25.03
2020

Tips for Communicating Efficiently While Working Away From the Office

Communicating efficiently is a big part of what makes an office properly function, but what happens in a remote work setting, when face-to-face conversations aren’t always realistic? Barriers to communication shouldn’t be a reason for productivity to lag when employees are performing work away from the office. Here are four ways that you can make connecting with your dispersed remote workers much easier, efficient, and productive, especially during a time like this.

Use voice calls, when necessary

Calling remote employees from time to time, rather than exclusively messaging or emailing them, adds a personalized touch and can even help transmit your positive company culture across long distances. Verbal check-ins with remote staff also provide an easier outlet for them to ask follow-up questions and gain clarification on certain tasks, if necessary.

Retain records of past conversations

To ensure that conversations remain on task and work-related, make sure you’re using a system of communication that records chat logs in near real-time. This can also be beneficial if an employee forgets something; they can simply refer back to a past conversation they had with their manager to be reminded of what’s needed next, potentially cutting out a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth. Note: If you’re looking for a solution to help your company with this, Encore, our flagship application, has an Intra-Company Messaging feature that enables you to connect with multiple remote employees at once, while also saving records of past conversations for your team to reference in the future.

Rely on a project management software

Planning out work using a project management software can greatly assist everyone in your organization with getting on the same page about the current standing of things. Assigning tasks by employee lets managers and employees know when a step along the way of completing the project is on hold and also who specifically is responsible for its pending status. If remote employees are able to visualize the individual steps in an assignment in a checklist-style format, as well as see whose turn it is to act next, they’re empowered to more effectively collaborate without the need to ask unnecessary questions.

Send information to multiple remote employees at once

It sounds obvious, but any time you need to reach out to remote employees about an assignment, always only identify those who are involved with it and communicate exclusively with them. Communicating only with those who have a part in the project gets it moving forward faster, while also helping to prevent inbox overload and wasted time for those in your organization who aren’t a part of it. Also, as mentioned previously, Encore’s Intra-Company Messaging feature allows companies to communicate with multiple remote employees at once via desktop-to-handset integration, serving as a faster, less cumbersome alternative to email. Ask us today how we at Actsoft can set your company up with this feature and optimize your team’s efficiency, particularly when it comes to remote communication.

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18.03
2020

Employee Accountability: How Are You Keeping Your Remote Workers Productive?

Any time you have a situation where employees are working remotely, there’s always the possibility for productivity to slip. Even if you have a great deal of trust in your staff, it can still be tough to regulate and manage assignments while they’re away from the office.

Actsoft solutions are designed to help ensure productivity remains optimized while coordinating a mobile or remote workforce. Making the switch to a remote worker scenario can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with Encore, our end-to-end workforce management solution. Three key features of our flagship application that help ease the process of taking your operations remote are Timekeeping, Geofences, and Intra-Company Messaging.

With Timekeeping, your remote employees can easily clock in and out from a smartphone or tablet in the field, saving time and allowing them to start their days faster. Plus, with this feature, you have the ability to run reports on timesheet data, letting you verify the accuracy of worked hours with ease.

Geofences help maintain that labor performed away from the office is only done so from approved locations. If employees enter or exit a set location’s perimeter in the field, managers will receive notifications nearly instantly. These enable your workforce’s accountability, in terms of geography, to be truly optimized while employees are remote.

Perhaps most important of all when managing a remote workforce is to have a reliable method of communication with your dispersed employees. Directives and instructions can change on the fly, regardless of whether or not your employees are actually at the office; use Intra-Company Messaging to convey assignments to remote employees from the convenience of a desktop computer. You can even review past records of conversations to ensure they stayed work-related, helping to further keep staff accountability in check.

Timekeeping, Geofences, and Intra-Company Messaging are just three key features of Encore that can help you instill high productivity and accountability in your remote workforce, as they give management prime insight on how work is being done away from the office. Learn more today about how our solution can quickly, easily, and safely help you implement a remote work strategy for your staff.

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11.03
2020

Identifying Your Target Audience: Essential to Success in Business

Throughout the process of creating or selling a product, one common denominator remains when it comes to success: you need to have a clear understanding of whose problem you’re trying to solve.

