August 2021 - Striven

Mapping The Field Service Customer Communication Journey

In any relationship, communication is key and your customers are no exception. 

Before communication technology made targeted advertising easy, trying to attract and speak to customers followed a fairly straightforward strategy, albeit with inconsistent results. For instance, field service companies would bombard prospects with generic fliers, billboards, Yellow Pages ads, etc, and all in the hopes that somewhere in the midst of it all would emerge someone who, not only needed a plumber or an electrician, but who’d then take the time to engage, and hopefully transition into a customer.

There’s little need to point out why this strategy wasn’t the most efficient.

Of course, things are completely different these days. Service companies now have the option to speak to customers more directly, and send them highly personalized offers, and, as a result, many have seen an increase in sales by 10% or more. Thanks to effective digital technologies and the ability to map customer communication journeys, hundreds of thousands of companies have found success and reached their audience, even if they run a niche service business.  

There are still challenges to overcome, but to help you get a grasp of your own communication strategy, we’re going to look at it from the customer journey point of view. We’ll break it down into a few touchpoints, and explore how you can improve your own journey. Let’s get started! 

Define The New Communication Customer Journey 

Customer journeys have become more and more complex, especially in the field service industry. Buying a service isn’t simply a matter of a person walking into a store and picking up a product from a shelf. 

field service management software

Between local Google search results, 3rd-party review websites, paid ads, personalized emails, review requests, and all the other interactions now available to business owners and managers, it’s no wonder businesses can feel overwhelmed. 

The new communication journey is a reciprocal process, where the customer gets to have a say throughout, rather than simply voting with their wallet during an exchange of services for money. Nurturing a customer is an essential part of an ideal relationship, one that leads to higher-value jobs and repeat business. And like nurturing anything else, the customer wants 3 things, to be: 

  • Valued as an individual, through personalized communication 
  • Taken seriously, by using a suitable and consistent tone of voice in all your communications
  • Feel in control, which is where customer self-service comes into place

At the same time, keep in mind that communication doesn’t refer just to actual messages and emails; everything you do in order to convey information about your business to the customer is a form of contact, from your brand identity, company logo, to your website, to your invoices. 

Why Do Field Service Businesses Need To Look At Their Communication Journey? 

Have you ever tried hiring another field service business? Or, even better, have you tried hiring yourself? How did the experience compare to other services you use in your day-to-day life, like booking a vacation or ordering a meal? Is there anything they do that you don’t?

It’s tempting to think this exercise is silly because you’re not selling vacation packages or meals. But the fact of the matter is that the average customer won’t compare you to other plumbing or HVAC companies; they’ll compare the booking experience you provide to those they know:, JustEat, Amazon, and other big companies. 

If you do a deep dive into field service reviews, you’ll notice a trend with many customers saying something along the lines of:

“They did a good job installing my ventilation unit, but I never got a booking confirmation so I had no idea when they’d arrive. Then the installer wouldn’t take card payment on the spot so I had to wait for weeks to get an invoice letter. And no one asked for my feedback at the end of it all.” – 3 / 5 stars

It’s hardly what field service owners and managers want to hear, but the cold hard truth is that if you deliver 5-star work with 1-star customer service experiences, the average review score won’t be in your favor. And are you really a 3-star company? Of course not!

Understanding where your customer communication strategy is lacking is what will push you to go from good to great.

How To Map The Communication Customer Journey

Customer journey map, process of customer buying decision, a road map of customer experience

Mapping the communication journey goes back to the scenario where you try to hire yourself. List every individual touchpoint, then award yourself a rating based on how satisfied you’d be if, as a customer, a service provider treated you the same.

1. Company persona

You might be familiar with building a customer persona, but having a detailed understanding of your own company is just as important. It could be that you’re the owner and you identify the company with yourself, but even then, writing it down and turning it into a fleshed-out character will help you understand what your customer expects from you. 

For example, if your company persona was called Gary, the friendly neighborhood plumber who’s always there to fix a leak or put in a new sink, that would mean the rest of your communications have to stay consistent: a bright and cheerful website, technicians who wear short sleeve t-shirts, and budget or mid-level prices. On the other hand, you could also be a Gaspard, the artisanal plumber who’s a specialist in visible drain welding & soldering and often works with museums and installation artists. 

