WOODSIDE, NY — The company may have a New York address, but its influence spans across 50 states and the Caribbean.

With the power of the Internet and a solid history of good customer service, AFGO Mechanical Services is proving that a smart business plan, an active marketing scheme, and a ceo with a penchant for information technology are active ingredients of a successful hvac business.

The company has been around since 1930 and it focuses on the commercial service and renovation markets. AFGO advertises itself as the “hvac solutions” company.

AFGO’s list of clients reads like a Who’s Who of nationally recognized names, including Blooming-dales, Michael’s Arts & Crafts, Wolf Camera, The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Men’s Warehouse, and American Express.

AFGO (which stands for “A Fine Good Organization”) has high standards for its technicians, who are required to complete three years of high-level hvac training. The company typically accepts fewer than one in 10 technicians who apply for a position.

The company offers 24/7 nationwide service, predictive maintenance programs, turnkey hvac installations, and facility hvac management. It has a large operation which requires the ability to immediately respond to customers across every time zone, and in a variety of communities.

The contractor’s call center is humming all of the time. “Through our call center we handle several hundred service calls a week,” said Glenn Udell, ceo.

With a high volume of calls, it pays to have a great deal of support from an Internet-based service company that takes a lot of the everyday worry out of building management and logging-tracking of service calls.

Enter ServiceChannel.

SeviceChannel, headquartered in New York City, is an Internet-based services company for property owners, facility managers, service contractors, and suppliers. Using this service, facility managers can initiate service requests, track workorders, and view performance histories. Contractors can receive service requests, remotely enter workorders, issue material requests, log time usage, and post invoices.

Afgo Meets Servicechannel

Udell said he was impressed with what ServiceChannel could bring to his business. “I could see how much this relationship could benefit our customers.”

Udell knows that one of his keys to success is to be able to manage jobsites and handle service calls concurrently at various locations around the country. By using ServiceChannel, his company is able to communicate all job and service information and retrieve vital tracking reports at a moment’s notice — a huge advantage for a company known for its prompt and reliable service.

“Customers can go to the AFGO website and place a service call order,” said Udell. “They can also view the progress of their order through our website.”

The AFGO server is downloaded to ServiceChannel every 15 minutes and the information is then forwarded to all areas of the country where service and facility reporting is needed.

“We are able to manage sites in each area of the country,” said Udell. “Customer calls to our call center can be immediately dispatched to one of our field centers.”

Not only does Service-Channel assimilate and track the large volume of service calls, it also keeps AFGO in close contact with facility managers who need day-to-day operational information at their fingertips.

“At the end of each day, facility managers can get a color-coded report with the job work history,” Udell said. “This gives managers the ability to view what their service provider has been doing for them at any given time.

“ServiceChannel shows our customers…how to reduce costs and reduce inventory. Their people are helping us to manage; without ServiceChannel we would have a lot of extra paperwork to do.”

If information is a key to success, then AFGO, with the help of ServiceChannel, is bound to have a bright future in the hvac arena.

The information age has turned many “brick-and-mortar” business owners, like Udell, into information/communication specialists.

“Glenn loves technology,” said Victor Cruz of the ServiceChannel Public Relations Department. “We had dinner with him and [during the meal] he pulled out a wireless handheld computer and showed us how he could get his e-mail and access his company’s accounting system remotely. It was the last thing I expected from an hvac guy.”

Chances are, a lot more “hvac guys” are experiencing the same success and quest for knowledge that drives Udell to compete.

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