You have a number of options to consider when looking at a backflow testing software for your testing company in 2017.
There are plenty of flashy features and tools available but at the end of the day what do you really need from a software solution to make your business better and (hopefully) get some much needed free time from paperwork?
Let’s look at the X things that we think are the most important for you to consider as you look at backflow testing software.
It needs to work where you do – in the field.
Your work is done in the field. Your software solution needs to be right there with you. It doesn’t do any good if it lives on a single computer in your office. Calling an office person to ask for a phone number or verify an address takes two people’s time. Reaching in to your pocket and pulling out your phone should be all it takes to get you everything you need from a management solution. Your backflow testing software should be mobile accessible.
Can you do *everything* you need to do from your phone? It shouldn’t be a bare bones feature set available on a mobile device – it should be all or just about all things you can do from a full computer in the palm of your hand.
Everyone should be able to use it at the same time
Many people can access the data at the same time, right? Even if you’re a small shop having yourself and your accountant looking at the solution at the same time saves you time. Big shops require this – your office folks and field staff should be able to all work in the system on the same records at the same time.
Find where your folks are in the field? See recent work? Bringing computers or tablets back to the office to ‘sync’ with your system is the old way to do it – everything should be in sync at all times and be available just about everywhere.
It should put customers first
Your customers are your lifeblood. The right solution needs to not just be another repository for their information, but provide ways for your customers to service their own needs. Consumers as a whole expect you to not only have a website but to be able to answer their questions on your website.
Paying their bill without having to pick up the phone or mail you a check is another thing more and more folks are expecting. Saving your customers time and providing means to help them help themselves doesn’t just save them time – it save you & your staff time. It also improves how you’re perceived by your customers. Do you want to be a backwards company they have to call play phone tag with, or a forward looking company that’s trying to improve their experience & interaction with you? I think it’s probably the latter. And a good backflow testing software should be keeping your customers happy.
It needs to create excellent test reports with complete, accurate information
At the end of the day this is core to your backflow business – it should be core to any solution you’re considering.
Crisp, clean, error free test reports should be your #1 priority. It builds trust in your company for both the water purveyors you submit to and your customers. Free-form data entry everywhere is easy – it lets you type whatever you want in any field. But be careful – I can’t tell you how many solutions let you make mistakes in critical fields. We’ve done data imports for companies where there were 8 different ways to spell Watts in their old system. That doesn’t look very good when you send those to a water purveyor or your customer gets an obvious misspelling on their form.
Beyond just those misspellings – does the system enforce that you’re completing a test report form correctly & completely? Forget to include a relief valve field PSID for an RP and you have an incomplete test report. Does the system tell you you’ve entered a failed value so that you mark it as such or do it for you? The more the tool can help you, the less time you spend double-checking your work and the more time you can spend building rapport with your customers and getting more tests done.
A good backflow testing software includes solid workflow management
There are endless options for workflow, customer billing & invoice tracking solutions. Every business needs to do some level of it. A backflow testing software solution goes beyond that; the right solution for you should include the workflow that is critical to backflow and it should fit your business pretty well.
From scheduling tests, performing the work in the field, to submitting the test reports to your purveyors and sending them to your customers and collecting payment, the workflow should fit your business rather than ask your business to fundamentally change.
You need Infrastructure
Often overlooked – most people don’t think or care about this until something goes south. Think about it ahead of time to ensure you’re ready for the worst. How does the solution save & back up your data? Do you need to remember to back it up weekly? (maybe it gives you a reminder on Fridays?) Or is it done for you automatically? If it’s done automatically, how often?
Software has bugs – it’s inevitable. How quickly will the company fix it for you when you report a bug? How quickly will they answer the phone when you have a question? Is support extra or included in the price? Similarly, are future upgrades and new features included in what you get? For how long?
The success of your backflow business depends on how you manage it.
Don’t settle for mediocre in backflow testing software. The right software can really make a big difference to your business. How much is 2-3 extra tests a day for each of your testers worth to you?
Of course we think our solution is the best – give it a shot for free while you compare it to the other options available.