The expectations would be completely different, so the final question is: would your customer hire Gary or Gaspard?   

2. Visual Communication

Once you’ve decided on the kind of field service personality you want to relay, it’s time to make it visual. Visual communication includes:

  • Company logo
  • Company colors
  • Employee attire (either uniform or dress code)
  • Website graphics
  • Website videos

Once you’ve decided on the first two, the rest need to stay consistent, otherwise, you risk confusing the customer in regard to the message you’re trying to transmit.

If you’re targeting premium customers and have tailored your logo and website colors to match (e.g. by using more elegant colors like navy and silver), but your employees show up either sans uniform or in bright yellow t-shirts and muddy boots, the customer won’t feel like they’re getting the premium experience they paid for. The same goes for your website and other visuals you might want to create (or commission), the expectation you set should be met by reality.

3. Written Communication

The final step in your communication customer journey is to highlight the smaller touchpoints and ensure they also have a cohesive feel and, especially, carry the same tone of voice. Written communication includes but is not limited to:

  • Booking request confirmation
  • Service reminders (for more on these, check out this service reminder guide
  • Price book
  • Invoice emails
  • Certificate emails
  • Debt chasing emails
  • Review requests
  • Review answers
  • Website about & team page 
  • Contact page

Similar to the situation we’ve described above, your written communication style should also fit your company persona.

If we go back to the Gary/Gaspard comparison, imagine that Gary would open his emails with: “Hey, Matt! How’s your week been?”, while Gaspard would be more of a “Dear Madam Spencer, I sincerely hope you’ve been well.” Mixing them up would leave Matt scratching his head and Madam Spencer tasking her butler with firing someone. Written communication is all about delivering on your brand promise.  

The Value Of Having Everything On One Screen

field service management software

If all this sounds like a lot more than you expected, we don’t blame you. Customer communication journeys are complex relationships that require time and effort, at least, they are if you want to do them well. 

A lot of this complexity is due to communication technology advancing so rapidly and creating more and more avenues to interact with people. However, this should be seen as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle. That’s because field service management technology also allows you to harness more efficient strategies that come at a lower cost than, say, traditional advertising and branding. 

Keeping track of your communications starts with recording customer information in a centralized database. The more you learn about them, the better you will be able to personalize your messaging and expand your brand. The next step is to combine your database with a message/email automation tool so that you can send out personalized communication as efficiently as possible. 

Finally, an all-in-one field service management software will keep all this, along with calendar appointments, employee shifts, quotes, and more, all on a single screen. From there your business is in a better position to grow sustainably and it’ll help you implement more and more complex customer communication strategies down the line. 

The Takeaway

All in all, customer communication journeys are all about knowing who you’re targeting and having a good grasp of the tools you have access to in order to reach this person. Technology has made things more complex, but, at the same time, it has also made amazing strategies widely available to companies of every size and budget. Make sure you’re not missing out and start investing in your communication strategy today! 

Striven Named To Two “Best Software of 2021” Lists

Striven was recognized as an industry leader in’s “Top Remote Work Software” and “Top Business Management Software” categories in 2021.

Lumberton,, a leading review and ratings service of software products and service companies, has named Striven to two of its “Top Software of 2021” categories: Remote Work and Business Management Software. The top software solutions and organizations were selected based on remote work capabilities, improved productivity, and the ability to respond to market dynamics.

Striven and other software firms were required to offer tools that aid organizations in their work-from-home efforts, offer data-driven insights, and deliver superior project management capabilities.

The analytical team at GoodFirms utilized its expertise and experience to perform extensive research and analysis to curate their lists. Check out Striven’s profile here.

