You sure won’t miss any upcoming calls because Zoho prompts a pop-up notification of your scheduled calls.
Artificial Intelligence

Zia is programmed to assist businesses in their day-to-day process and help the whole team function smarter and faster.  Every data entered into the program can be used to predict future sales activities. Zia is also able to read all tasks so you can ask her your tasks-for-the-day. If you are looking for a data file from years ago, Zia can find it for you with just a chat away.

Not only that, Zia also helps by predicting the win probability of each lead and deals by analysing your previous activities and identifying its patterns. That way, you can decide on which deals to focus on based on data gathered by Zia. It also has the intelligence to detect anomalies in your business by reading stored data and alerts the assigned salesperson who can deal with the issue.

With the emergence of technology comes the convenience of communication. But it’s hard to guess the tone of a person’s voice when it’s said virtually. Zia can cover that for you; it can identify the tone of every conversation to get you ready for your next interactions or doing your next sales pitch.

Zia can also provide the right time to do multiple calls and emails based on calculated Sales Signals – the data that determines frequency of your prospect client or existing customers’ active hours when they open and respond to your email and visit your social media channels.

Sales Automation

­Automation is another call for productivity. Zohos’s sales automation feature assists the users in creating a workflow rule that will be followed by the whole team. This also enables the admin to manage the team’s daily routines including calls, emails, follow-ups, and more! Sales automation can be your right hand in assigning the right tasks to the right hands.

Performance Analytics

When it comes to business, numbers don’t lie. Zoho is equipped with a performance analytics feature which gives intelligent data on sales trends, marketing campaigns and marketing performance to mention a few. For starters, there are 40 available standard templates you can use for monthly reporting. Zoho also permits its users to customise their own reports from pie charts to funnel graphs. Created reports can be stored in the CRM database forever. Each report can be shared with specific staff members based on its confidentiality.

Customisation

Customisation gives every user the power to design the system based on their preferred workflow. You can customise the CRM the way you do business by creating layouts based on your own process. To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, you can instruct all staff members to personalise important data so they can function independently even if you’re away. Conditional fields are made available to achieve a clutter-free workflow. There are also multiple forms or forms that are within the form so you can take note of all important details for a specific client.

Process Management
blueprint_zoho
Zoho’s blueprint creator

Blueprint creator prompts every team member of the actual process so they know where to catch up for each lead. You can create your own sequence with the drag-and-drop tool in the blueprint editor. Set a fixed price and the maximum discount allowed for every offer. You are allowed to set the negotiation period to achieve a specific goal which means dedicating more time on priority leads.

While managing many contacts can be confusing, Zoho makes sure that a previous task is marked completed before alerting you the assigned sales rep of the next process. Built-in reports function to evaluate your team’s productivity. This also lets you see where majority of your staff dedicated most of their time and their activities. It performs automatically for you like sending email autopilot and sending you notifications of your next follow up calls.

Pipeline Management

Pipeline management can be used for proper lead management. It assists the user to conduct proper lead generation, nurturing them, and finally converting into paying customers. Capturing leads from your landing page such as WordPress and Joomla is also possible with smart forms.

You can create a pre-set workflow which will prompt the system to distribute leads automatically and assign each contact to sales representatives to make sure you never miss to attend to all your prospects and clients. There’s a scoring rule which allows you to give a proper score to leads with high probability of conversion. This scoring rate lets you prioritise leads and ensures faster sale. You have the option to rank the leads in your preferred way—either those who opened your emails or those who clicked on your link. When everything are already in the right places, you can convert these leads into deals in just a matter of few clicks.

Team Collaboration

Like any other CRM software, Zoho lets you store files and documents in the system for quick reference. Each file can be accessible to specific staff depending on its confidentiality. It has the ability to read multiple version of documents so you know which among the many stored files is the latest.

Security

Security matters in all organisations. Zoho ensures system security by giving Super admins (the one who signed up, usually the CEO or Marketing Manager) the power to identify roles for each staff member. Super admins can create and limit working hours to promote work-life balance. Unauthorized sign-ins can be prevented with Zoho’s IP address restriction. What’s more, you can enable two-factor authentication to strengthen your team’s CRM system.

Integrations

Zoho is packed with a long list third-party applications for marketing including the big ones: Google Docx, Google Adwords, and Mailchimp, to mention a few. It also enables low-code or even no-code third-party app integration so better suit your team’s specific needs.

