What It Takes to Build a One-Stop Shop to Support Service Companies Online You can figure out how to be everything your customers need, but you have to know what questions to ask and how to listen to the answers.

By Fady

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When you think of Amazon, the descriptor that likely comes to mind is "one-stop shop." Customers can get just about anything they need on the platform, true to Jeff Bezos' vision. The idea of meeting many, if not all, of a consumer's needs isn't exclusive to the retail industry, though. As service providers follow retailers online over the next decade, software developers can create analogous digital marketplaces that address the everyday operational needs of service organizations.

Companies succeed when they design their software to work for the businesses, rather than for the businesses to work within the software. Every component should be designed to solve the real-life problems its users have, such as complicated billing processes, contactless check-ins and booking. Most importantly, companies should listen to their clients and let them determine what the product should look like.

Related: How to Maintain a Relationship With Your Customers by Learning What They Need

Experiencing client pain points

As you develop the software behind your platform, talk with people in the industry to learn what functions the technology needs to have. Those interactions and efforts will show you what your potential clients want and need.

Of course, there are limits to how you can help your clients. You can't provide their rent or pay their electricity — but you can offer everything else they need to help them do that for themselves. If you never abandon this goal and continue to invite feedback to add additional functions to your software in response to changes in market demands and technologies, your customers will stay with you for the long haul.

Related: 3 Ways to Connect With Your Customers and Improve Their Experience

Small inconveniences can spell big trouble for everyone

No matter what service a client offers, it's almost inevitable for them to encounter small inconveniences in their work that create friction and slowdown. Many clients learn to put up with these problems, because they initially don't have good solutions to eliminate them. But this often means they end up working harder and spending more than necessary, and in the end, what initially seemed like a minor problem can create massive systemic consequences or additional hurdles.

This needs to be at the front of your mind as you build your platform. Help your customers to stop putting up with difficulties and give them a way to smooth out all of the annoying little kinks they are dealing with. But we understand that pain points have their own unique footprint. What one business has to deal with might not be at all what another business goes through. Spend time with many clients to try to understand not only the broad support your technologies need to offer, but also the ways you can try to respond to individual facilities through customization and a-la-carte packages.

As you develop your own one-stop shop, the idea that every industry has its own problems and each individual company its own distinct needs, must remain at the fore. Ask yourself "What are my clients running up against regularly?" and "What does their day usually look like?" You can also look at it in terms of "What tasks can we take off the client's plate through technology to help them fulfill their potential?" Through those direct interactions, you'll gain a picture of how to pull the different functions together. There's no substitute for this type of direct research.

Hands-on customer service is the core of your best product

Don't be afraid to take a very hands-on approach. If you need to, act as your own customer service department, personally fielding complaints from users. This work can help you become even more personally committed to resolving problems. Refuse to distance yourself from the nitty-gritty, because you can't serve your clients if you don't really know what they feel every day.

When you review new options and designs, always look through the client's eyes and parse out how to make a good solution a reality. The more you can be on the front lines through development, and the more you can engage with the people you're building for, the better your one-stop shop will be, because every interaction grows your empathy for the people who need you.

Related: The Rippling Effects of Quality Customer Service

Evolve your one-stop shop with lots of new questions

Service companies have all kinds of tedious tasks to confront that can make work less efficient and harder to enjoy. But computers were designed to confront those tedious tasks head-on. Helping providers manage them for smoother operations is possible with creative, client-led development. What's more is, you can put the many kinds of support they need in one place. It's simply a matter of being willing to take the time to figure out the unique pain points in front of you and being willing to walk alongside your client in a humble way. Once you connect with the people who provide the services, keep asking questions to evolve and ensure the one-stop shop continues to deliver in relevant ways.


Founder and CEO of Vagaro

Fady "Fred" Helou uses creative solutions to solve common problems and has built Vagaro into a business that helps more than 150,000 service providers annually.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics


The Coolest Way to Commute Is Less Expensive Than Ever

Gift yourself a better commute with $1,500 off this eBike.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2023.

Thought Leaders

6 Tips From a Clean Beauty Entrepreneur

Sarah Biggers went from a newbie in the natural beauty space to a pro in just a few years. Here are six things she wishes she'd known at the beginning.


How to Start a 'Million Dollar' Morning Routine

Restructure your morning with a few simple steps that may help to amplify your energy.

Money & Finance

Want to Become a Millionaire? Follow Warren Buffett's 4 Rules.

Too many entrepreneurs are counting too heavily on a company exit for their eventual 'win.' Do this instead.