The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist for SMEs in Australia

Calendar to show onboarding checklist for new starters

Calendar to show onboarding checklist for new starters

Have you ever had a nightmarish first day at work? Perhaps you accidentally broke the coffee machine or mistakenly ate someone else’s lunch. Maybe you missed your train and consequently arrived late (and completely drenched because it rained that day.) The first few days on the job are tough! Put your new hires at ease from the moment they walk through the door. In this article, we provide the ultimate onboarding checklist, made especially with SMEs in mind. 

The cost of a poor onboarding is expensive for SMEs. In addition to the time spent pouring over CVs and interviewing candidates, the cost to replace an employee is around 50-60% of their salary, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. As well as a staff turnover reduction, successful onboarding increases productivity and makes for a happier workplace.

This checklist sets your new-starters up for a winning, long-term collaboration with your business. We suggest you download it, share it, and use it alongside your onboarding software

 

Download: The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist for SME’s

The pre-boarding checklist

The Workplace Loneliness research into Australian workers revealed that a timely onboarding process further connects new hires with their team. It’s essential to prioritise social connectedness from the start—the process should begin from the moment you present the successful candidate with a job offer. 

Here are some ideas for pre-boarding communication:

  • Explain what to expect from the onboarding process
  • Introduce the new-starter to their team and the wider organisation
  • Say congratulations from the manager and/or most relevant member of senior management.

It’s also a good idea to gather paperwork for the employee. This might seem premature, but there is a lot of sensitive information to collect, which can confuse new hires and employers.

Below is a list of what you, the employer, should provide before the recruit starts:

  • An offer letter
  • A job description
  • An employment contract
  • An employee induction pack (or preview).

By law, Australian employers must also provide:

Using surveys as onboarding software

The 90-Day onboarding checklist

Make sure the schedule has been entered into the employee’s calendar, and use the checklist to tick off each task upon completion.  

Day One

Arguably, the staff member’s first day is the most important of the 90-day onboarding process. The goal is to make it memorable. You want them to feel excited and motivated. 

Here’s some suggested ground you could cover on day one of the onboarding-checklist:

The welcome

  • Send an all-staff message to introduce the employee to their colleagues 
  • Assign them with a workplace buddy (so they have someone to talk to during a nerve-wracking period!)
  • Have a welcome message displayed in a communal area, such as written on a blackboard or posted on a staff pinboard.

The tour

  • Show the staff seating plan (introduce people by names and teams)
  • Give an office and building tour
  • Point out fire exits.

The equipment

  • Provide a nameplate or staff ID
  • Necessary office equipment (including a computer and phone if appropriate)
  • Staff handbook
  • An employee induction pack.

Presentations

  • Welcome presentation
  • Employee perks & benefits
  • Culture overview.

You may be tempted to skip the culture overview if you’re short on time, but we’d strongly recommend that you don’t. A meta-analysis of 172 studies found that employees who are a good cultural fit are likely to be happier, more productive, and stay longer with the employer. What can we learn from this? Describe and define your unique culture to new employees—never just assume they’ll fit in without explanation.

Other first-day activities for new-starters:

  • Tie a balloon to the employee’s computer. People can introduce themselves when they walk past and make a new hire feel welcome.
  • Allow them to get to know your business better with some time to read through relevant websites, blogs and industry news.
  • Organise a lunch with their reporting line and team.

It’s also critical that the employee is on-boarded onto your team communication platforms, on their first day. It also gives managers an easy way to do quick, regular check-ins.

Month One

Weeks 1 – 2

Day two is essentially the first day of the rest of their career with you. The aim is to ease them into the job role they were hired to do.

The schedule for week one and two should include:

  • Meet and greets with leaders or members of other departments to understand their role within the business.
  • Training sessions.
  • Introductions to important tools.

The employee should review and agree to company policies during this period too. 

For these fiddly administrative steps, you could try implementing HR software where the process can be managed within one system. HR software is useful when coordinating several departments within a company. 

Weeks 3 – 4

By now, the employee should have built up some momentum within the job role and so you’ll want to harness that. Step back and encourage them to take more ownership of their responsibilities. 

If they’re required to represent and conduct themselves on behalf of the company, consider a communication workshop. Do you have guidelines for your company’s tone of voice? Now is the time to introduce it if so. You could display the information in a document, PDF or use data visualisation tools to create a visual representation.

It’s crucial in this stage that you build upon the trust you’ve already established. A great way to do this is to demonstrate your investment in their personal career goals. Discuss objectives (long and short-term) and set up sessions to focus on their learning and development. Ideally, training should be face to face but when this isn’t possible, there are plenty of virtual educational platforms and learning management software to help staff develop skills.

Month two

“Employees want to be stimulated by their job and have a clear career path,” says employer brand research company, Randstad. With that in mind, month two is a good point to give employees their first ‘big’ project. Not only does it create a focus, but it also moves them further towards self-reliance. 

Consider how you’ll check in with the employee to get this balance. One way is to break the project down into chunk-size pieces. Not only does this allow you to check in regularly without micromanaging, but each step completed is a chance for you to give encouragement and praise. 

And it doesn’t have to be limited to employer-employee. Make space for peer-to-peer appreciation too: Be it acknowledgement in meetings, whiteboard messages, kudos in employee engagement platforms or shout-outs in a dedicated Slack channel. 

Using Slack to show culture in the onboarding process
Screenshot of a Slack shout-out during the onboarding process.

Month three

In month three of the onboarding checklist, you should extend perks and benefits to the staff member if you haven’t done so already. If you offer flexible working, its best to allow the employee to test the process while they’re still on probation. Not only does it instil trust, but you’ll also be viewed as a modern employer. 

All going well, at the end of the onboarding process, the new hire should have passed their probation. Survey software can help gather relevant information ahead of the end-of-probation review meeting. The employee should also offer his or her feedback on their onboarding experience. Not only does it help improve the onboarding-process for their future colleagues, but it also lets the new hire know that their feedback matters. 