STRENGTHS

  • They offer a 15-day trial for marketing teams who want to determine if Zoho’s CRM will work for them
  • Zoho works on multiple platforms including mobile
  • It is packed with cutting-edge customisable features
  • They offer a free edition for 10 users with limited features enough to run a small sales and marketing team
  • It automates daily sales tasks helping staff members to function more efficiently
  • It integrates with the majority of Google Apps including the most essential ones such as Contacts, Calendar, Google Docx, Spreadsheet, Adwords, and more
  • It promotes the maximal use of social media where majority of potential leads are
  • Sales forecasting prompts marketing teams to plan ahead for their future campaigns
  • Artificial intelligence feature gives major support especially when it comes to sales trends and determining the whole team’s previous marketing activity patterns
  • Tutorial videos are provided on the website as primary support to its users

WEAKNESSES

  • The user interface might look convoluted for first-time users
  • Having too many features can be overwhelming for small teams that require only minimal marketing functions
  • Subscription is billed per user which can be a big deal when a team adds more staff member

PRICING

zoho_blogp_pricing_cloud tech journalPhoto courtesy of Zoho

*Number of users is equal to number of licenses

*Super admin represents as the main contact person for Zoho team or the one who subscribed to Zoho

WHO IS IT FOR

Zoho CRM is an all-in-one platform to do all marketing projects from campaigns to lead generation to sales and maintaining existing clients. Overall, Zoho is best for businesses and sales and marketing teams that are looking forward to reinforcing their marketing efforts. It promotes an organised way of doing marketing based on reliable data of your previous activities. Empowered by high-end technology and customisable features, Zoho gets the title for being one of the most used CRM for all businesses of all sizes.

Business owners who are interested in boosting their marketing efforts can get Zoho CRM for their business. However, not all business owners know the nitty-gritty of marketing. Cloud Staff Member can help you look for a CRM Manager who can handle marketing jobs for your business.

Cloud Staff Member is an Australian-owned company hiring remote professional workers from the Philippines to match with remote-hiring companies across the world.

 

Slack: Workplace Messaging App Review

Every day at work, you walk to your office and greet everybody a good morning. But it’s different for a team of remote workers. You say “hi” to your computer and go straight to work. That’s where Slack comes in the rescue.

Slack, short for Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge, is a communication and collaboration tool used in many offices since 2013. This is a boss-approved messaging app for business where employees can chat on work-related (or not) stuff. Read on to see if Slack is for your team.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Signing up to Slack is easy: you just have to input your company name, create your workspace’s URL name, use your business email address, and invite your workmates. Each user can modify their profile and set their availability, whether they’re already active, in a middle of a meeting, still commuting to work, on sick leave, or working remotely. This lets your colleagues understand your availability at the moment.

set a status-slack
Let your team know your availability by setting your status.

Slack allows users to use their messaging platform for free—forever! Advanced features are accessible for paid plans which are priced per active user.

Channels
channel-slack-random space
Channel serves as space where teams can chat based on its purpose.

Channels are made to create a team space for specific purposes. #general channel is accessible to all team members and is mostly used for work-related stuff. Announcements, events, updates about the company, and the likes are usually the common topic in this channel. There’s also a space for non-work related banters and faffing called #random channel where you can send files, funny GIFS, images, videos, and more.

You can create as many channels as you want but never forget to set its purpose. Each channel can be set to public or private. Public channels are searchable to all team members, while private channels are exclusive to invited employees for confidential discussions.

commands-slack
Like Telegram, Slack has slash-command that works like a shortcut to perform a specific task.

While chatting with colleagues, you can use slash-commands or shortcuts that will help you perform a task faster than clicking on every functioning icon. All team members can use commands. Workspace owners have the rights to limit the access for each user for specific commands.

Bots
slackbot
Slackbot is the primary bot to welcome you in Slack.

One of the most interesting (and exciting!) features of Slack is its bots. You will encounter slackbot as the default bot to help you navigate the app. Given that it’s only a bot and claims to be not perfect, will answer your questions based on keywords scraped through your questions.

todo-bot-slack-testing
To-do bot helps you assign tasks to a colleague and update its status every step of the way.

However, there’s a long list of third-party bots you can install based on your needs. For example it this to-do bot which allows you to assign a task to your employee. This will bring you to Workast where you can see the full details of all tasks assigned to each team member. Team members can mark it as complete once done and everyone can access a project’s status real time.

Check out this list of bots you can browse upon using Slack.

bots-slack-list

Direct Messages

 

direct messages-slack
Text chatting and video calls can be done through direct messaging.

 

Like any other messaging platforms, Slack offers direct messaging feature. This permits an individual to talk to his colleague without bugging the whole team with pop up notifications. At the upper right are icons which can be used for calling (voice and video), and the settings where you can see your conversations and shared files. You can pin important assignments or urgent tasks so they will see it first thing upon signing in to your workspace.

More than that, you can use direct messaging for reminding someone of a meeting or other important events by using the /remind command.

File Sharing

 

upload documents-slack
Slack allows uploading different types of files from various file location.

 

As the most essential function of workspace messaging apps, Slack also caters file sharing option that can be done both through direct messaging and in channels. You can opt to get a file from your local desktop, or from any cloud storage you are currently using. Be it documents, images, videos, or reports, you can conveniently distribute copies seamlessly. All files are stored in your workspace and can be accessible even if already archived. Not to mention, tech teams can also share codes and text snippets through this function.

Platforms

Slack has the tendency to spoil its users by making the app accessible to all possible platforms. Primarily, Slack can be used online by entering your workspace URL. Moreover, Slack desktop app can be downloaded for Windows, MAC, and Linux. Slack mobile app is downloadable to all android, IOS, and windows (beta) mobile devices.

Integrations
install 3rd party apps-slack
App directory stores hundreds of third-party apps or integration.