In a broader sense, this means to define your audience. Products or services targeted at specific groups will always do better than those that aren’t, no matter what it is that’s being sold. So, with that being said, what’s the best way to go about defining your key audience? Follow these three strategies for a step in the right direction.

Look at who other similar products or services seem to be targeting.

Begin by investigating the most similar field to your product or service that’s currently available. The less saturated that field is, the better. However, if your idea does tend to fall in line within the realm of a specific industry housing many other existing businesses, there’s no need to panic. You’ll just need to see what ways your future competition is currently marketing its goods or services and try to deduce the specific audience they seem to be targeting.

Understand the market.

Is the industry you’re trying to break into well-developed or is it a niche, and is your business model scalable? These are things to consider when trying to get a decent look at the scope of your idea’s end goal. And, as mentioned in a previous post, the true key to success as far as giving the idea traction and taking it from just that (an idea) and refining it into a truly marketable solution is to pitch it on the basis of its problem-solving potential to your targeted audience.

Use analytics to back up your business strategies.

Once you’ve surveyed the field and done your research, track your analytics and sales to test your strategy’s effectiveness. If sales aren’t where they should be, it could very well be a matter of simply needing to tweak your definition of your target audience. Once you’ve continued adjusting the parameters of your target audience (particularly through social media marketing), it’ll become easier to identify trends in revenue, eventually allowing you to get to a point where you’ve truly nailed your core demographic.

At Actsoft, our solutions can help you track analytics on all the other aspects of your company, giving you more time to create, manage more efficiently, and drive revenue. As your idea begins to really resonate with your target audience, rely on our software for everything else to run an entirely data-backed business operation.

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03.03
2020

Ways to Save with Encore’s Wireless Forms Feature

Wireless Forms on Encore provides a variety of ways for your company to spend less. With a suite of tools built in to make data collection more dynamic, faster, and completely digital, enjoy the savings that Wireless Forms can provide to your team through benefits like these:

Reduced paper costs

Use Wireless Forms to reduce the amount of money you spend on paper annually. In addition to eliminating nearly all of your paperwork expenses (between processing and order purchasing), you’re also able to access data collected from the field nearly instantly, as it’s securely stored with the Encore application.

Saved time

Faster data reception means more time for tending to customer needs. Unlike paper documents that require manual delivery, digital documents can be sent directly from the field to the office, drastically reducing the amount of time it takes to both bill for and record completed jobs. Plus, capture photos, calculate expenses, scan barcodes, register signatures, and more, all directly through custom-built forms that make data processing even faster and more dynamic.

Less errors

Whether it’s a computing-based error or an instance of illegible handwriting, mistakes associated with manual data entry can prove to be quite costly, as they often add unnecessary time to the submission process. In response, we’ve designed our Wireless Forms feature to make everything easier for your workforce to understand. Cut down on wasted time by automatically calculating totals within your forms and use keyboard-enabled data entry to reduce your team’s number of documents that are hard to read.

Better procedures with Form Workflows*

In addition to helping your workforce collaborate better, Form Workflows on Wireless Forms lets one of your employees automatically reroute a purchasing order to the handset of a manager for approval or denial. In performing this function, your team can reduce miscommunications and help ensure that any proposed expenses are properly vetted by those with decision-making power first.

These are just a few of the key ways that Encore’s Wireless Forms feature can make your organization smarter, faster, and more resourceful. Schedule a demo with one of our solutions experts today to gain a firsthand experience of how this tool can revolutionize the ways you may currently be doing business.

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27.02
2020

The Importance of Networking for a Startup Business

Making connections via networking is a proven tactic for growing a business, especially when you’re just starting out. Whether it’s through an event such as a convention, or simply meeting other local entrepreneurs at a coworking space, networking can help accelerate the timeline of what you want your business to accomplish.

Here are three key ways that establishing a connections web early on can benefit your company:

Building an initial foundation

For service-based business models in particular, it’s more crucial than ever to use networking as a groundwork-laying tool. Perhaps there’s an area of your business you’re weaker at developing. There’s more than likely another professional you can meet in a networking session who is proficient in the skill you’re deficient at. Being able to connect and potentially reciprocate assistance to one another is just one of the many results that can come with building a foundation first to jumpstart your company.

