Service management software is one of the most important tools a contractor can put in place at his or her company. It helps “where the rubber meets the road” — when all the efforts of the office staff come together with the efforts of the field teams in the service of the company’s customers.
Here’s a look at some of the latest service management software that can help increase a contracting company’s productivity and professionalism and help contractors provide more value than ever to their customers.
CREATE CUSTOMIZABLE PORTALS
The FMAnywhere service management web portal from Data-Basics is a customizable tool designed to provide a secure and easy way for customers to submit a new service request, review past service requests and invoices, accept a quote, and more. Data-Basics says FMAnywhere allows customers to act as their own project managers with reporting that includes more than 35 analytics, data storage, and 24/7 on-demand access to their service histories. The software also incorporates a variety of automated features to help HVAC businesses handle increasing service volume.
Data-Basics states FMAnywhere transforms business management technology into an exclusive additional service to customers, which allows unique and customized portals to be made for individual customers, which can then be linked or embedded into contractors’ websites. All information is auto-synced with Data-Basics’ SAMPro Enterprise ERP (enterprise resource planning), which Data-Basics claims ensures real-time delivery of data 24/7 to both contractors and customers.
Grace Krupa, customer support manager, service division, Worth & Co. Inc., a commercial HVAC contractor with locations in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, and New Castle, Delaware, said the company went live with Data-Basics’ service package in April 2014, and added FMAnywhere in the fall of 2015. She said FMAnywhere represents a major added value for customers.
“FMAnywhere is a huge information resource for our clients and that sets us apart from our competitors,” Krupa told The NEWS. “Once you set up an FMAnywhere platform for clients, they can examine, at their convenience, what they’ve been spending on each piece of equipment and decide if it’s time to replace it, see if there are any quotes pending, and place service calls. It’s a great tool for our clients that nobody else seems to offer.”
Customers particularly like being able to examine the service history of their equipment and place service calls whenever they like.
“We customize the fields for our customers so they can identify what piece of equipment they’d like us to look at and who the contact should be. That information is then fed directly to our back office,” she said. “Customers really love the access to their equipment histories. They don’t have to stop and have us run reports because they can go in on their own and look up the data we’ve made available to them.”
Krupa said she particularly appreciates the paperless aspect of the software as she had worked in the past at a company that used a cumbersome three-part-form carbon-copy system. She added that FMAnywhere is very user-friendly.
“It’s a competitive advantage,” she said. “The reporting capabilities of this software are apart from any other software I’ve ever worked with. If I went to another contractor and they weren’t on this, I would wave the flag until they were, because this definitely sets you apart.”
KNOW YOUR COMPANY INSIDE AND OUT
FieldEdge by dESCO is service management software designed to run an entire home-service company. According to dESCO, it combines a 36-year history with the latest technology to create a powerful yet easy-to-use system that is accessible from anywhere and updated in real time.
For HVAC technicians, FieldEdge’s mobile app provides access to work orders, tasks, services, and materials on the go. The app also features a fully customizable pricebook designed to help techs present good-better-best options to customers and drive additional revenue.
For office staff, FieldEdge’s dispatch board suggests who should be assigned a work order based on each technician’s skill set and expected location at the time of job. The drag-and-drop scheduling feature simplifies taking calls and looking up customer histories. FieldEdge also is designed to help streamline and automate the billing process with Quickbooks integration.
For owners, FieldEdge is designed to provide quick and easy visibility into all aspects of their businesses. An intuitive dashboard highlights opportunities for additional revenue, gives insight into the performance of technicians and dispatchers, and shows the profitability of marketing efforts.
Matthew Zimmerman is the manager of Island Aire of SW Florida, a residential and light commercial contractor whose nine Florida locations are headquartered in Fort Myers.
Zimmerman’s company has used dESCO’s FieldEdge software for about a year, and he said he appreciates its time-saving functionality from a maintenance scheduling and staffing perspective.
“A big selling point for me is its ability to automate maintenance phone calls so our staff doesn’t have to sit around calling people all day,” he said. “That cuts down on staffing hours and allows staff to focus on more important tasks.”
Zimmerman also praised FieldEdge’s management features.
“It’s very customizable as far as tasking and understanding the skill sets of your people,” he said. “It can help you identify who’s excelling in one area, and who might be declining in another area. You want to be able to train and assist your people in the areas in which they need it.
“For example, if a new customer calls in and your dispatcher isn’t properly closing the service call or suggesting a maintenance agreement, you want to be able to work to help that person improve,” Zimmerman said. “FieldEdge has the tools that allow you to do that.”