Ensure you send an email announcement to acknowledge the event and show recognition for their contributions so far. Why? The O.C. Tanner Institute’s 2018 Global Culture Report highlights the power of recognition in the workplace. The report found that employees within companies that demonstrated regular recognition had a 16% higher sense of personal well-being and a 20% increase in their connection to purpose. 

How to use the onboarding-checklist

Refer to our onboarding checklist for each person you employ. We’ve included all the crucial aspects within this article, but you can create a customised version for each hire case. If you decide to automate the process, have a look at Capterra’s selection of onboarding software.

 

Download: The Ultimate Onboarding Checklist for SME’s

Get more from your sales teams with CRM and machine learning

how can crm and machine learning improve sales for SMEs

There’s a famous saying in business that the customer is always right. Most companies strive to develop meaningful interactions with customers that lead to long, mutually beneficial relationships. But achieving this is not always easy, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with limited resources. Here, we look at CRM and machine learning, and how the latest techniques can improve the way your sales teams deal with clients.

how can crm and machine learning improve sales for SMEs

How can CRM software help my business?

CRM software helps you manage all interactions with clients to improve customer service, make your teams more productive, and lower the cost of sales. While many CRM products exist, all with different features, most act like a database with a record for each of your customers. That record contains a history of the customer, what they’ve purchased, what issues they’ve had and how your support teams solved them, when their products need servicing or replacing, as well as a complete history of interactions they’ve had with your sales teams.

With a CRM system, this data is centrally stored and accessible to those in your business who need it, not kept on various spreadsheets (which was the case at 32% of SMEs last year).

The number one benefit of CRM software is the ability to provide better customer service. You can automate much of the communication and management that sales teams have to do to maintain good customer relationships. More advanced packages exist that help you analyse customer data, which lets you automatically segment customers to target them with appropriate sales and marketing campaigns, for example.

The best CRM for small business

What is the best CRM for your small business? To get an idea of how small business have used CRM to increase sales and grow their business, take a look at these case studies.

Multideur is a Dutch company making industrial and garage doors. It replaced various manual processes – many still on paper – with a modern cloud-based CRM in Microsoft Dynamics. Now, larger clients have more confidence in Multideur’s ability to serve them, sales have increased, and the company has doubled its headcount.

Salespeople at Redsquid – a unified communications company – were storing customer information in online folders that were not always easy to access when on the road. Nor could teams easily report on customer activity. Redsquid found a solution in OpenCRM, which centralised documents, call records and previous sales to improve visibility across the organisation.

Machine learning: the next step for CRM

Machine learning is a hot topic in both computing and business right now. It describes techniques that let systems – like CRM – learn from data and make decisions based on what they find without being explicitly programmed to do so.

Large CRM providers have boasted machine-learning capabilities for several years now. Salesforce, the original cloud-based CRM, lets users score leads based on past sales or recommend products to customers depending on what interactions your employees have had with them.

Zoho has Zia – an AI-powered assistant – which, it claims, can spot whether your monthly sales targets are in danger and provide information to help you rectify the problem before it’s too late. It can even tell you when a prospect is most likely to pick up the phone.

How can SMEs benefit from machine-learning-powered CRM?

Machine learning helps humans spot patterns we’re not ‘programmed’ to see. Conventional CRM software can organise customer data, sync between systems, or log calls, but machine learning gives CRM systems the ability to find hidden insight in data.

benefits for crm and machine learning

Take customer segmentation. Traditional wisdom would have sales and marketing teams split customers into standard demographic groups: by age, income, the size of their business, or location. Machine learning can analyse data for unconventional groupings that let your small business run hyper-targeted marketing campaigns for the niche customer groups you never knew existed.

Lead nurturing is an area where most major CRMs have machine-learning capability. From the moment a customer first interacts with your business – by visiting your website for example – an intelligent CRM can develop a journey that funnels that customer towards a sale. It analyses their actions – what they clicked on, what they scrolled past, who they spoke to at an event, how they interacted with your business on social media – to serve the most appropriate content. This could be web or email marketing, sales calls, or custom offers, to turn a lead into a sale.

Machine learning and predictive analytics often go hand in hand. This gives SMEs the ability to more accurately predict the outcome of a bidding process, make more precise pipeline and revenue forecasts, and gauge how likely sales teams are to meet quarterly targets.

The benefits of intelligent CRM systems are compelling. According to Salesforce’s third Sate of Sales report, high-performing salespeople are nearly 5 times more likely to use AI-assisted selling than their less successful colleagues. They also consistently rank AI and machine-learning capabilities like intelligent forecasting, lead prioritisation, and opportunity insights as having more potential impact.

Whatever your size and requirements, you can find the right CRM for your business on our website

Five ‘horrors’ that keep HR managers up at night

HR issues

At Halloween we open ourselves to the things that scare us most. For many of us, that means ghosts and spirits, but for managers HR issues are much more real. From the nightmares of payroll and timesheet management, to the monsters of compliance and talent management, their days are fraught with complex and time-consuming tasks.  

In this seasonal special, we look at the top five HR issues facing UK HR managers today. But to be sure that you don’t have a sleepless night, we’re also going to show how these horrors can be vanquished with the right choice of HR software in the UK. 

Payroll management

Keeping on top of the payroll can make even the bravest HR manager tremble in his boots. Using only manual processes, managing the ever-changing range of salaries, wages, bonuses and deductions that underpin every business becomes a hair-raising challenge. In fact, 40% of businesses now spend 80 or more hours per year on taxes, payroll, and working with accountants – time that could be better spent. 

However, thanks to automation software, you no longer have any reason to fear the payroll as an HR issue. Today’s software allow you to sit back and let the system take care of salary and wage management. Payroll Software can track time off, holiday accrual, benefits and retirement accounts to provide a complete package that firms can manage on their own. 

HR managers are increasingly aware of the benefits on offer with payroll software: according to our survey, 21% say it’s the main feature they are looking for in new HR software. 