Gradually scaling operations

As your network becomes more and more established, explore any connections that might warrant it for new leads, rather than just business partnerships. A popular concept in entrepreneurship is to hire your weakness as soon as you can afford to, and with an influx in leads and revenue over time, you’ll be able to do so. As revenue and connections continue to ascend, consistently add pieces to your team until you’ve built a cohesive unit that covers all your bases.

Learning from others’ mistakes along the way

Your product or service should be marketed strictly based on how it can solve the problems your target consumer regularly faces, whether they’re currently aware of them or not. Networking allows you to collaborate with others in your industry from a strategy perspective, especially in a startup incubator setting (if they aren’t direct competitors of yours, obviously). See firsthand more effectively what some of their strategies are, discuss what worked for them and what didn’t, and use your findings to try and collectively increase sales.

At Actsoft, our software solutions are crafted to provide businesses like yours with analytics that truly empower. Much like how networking can uncover additional information to help you run your business smarter, our digital tools provide robust data about how your workforce is operating in near real-time, enabling your team to create powerful new strategies for reduced costs and greater productivity.

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18.02
2020

Recap: Actsoft’s Visit to the 2020 Synapse Summit

Last week, a few of our staff members were treated to an incredible experience, gaining the opportunity to attend the 2020 Synapse Summit at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. As a convention for all things entrepreneurial and technological, the Synapse Summit gave our team the chance to take a couple of days to learn more about startup business and city development as a whole in the Tampa area.

Speakers at the event included Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline.com, and Steven Currall, president and CEO of the University of South Florida, just to name a few. Each keynote brought a unique perspective to the table about scaling a company, personal growth, and the future of business. Separately from the main stage speakers, smaller breakout sessions took place, with industry experts offering discussions on topics ranging anywhere from trends in healthcare to new advances in military applications.

Out of all the valuable information the Actsoft team received at the Synapse Summit, one of the most crucial things we took away from the event was that the Tampa tech community is truly sprawling, and we’re so proud to be a part of it. Getting a chance to see where many of the industries our mobile workforce management solutions play in are headed was also immensely beneficial, as we plan to take our findings to the drawing board in an effort to continue pushing the boundaries of what our solutions can do.

The Synapse Summit reminded us as a company that the future is brighter than ever, not just for local developments in technology, but more specifically, the future landscape of software as a whole. We’ve returned from it inspired and rejuvenated, ready to provide an application that provides even more return on investment for your mobile workforce.

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04.02
2020

What Geofences Can Do for a Business’s Security Levels

With employees, vehicles, and assets in the field, running a secure operation away from the office can be difficult for a company to accomplish. However, Encore’s Geofences feature is able to enhance security by bringing extra accountability and transparency to mobile workforce management. Geofences helps safeguard equipment, fleets, and employee safety in three primary ways:

Customizable Boundaries

By making your geofence boundaries highly specific to the job sites your teams are located at, your office administrators can have greater field visibility. Narrowing down certain job locations with accurate perimeters makes pinpointing them on a map easier to do. If an emergency situation occurs, assistance can be more immediately dispatched out to the affected job site, helping to keep employee safety high. For potentially dangerous locations like an active construction site, Geofences in particular can help your team get help faster, whenever it’s needed.

Alerts

Our Alerts feature works in tandem with Geofences to provide you with everything you need to know about your mobile workforce. Whenever a company-owned fleet vehicle or asset enters or exits a geofence perimeter, you’ll receive an email notifying you of the occurrence, keeping you truly in the know about equipment statuses. The value of your fleet vehicles and assets can’t be understated; use Geofences to keep comprehensive records of each’s whereabouts.

24/7 Job Site Monitoring

Geofence boundaries remain constantly active, enabling your team to leave vehicles and assets in the field overnight, free of security worries. If a tracked piece of equipment or a vehicle is moved after work hours, you’ll still receive nearly instant notification of it. Eliminate unnecessary and costly back-and-forth travel from the warehouse or office to a remote job site by allowing your workforce to leave its tools around the clock at a frequented job location, with Geofences helping to keep them safeguarded. In doing so, you’ll improve your business’s versatility, security, and savings.

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28.01
2020

Encore’s Web Forms: A Key Tool for Streamlining Data Collection

In a previous enhancement to Encore, we released Form Workflows, a feature that allows one of your mobile employees in the field to begin filling out a digital document and then send it in a chain of command to other staff members for completion. Now, we’ve improved this functionality even further with Web Forms.

