Client Success Story

Custom Automation: A Consulting Firm’s Trade Secret

A standout Australian technology training firm expanded its client base in trades and construction and increased productivity by 30% by applying Accelo’s smart automations throughout the customer lifecycle.

Background

“Lose the Paperwork, Find the Time.”

That’s the slogan at TradiePad, a unique cloud consulting firm serving those in trades and construction to transition their operations to mobile technology.

TradiePad was founded back in 2011 by two Australian tradesmen, Clinton Cowin and David Robbins, who were fed up with the amount of paperwork that came with running a plumbing business.

“We proved you could get rid of all your job cards, invoicing books and diaries, and we could get that all running paperlessly on iPads — which had absolutely changed our lives,” says Clinton.

After seeing how technology transformed their plumbing business, they decided to start TradiePad to help free other tradespeople from the burden of paperwork and inspire them to run more productive businesses.

Challenges

While Clinton felt pretty savvy applying technology to the trades, he knew running a consulting business meant he’d have different needs. He shopped around for business management software and decided to try Salesforce. The rough plan was to start using it for sales and eventually stretch it to work for operations and client work. 

Unfortunately, the plan didn’t pan out. Clinton describes the popular platform as “fragmented” and says it made TradiePad’s processes feel messy.

“This was a huge learning experience for us. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time, but it needed to be built and customized in order to do what we needed it to do,” Clinton explains. “And that wasn't something we could accomplish ourselves. So, then we needed a Salesforce consultant to come in, and that just made it a very drawn-out and expensive process.”

It was time to search for a more flexible platform.

Solution

In 2014, Clinton discovered Accelo and was intrigued by its ability to nurture client relationships in a way that no other platform could.

Initially, I needed Accelo as a ticketing solution, but then I realized it could do all the things that Salesforce could do (and more) — it was comprehensive.
Clinton Cowin, Managing Director

The TradiePad team opted for self-implementation and got a bit of guidance from Accelo’s Professional Services team to clarify specific components of their workflows, including triggers and progressions. They used these features to set up automated internal notifications, which saved time because assignees could immediately start on a new task once a dependent task had been completed. Even more significant to upholding the firm’s client-focused core values, they also automated customer communications and connected their email client to Accelo to display the history on each client’s account via the Activity Stream.

“We would fire off triggers when clients hadn’t been contacted over a certain period of time and then convert their responses into support tickets so that we could stay on top of client issues and never miss a thing,” Clinton says.

He describes the platform’s automation capacity as one of his favorite things because it’s so logical. Accelo was easy for his team to pick up because “it just works.” Visibility and efficiency have improved in every area of the business thanks to this innate logic, which is particularly apparent in Accelo’s time-tracking features.

“Time tracking is a critical piece of everybody’s day. It’s been huge for us for getting visibility on project costs and efficiency, plus reporting on quoted vs. actual time spent on our projects,” Clinton explains. “Because it’s so easy to log time against a project, sale or task, it’s really straightforward and intuitive for recording time accurately.”

Scott Simpson, General Manager and Sales Manager, is a key driver of that efficiency. He prevents scope creep by monitoring the time the team spends on each project. Scott also oversees communications among the sales team and helps close deals via a technical sales process that Accelo helps automate.

Those sales are then converted into projects at the click of a button. The Projects product helps the team manage blocks of ongoing training hours for TradiePad’s many subscription clients. 

Once a project has been completed and it’s time to bill, in steps Anton Sam, Finance Manager. He creates invoices from project data — which feed into Xero — and bills for subscriptions. Then, he reviews Accelo’s project and client profitability reports to keep the business aligned with its financial goals.

Results

By streamlining client communication and workflows in Accelo, TradiePad has seen a 30% increase in productivity.

This has been possible in part because the team spends a lot less time tracking down critical client information. They’ve got all the data they need in a single client record.

“Prior to Accelo, we’d have to make phone calls or chase up a project manager just to get the answers we needed,” Clinton points out. “But now, when a support ticket comes through, our customer service team can easily view all of their communication history, and that alone has streamlined the entire support process.”

What began as a side project for a couple of Aussie plumbers in 2011 has flourished into a team of 13 tech-savvy tradespeople with thousands of clients across Australia and New Zealand. Clinton believes this trajectory wouldn’t have been possible without Accelo — and he knows there’s even more growth to come.

There are some exciting developments in the works for TradiePad. They’ll soon recruit their first in-house marketing specialist.

“Marketing is a huge piece of our puzzle over the next twelve months, and the customer data we’ve gathered in Accelo is going to be absolutely crucial for that person to understand our ideal client.”

Clinton also looks forward to diving into business intelligence more fully using Accelo’s robust data because, he says, “We know we’ve got some awesome data in Accelo and we’re currently underutilizing its reporting power.”

 

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