Ask anyone who owns a service business if they know how to provide good customer service and they will all say “yes.”  They will offer to send the customer an email with an appointment that can be added to their calendar. They will contact the customer when the service technician is on their way or if they are running late. They will leave a note or work order indicating what service was performed. They might follow up after the service was performed to ensure the customer was happy with the service that was done.  If the service is one that should be done periodically (pest control, air conditioner cleaning), they will contact the customer when it’s due and try to schedule it.

Now ask them if they actually do all of these things.  Odds are, they probably only do a few of them, and inconsistently at best.  While many service businesses are large enough to have an “office” where someone answers the phones, makes appointments and is key to providing customer service, the vast majority of service businesses are run with a cell phone and a somewhat disorganized collection of notes, maps and papers on the dashboard of the truck.  Ask them where their customer list and if you’re lucky, they will say it’s in their accounting application.  More than likely, they will point to their dashboard or maybe Excel.  Web applications and ubiquitous iPhone/Android smartphones can bring grade A customer service to even the 1-2 man operation in a very cost effective solution that is easy to use and requires no local installation.

Stay tuned…