Striven is an all-in-one business management software providing a complete end-to-end cloud solution for most professional industries. It not only offers billing and invoicing tools, but also includes solutions for customer and contract management, projects, tasks, inventory, HR, and more. To learn more, visit

GoodFirms is a full-fledged research and review platform that helps software buyers and service seekers to opt for the best software or firm. GoodFirms, just as the name suggests, is a dedicated community of “performing” IT companies as well as software solutions. To learn more, visit

A Guide To Profitability In Professional Service Businesses

What are professional services? The answer to this question is far-reaching—a wide variety of service types and business models fall under the professional services umbrella. Sometimes it’s hard to encapsulate exactly what defines a professional services organization—oftentimes it has a subjective, “I know it when I see it” feel to it.  

While the definition of what professional services are is always shifting as our economy evolves, it’s much easier to define what professional services organizations do:

Professional service organizations provide support in the form of contracted advice and/or performing tertiary tasks and duties. 

Regardless of the specific product or service rendered, it’s common to see both B2C and B2B practices within the professional services industry. Some organizations focus on exclusively one or the other, but many practice in both. 

Clients come in all shapes and sizes, but the majority of clients that professional service organizations assist share a common perspective: it’s often savvy and efficient to hire an outside expert. 

Small business owners ranked “time management” as the third largest challenge they face. The first and second biggest challenges? Cash flow (obviously) and marketing/advertising (a professional service in its own right).

Spending additional time, energy, and resources on tasks that could be masterfully—and cost-effectively—tackled by a third-party professional is not a wise management strategy.

Types Of Professional Services

Products and services vary drastically by company and industry. However, the common ground among professional services providers lies within the logistics of how business is conducted.

small business management software

Communication, data management, scheduling, financial reporting, and payment processing are some of the processes universally shared by all professional services providers. 

Ideally, professional services providers use one system to manage their entire business to ensure work is profitable and delivered in a timely fashion. Sure, lawyers will have different needs than IT professionals, but the core pillars and processes of the professional services industry remain the same.

Below we’ll cover four of the core professional services and how each type of service provider can stay ahead of the competition in their respective lanes. 


Breakdown: Accounting agencies and service providers exist for a reason—assigning a manager within your organization to handle your finances by way of using spreadsheets typically isn’t a prudent business practice. 

Tax management, expense tracking, and payroll considerations are just a few examples of what makes up the 9 to 5 of an accounting firm. 

professional service accounting software

How They Can Stay Ahead: Putting aside the day-to-day duties that accountants are bonafide experts at, accounting firms that want to stay a step ahead of the competition need to place an additional emphasis on a different aspect of their business: customer and vendor communications.

For accounting firms to act as premier professional servicers, they need to be equipped with the right tools. In this case, utilizing software equipped with customer and vendor management portals will benefit all parties involved. Streamlined communication channels, virtual invoice payments, and the ability to remotely view billing and transaction histories at any time will create satisfied clients—it may even prevent those dreaded 10:00 pm “ask” emails.

After all, accountants in particular have a special appreciation for accuracy, consistency, and transparency—it’s quite literally the foundation of what they do for a living. 


Breakdown: Excluding the aberration of 2020, the global consulting industry has steadily increased in size every year for the last 10 years. Data collected by Glassdoor indicates that US-based consultants make (on average) around $89,000 annually—well higher than the overall US compensation average. 

professional services consulting software

Perhaps that’s in part to the diversity of specializations within the consulting industry. Strategy consultants, management consultants, operations consultants—the list goes on. I’m sure at least a few more will be added to the list before this blog is published. 

How They Can Stay Ahead: While the methodologies and specializations for consultants may vary, their goals remain uniform—to provide a premier, professional, and profitable experience for their clients.

The best way to do that? Be at the forefront of addressing the main challenges that businesses will be facing in the next 3 to 5 years. According to a survey of 1300 professional services consulting firms, the top five main challenges businesses will face, all have one thing in common: technology and its rapid rate of adoption within the industry. 

  • Unpredictability in the marketplace
  • Changes in how buyers buy your services
  • Increased competition from new firms/competitors
  • The need for new skills
  • Automation/artificial intelligence

Challenges 2, 4, and 5 correlate directly with technological advancements—e-commerce is more prominent than ever, development-centric skill sets are dominating the global workforce, and technologies with a focus on automation and machine learning are continuing to grow in popularity and practicality. 

