HVAC is usually one of the faster-moving field service verticals (clients need their locations cooled or heated immediately), but also one of the verticals least likely to adopt traditional FSM planning tools. According to research, 74% of HVACs don’t use any FSM software (such as a potential CRM) -- and the 26% that do use it tend to only use GPS-enablement technology.
What are the benefits of a good CRM, then?
We’ll begin with a quick personal story that might resonate with your business. One of our collaborators at Optsy used to work for a different company, not within field service, in a marketing role. At that company, the CEO, CMO, and CIO would often come to mid-level employees complaining about the CRM, or customer relationship management platform. The complaints varied:
It’s not customizable enough
I can’t find what I need
I don’t know who’s a legitimate client and who’s a lead
The interface is confusing
It doesn’t integrate well with my other systems
Over time, the people tasked with executing the CRM became overwhelmed with the complaints -- and the company had to shift to a new CRM, which is costly and runs the risk of key customer information or contacts being lost in the transition.
That’s not good for any company. While changes do happen and companies will turn over their CRM, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. To make sure it’s not, you need to understand key benefits of a good CRM -- i.e. what you should be looking for.
This applies in all verticals of field service, but especially in HVAC, which tends to be an interesting field service application. HVAC is usually one of the faster-moving field service verticals (clients need their locations cooled or heated immediately), but also one of the verticals least likely to adopt traditional FSM planning tools. According to research, 74% of HVACs don’t use any FSM software (such as a potential CRM) -- and the 26% that do use it tend to only use GPS-enablement technology.
What are the benefits of a good CRM, then?
This is potentially the No. 1 benefit. A good CRM replaces manual processes and fixes organizational ineffectiveness around paperwork, integration of key business operations, and billing.
An entire customer experience lifecycle can’t possibly be managed by one or two people, even in a small business. Customer experience has so many touch points in an HVAC field service organization -- from back-office to scheduling and dispatch to inventory to billing to technicians. Everyone needs access to the same customer information and needs to be able to make notes and edits to it. Another feature of the collaborative nature of CRMs is that it moves your HVAC company away from being silo-driven. Now everyone is seeing the same information and working together.
According to Hubspot research, 75% of sales managers -- across multiple industries -- reported that their CRM systems helped them increase sales. Those are pretty good odds for your small business, right?
By 2016, hopefully your HVAC SMB understands that your data -- about both techs and customers -- is a valuable strategic asset. Your CRM can (a) house the data and (b) allow you to slice and dice the data in visually appealing, decision-driving ways. It’s really hard to compete on data strategically without a single clearinghouse for it, or a way for everyone to have access to what’s going on. A CRM provides both.
Positive Customer Experiences
With a CRM, typically these are some things you can do regarding your customer base:
Easily and accurately segment them in terms of needs and resources you send them
Accurately track their histories and information
Interact with them at the right time, as opposed to ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ or ‘when they don’t have any need for field service’
Good customer experience means repeat business and referral business, and those mean revenue. That’s excellent for an HVAC small business.
We realize one of the key issues in small businesses, though, is that any type of CRM or field service management software platform is going to cost you money. You may not have the resources -- or you may want to direct your resources elsewhere. We put together an eBook on the benefits of FSM software planning, and within the eBook, we even talk about making the case to senior decision-makers about the importance of a CRM or FSM software planning tool. You can download the eBook, and feel free to contact us with any questions after you’ve gone through it.