Talent management

Another HR issue is how to accurately evaluate the work carried out by employees and ensure they are adequately rewarded and given tasks suited to their skills. With skills gaps emerging across many business functions this imperative is more pressing than ever: if you’re unable to manage your talent effectively you could see them march off to work with a competitor, leaving you understaffed in critical business functions.  Like Martine Robins, Director at HR Dept Woking and Guildford, comments: “the best way to avoid this is to be very clear about the skills and experience that you need in your business when you are looking to recruit.”

Companies with EU nationals as employees are also looking at software to help their EU employees ensure that all their  employment and residential status is uploaded to HR software when requesting settled status following Brexit –  due to happen later this month. Jules Wix, Apprenticeships and Talent Manager at Cambridge Spark comments that employees “can access any evidence needed quickly and as employers we have an overview of where our staff stand.”

Software can make talent management much more accurate, reliable and effective. Talent management software puts data at the heart of talent management and gives employers the digital tools they need to manage, evaluate, and compensate based on performance. Doing so improves the effectiveness of the workforce and provides useful insights into employee needs. 

Employee engagement

Closely related to talent management is the need for HR managers to keep employees engaged. When employees are not engaged by their work, they will be less productive and more likely to look elsewhere. According to one study, highly engaged teams are 21% more productive than those with low engagement. Conversely, disengaged employees are estimated to cost the UK £52-70 billion per year in lost productivity – and 70% of UK employees say they are disengaged. 

This is very scary stuff. Getting employee engagement wrong costs your business money, adversely affects employee experiences and makes winning the war for talent harder. But fear not – software is at hand. Employee engagement software can help you build awareness amongst employees of your corporate culture and its values (something that is becoming increasingly important to employees). What’s more, through employee surveys, gamification tools, team sentiment analytics, and many other applications, employee engagement software can help increase employee’s level of investment in the company. 

Jules Wix comments that the key to employee engagement is to use all the tools and platforms possible for effective communication and education, keeping the process transparent and relevant for all team members. Jules states that “once people can see and track their own holiday on the HR system, own and edit their own employee data in a GDPR compliant way and check the policies that impact them they feel safer and more comfortable in the knowledge that the company is focused on them.”

HR issues

Time Management

If your employees manage their time correctly and complete tasks efficiently, the business can improve margins. Good time management can also help your employees create the right work/life balance, thereby improving satisfaction and making it more likely they will stay with you. One study found that employees work 21% harder if they believe they have a good work life balance than those who don’t. 

However, without the ability to automate the tracking, storage and analysis of data around how employees spend their time, the dream of time management quickly turns into a nightmare. HR managers that rely on analogue timesheets face an ongoing horror-show of manual data collection and number crunching where errors are all too easy. 

It’s little wonder, therefore, that in a recent survey, 21% of HR managers said time tracking is one of the main features they look for in a software package. Known as ‘time clock’ or ‘timesheet’ software, there are a range of options on the market that can help you automate the tracking of employee attendance, scheduling, and holidays. 

Compliance 

The spectre of compliance is truly scary. One wrong move, and your business can find itself facing crippling fines and even legal action. 

Perhaps the scariest of compliance burdens is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to the personal data of employees as well as customers. Three quarters of HR managers have said has significantly impacted their business. 

But GDPR is just one of many regulations that HR managers have to help their business comply with, such as pay gap disclosure laws, National Living Wage payments and employment law obligations. HR managers can feel like they are spinning compliance plates, and that it will only be a matter of time before one or more come crashing to the ground.

Fortunately, the complexities of compliance can be overcome through software. Compliance software works by automating the processes by which internal controls and policies are monitored, ensuring that the standards required by the many HR regulations you need to follow are met. 

If you are an HR manager and are looking to get rid of the ghosts chasing you ahead of Halloween, visit our HR directory on Capterra to find out how software can be your best allied in fighting them.

PAWfect software: top picks for grooming salons

dog grooming software uk

One in two adults in the UK own a pet – and one in four of those are dogs. Dogs have an estimated population of 9.9 million in the UK; and that is a lot of flurry heads to wash a year!

dog grooming software uk

If you own a pet grooming salon you are probably used to handle all breeds and personalities. However, not all of the job is washing and brushing amazing dogs all day. Like in any other business, it’s vital to keep track of bookings, supplies, and other administrative tasks. Pet grooming software can streamline some of those tasks so you can focus on keeping your canine customers happy.

To make sure that you choose the best-suited dog grooming software for your business in the UK, we have selected the four most popular pet grooming software solutions in Capterra’s directory chosen by:

dog grooming software uk

Rated 4+ stars by users on Capterra.co.uk

dog grooming software uk

High search volume in the UK

dog grooming software uk

Offer product and customer support in the UK

BookSteam

Rate: 4.5 / 5

Ease of use: 4.5 / 5

Customer service: 5 / 5

Pricing: Starting at £17/month

Free trial: Yes

BookSteam

BookSteam offers four plans for users depending on the number of staff members that will use the software: Solo, Small, Medium and Large. Prices start at around £17/month for the Solo plan, increasing to £57/month for the Large subscription. For salons with more than 5 staff members the Medium option may be better suited.

BookSteam keeps all data within one dashboard, making it easy to access information quickly. The main dashboard includes features such as calendar management and analytics, where business owners can keep track of their calendar and generate sales reports. The program offers pet shop owners the ability to keep records and information on clients. Through the system, customers can also book appointments online and opt-in to receive SMS reminders.

Another feature to highlight is the integration with MailChimp. It enables subscribers to design email campaigns, send email newsletters, manage subscribers and track results.

BookStream offers a 14-day trial to try out the features. It allows customers to leave reviews and subscribers can also manage their social media profiles. 

dog grooming software ukOur take: If you are looking for a software that can add features to allow you to scale your business, this software is a good option for you, as it offers four plans that can adapt to your business’ needs depending on the growing stage.

MoeGo

Rate: 4.5 / 5

Ease of use: 4.5 / 5

Customer service: 5 / 5

Pricing: Free version

Free trial: Yes

MoeGo

MoeGo is a specialised software for pet grooming businesses. It offers separate plans for grooming salon and mobile grooming. 