Challenges 1 and 3 may be age-old challenges, but they certainly have a new, technological twist to them. Moore’s Law would suggest that technological progress is advancing at a higher rate than ever before, leading to increased levels of uncertainty in how (and, in a lot of instances, when) technology will impact any given industry. As more and more businesses in all industries adopt more efficient and profitable technologies, competition will naturally increase. After all, technology tends to level the playing field.

IT Services

Breakdown: IT services encompass a wide variety of skills and disciplines. Web design, cybersecurity, software development, and database management—are all distinct from one another, yet fall under the same umbrella of “IT.”

professional services it services software

The diversity of what falls under the umbrella of “IT services” is part of the challenge businesses face. If an organization offers a single service (for example, web design) it may not generate enough of a client base to continuously extract revenue. Conversely, if an organization offers a staggering collection of services, it may fall into a “quantity over quality” conundrum which could eventually lead to revenue woes. 

Many businesses have found a sweet spot. For example, some companies may offer web design services while also managing digital marketing campaigns and social media efforts. And, low and behold, some companies are still intent on doing it all. And that’s ok—but with such a varied array of services, how can companies efficiently keep track of it all?

How They Can Stay Ahead: No matter the type of IT service a business offers, some things never change. Having real-time information available is always crucial, as is the ability to smartly manage projects.

Most of all, in an extremely skill-intensive industry like IT services, having the ability to quickly assess the skill sets, qualifications, and certifications of both existing team members and prospects in the pipeline will pay dividends down the road. 

The importance of cultural fit within an organization has not been understated as of late—hiring the right cultural fit within a company leads to less employee turnover, more productivity (especially in regard to remote work), and overall higher satisfaction. 

“Cultural fit” isn’t just an organizational-wide consideration—it’s important that every team and cluster of employees within an organization is able to mesh well together. 

Before worrying about the projects and tasks themselves, it’s important to consider how employees are placed together. By utilizing all of the tools available to accurately assess candidates and current employees alike, IT services teams will be able to tackle any task in front of them.

Breakdown: Of all of the professional services that we’ve discussed so far, I think it’s a fair assumption to say that legal services should be the last type of service that any business attempts to solve unaided. (Disclaimer: not legal advice.)

professional services legal services software

In America, everyone has their own opinion on certain laws, legal practices, and even lawyers themselves. The beautiful part about our legal system and its practice is that we have the unalienable right to maintain and voice opinions of all flavors and varieties. 

Though our nation’s legal practices and procedures don’t come without scrutiny, one thing is for certain—many of the societal advancements that we’ve benefitted from have come after tireless, tedious, and often thankless hours of legal work.

How They Can Stay Ahead: If there is a criticism to be made about the legal profession in America, it mainly revolves around its “pay-to-play” model. Yes, the 6th Amendment guarantees every citizen the right to counsel. However, every American knows the reality in which we live: the more you pay, the more you get.

This isn’t an issue that can be solved overnight, nor can it be solved by any single person or law firm. Most lawyers aren’t Cochrans and Shapiros—they’re public defenders, paralegals, and employees of smaller firms that don’t have the luxury of attracting clients with 8-figure net worths. 

Providing legal services is about doing right by your clients. One way to do that without a Hollywood-esqe budget is to utilize technology to its fullest. 

Document management, time and expense tracking, and client communication channels don’t have to be disconnected and burdensome to maintain. They can be managed in a single, easy-to-use platform. Technology should work for you—not the other way around.

Ensuring Professional Services Success

Vector Illustration of single light bulb with icons and shining fibers in a shape of Expertise, Reliability, Experience, Trust and Knowledge concept related words isolated on black background

On the surface, it may seem that lawyers and software developers don’t have much in common. If you ask them, they might even agree. 

But, what they share is their ability to provide a service that they’ve trained for—training that, in many cases, has encompassed the vast majority of their adult lives. Success comes in all shapes and sizes, especially when you’re talking about the professional services industry.

Servicing customers is never an easy task. There are a million tips and tricks out there on what to say, do, and act like in order to deliver the best results. Many of those pieces of advice are worthwhile. 