Available exclusively to users of Encore’s Ultimate tier, Web Forms provides the administrators at your company’s home office with the ability to start completing an electronic form on a desktop computer. They can then easily transfer it to your mobile workers in the field, saving time and making data collection far easier for your team. Employees away from the office can also start a document and send it back to the office for finalization on a desktop.

Benefits of Web Forms:

  • Implement command chains for forms in order to improve team collaboration.
  • Decrease paperwork costs and the time it takes to pass and collect information even further.
  • Improve productivity, accountability, and versatility with efficient, customer-friendly documentation that can be processed multiple different ways.
  • Set payment authorization workflows that automatically redirect certain expense limits to decision-makers.

A good example of Web Forms in action would be in the case of an HVAC company sending out mobile technicians to customer homes to fix broken air conditioning units. Rather than having the field employee begin a digital maintenance form from scratch and unnecessarily waste time inputting information, they can begin making their repairs earlier, with office personnel filling in any preliminary data while the tech drives to the job site.

For other types of businesses where purchase orders are more common, an employee can use Web Forms to begin filling out a purchase request document at company headquarters that will automatically redirect to a designated manager’s mobile device for review, even if that manager is currently away from the office. By helping to bring the dispersed parts of your workforce closer together, use Encore and its new Web Forms feature to improve cohesiveness and cost efficiency across your entire operation.

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22.01
2020

Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler: The Solution to Work Order Inefficiencies

In one of last week’s blog posts, we discussed some of the difficulties a field service company faced without having a tool to plan out their mobile employees’ work orders in advance. In addition to productivity and brand reputation suffering due to confusions in scheduling, the company was also spending too much money on paper documents to instruct staff that were handwritten and, at times, illegible.

Our flagship workforce management software Encore now enables businesses to manage workloads ahead of time with its Dispatching Scheduler feature. Available exclusively to users of the solution’s Ultimate tier, the Dispatching Scheduler provides an easy, yet intuitive way for your team to plan out customer visits and increase its efficiency.

Features of Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler:

  • A color-coded dashboard that provides easy identification for work order progress.
  • The ability to create service delivery windows for employees dispatched to new customer locations.
  • A feature for reassigning pending orders to new workers on the fly.
  • Calendar and Schedule rows that display availabilities, last known employee locations, and current assignments.
  • The ability to see lists of unassigned orders and drag and drop them onto user schedules.


Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler dashboard.

Benefits of Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler:

  • Distribute workloads more evenly.
  • Optimize employee schedules for higher efficiency.
  • Save time and money with intuitive scheduling that helps to keep employees informed.
  • Provide customers with more accurate service delivery times.
  • Graphics-based scheduling allows your staff to work faster and more interactively.

When applied to the field service use case, it’s easy to see how this powerful new capability could instantly improve the company’s processes. Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler allowed the business’s mobile employees to have easy access to their daily schedules, eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth communication from the office to the field and giving them a much more accurate timeframe for service deliveries. Due to both an increase in productivity and efficiency with the Dispatching Scheduler, their business was able to save significant revenue and also increase its opportunities from a strengthened reputation amongst its customer base.

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14.01
2020

How Workforce Productivity Can Suffer Without a Solution for Scheduling

For companies with a mobile workforce, coordination and efficient dispatching are key. However, a business’s productivity and finances can both suffer if work orders aren’t scheduled in advance.

For example, a field service company experienced multiple issues with their dispatching process, as they didn’t have a way to effectively plan out customer visits by their mobile employees. Their team relied on a workforce management application that allowed them to make changes to staff assignments on the fly, but the software lacked a solution for scheduling jobs in advance. This led to a reduction in productivity, as time was being unnecessarily wasted during constant back-and-forth communication from the office to the field. Customers of the business were also becoming increasingly frustrated due to service delivery windows that were either inaccurate or too vague.

The field service company was also spending too much revenue on paper costs and manually printed schedules that were difficult to read and only available to be seen at the office. Once out and driving to customer locations, their staff were required to make calls back to a single dispatcher at company headquarters to receive further instructions, as they had no way to view their schedules from a mobile device. All of these inefficiencies combined to present their workforce with a barrier to optimized productivity and savings.

Stay tuned for the solution to this problem in next week’s blog post.

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