Slack is powered by over 500 integrations for different types of teams and businesses.  From bots, to customer support, to sales and project management tools, you can easily install each one in a matter of clicks. If you preferred software is not in the list, you can create your own integration which obviously needs an advanced skill.

STRENGTHS

  • Assigning a purpose for each channel makes it clear for users which channels to join
  • Wide-set integrations makes it appropriate for any kinds of businesses
  • They have a Do Not Disturb status which, if turned on, does not let any notification appear in your account and literally dismiss all distractions
  • Slack encourages engagement from all team members and can create a team of interactive and collaborative employees
  • All contents and conversations are searchable in one search box which can promote transparency for the team
  • They have a forever-free plan for teams and companies that need a platform for fun and interactive online workspace
  • Slack is accessible through the cloud, desktops apps, as well as mobile apps
  • Rich integrations add to its usability

WEAKNESSES

  • Screen sharing is only available for paid plans
  • Public channels can be prone to hacking and other security issues
  • There can be a Fear of Missing Out for team members who can’t engage “at the moment” because Slack usually involves and requires real-time conversations
  • Since almost everything can be done in Slack, this can also be a distraction for some workers
  • Having too many channels can be confusing and catching up can be time-confusing if messaging is not well-managed
  • Slack’s paid plans are priced per user and can be a disadvantage for growing teams

PRICING

Slack can be used for free forever. However, they also offer paid plans that are priced per active users.

Slack also provides a unique rate for companies that would opt for a more customised design for company-wide usage.

 

slack-pricing plan
Users are charged per-active-user and can billed monthly or annually.

 

WHO IS IT FOR

While many existing users believe that it is killing the power of Emails, Slack can be the best buddy for startups and small companies that can be productive enough through the features that it caters with its free version. A community manager should know and define the right integrations and purpose of using Slak for their business for it to be a great add-on to their company’s collaboration and communication tools.

Slack, being an all-in-one messaging platform for real-time communication, is appropriate for all kinds of businesses. While office based-work prefers face-to-face communication, Slack is usually preferred by companies with remote workers and team members working from different locations. Its convenience and accessibility make it a favourite of many companies like Cloud Staff Member—an Australian owned company hiring professionals from the Philippines—who want to create a team of engaged employees whilst distant to each other.

 

Hubdoc: Data Filing and Storing System Review

“Time is money” for all kinds of businesses. With that being said, if we can compress some business processes, we can dedicate more time to more important matters. Data-entry can be one of the most time consuming for accountants and bookkeepers. Chasing a busy client for their receipts and bank statements is rather tedious. Hubdoc is made to simplify jobs in the financial industry that usually eat up a lot of time because of so many fields that need to be filled up.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Snap and Send

drag-and-drop-cloud tech journal

Hubdoc advises us to take advantage the power of technology by taking snaps of paperwork and push them into the database in a few easy taps and clicks. Extracting necessary data for your accounts and reporting can be done through drag-and-drop or scan-and-upload. Once uploaded, a receipt, for example, will be automatically stored in your account. Through the power of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Hubdoc is programmed to read the texts in the scanned receipt and transform it into a list showing the essential details such as date, vendor name, and amount per receipt.

Hubdoc also enables inserting data through email. After creating an account, there will be a customised email provided for you where you can send your bills and other documents that need to be stored online.

Automatic Bills & Statements

add company-cloudtechjournal

By simply adding billing accounts, you can automatically fetch all your billing history in seconds. This requires a one-time setup for each account. Upon account setup, it immediately prompts all historical billing and statements to show up in your documents’ dashboard. You can add multiple accounts to Hubdoc which means you don’t have to log into different websites to get documents every month.

The auto-fetch is not limited to billing history; this can also pull all bank statements of a client which is a big deal to all accountants and bookkeepers. Hubdoc syncs with client’s bank and auto-pulls up to 12 months of bank statements. This eliminates the need for accountants to request these from the client, saving both parties time.

Hubdoc is partnered with over 600 banks, credit cards, telecom companies, e-commerce, and more. If your merchant is not available in their list of Automated Accounts, you can add it to the Manual Account option or request it to be added by calling their customer .

mark sa paid-hubdoc-cloudd tech journal

In addition, Hubdoc provides tools to help managing files convenient such as adding a “Paid” marks to documents, adding tags, and segregating documents to folders. These features help keep Hubdoc documents in proper order.

Integrations

Exporting data is possible through intelligent Hubdoc integrations with a list of top accounting software. Your data can be directly pushed to Xero, Quickbooks Online, and Bill.com for easy encoding. You can customise rules on how these data will be exported to your accounting software.

push to cloud storage-cloud tech journal

These integrations help your business flow run seamlessly and keep all colleagues on the same page. Hubdoc also integrates with cloud storage files which makes data backup much easier. Each folder can be pushed to Dropbox or Google Drive in just a few clicks without the need to download-then-upload your files.

Banking Security

Using 256bit SSL/TSL and a Premium Extended Validation certificate, Hubdoc pledges to protect your data stored in the system. Hubdoc also limits the access to all user to “read-only” which means nobody can make any changes to any accounts published in the system.