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the same thing—leveraging the tools and technology at your disposal in order to provide the best service possible. 

ERP Safety and Cybersecurity: What You Need To Know

These days, it seems like a rarity that cybersecurity doesn’t make at least one headline in the daily news cycle. More accurately, these headlines are primarily instances where there is a drastic lack of cybersecurity.

U.S. Government agencies fail to meet even basic cybersecurity standards.” 

The colonial pipeline attack: rethinking cyber regulations on utility companies.” 

Ransomware: international cooperation is needed to curb these cybersecurity threats.”

In today’s environment where employees are working remotely as well as geographically scattered, security has become everyone’s job—not just the responsibility of the IT department. Every employee of every sized business, from interns to CEOs, SMEs to Fortune 500 companies, needs to increase their cybersecurity diligence. 

Many people treat their cybersecurity responsibilities as they would a recommendation from their dentist—being instructed to floss more and cut back on sweets often falls on deaf ears. 

Without proper cybersecurity hygiene (creating strong passwords, avoiding phishing emails, using outdated software, etc) your business and your bottom line are in danger of rot and decay. 

Fortunately, there are technological solutions that provide businesses and users with vast safeguards against malicious actors. Namely, cloud-based all-in-one ERP software

How To Maintain ERP Safety and Security 

erp cloud security business management software

As far as software is concerned, cloud ERP software is resoundingly safer than traditional data centers. In fact, the use of cloud infrastructure generally results in 60% fewer security incidents.

In reality, it is the usage, policies, and mechanisms of control that fail—not the technology itself. 

Jay Heiser, Vice President Analyst at Gartner, has some poignant advice for CIOs in the position of managing their cloud ERP software:

“CIOs need to ensure that their security teams are not holding back cloud initiatives with unsubstantiated cloud security worries. Exaggerated fears can result in lost opportunity and inappropriate spending.”

He suggests that instead of asking “Is the cloud secure?” executives should be asking “Am I using the cloud securely?”

Similarly, a car manufacturer would not be to blame in the event of an accident where the driver was speeding excessively, using their phone, and not wearing a seat belt.

Let’s take a look at the most crucial areas and aspects of ERP software that require the most attention to detail in terms of maintaining network security.

Stay Uniform

As software complexity increases, the possibility of errors increases along with it. For businesses with over 200 employees, some ERPs provide over 800,000 software customizations that can be controlled by users. 

In order to combat this, it’s important to establish data management protocols within your organization and assign access accordingly. Onboarding, training, offboarding, and continuous internal software support will only benefit your organization.

Conduct Internal Audits

Audits are an important part of any well-oiled business, so why wouldn’t the same be true for your software? While the best ERPs adhere to strict security standards, it’s important to conduct audits of how employees and other users under your organization’s umbrella are using the system.

Are their passwords secure? Are they accessing data from unsecured networks? Who has access and the ability to change system settings? 

These questions and more are some that you will want to address and answer internally—every business and every industry has different needs, rules, and regulations.

Utilize Software Training and Support Staff

Your employees—in this case, your ERP users—are at the heart of everything your business does. Security is no exception. If users are cavalier about company data, protocols, and necessary procedures, it can lead to fiscal headaches and wasted time. 

All too often, ERP software systems are implemented without an expert support team. Having a savvy support staff is crucial for successful employee adoption of the software.

Though management may be able to point to the vast benefits of ERP software (cost savings, better communication, improved document management, etc.) it takes a true expert in the software itself to successfully, fully onboard employees.

Benefits of ERP Software: Built-In Security Standards

ERP software is full of all kinds of benefits—risk mitigation is a major one. No piece of technology on earth is entirely invulnerable to malicious activity, but ERP software provides a myriad of ways to protect your business’s valuable data and processes. 

One of the brilliant aspects of ERP software is that it’s able to provide a wide range of solutions to a wide range of logistical challenges. The “all-in-one” nature of ERP software keeps businesses fully connected and integrated—in turn, this allows businesses to address problems with a bird’s eye view, removing the guesswork and wasted energy that often accompanies the problem-solving process.

all in one erp software benefits security

Cloud Security

Compared to other data storage methods that have been prominent in the past (most notably local servers and analog data storage) the cloud is a resoundingly safer solution.