Both options have a free model that includes one staff & one van (for mobile) as well as standard features such as unlimited pets and clients and up to 50 appointments per month. MoeGo offers online bookings through the website, apps and social media as it is cloud-based, allowing all the data to be updated and synced in one place.

For mobile groomers, it also offers the option to see the appointment address and calculates the best route fast to help save time. It also offers appointment reminder and the opportunity to communicate with customers via SMS to update them.

dog grooming software ukOur take: If you are looking for a solution for both salon and mobile grooming, this may be a good option for you. The software has dedicated features to help mobile groomers with appointments and customer communication as well as salon owners.

MyTime 

Rate: 4.5 / 5

Ease of use: 4.5 / 5

Customer service: 5 / 5

Pricing: Starting at £61/month (billed annually)

Free trial: Yes

MyTime

MyTime offers three plans for users depending on the needs of the business starting at £61 / month if paid annually: Scheduling, Growth and Premium.

The Scheduling plan offers features to allow users to manage bookings such as an online dog grooming booking system, SMS appointment confirmation, reporting and analytics, customer records and point-of-sale features. The Growth plan also incorporates more advanced features such as targeted email campaigns and promo codes.Finally, the Premium plan focuses on driving business success to its pet grooming clients. As well as offering all the features included with the Scheduling and Growth plans, the Premium plan also includes a dedicated reputation manager feature to track customer reviews.

Reviewers on Capterra note the ease of use of the tool that integrates all the relevant information in one place. Customers have an overview of the main features in one dashboard, where they can access the schedule, POS, client history and orders. They can also access a report where they can have an overview of client transactions and company revenue. 

dog grooming software ukOur take: MyTime offers an all-round software that would work well with the more established businesses looking to focus on customer marketing and reputation management.

Pawfinity

Rate: 4.5  / 5

Ease of use: 4.5 / 5

Customer service: 4.5 / 5

Pricing: Starting at £38/month 

Free trial: Yes

Pawfinity

Pawfinity offers software targeting pet groomers, kennels, and daycare service business to help them improve efficiency and enhance the overall client experience. 

Pawfinity offers three plans starting at £38/month: Stay & Play, aimed at kennels or pet sitting businesses; Groom & Train, aimed at pet grooming salons and the Royal package, aimed at all pet businesses.

The first two plans offer features tailored to the business profile. The Groom & Train plan includes specific features for pet salons such as grooming appointments as well as SMS notifications to avoid no-shows. As well as these, the plan also offers integration with Quickbooks (only available in the US and Canada at present), inventory, payroll, POS and client profiles.

Reviewers note the ease of use and the convenience of text messages to ensure that clients are reminded of their appointments and the mobile app, that allows them to book appointments faster and optimising their time to grow the business.

dog grooming software ukOur take: If you are looking for specialised software for your pet grooming business this is a good option as it offers tailored features that you can leverage to grow your business.

 

Finding the right software for your business can be almost as challenging as finding the right pet – you want to make sure that it’s going to be a long-term companion that you get on with! For more information, visit our pet grooming software list here to see all the available options for you.

5 Free POS Software To Help Retailers Prepare For Seasonal Peaks

Retailers prepare for seasonal sales with free POS software

Aussies love a bargain, and who doesn’t? Retailers have been quick to meet this trend, offering savvy shoppers plenty of ways to save money in their stores throughout the year. In this article, we highlight five free Point Of Sale (POS) software systems that retailers can use to prepare for seasonal sales.

Even with reports that consumer spending has dwindled, it’s expected that online shopping will reignite in the run-up to Christmas. News.com.au estimates that Australians spend 30 per cent more on retail purchases in December. For those in the mood for holiday cheer, it’s the perfect time for an annual shopping spree.

Despite originating in America, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have also become popular in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reinforced this trend in its Retail Trade Report; which revealed the year-on-year turnover for Australian retailers hit a record high in November 2018.

To help retailers prepare ahead of the peak shopping periods, we’ve selected five free POS software platforms. The platforms chosen were selected on the basis that they had:

  • At least 40 reviews with 4+ stars
  • An established market in Australia
  • A free product offering available to retailers.
Capterra chart for 5 free POS software solutions for retailers
5 free options of POS software systems, specifically for retailers in Australia.

Forever free POS software

Loyverse 

 

POS and inventory system of Loyverse
Screenshot of Loyverse POS software.

What is it: Loyverse enables retailers to manage their stores within one account. Users have the option to access it through iOS and Android devices, as well as desktops. Loyverse accepts different payment types; including cash, credit cards and cheques. 

Retailers can create discount codes or price modifiers and apply them to items or product lines. This is particularly helpful during the ‘silly season’ where prices are likely to change regularly. 

Pricing: Loyverse is free and includes the option to manage multiple stores. It also offers sales analytics, POS and inventory system.

What users liked: Capterra reviewers say that the customisable sales screen helps staff to work quickly and efficiently. The built-in Loyverse POS loyalty program aims to convert one-off, bargain-driven consumers to repeat customers. 

User recommended improvements: User reviews suggested that Loyverse requires a little more time to get used to because there are a lot of tools and features to navigate. Subscribers also advised that Loyverse would benefit from a more streamlined system for updating stock.

eHopper

 

eHopper interface screenshot
eHopper’s interface for retailers to manage products.

What is it: While eHopper mostly caters to the hospitality industry, this particular POS serves small retail businesses. It allows retailers to organise inventory, manage customers, and drive profits.

Pricing: The Essential package is free. The OmniChannel Package, which includes all features, costs AUD$79.99 per month. 

What users liked: Reviewers said that eHopper features, such as customer notes, help staff improve customer experience through a more tailored service. Customer information can also be pulled up instantly.

User recommended improvements: Some eHopper users have reported teething issues, such as integration and syncing challenges, during the setup period. However, customer service is quick to respond to problems so that stores can run at full-speed again.

Kounta 

Kounta point of sale setup survey.
Kounta’s setup interface for retail brands.

What is it: You may already have heard of Kounta through your friends in hospitality, but it also offers a free POS system to food retailers. 

