“The room for much more technological change is certainly there, and the possibilities are limitless.”
- Adi Azaria
CEO, Workiz Inc.

Can artificial intelligence (AI) change communications between HVAC contractors and their customers?

The folks at Workiz Inc. say it already has.

The AI features in communications software, such as voice-to-text and message-flagging, have made for faster, easier customer-contractor communications that are also more personalized and have less room for misunderstanding, according to Adi Azaria, the CEO at Workiz, a San Diego-based company that provides software for field-service businesses.

“Working with HVAC contractors has become a much more streamlined, pleasant experience in recent years, all thanks to the introduction of products such as Workiz,” said Azaria. “Customers can now communicate with their HVAC contractors quickly and easily, and receive feedback and advice in a timely manner.”

Such AI-assisted communications are available around the clock, consistent, and faster, factors that build trust with customers, added Azaria, who has previous field-service experience as the owner of a locksmith business.

“In our industry, it (AI) has increased the speed of conversations with clients,” said Melissa Carvajal Perez, operations manager at Carvajal AC Mechanical Corp., an HVAC contracting business in Miami that uses a Workiz platform. “This helped us increase by 10% in new clients, being able to provide customers with reminders, follow-up, and automatic messaging. It has saved our team a large amount of time.”

Before AI, Perez said, her business would typically respond to messages within 24 hours. With AI, she said, customers “get answers and (get) scheduled immediately.”

Carvajal, Perez said, uses Workiz AI features that include automatic reminders and SMS (short message service). “The automatic reminders keep our clients in the loop of when a service is scheduled, who is going to provide that service, and when the invoice is due,” she said. “SMS makes communication, with estimates and questions, clear for clients to understand what we provide.”

Even AI features not directly related to communication, Azaria said, support improved customer-contractor communications. For example, the Workiz mobile inventory function allows a dispatcher to confirm that a technician has a specific part or piece of equipment on the truck before sending that tech to a job site where that component or unit is needed. That helps “prevent the risk of unmet expectations” and friction with the customer that occurs when a technician has to take time out for a parts run, Azaria said.

Technicians are assisted, too, in their communications back to the contractor, Azaria said, with features like Workiz Automation, which automatically enters data, freeing them up for other tasks. “AI-based automation helps HVAC professionals save time and money by reducing manual effort and risk of errors,” he said.

Azaria sees AI-enabled communications for field-service businesses becoming more sophisticated in the near future and getting involved in functions like sales and preventive maintenance. “The room for much more technological change is certainly there, and the possibilities are limitless,” Azaria said.

“AI will not replace the HVAC technician,” he said. “What it will do is help serve customers better.”