It’s a tried-and-true method that businesses continue to invest in—in the first quarter of 2023, cloud services infrastructure spending increased to $41.8 billion on a global level. Compared to the same period in 2020, this was a 35% year-on-year growth and a 5% quarter-on-quarter rise.

While cloud security as an industry has proven to be safe, scalable, and cost-efficient, it’s important to know who bears the technical responsibility of hosting your data. 

Does your cloud infrastructure provider delegate some hosting responsibilities to third-party organizations? Is your cloud ERP implementation team the same organization that actually does the work of storing your data?

Ideally, none of these questions will ever actually matter because your data will be forever safe and secure. Nevertheless, it’s important to do your due diligence on every organization your data is affiliated with. Most of the time, these answers can all be obtained from a single conversation with your ERP provider.

Frequent System Updates

Software updates serve an important purpose across the world’s entire technological landscape. And, no, it’s not to annoy you with a loading screen that lingers a bit too long for your liking.

Installing security software update

Software updates are vital—they patch security flaws, protect data, and improve system performance. When it comes to ERP software, updates are frequent and full of substance.

Data Redundancy

What’s the only thing more important than keeping your data safe? Keeping your data safe—twice, three times, or more. 

Cloud storage capabilities that are baked into the best ERP software systems allow users to fully access and update data sets while keeping up-to-the-second backups safe and secure. Gone are the days that it’s required to make multiple physical copies or even manually copy and paste documents. 

With a staggering chunk of the American workforce still working remotely—often on personal, security-poor workstations—it’s even more important to have enterprise-level redundancy measures in place. Data redundancy is a central focus of every ERP system. 

Data Encryption

Data redundancy is a crucial piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. Data encryption is an equally large piece, too. The higher the quality of the encryption measures, the higher the quality of protection that your business will enjoy. Fortunately, ERP systems maintain exceptionally high-security standards.


By nearly every conceivable metric, cyber-attacks and cybersecurity incidents have increased over the last several years. The pandemic has led to an aggressive explosion of this pre-existing uptrend.

cloud-based ERP data encryption

Disconnected software systems with vastly differing security protocols simply do not cut it anymore—ERP software provides a lasting, secure solution to cybersecurity. 

Installing An Administrator

ERP software needs to be safe and secure every single time it’s used. This isn’t a request or a “wishlist” item—it’s a requirement. In all reality, safety and security is just the beginning. 

ERP software is built to serve people of all roles and responsibilities. The best way to ensure that every user is able to operate in an efficient and safe manner? Choose an ERP with a detailed permissions-based system. 

Some employees will need more access than others. It’s important to be able to have varying roles with differing capabilities while all working under one, unified software umbrella. 

Now you may be thinking “Even if I have a tech-savvy employee, they’re still new to using this ERP system too. How can they be functional administrators?” The answer to this question: training and consulting sessions with the ERP’s native support staff.

The support staff of an ERP system is there to help you get the most out of your software. They’ll answer questions, offer advice on best practices, generate guides and other instructional materials, and so on and so forth. They’ll be able to provide the crucial assistance you need during the initial adoption process

They’ll be able to show your organization how to properly assign and edit permissions for every employee, where and when it’s safe to access data, and how to protect your system against phishing attacks, unauthorized user access, and other malicious activities.

Just like a great coach, they’ll be there to guide you while allowing you to learn and explore on your own. 

Modern ERPs are Safe, Secure, and Reliable

Hi-tech cloud software security

Cybersecurity is the framework that ERP software relies upon. Without extended and continuous security measures in place, the benefits that ERP software brings to businesses are all for naught. 

But security efforts don’t end with lines of code—it takes the effort of all of your employees in addition to your ERP’s support staff day in and day out. 

ERP software sourced from cloud computing technology is the gold standard of enterprise data security, and you and your employees need to be the gold standard in making sure safety protocols and precautions are implemented and followed.