Customers, he added, like the software’s professionalism and presentation functions.
“FieldEdge builds clean and easy-to-read invoices on the spot,” Zimmerman explained. “It features nice presentation tools that allow your salespeople or technicians to show customers pictures of parts and equipment and a list of recommendations and options. It also offers customers the ability to pay without having to take a credit card and write it on an invoice. That is a very popular feature in this era of identity theft. Customers definitely appreciate that kind of professionalism.”
PAPERLESS AND PROFESSIONAL
mHelpDesk says its field service software was designed and built based on feedback from service professionals. Today, more than 14,000 service professionals use mHelpDesk to streamline important business activities from managing customer information and scheduling teams to sending invoices and payment processing. According to mHelpDesk, the software is a world-class mobile office manager with first-rate new customer onboarding, in-house expert support, and integration with QuickBooks and Google Calendar. The software’s mobile app features true offline-mode functionality, which allows field techs to continue critical tasks even in areas with no data or cellphone reception. The goal, mHelpDesk reps said, is to remove the hassles of manual office work so that service professionals can focus on their craft and their customers.
June Harms, office manager, Larry’s Refrigeration & Heating, Ortonville, Minnesota, said the company, which does residential, commercial, and commercial refrigeration work, has been using mHelpDesk’s software for about 18 months.
“We really like that it allows us to be paperless,” Harms said. “We used to be constantly trying to track down missing pieces of paper. Now, it’s all electronic. We can assign jobs to the techs out in the field, they can fill out all the information on their tablets or phones, and we can see it here in the office.”
Harms said the mHelpDesk software is easy and intuitive to use, has a good search function, and is customizable for any HVACR business.
“It makes the office more efficient,” she said. “Many times our techs are out in the field and don’t make it back at the end of the day. Before we started using this system, the dispatcher wouldn’t always know which jobs were completed and which ones we had to go back to the next day. Now, we can see the status of all jobs, which helps us serve our customers better.”
She added that customers appreciate the company’s professionalism.
“If a customer calls and says, ‘Your guys were here yesterday. Can you tell me, what did they do?’ we can just pop right into their accounts and check immediately. We don’t have to say, ‘I’ll call you back after I track down a piece of paper,’” Harms said.
MOBILITY AND VERSATILITY
ServiceTitan is a mobile, cloud-based software platform designed to help home-service HVAC, plumbing, and electrical companies streamline operations, improve customer service, and grow their businesses. ServiceTitan’s end-to-end solution for the residential home-services industry includes CRM, intelligent dispatch, comprehensive reporting, marketing management tools, mobile solution for field techs, and QuickBooks integration. ServiceTitan states its software brings a fully operational modern SaaS (software as a service) infrastructure to the home-services industry.
“I love the mobile aspect of Service Titan,” said Chris Hunter, president of Hunter Heat & Air, a residential and light commercial contracting firm with four locations in Oklahoma and one in Texas. “I can be anywhere in the world, pull out my cellphone, and see not only what every department has done in each our multiple locations, but also what each of our individual technicians have done and if they’re meeting the key performance indicators we set for them.”
From an office standpoint, Hunter said ServiceTitan has saved the company a tremendous amount of labor on its maintenance agreements, which is important at a company with nearly 1,800 agreements.
“ServiceTitan’s maintenance agreement module makes the process seamless,” Hunter said. “When a technician sells an agreement in the field, the module automatically sets up the service and schedules the autodraft of the customer’s credit card each month. We’ve basically eliminated the need for one of our people to be tied up with setting up and monitoring all the maintenance agreements.”
The maintenance agreement module also helped the company easily identify customers who don’t have maintenance agreements, which allowed the company to more than double its agreement base in just over one year.
“We were stuck forever at about 700 [maintenance agreements],” Hunter said. “We could never get over that wall. Now, we’re close to 1,800. The tools and technology that are out there have helped make our lives easier.”
Hunter Heat & Air’s customers appreciate receiving emails with their technicians’ photos and bios as well as a text reminder about their appointments, Hunter added. They also love the fact that everything the company does is well documented. From the incoming phone call on, ServiceTitan logs an audit trail on each job. This allows technicians to better serve customers because they can see what was done at the home the last time as well as examine any specific notes about the system or the customer.
“When they get there, they’re prepared,” Hunter noted.
He added that as a member of the Service Nation Alliance, ServiceTitan makes it easy to gather the data that is input into the company’s dashboard and shared with other members.
“I can get all those numbers instantly and easily,” Hunter said. “ServiceTitan has saved me a lot of time and, as we all know, time is a precious commodity.”
Publication date: 1/9/2017