Retailers can set up multiple sites and registers, add products and variations, set prices, manage taxes and surcharges, as well as link up printers and payment systems.

Pricing: Kounta offers three pricing options: Lite, Sell, Manage and Extend. The Lite plan is free forever, capped at ten sales per day. It includes all features so retailers can test out what they need. 

Once you’ve exceeded the capped daily sales, the Sell plan costs AUD$60 per site, the Manage plan is AUD$120 and Extend is AUD$180 per month. With each price plan, retailers get access to more features.

Each plan comes with an additional registration cost of AUD$40 per site. If you want to register more than five, it’s worth speaking to Kounta’s sales team about Enterprise pricing. 

What users liked: Users report that Kounta has an intuitive design, which helps with setup, and the product also offers deep customisation. If you do run into problems, the platform has a customer service team that is available 24/7. They assist with onboarding and setup and provide ongoing support.

User recommended improvements: Kounta users say reporting in close detail can be a little cumbersome. However, users also noted that Kounta regularly launches updates to the product, to improve usability and functionality.

POS Platforms that offer free trials:

Following the same methodology listed above, we’ve selected two POS systems that offer a free trial before purchase.

Vend POS 

Vend point of sale software system screenshots
Vend POS features for retailers.

What is it: Vend enables single and multi-store retailers to sell, track, and grow their business. 

Pricing: Free for 14 days, then AUD$139 per month thereafter. 

What users liked: Retailers praise Vend for its ease-of-use and comprehensive reporting abilities. It also functions with or without Internet access, which allows retailers to function as normal if they experience an outage. Those expanding into new locations can achieve this through the multi-store functionality.

User recommended improvements: Some reviewers find its integration with hardware and third-parties tricky. However, they also said that the customer support team are quick to respond.

Lightspeed POS 

Retail point of sale platform Lightspeed
Products for retail displayed within Lightspeed POS.

What is it: Lightspeed POS automates day-to-day tasks for retailers. It combines apparel management, catalogue management, retail management, and multi-channel eCommerce with a POS and inventory system.

Pricing: Lightspeed POS offers a free 14-day trial. After this, the most popular plan (Retail POS) starts at AUD$139 per month.

What users liked: Lightspeed POS allows for multiple store management in one system. Capterra users also say its simplicity makes it quick and easy to train new staff, which is especially useful for onboarding temporary hires over the Christmas season. 

User recommended improvements: Reviewers said that businesses that aren’t looking to scale up might not need all the features offered.

Are you looking for a POS and inventory system to boost sales for Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other peak shopping events? Check out Capterra’s infographic of most popular POS systems available today in Australia.

What is PSD2 and how will it affect my SME?

what is PSD2

what is PSD2

While the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took most of the headlines in 2018, a lesser-known piece of European legislation known as PSD2 (the Second Payment Services Directive) also came into force last year. 

Here, we will take a look at what PSD2 is, what it means for SMEs and how you could benefit from it.

What is PSD2?

PSD2 came into force in January 2016. However, members in the European Economic Area (EEA) states were only required to implement it into law in January 2018. 

PSD2 is intended to:

  • Increase competition in the financial services sector.
  • Protect consumers and businesses.
  • Increase the range and quality of services that financial services companies can offer with the goal of helping consumers and businesses make better financial choices.

Unlike GDPR, PSD2 does not directly affect most businesses. It mainly refers to financial institutions like banks and building societies, as well as payment service providers (PSPs) – companies that enable merchants to take payments via credit or debit cards and have that money transferred to their bank. If you’ve ever bought or sold something online, you’ll be familiar with PSPs like PayPal, Worldpay, Sage Pay, or Apple Pay.

Importantly, PSD2 lets bank account holders choose whether and how their banks share information with trusted third parties. Expect to see new companies offering services that help you analyse and manage your finances. This also means that merchants (online stores, for example) could take payments directly from your bank account rather than going through an intermediary PSP or card provider (like Visa or Mastercard).

Under PSD2, PSPs are required to implement stricter checks (known as strong customer authentication (SCA)) to certain transactions to reduce fraud. You may have seen these introduced by your card providers or banks in the past year when you shop online or use mobile banking. Although the deadline for SCA was set at 14 September 2019, an announcement from the European Banking Authority has given member states the freedom to extend their implementation periods in light of the technical complexities of implementing such checks.

How can PSD2 benefit my small business?

PSD2 enables payment service providers to develop new services to help consumers and small businesses. While these services are not specified in PSD2, the improved ability to exchange information makes several scenarios possible.

Better financial insight

Businesses that hold accounts with more than one financial institution could allow trusted third parties to access all their account data and present it on one screen with detailed insights into financial performance. 

The natural progression to this is integration of your business bank account data with other administrative systems. This could be your own accounting software, your e-commerce platform, your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Safer, simpler payments

PSD2 could be good news for small businesses that take payments from consumers online. Stronger authentication is set to lower the number of fraudulent transactions. According to UK Finance’s Fraud the Facts 2019 report, fraud losses on UK-issued cards reached £671.4 million in 2018. That’s 19% higher than the £565.4 million losses recorded in 2017.

Merchants could also reduce the cost of payments by routing them directly between a customer’s bank and their own. This would bypass traditional card and payment providers, who currently take a small percentage of a sale.

Do I need to do anything to comply with PSD2?

For most small businesses outside of the financial services industry, the answer is no. But you should be aware of SCA changes.

If you take online payments, you will need to ensure you have the appropriate controls in place to accept payments where the payer uses strong customer authentication (SCA). As mentioned above, the new deadline for SCA controls is still in the air. It’s a complex field, with governing authorities, media, PSPs and banks all offer advice. Barclaycard and Visa have both produced useful preparation guides. Merchants should investigate 3-D Secure 2.0 – a protocol that complies with SCA and one that many PSPs are already adopting. 

What are the risks?

While there are many benefits to PSD2 for SMEs, the main risk lies in the expansion in the pool of entities that could access to your company’s financial data. Third parties must be approved to operate in this area, and you must always give explicit and detailed consent about the data you’re willing to share, but PSD2 represents a fundamental shift in how we share financial information. Protecting your sensitive information is vital. 