Auto-filing & Sorting

Hubdoc serves as the online shelf of all your documents which promises accessibility of each file anytime and anywhere. All folders are sorted alphabetically the moment they are added. Files are customisable and in case of heaps of folders showing up your account, a search bar is available in the upper part of the app to make the search easy-peasy.

 STRENGTHS

  • Eliminates the use of paper for accounting
  • They are connected to a long list of Australian merchants, banks, and service providers where most documents need to be fetched to bookkeeping matters
  • Integrated with Xero, Quickbooks, Bill.com and other cloud software
  • They offer a 14-day trial for curious clients who want to try if Hubdoc is for their business
  • Mobile app helps both the accountants and the clients to access all billing regardless of time and location
  • Scan-and-send option makes accounting process faster and convenient
  • Hubdoc speeds up collecting documents from multiple clients

WEAKNESSES

  • The dashboard can be not intuitive enough for first-time users but video tutorials can make up for it
  • Lack of reporting function
  • Adding some accounts take up several minutes
  • Lacks in customising access limit to employees

PRICING

hubdoc-pricing-cloud-tech-journal.pngWHO IS IT FOR

Hubdoc’s primary goal is to “help companies say goodbye to data entry”. This mostly pertains to companies in the financial industry where heaps of data are coming in and out every day. Hubdoc is perfect for Accountants and Bookkeepers who want to leverage their practice through automated document retrieval. Hubdoc account is seamlessly synced real-time with Xero and other accounting systems which allows bank reconciliation and audit-proofing effortlessly simple.

Accounting firms of all sizes can take advantage of Hubdoc in escalating their accounting workflow. It saves time not only for accountants but also for their clients with the help of intelligent features installed in the app. While some areas, Hubdoc can be helpful enough for daily accounting and bookkeeping jobs.

Got Hubdoc for your business? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

 

Xero Projects: Project Management System Review

Accountants and small businesses recognise Xero as the backbone of their daily jobs. Xero, a cloud-based software made for accountants to manage their clients efficiently recently launched a new integration–Xero Projects. Projects aims to drive “profitability by easily tracking time and costs on every job”.  

While Xero has already introduced WorkflowMax, Projects is made for entrepreneurs and businesses that a simpler job costing system. This allows the user to create and manage projects while integrating with Xero’s other features. Learn more to see if Xero Projects is for you.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Xero offers a free month of free trial for interested users. One active user, mainly the manager, can have 100% access to all Projects’s features for 30 days. Given that is enough to reckon if Xero Projects is suitable to their business’s needs, the user will be prompted to choose a plan based on the number of active users.

Project setup

The main user can set up projects, manage project subscriptions, and restore access to Projects any time they want. Project subscription is priced based on active users. So who are the active users? You are considered as an active user if you are consistently using any Projects features such as adding time, invoicing, and opening and closing projects. A user can also be considered active if someone adds time for them. If someone only views a project within a month, the user will not be billed until he shows another sign of activity as mentioned above.

Moreover, you can kickstart using Projects for your organisation and then invite your staff to have access to Projects. Note that Projects only work with actual organisations. Right after giving access to your staff, managers can input hourly rates for each one of them. The staff cost rate will be shown in the Project Detail report which is used to calculate the overall project cost and profitability.

Note that several industries have a different approach in formulating staff rates. If you’re not sure how to calculate the profitability of a project, talk to your accountant and/or a bookkeeper to help you with your costing.

Create and  Manage Projects

First thing in creating and managing a project is assigning a specific contact to it. Make sure you add all your contacts first before creating a project. Adding a project is as easy as clicking the All Projects button and then Add New Project. It will prompt you to fill in the project details with Contact, Project Name, Deadline (optional), Estimate (optional) and then click Create.

Existing projects are editable including the ability to add expenses that relate to the project on an ongoing basis. Additional functions include applying deposits, viewing time entries, creating inventory, closing, and re-opening projects, and more!

Projects Invoicing

Projects allows you to add a deposit per project. This deposit can be applied as a credit in future invoices. You can base the deposited amount to project estimate or add a custom rate. The amount can be edited even after creating the project. The option to create a deposit is only visible when a deposit hasn’t been made to a project to avoid double entry.

Billing a client is easy. Just go to All Projects and then click the name of the project for invoice. Select invoice and move to Tasks and Expenses. Pick the desired time for invoicing and then proceed to Tasks, Expenses, and Credit deposit. Go to draft invoice, click Save and then Approve. Remember: once a task is invoiced, tasks and expenses cannot be deleted anymore. However, adding more time to a task is possible.

Projects Reporting

Reports determine the profitability of your projects aside from giving an overview of your projects’ activities and progress. User roles determine the access of each user to generated Reports.

The manager who will run the Project Details reports can view all the activities on the selected date. Make sure that any form of activity has been performed to a project before generating the reports. Reports can be customised based on the filter options available in the system.

Projects mobile

Projects is available on Android and iOS devices. The account’s main subscriber can download the app on Google Play and App Store and start managing projects in just several taps.

So how is it different from WorkflowMax?

