Electronic document management best practices are more important to the services sector than ever, but many of these practices are left unimplemented.

Services companies are any business or non-profit organization that commoditizes and sells a service, as differentiated from businesses that sell tangible products. Most workers in North America work for a services company, as the output of the industry depends less on the manufacturing of products and more on the administration of workers’ services.

Although the line between these two kinds of businesses is commonly blurred, and many businesses splice both the commoditizing of services and products, there are several electronic document management best practices specifically for services companies that will reduce their operating expenses while simultaneously increasing organizational bandwidth.

Note that the items below are important for product-oriented businesses too, but the nature of these items differs greatly between services and product-centric companies.

Electronic Document Management Best Practices for Hair Salons

Salons are a huge staple of the services industry. However, one of the main reasons services companies of this variety fail is because their management teams overlook technology’s role in facilitating better service.

To establish a routine system for achieving electronic document management best practices in a hair salon or beauty parlor, managers must find an efficient way to manage the documents containing all their information, including receipts for expense tracking.

In fact, one of the most overlooked aspects of money management in most hair salons can be boiled down to unanalyzed receipts, which are traces of the salon’s profitability.

Since it’s no longer enough to just look at profits, hair salons need to begin scanning and imaging all their receipts, even if harvested into documents themselves.

This not only helps analyze recurring business trends, but also establishes electronic document management best practices through understanding supplementary income, such as tips.

For instance, if a manager can more easily find which hair stylists are producing the most revenue for the salon in terms of cash flow from tips, and ensuring best practices to retain that employee talent.

After all, the hair stylist is the representative for the business and worth nourishing into a career route in the event performance is above average.

Resources Management in the Services Industry: An HVAC Example

Resource allocation is the holy grail of management, and it will never be streamlined without the proper information management controls in place to secure effective resource allocation strategies. In fact, resource management can be just as crucial to profit as recurring business.

Take this example, for instance.

If an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company is profiting immensely, but fails to analyze its expenses in-depth, it may feel to realize its shortcomings in the way of efficient document storage, retrieval, and assessment. Securing effective document management best practices for services companies will require understanding the information in documents as the most valuable resource to an organization’s knowledge.

If the HVAC company turns a blind eye to the actions of the project management efforts, profits may be emphasized without a deeper analysis of expenditures, resulting in a true inability to “read between the lines” of the cells on a balance sheet and find gaps in the knowledge management process, which are usually facilitated by outdated document management methods (shared drives, zip drives, etc.)

Customer Loyalty: An Auto Shop’s Document Management Perspective from the Trenches

Gauging and evaluating any given customer’s loyalty to a service can be tricky, as most businesses know little about the people who buy their services, whereas product sales give businesses much more granular and specific data about their customer segments.

To simplify and perhaps even overthrow this issue through electronic document management best practices, services companies can strengthen the integrity of the data they do collect through safeguarded document storage and having instant access to this information when servicing customer accounts.

For instance, take the following example.

Let’s say a cashier for an auto shop had a customer walk up to the front desk and request information regarding a previous repair on her car.

The quality of the service in this scenario has two elements: the attentiveness of the cashier in meeting the customer’s request, and the speed in which the request is answered.

As a solution that facilitates electronic document management best practices and eliminates human error in the file retrieval process, Zonal OCR can help the cashier find the receipt, because under full and proper use, it prevents its users from naming, routing, and storing files in an arbitrary fashion—ensuring documents are easily retrievable under an array of preexisting storage conditions. This, therefore, is likely to enhance the customer’s loyalty to that specific auto shop.

In fact, speed of service is one of the biggest determinants of customer loyalty.

Measuring Efficacy of Services Companies

Although services organizations can trace cash flow, they have a harder time managing the quality of the services they sell as a commodity, and this is an issue shared by every business in the services industry, not just services companies that aren’t up to par with their competitors in this sector.

Electronic document management best practices for services companies not only facilitate operational efficiency, but helps these organizations measure their efficacy, too.

A Concluding Note on Electronic Document Management Best Practices

Of all the elements needed to form a great services business, document management simplifies and facilitates the most important of these elements: more free time, better business data, improved customer service, cash flow management, and document equity: a measure of how well a company owns the assets of its documents.

Without these elements in place and safeguarded by digital information management practices, information entropy will continue to proliferate and cause further confusion in the world of services companies.

Although these finding may seem complex, we did not even cover the services companies most frequently using eFileCabinet, which are among the most complex businesses in the world—accounting, construction, and financial services, for instance.

And, as the environmental consciousness of the services sector raises alongside impending legislation or not, the onus of responsibility for environmental concerns rests on the sturdy shoulders of this sector.

Reducing paper waste and digitizing information will therefore not only help services companies appear as more socially responsible in the public eye, but also help them leverage greater efficiencies to out-compete other competitors in their market space.