UK finance has produced an FAQ guide covering PSD2 and its implications for data protection.

For a comprehensive overview of cybersecurity and authentication software to protect your business from online threats, visit our website. 

3 Best POS Systems For Restaurant Success In Australia

Choosing the best POS system to run a restaurant

It’s not only the daily operations that need to be considered when running a restaurant. There are also tasks such as inventory management, sales analytics and tax administration to think about. 

Managing these business aspects across multiple applications is enough to give anyone a headache. Fortunately, there are Point of Sale (POS) technologies available to bring these activities into one location. In this article, we explore the best POS systems, so that you can concentrate on the more delicious—sorry, we meant critical—activities involved with running a restaurant in Australia.

What is POS?

‘POS’ is an acronym for ‘Point of Sale’, which refers to the point at which a retail transaction is carried out. POS software is an application that processes the payment made by a customer to a merchant. However, POS platforms aren’t just for retailers.

Why do Restaurants need a POS system?

Restaurants also implement POS systems to manage and simplify activities, such as bookkeeping.

When you consider the number of cash and card transactions that pass through your business every day, it’s easy to see why this type of software is necessary. It streamlines business operations and makes for smoother customer experiences. Every penny of sales is tracked within the system, and communication between staff is simplified. 

A POS affords you more time to focus on other critical business areas, such as enhanced customer service and revenue growth.

Which are the best POS systems for restaurant success?

Below, we’ve listed three picks of POS software, based on them having:

  • At least 50 reviews with 4+ stars, as rated by Capterra users
  • A high search volume in Australia
  • An office located in Australia. 

1. Loyverse 

Loyverse POS point of sale transaction screen

Rating: 5/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Features: 4.5/5

Loyverse is a free POS app that serves small restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, coffee shops and street food stalls. It allows food and drinks operators to manage sales, loyalty programs, and inventory. 

Restaurant owners can:

  • Receive and manage orders with open tickets
  • Manage tables
  • Customise and organise the menu items
  • Send orders to the kitchen
  • Organise staff
  • Allow customers to split the bill
  • Send e-receipts directly to customers
  • Collect feedback, and
  • Make decisions based on visual analytics.

It has live customer support, a community board, and video tutorials which makes it one of the best POS systems on the market in terms of usability. Loyverse also enables restaurants to ask for feedback and send e-receipts directly to their customers.

It’s available on tablets and smartphone devices (iOS and Android). The system comes with a range of built-in reports, which can be exported for advanced analytics. 

Our take: Loyverse is suitable for businesses with one or multiple restaurants who are keen to increase customer retention, run loyalty programs and boost sales. It runs at its best when serving 10 tables or fewer.

2. Kounta Point of Sale 

Kounta restaurant POS systems screenshot

Rating: 4.5/5 

Ease of use: 4.5/5

Features: 4.5/5

Capterra reviewers said that Kounta allows for deep customisation, which drives staff productivity and enhances the customer experience. 

Restaurant owners have the ability to:

  • Build table layouts
  • Add products and variations to menus
  • Set prices
  • Manage taxes and surcharges, and
  • Link up payment systems and printers. 

It’s available on iPads, Androids, Macs, PCs (including legacy POS hardware) and smartphones. 

Kounta has different pricing options available, starting at AUD$60 per month.

Our take: Capterra reviewers reported that the back office system might take some extra work setting up. However, if you are looking for a highly customisable POS that integrates with software you already use, it’s worth looking into Kounta. It connects with a wide selection of add-ons, such as Xero, ActiveCampaign and Ximble. Take a look at what you’re using and see if any of your apps integrate with Kounta. 

3. Square for Restaurants

Screenshot of Square POS table layout feature
Image Credits: TechCrunch

Rating: 4.5/5

Ease of use: 4.5/5

Features: 4.5/5

The app caters to just about every employee in a restaurant: bartenders, waiters, chefs, and pot washers. The front end allows servers to take orders and submit them to the kitchen without the need to follow several, unnecessary steps. 

It enables restaurants to: 

  • Track sales across multiple payment types (including cash payments)
  • Print kitchen tickets and receipts
  • Set up menus and add item modifiers
  • Manage orders with features, such as open tickets and split tender
  • See deposits in their bank account within days.

The POS app for Square is free to use. However, if you need to add hardware into the mix you’ll pay a one-off fee for it. Prices range from AUD$59 to AUD$439. 

Our take: Square for Restaurants is intended for people who don’t have much experience with applications. It is designed to be ready to use as soon as it arrives, and so little effort is needed for setup. There are cheaper options, but they may not match Square in terms of support and guidance. Square offers a knowledge portal, a community forum, blog posts and a support centre.

So, which is the best POS system?

No matter what restaurant POS system you select, it will likely have a significant impact on the everyday running of your eatery. If you’re interested in learning more about Restaurant POS tools, there is a full list of user-reviewed options on Capterra.com.au.

User Study: Online reviews trusted more than peer opinions in the UK

how to choose the right software

“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” said Warren Buffet, CEO of the American corporation Berkshire Hathaway. And in today’s digital world where everything is instantly online – good and bad – his quote is relevant more than ever. 

The rise of online reviews allows customers to leave their opinions of your business almost in real time. But why has online reputation become so important? Reputation has always been critical for the success of a business. In the days before the internet, customers were the ones spreading the word by telling friends and family their opinion about the business, and their opinions would eventually make their way back to the business. 

how to choose the right software

Capterra interviewed 299 businesses in the UK to find out the importance of online reviews. The results of the study revealed that 62% of people prefer to consult the opinions of other buyers rather than listen to experts or recommendations from acquaintances before deciding on buying a product. 