Projects focuses on the financial side of the businesses by analysing where your money goes, determining its profitability, and performing the most essential tasks for a business in the simplest way possible.

WorkflowMax, on the other hand, is the more flexible counterpart of Projects. It is more customisable and allows end-to-end transactions between users and clients.

If you’re confused between the two, contact a Xero advisor to ask which application is fit for your business’s needs.

STRENGTHS

  • Easy-to-navigate interface saves time and effort for users
  • Automatically accessible to Xero subscribers and partners
  • Accessible via iOS and Android mobiles
  • Promises more developments essential to running a business including Quotes, Payroll, timesheets, project templates, and more
  • It gives the users the freedom to manage their subscription anytime and anywhere

WEAKNESSES

  • It can be confusing for existing WorkflowMax users who want to try Projects
  • Service is limited to small businesses and sole traders that require very simple costing management system
  • Timer app is not present which can lead to time theft
  • Integration with third-party apps is not (yet) available

PRICING

xero project_cloudtechjournal_pricing

Photo from Xero Projects

WHO IS IT FOR

Xero Projects is best suited for small businesses that need an excellent and easy-to-use job costing and time tracking system. Whilst lacking in technology to be at par with other existing job costing programs, its primary features make up for it by focusing on the most important transactions needed for businesses to thrive—Job Costing, Time Tracking, and Invoicing.

Do you think Projects is for you? A Xero Advisor can help you figure out your needs before you start signing up. Account Tech, an Australian-owned accounting and bookkeeping firm is a Xero Silver Partner, can help you start with the nitty-gritty to the most complicated part of your Xero journey. Call them up for queries.

ServiceM8: Service Management System Review

Running a service business is no easy feat. Not only do you have to manage clients, you also need to keep an eye on your field workers. Targeted at trade professionals, ServiceM8 exists with the aim to help small businesses thrive in their field. By combining top-notch technology and the incredible power of the cloud, ServiceM8 is able to create a job management system packed with foolproof features that streamline all necessary workflow from getting appointments to getting paid.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Field Service Management

job management

ServiceM8’s job management feature gives an overall view of all the clients and job details in one place. This helps the user in tracking the status of all existing jobs. But there’s a difference between finishing the job first time and having to schedule a second visit. That’s where Job History option comes in. It provides a record all transactions for every client and can serve as future reference for future repairs.

Tasks and checklists are accessible for the convenience both of the manager and the field worker. It ensures that every job is done right the first time. The system also allows photo and video recording which automatically saves to the job. Everyone in the team can access saved images which can be used to ask for feedback and ask help from the team.

ServiceM8 enables digital signature capture. Clients’ signature emphasizes that they are happy with the service and are ready to proceed with the transaction. Dispatch Map provides an overview location of all your field workers which comes handy for the manager in assigning the next job.

Scheduling

dispatch

Planning a staff’s job schedule must be the most important function of every job management software. ServiceM8’s scheduling tool offers an entire view of all staff and their schedules minus the need for many clicks. Scheduling is as easy as dragging jobs to the scheduled time and staff member of choice.

Instant dispatch option is also accessible for jobs that need to be attended urgently. Urgent jobs can be designated to the nearest staff in location. Staff will get notified and they can immediately proceed to client’s place in a matter of minutes.

In case of job re-schedule, employees get notified through the Schedule Update function. Moreover, Job Reminders automatically alerts a staff whenever they have to leave for their next task. All functionalities and information in the app are accessible to all staff members anytime and anywhere.

Quote and Invoicing

quoting and invoicing

 

When a job gets done, generating a professional invoice is convenient and fast with ServiceM8’s Easy Invoicing feature which provides a PDF copy of invoices that can be sent through email, TXT, post, and can also be printed if desired.

Time is money so ServiceM8 makes sure that quoting is fast and accurate. This is possible with setting up a pre-set labour rate which calculates a profitable job estimate. Quotes can be sent to a client through email or TXT with a special link where a client can accept the offer. A built-in form is included in case a client has questions before proceeding with the job.

Various templates are available online, be it for Invoice, Work Order, Quoting, or Question Forms, in which you can attach your logo. ServiceM8 also allows you to custom-design your own templates for different purposes.

Payment

credit card scanning

If you find processing work order and quotes easy, payment is much easier. By inserting a client’s credit card number through the app, payments can be done in just several taps. You can also send the client a TXT or email that includes a special link to a credit card payment portal for a more document processing. When the worker is still in the location with the client, they have the option to scan the cred card using the smartphone’s camera and the payment will be processed in no time.

Communication

email and sms

Being on the cloud, one of ServiceM8’s strengths is real-time communication. ServiceM8 enables direct messaging clients from the app itself whether through email or TXT message. All customer replies automatically sync in the ServiceM8 app and get recorded in the Job Diary which can be used for future reference.

In-office and on-app templates are available for a more professional approach. These templates feature auto-fill client, job information, and more. Staff can send an On-the-way message to a client to inform them hours or minutes before they arrive in the designated area. Field workers can use Track My Arrival add-on to know the estimated time of arrival.

Activity Feed is made for everyone in the business to communicate, discuss and share tips on everything job-related matters.

