I’m loving my new role as the Manager of our Client Services team at MediaLogix. One of the first things I did when I started was to systematize our workflow and implement a software system to help manage everything. Before I started, we were using spreadsheets to track all the open service items, and physical paper files to track the service tickets themselves. Any type of communication, PO’s, Invoices or the like associated with the ticket were printed off and physically placed in the service ticket file. There was no way to access the file remotely, or any quick way to find info at a moments notice. Service schedules were managed using a big white dry erase board in the warehouse.
These things worked. They did. They just didn’t work well. It was time to bring the company in to the digital age and simplify service management.
After many hours of research and testing of various software platforms, I ended up choosing a company called BlueFolder. Their one and only offering is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform called BlueService. They developed the software specifically for field oriented service teams. So far I have been really impressed. Their platform brings most of the things I need to run the service team together in to one easy to use interface. I can manage multiple clients and multiple locations under each client. It allows complete tracking of all service tickets associated with a given client and allows for quick scheduling and reporting. I can send quotes and billing summaries, and also automatically print of things like entry forms or customized forms that their team helps you build.
The best part is internal and external collaboration features they have built in. As you update your service request, you can automatically send out email updates to your clients to keep them in the loop. This helps save a bunch of time by eliminating the need to send additional follow up emails or phone calls. The online client portal is extremely cool as well. For an extra monthly fee, you can have an online portal that allows your clients to login and do a number of things. They can do everything from view shared documents, view service request history, enter and cancel service requests, view contract statistics and more. This feature alone makes the BlueService system awesome. Anything that helps facilitate better communication among your clients is always a good thing in my opinion.
Of course I’m a very spoiled software guy, so there are quite a few things I’m hoping to see down the line. Some of the things at the top of my list include:
- Integrated Invoicing & online bill payment – BlueFolder really needs to take a que from companies like FreshBooks and BallPark and make the whole billing & invoicing side easier on their clients. They currently have a nice interface with QuickBooks, but that is only good if you use QuickBooks.
- More Robust Reporting – The reports that they offer are actually pretty limited in my opinion. They have quite a few, but they are more or less “canned” and don’t allow much manipulation of the data. They are good to work with on custom stuff, but who wants to wait a few weeks for a custom report every time you need one?
- Real Time Feed – They have a limited real time feed that you can see in the ‘Dashboard’ section of the interface. However, this feed can only be seen in the dashboard itself, and there is no way to customize what you see, or extract that data. They need to add RSS subscription options and allow us to customize what we want to see in the feed. Once that is implemented, I can use a service like FeedMyInbox to get daily recap reports of what happened the day before.
- Better CRM Functionality – The program has the ability to track customers and contacts, but it is pretty simple. I would REALLY love to see HighRise type features implemented in to BlueService. I would love to be able to use this as my main CRM. When I enter a note under a contacts name, that note should also appear under the company record as well. Similarly, any documents I attach to a contact or service ticket should be under the “master” company file folder as well.
There are a few other things, but those are the big ones. All in all, I am very impressed with the service and I can see our firm using it for a long time. There are a lot of services out there that help manage service, but this is the best one I’ve found that is specifically tailored to field based service teams like mine. I also am a big fan of the SaaS delivery model so that helped win me over as well. I recommend taking the free spin if you are in the market yourself.