The ideal review for UK customers

If we had to imagine the perfect review for UK customers drawn from the results it would look like this:

  • Positive: Results showed that positive reviews (57%) are more trusted than negative ones (43%). 
  • Number of reviews: 5-20 is the ideal number of reviews that a product requires in order to be trusted by customers (46%).
  • In this case, less is less: Only 7% of respondents would trust a product with less than 5 reviews.
  • Fresh reviews preferred: A third of respondents (30%) prefer reviews that are not older than 3 months.
  • Reviews over ratings preferred: 75% of respondents would trust a less rated product with higher number of reviews.

how to choose the right software

Respondents in the UK trust online reviews more than experts’ opinion

84% of respondents consider that is very good that customers can leave their opinion online. In addition, 53% of respondents always read online reviews about a product/service before buying a product, and 40% often before making a decision. Only 2% rarely read a review before making a decision.

how to choose the right software

62% of respondents trust online reviews more than expert’s opinion when looking for trusted opinions on the web. Only 11% of respondents would consider expert opinions before making a purchasing decision. And, as Dr. Alex Fenton states: “Word of mouth now extends to electronic word of mouth where customers will often be strongly influenced by reviews of people they do not know.” 

how to choose the right software

This result may not come as a surprise. If you think about it, online reviews are trusted more because they come from real users in that specific industry that have used the product. That does not mean that the expert’s opinion is not valued, but in the end is the user’s review that people value most.

Satisfaction is the main motivation to leave reviews

Over half of respondents (56%) leave a review often and when asked for the reason why they write reviews, respondents stated that they wanted to help other customers before they buy the product (37%) and show satisfaction (35%). 19% stated that they leave reviews to show their dissatisfaction and only 8% wanted to give feedback to the manufacturer about the product.

how to choose the right software

In the UK, users leave reviews if they are satisfied with a service so other users can see that the product or service they are looking to buy or try is worthy. However, despite the percentage of customers showing their dissatisfaction being lower (19%) than the satisfied ones, it’s also common in the UK to find reviews from customers that weren’t happy with the service as a way to complain and make future customers aware. The most important characteristic of a review for respondents is the comments in text form (70%) followed by rating of the product (16%) and number of reviews (11%).

how to choose the right software

Software, one of the least reviewed items online

The results of the survey showed that electric items (24%), food (20%) and clothing (15%) are the three most reviewed items online by customers. Only 4% of respondents had reviewed software in the past. 

This could mean that many users are not aware of software comparison platforms. When asked about what platforms respondents consider to be the most trusted for reviews over half of them (55%) stated Amazon and industry-related rating platforms such as Tripadvisor or Trivago. Despite this, 42% of respondents consider reviews very important when buying software.

Companies not dealing with reviews

When asked about how important is for the company to respond to reviews, respondents stated that they would have wanted a response from the company (39%), while 48% are not interested in having a response from the company. 

how to choose the right software

Nearly half (40%) of respondents state never having received a response from the company following a review from one of their products and 61% has never had a reaction from the company following a customer rating. 

Companies are missing an opportunity to engage with their customers. By answering their reviews (positive and negative ones), they are acknowledging the customer’s voice, making them feel part of the company. A study by Harvard Business Review that analysed how Tripadvisor and Expedia were answering reviews on hotels found that a third of the hotels studied increased their ratings by half a star in six months from the first management response.

Our study found that 92% of companies are not using software to evaluate online customer reviews. Investing in a  review management software can help you collect reviews, respond to negative feedback and improve customer perception of the product or service that the business offers, leading to an increase in reputation and sales.

As Warren Buffet said, reputation is hard to gain and easily lost but with the right software by your side you can minimise the effects of bad reviews and turn them into positive reviews!

Methodology of the study

To collect the data for this report, we conducted an online survey. The answers come from a sample of the target market UK. The survey was completed by 299 participants who qualified to complete the survey through screening questions out of a total of 325 participants in August 2019. Qualified participants are employed (full-time, part-time or self-employed), work in a small to medium sized enterprise (1-250 employees).

User Study: 43% of SMEs in the UK use HR software

HR-software

How do small businesses in the UK handle their HR? Do they use spreadsheets, notebooks or Google Calendar? In today’s fast world where time is money, it’s important for companies to invest in the right software that will help reduce time and money by speeding up processes and reducing errors.

HR-software

Gartner defines HR software as: “Business applications for the management of HR-related transactions, best practices and enterprise reporting. Functions typically include core HR tracking, payroll and benefits. The scope is often extended to include recruiting, competency management, training, time management, performance management and self-service offerings.”

We conducted a survey amongst British SMEs to understand how they are using HR software, below are the most relevant results.

Highlights of the study

  • Almost half (45%) of British SMEs in the education, financial and IT sectors in the UK don’t use HR software.
  • Price (24%) is the main factor stopping businesses from implementing HR software.
  • 44% are interested in investing in new HR software or update the current one they have.

hr software for small businesses uk

43% of SMEs in the UK use HR software

The results of the survey show that almost half of British SMEs (43%) are investing in HR software. This is a significantly large result compared to the CRM adoption, with only 31% of SMEs having a CRM solution in place.

The results also show a divide almost equal between companies that are using HR Software, with 45% of them currently not using any HR software.

hr software for small businesses uk

We wanted to know how midsize British businesses were tracking their employees so we conducted a survey of 282 of businesses in the UK: Results showed that only half have a system in place. But what are the reasons for not adopting a HR software?

Price stopping businesses from implementing HR systems 

When asked about the reasons that are stopping them from implementing HR software, respondents stated that price being too high (24%) was the main one. There is a misconception around small businesses that HR software can’t help them manage their staff and that it’s an unnecessary expense. However, as their business grows, they’ll need support to manage all the growing number of staff and the increasingly complicated HR processes that come with a larger company.

hr software for small businesses uk

Almost half of SMEs are interested in HR software

Despite the concerns listed above by businesses when looking to implement HR software, almost half of SMEs are looking to implement a system for the first time (23%) or are currently using one and looking to change it (21%) for another more suited to their needs.

hr software for small businesses uk

It’s important to note that once companies have tried a software solution, they are more likely to want to stay with software rather than moving back to manual methods or spreadsheets. Companies that are looking to implement software for the first time should look at less feature-heavy solutions to start with, and add tailored features as the business grows. 