Mobile

mobile

ServiceM8 boasts of their powerful mobile service app integrated with intensive features.

ServiceM8 can be accessed and navigated through Apple Watch. It supports time-tracking of your working time and a glimpse of all important job info. You’ll receive a notification once it’s time to move to another work schedule.

No internet? No problem. Staff can still view job schedules, take photos and videos, and collect signatures even offline. Once the internet is back, all changes automatically sync in the system. The only limitation for offline users would be sending emails and TXT messages.

Adding a material to your invoice is easy with the in-app barcode scanner. Document scanning is also possible by using the camera on the job card and hover it over the document. This function auto-detects and focus on the document. Once captured, it goes to the job diary in a high-res PNG format.

Forms

forms

 

Auto-generated PDFs are available for any kinds of paper needed for your business. From business permits to certificates and other documents, you can customise it with your logo for consistency. These are easy-to-create and easy-to-complete forms that can be signed up on site. Just draft a set of questions you and your clients’ need and these forms will be stored in the system forever.

A wide range of forms can be purchased at the Forms Marketplace.

Add-ons

online booking

Add-ons are powerful tools that boost an app’s performance. ServiceM8 is powered by several add-ons that are designed to make a convenient platform for the users and their clients. There’s an online booking add-on that enables adding a form which your clients can use for requesting quotes and other enquiries. Automated communication add-ons., recurring job reminders, and badges are some of the many available add-ons you can use for your business.

Most add-ons are for free and can be purchased at the ServiceM8 Add On store.

Reports

reporting tool

Reports are a fundamental determiner of your business success. It keeps track of your team’s performance and gives you an overview of the factors you need to improve. ServiceM8 has built-in reports generator for various subjects such as jobs, revenue, and feed reports. You can also customise your own reports through the in-app tool. Data can be exported to excel file for future keeping.

Integrations

integrations

No system is created perfect. That is why integration is formed to maximise the functionality of a software. ServiceM8 is integrated with a wide range of systems from accounting software to email marketing tools, staff management apps, stock control, and more.

STRENGTHS

  • Provides an efficient system for businesses from staffing to job scheduling to dispatching
  • Offers extensive features for the convenience of both the management and the staff members
  • Promote paperless transactions but doesn’t limit producing hard copies when necessary
  • Data protection is ensured through Amazon Web Services
  • Automatically backs up your data every five minutes
  • Accessibility is not a problem as ServiceM8 stores your data in many locations around the world
  • They have partners globally that can help new users from the nitty-gritty to complicated matters

WEAKNESSES

  • Customer support fails to respond to urgent queries and is not helpful at all
  • Can be convoluted to navigate with minimal tutorials
  • Getting support from Partners can cost more than the projected amount
  • Reports design is not that impressive; you must export them first to excel file before they can be customisable
  • Only apt for small service companies with a maximum of 30 employees
  • Adding more integrations can improve the overall experience

PRICING

pricing

*prices are in USD

WHO IS IT FOR

ServiceM8 is best for small service companies that need a system to help them organize their workflow. Dispatching field workers is one thing, leaving happy clients and getting paid are another. ServiceM8 is useful from the getting job orders to visiting clients and getting paid.

This service app is best for startups that are in the process of maximizing their time and manpower. If you are looking for someone to join your team, Cloud Staff Member is here to help you. Contact us at https://cloudstaffmember.com/  for more info.

Cloud Staff Member is an Australian-owned company hiring professionals from the Philippines.

 

Deputy: Workforce Management System Review

 

All businesses aspire to be big, and that’s not impossible with the right administration and good workforce management. But as an organization expands, the responsibility of job administering becomes demanding, too. That’s where cloud-based workforce management systems come to save you from all the hustle and bustle.

Launched in 2008, Deputy initially came with the intention of reducing the time spent for rostering tasks in enterprises and organizations. With Deputy’s intelligent features and intuitive user interface, it helps business owners and managers to dedicate more of their time to customer acquisition and improving their existing services.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Deputy is packed with features that promote convenience and productivity. From task scheduling to timesheets and communication, this platform initiates a community of pro-active workers that contribute to your business’s success.

EMPLOYEE SCHEDULING

deputy-scheduling-tool-cloud-tech-journal-blog
Deputy’s intuitive scheduling platform

As Deputy’s main function, the employee scheduling section offers an easy-to-use platform that can be customized base on your business’s needs. Users can choose the day their week starts, as the calendar can be viewed in various ways: by month, 4-weeks view, 2-weeks views, and by day. It allows a user to assign employees in different areas and locations by dragging the person’s profile, which can be seen at the left side of the screen, to the time and day of their designated schedule.

Adding a new employee is as easy as just one touch. Managers can customise the level of access for each employee. Add all necessary details of an employee like email address and mobile number. This could be used for sending notifications on their time schedules. Managers can also put each staff’s birthday and send them a cake on their special day.

fatigue-management-deputy (2)Overlap-sched-deputy

Deputy encourages business owners to care for their employees with Fatigue Management feature. It can detect if an employee has been working for too many hours or if someone has overlapping schedules. Stress Profile or the number of hours allowed per staff to work can be configured with the Name and Access options.

