The democratisation of powerful digital technologies has meant that small businesses can emulate the online experience offered by corporations with far higher budgets for the first time.

Competition in the service space is fiercer than ever with small companies having to compete with each other and larger organisations with more resources to perfect their customer experience. Creating a digital user experience that meets the expectations of today’s consumers is no longer a nice to have but a necessity to surviving (and thriving) in the digital age.

Whilst technology plays an important role on the front-end user experience, it also plays a crucial role in optimising back-end infrastructure and processes. By driving efficiencies throughout an organisation’s core operations, service businesses can free themselves up to focus more of their time and resources on what they do best: delivering a great customer experience.

Fortunately, the rapid advancement of digital technology has made both front-end and back-end optimisation a reality for all businesses today. Service management software has, in effect, democratised digital transformation, enabling companies of any shape or size to begin their journey to offering a more seamless user experience that meets the expectations of the modern consumer.

Here are five tips for transforming the way services are delivered:

1. Lead with customer experience

Services generally do not come with a tangible product that you can touch and feel. A neglectful attitude towards a digital-led experience will only cause service businesses to fall behind their more innovative competitors.

What a service business is selling to a consumer is essentially an experience. And to succeed in the digital age, they must prioritise the entirety of that experience above everything else. That means automating business processes and digitising every customer touchpoint to meet consumers’ expectations for real-time access to a brand and its services on any device, anywhere and at any time. The days of only being able to interact with a company over a phone from 9am-5pm are dead, and so will be any brand that continues to believe in this model.

2. Understand the entire user journey

To understand how to offer a full-service experience to consumers, companies need to understand the entire user journey. It begins way before a physical service is delivered, typically when time-pressed customers first pick up their smartphone to search for a company that meets their needs. The modern consumer expects to locate your business easily, book the service efficiently and pay for the service seamlessly – the customer experience even extends past the point of service delivery.

Service management software enables firms to live up to these expectations. Automated work orders seamlessly connect mobile workers with the office, ensuring complete alignment on any job and its progress. Crucially, customers are constantly kept in the loop and in the way they want – digitally. Tools like ETA alerts and GPS tracking, appointment reminders and communication portals ensure trust and accountability with consumers.

3. Embed data in your decision-making

Embedding data analytics into a company’s decision-making might sound daunting to a business owner with a limited background in technology, but the sophistication of service management software today removes all of the complexities. This means business owners can tap into powerful insights on their customers’ behaviour and without the need for expensive talent or machine intelligence.

In essence, service management software removes the guesswork from running a busy company, empowering business owners with the ability to make fast decisions through accurate insights and real-time visibility confidently. The software provides access to historical information on jobs, performance, and customer behaviour, making it far easier to see the wood through the trees and identify weaknesses and trends as well as new revenue opportunities.

4. Liberate yourself from admin

Any business owner will testify to the sheer frustration of being bogged down in admin, including invoicing and accounting tasks that are crucial to the running of the company but ultimately not what owners want to be spending their time doing. Typically, the business owner is the beating heart of the organisation, with better knowledge than anyone about making customers happy. They should be on the front line. Instead, they are buried in the back.

Today, automation is a business owner’s best friend – and with service management software, it’s easily accessible for any company. The software automates manual tasks such as collecting payments and managing personnel, significantly decreasing the admin.

5. Make scalability seamless

By combining all of the aforementioned features of service management software, the most important benefit is its ability to enable and accelerate the scaling of a company. Traditionally, scalability is one of the hardest things to achieve in any business. With so many manual tasks, simply the company’s day-to-day running is challenging enough, let alone finding time and resources to put in the foundations for the business to grow.

Service management software provides those foundations. Features like routing, dispatching and optimised scheduling, for instance, mean businesses can always take on additional jobs rather than having to pass them up for fear of capacity issues. Automation is the most significant enabler of scalability, and by tapping into its powers, there are no limits to a business’s growth.