Most HR software  vendors offer free trials and demos where you can try their features to see if it’s a good fit for your company.

Companies looking would mostly consider a free software

Almost half of businesses (40%) would only consider free software and a third (30%) less than £10 per month. 16% of respondents would be willing to spend up to £50 and 5% up to a £100.

hr software for small businesses uk

Most vendors on the market offer entry level, free software that has basic features. However, as your business grows, you may need a more comprehensive system. Most vendors offer different pricing plans that start a low cost with limited features and move up to pricier plans that include complex features. 

Users want payroll and time tracking

We found a clear relation on the challenges that companies are facing and the solutions they are looking for. When asked about the biggest challenges that HR departments are facing, managing payrolls (21%) and tracking productivity (26%) came up as the two main ones.  

hr software for small businesses uk

When we asked what features from an HR software that companies would be most willing to invest in, respondents indicated that managing payrolls (21%) and tracking workers’ time and holidays (21%). 

hr software for small businesses uk

Other features include tracking travel and expenses (10%), manage the workforce (8%), regulating health insurance and other benefits (8%),  the applicant recruitment and application process (7%), scheduling shifts (7%), tracking productivity (6%), and other (4%).

Payrolls and recruitment: The two most outsourced features from HR departments

The results of the survey showed that 81% of SMEs handle their HR inhouse and only 14% use and external company to help them manage their payrolls. Only 5% of them use an external consultancy or headhunter to help them with recruitment.

If you are interested in learning more about HR software options in the UK, visit our full HR software directory on Capterra UK.

Methodology of the study

To collect the data for this report, we conducted an online survey. The answers come from a sample of the target market UK. The survey was completed by 282 participants who qualified to complete the survey through screening questions out of a total of 289 participants in August 2019. Qualified participants are employed (full-time, part-time or self-employed), work in a small to medium sized enterprise (1-250 employees).

CRM Integration: 3 Problems It Solves For Sales Teams

CRM integration optimises the sales funnel

Customer relationships are pivotal to the growth of any company—which is why salespeople work so hard to develop them. In this article, we highlight three business problems that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration solves for salespeople.

If you’re in sales, you may already recognise the multitude of benefits CRM software can bring to a business. Well, you’re not alone. 

The CRM industry is growing at a staggering rate. According to Salesforce, it is now the top priority for technology budget allocation for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). The study demonstrates that SMEs in Australia no longer consider CRMs to be only suitable for larger enterprises. Companies of all sizes can use it to optimise and propel their business forward towards organisational goals.

Using your CRM to save time and money may be appealing, but it can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. In this article, we’ll help give you a head start by covering the basics of CRM integrations, and the types of problems a CRM integration can solve.

What is CRM?

A CRM—otherwise known as customer relationship management — enables businesses to operate more efficiently and boost sales. It works by storing all customer data and prospects in one place. Staff can schedule appointments and make calls using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), develop customer relationships via email, track engagement, log interactions, make notes, manage pipelines, and generate detailed reports.

What is CRM Integration?

CRM integration’s most basic purpose is to host all customer data within a shared viewpoint with lead scoring functionality. Many CRMs also integrate with your internal communications platform, website, blog, marketing automation software, document storage and email. It can plug in billing apps and social media networks too. 

Through CRM integration, sales professionals can pinpoint exactly where leads come from and how they have interacted with their site, brand, and other members of staff. In turn, staff can avoid a lot of problems that come with manual customer relationship management.

What problems does CRM solve?

Now that you understand the core benefits of CRM, let’s take a deeper look at three specific problems that CRM can resolve. 

1. Missed sales opportunities

Customers are your most valuable asset within a company. But poor pipeline management stagnates sales, drains funds, and potential clients slip through your fingers.

The most basic function of CRMs, such as Zendesk Sell, is to provide sales funnel visibility in one interface. Having a way to visualise pipelines makes it easier for staff to prioritise and pick out quality prospects. 

Applying Zendesk Sell to improve pipeline visibility

Mundane, manual tasks become automated while your team can be more productive with their timeーwhich means more time to carry out call-preparation and create a tailored pitch.

2. Ineffective Internal Communications

When employees and departments don’t communicate with each other, it harms performance across the business and provides a poor experience for customers.

If your customers have to regurgitate the same information to different members of staff, your organisation will appear sloppy and inefficient. Ultimately, your prospective purchaser could get frustrated and leave. 

CRM’s store customer information in a central location. The information includes a customer’s professional or personal details, to historical conversations they’ve had with your company. It’s available to team members (based on their permission level). It also displays notes, previous appointments, and a list of prior deals or purchases. 

Monday.com, for example, is a visual tool that allows teams to centralise communication. Leads are captured through forms that are embedded into your website, and the information is automatically added to your sales team’s pipeline. It’s cloud-based, which means employees with access to the internet can use it when remote, and it integrates with business tools frequently found in SMEs (such as Dropbox, Slack, Trello and Zapier). 

 

Utilising Monday.com to solve sales CRM problems

Monday.com offers an initial free 14-day trial (no credit card details required). After that, businesses can pay as little as AUS$29 per month for up to five users.

3. Poor Data Visibility

Self-reflection is crucial for any small business with ambitious growth plans. Yet without access to analytics, it’s difficult to make decisions based on captured data. CRM’s, such as Oracle’s NetSuite, provide reporting tools which allow teams to get insights into their customers and their purchasing habits.

 

CRM integration with Netsuite Oracle

 

Detailed analytics enable companies to anticipate their customers’ behaviour and needs better so that they can suitably adapt. It provides your team with an enhanced overview of their client portfolio, which empowers them to upsell, cross-sell and renew business contracts with greater ease. 

The business landscape is as complex and competitive as ever. A CRM can help simplify it by presenting and organising customer data for your sales team. Beyond this, it allows sales teams to keep up with the fast-paced demands, so they can react to the most promising opportunities and close more deals. 

Ready to optimise your pipeline and improve efficiencies? Visit our catalogue of CRM solutions today to empower your sales department.