TIME AND ATTENDANCE

deputy-time and attendance-feature-ipad-kiosks-cloud-tech-journal-blog
Let your employees manage their own time with Deputy’s time and attendance feature

Deputy gives the privilege to both managers and staff to manage their own time. Employees can start and end their daily shifts using iPad, mobile apps, web apps, and apple watches in which they can access the Deputy app.  In the Me tab, a user can start a shift, record the time he spent for the break, and end shift in just a click of a button.

Time theft will not be an issue because Deputy Mobile features a geolocation capability that can tell if a staff is right where he should be. Deputy Kiosk, moreover, has a face detection feature to ensure honesty in the workplace.

All clock-ins are subject to approval before exporting to payroll. This helps employee tracking smoother and easier. It allows generating invoices based on hours worked per task/activity straight to your preferred accounting software. More than that, it provides comprehensive reports that can track schedules, budgets actual timesheet costs, sales transactions, and more!

COMMUNICATION

deputy-communication-feature-cloud-tech-journal-blo
Newsfeed feature makes communication within the workplace easier.

Deputy has a Newsfeed page where a manager can send messages to an individual staff or for the entire team. It’s important to reach everyone when it comes to work announcement that’s why every post can ask for confirmation from people who have read the posts. Every post can be customised per staff and per location. Staff members can comment on the post and start an engagement on the newsfeed page.

TASKING

deputy-tasking-cloud-tech-journal-blog
Managers can create a task and get notified when it’s done.

Tasking is easy. It lets you add a task assigned to a specific person and schedule a due date for it.  All tasks will be compiled in the Task tab showing the due date and notes for each work assignment. When a task is complete, you can cross it out of the to-do list.

STRENGTHS
  • It has an intuitive design and easy-to-use platform that allow the user to perform tasks with minimum training
  • Fatigue management feature encourages work-life balance in the workplace
  • It integrates with over 20 Point-of-Sale systems and payroll service providers which make the experience a lot easier
  • They offer a video tutorial for every functionality
  • The journaling feature lets a manager award the top performers in a team
  • They offer 24-hour support and answer queries real time
WEAKNESSES
  • There should be a notification trigger for urgent messages
  • SMS charges apply if a message is sent via Deputy platform
  • SMS notification doesn’t work while still in free trial
  • It doesn’t synchronise with your device’s time and might cause time theft
PRICING
deputy-pricing-cloud tech journal-blog
Photo courtesy of Deputy
WHO IS IT FOR

Deputy caters businesses who want to fast track their operations by saving time in staff management. With its impressive features and versatile functionality, tasking and employee scheduling can become a breeze not only for the senior employees but for all staff members. While it supports start-ups, mid-sized businesses, and even enterprises, Deputy is best recommended for companies with hourly employees because of its honest-to-goodness time-tracking system.

Cloud Staff Member, an Australian-owned recruitment company, recommends Deputy to employers who have remote workers from the Philippines. This would be a very useful instrument for keeping track of their staff members, see where everyone is, and monitor whenever someone clocks in and out of their designated workplaces. More than that, it serves as good channel for real-time communication with its handy newsfeed page.

Start your 30 days trial today!

 

WorkflowMax: Job Management System Review

WorkflowMax is a cloud-based project management system that enables a team to perform all necessary jobs on one platform. It offers a wide variety of features and functionalities from customer acquisition to invoicing and reporting. While all cloud software has limitations, WorkflowMax tries to make everything possible by offering integrations with over 30 world-class third-party apps, aiming to help every company achieve their goals one efficient platform at a time.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

WorkflowMax has covered the essential needs of a company to function well enough, generate leads, and gain conversions through an effective project management system.

Job Management 
Job Manager
Job management enables job monitoring in just one glance.

Job management allows the company to monitor all jobs from start to finish. The manager can schedule jobs for each staff member and at the same time monitor everyone’s daily or hourly progress. Aside from that, this feature also helps track the number of hours dedicated to a task compared to the projected hours.

Time Sheets

Time Sheet

Timesheet
Let your staff be responsible for their own timesheet.

You can let your staff manage their own time with the help of WorkflowMax’s time sheet. All registered users can enter the number of hours they dedicated to a job. Timesheet recording is available in weekly and daily view. A built-in timer is situated at the upper right of the dashboard which can be used in for time-tracking while you’re working on a particular task. Timesheet can be submitted to HR through email within the system.

Quoting
Quote generator
Quoting template helps the user to generate and send quotes within a few clicks

Just because you need to be quick doesn’t mean you can compromise accuracy. WorkflowMax’s online quoting system suggests you create a template for every offer. Once a request comes in, these templates can be easily edited and can be sent to a client as soon as possible. Templates can be customised for a specific industry in which you can insert your logo for branding and consistency.

You have the control of generating the final price through the customisable markup percentage. The status of each quote is recorded and will advise the user to send a follow up whenever necessary.

In case you encounter indecisive clients, the quotes can be revised in just one click.

Lead Management
Lead management
An overview of lead reports can be filtered per category, staff, or month.
Client Manager
Client Manager
The client manager section lets the user access all client information in one place.

