HVAC is an industry within field service where time and efficiency are crucial. If a client’s heat goes down in the winter (in most parts of the world) or his or her AC goes down in the summer (ditto), it could mean millions of dollars of lost revenue and affected parts and machines if an HVAC technician can’t be dispatched quickly and fix the problem the first time out.
Despite this need for more effective integration of services in HVAC companies, research has found that 74% of such companies -- essentially 3 in 4 -- aren’t using any field service management software systems. Of the 26% that are, most use GPS-enabled scheduling software (66%) or GPS routing optimization (61%).
A focus on GPS technologies within HVAC makes sense -- it makes sense for any field service business, of course, because technicians drive revenue by being in front of clients, not by sitting in their trucks -- because speed is crucial for many HVAC clients. They need technicians there now because their HQs are overheating and machines are potentially being damaged.
While scheduling and dispatch being GPS-enabled is crucial, field service software programs will typically integrate much more of the core business processes.
Typically, this refers to:
… although it can incorporate other practices as well, such as an HVAC CRM, dependent on your business model.
The overall idea is tied to the customer journey or customer experience. If a customer or client has a field service need, you want this person to go onto your website or app (or call you) and be able to schedule the appointment when it is convenient for him or her. On your end, this scheduling of an appointment should be ‘speaking’ directly to dispatch -- knowing where techs are and what their days and weeks look like. (And hopefully involving GPS, as the stats above note.) This also needs to be ‘speaking’ to inventory, so that you can identify what parts are needed for this newly scheduled job -- and then make sure the technician will have access to those parts. The final component is billing and invoicing; the tech needs customer data loaded into his or her phone so that billing can take place on-site.
It’s important to remember that, based on recent research, the value of customer experience is trumping the value of having a strong, well-known brand.
This has always been true in field service -- in HVAC, your “product” is essentially the skill and professionalism of your technicians -- but as digital tools (such as field service software) make it easier for others to enter your local market, it’s more important to remember than ever.
When you integrate the bullet points we listed above -- the different aspects of your business -- the customer is usually happier. It’s what is sometimes called an “end-to-end solution,” meaning the customer receives the same transparency, information, and quality service no matter who he or she speaks to at your organization. This ability comes from integrated processes, as opposed to each silo operating in its own way.
The simplest way to integrate your business processes is through a field service software program where all the different variables can ‘speak’ to one another and be seen holistically. If you try to integrate core operations, without field service software, it can become painstaking and tedious and silo mentality can take over, whereby dispatch doesn’t communicate properly with inventory, and the end customer is disappointed.
When a customer is disappointed, you tend to lose money in the intermediate to long run.
That’s the basic equation here:
- Integrate processes = happier, more consistent customers and clients
- Happier, more consistent clients and customers = more revenue
If you’d like to know more about delighting your HVAC customers, we’ve put together an eBook on that exact topic. You can download it now. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!