Having too many clients can be baffling. WorkflowMax comes handy with its client management option. This feature helps the company accumulate all client information in one tidy place. A navigation bar exists for easy access to the most crucial details. Moreover, custom fields are provided for other vital details you want to take note of that are not included in the default fields.

Mobile
Mobile
You can access your data wherever you are.

With remote working being practised in various industries today, WorkflowMax lets you carry all your jobs wherever you are. The mobile app, available for IOS and Android devices, directly connects to WorkflowMax and Xero for existing users. This feature applies when you need to update lead status or input a job cost immediately.

Job Costing 
Job Costing
Job costing is made available to help you evaluate your business’s profitability.

Job costing provides an overview of all your expenses with the actual breakdown per task. It evaluates your business’s profitability and will determine if it’s about to increase your service rates. Being Xero integrated, you can purchase needed supplies by placing purchase orders in Xero.

Purchase Orders
Purchase order
Issuing a purchase order is possible through easy, simple steps.

Creating different purchase orders can be time-consuming if placed side by side with other ongoing projects. WorkflowMax makes it easier to handle a bulk of purchase orders by separating out job items against multiple jobs.  No need to worry about double entries as the same invoice number automatically reflects to Xero. In case an additional item needs to be included in the PO, adding extra fields is as easy as one click. Receipts can be sent straight to Xero and it will automatically record the complete job costing.

Document Management

WorkflowMax is packed with 25 GB free storage for documents. These documents can be pushed to other third-party cloud storage tools like Dropbox and Google Drive for easy access. This integration helps all team members to access real-time data whenever and wherever. Not to mention, you can also take a photo of a document from your phone and upload it immediately to appropriate folders via cloud storage.

 Invoicing
Invoicing-Include it all
Customising your invoice from design to content is possible.

WorkflowMax provides an online invoice creator which allows you to customise everything you want to input such as rates, staff, and even your own branding. You can also add extra notes or generate multiple invoices for clients who want to have an all-inclusive information.

Xero Integration 
Xero integration-automatic update on both ends
WorkflowMax is owned by and seamlessly integrates with Xero.

Since WorkflowMax is Xero-owned, it is the closest integration among the many add-on apps available. Xero is one of the most preferred accounting software in the world that offers multiple features for fast and convenient accounting solutions. WorkflowMax and Xero are in sync with each other which means that once you enter a data into one system, it automatically reflects the other. Once an invoice is marked paid in Xero, it automatically updates in WorfklowMax and vice versa.

Reports
reporting
It takes a few clicks to get all the data report you need.

Reporting plays a big part in a business. This helps distinguish if your business is prospering or losing money. It also serves data that can foresee profitability through invoicing reports.  Timesheet reports, on the other hand, can evaluate your team’s performance. What’s more, it allows you to build your own report based on your business’s needs with WorkflowMax’s custom reporting.

Custom Fields
Custom field
Put all essential data in one place with custom fields.

Not all businesses are made the same. Some businesses might find WorkflowMax’s pre-set fields lacking with important sections they want to modify for business use. The good thing is WorkflowMax allows the user to add extra fields such as link field, date field, dropdown list, and text field among others to maximise the usability of the system.

Collaboration Manager

Collaboration Manager promotes productivity and transparency within the company. The authorized admin can assign and limit the access to their staff. Contractors and clients can also be given access to check on the progress of the jobs regardless of their location. This feature captures and records all email conversations as a note against the jobs to keep everything in one tidy place.

Add-ons

While WorkflowMax admits that this software may not be appropriate for all industries, they extend the functionality of the system by offering seamless integrations with over 30 world-class software for payroll, staff management, time-tracking, accounting systems, customer support, and financial reporting.

STRENGTHS

  • WorkflowMax integrates well with a wide variety of third-party software which helps maximise its usability
  • Compared to other cloud apps, they offer a free trial without the need for credit card
  • It provides an efficient job management system from customer acquisition to invoicing and reporting
  • This software allows a team to work remotely
  • It promotes transparency by allowing clients to access the job progress
  • 24/7 email support
  • They offer free online webinars and video tutorials for setting up the system
  • It allows you to review the staff member’s productivity at a glance

WEAKNESSES

  • The dashboard’s interface can be improved
  • It would be better and more efficient if the job database can be ranked according to priority
  • Job number customisation is not enabled
  • An inventory management platform would be helpful for construction businesses and other service-based companies

PRICING

Pricing
Photo © WorkflowMax

*User pertains to the number of people signing up to WorkflowMax 

*Australian rate starts at AUD25/user

WHO IS IT FOR

WorkflowMax admits that this software might not be applicable to everyone. WorkflowMax functions best for several industries such as creative agencies, construction firms, business consultants, architects, engineers and surveyors, service companies, and IT providers.

Setting up Workflowmax for the first time can be puzzling. However, WorkflowMax has hundreds of partner advisors and implementers around the world that can help you start your WorkflowMax experience. Cloud Staff Member, an Australian-owned recruitment company in the Philippines, is a Certified WorkflowMax Advisor and can help you start your 14-day trial in few simple steps.

Call us or visit our website for more info.