2015 started off with a bang for the plumbing, hydronics and HVAC industries with the biggest ever AHR Expo in January. Since then, we’ve been hearing plenty about the newest products, tips, and trends taking over the industry.
One of those trends follows the rest of the enterprise world: we are turning quickly into a service-based economy. With ever advancing technologies and more options and resources to choose from, customers no longer want to buy just a product … they want an experience. That means you need to provide quality service encounters that make customers feel like they’re valued and cared for.
For plumbing and hydronic contractors, the importance of service is even more pressing, since equipment maintenance and repair go with the territory. Providing quality service experiences is one of the best ways to establish loyal customer relationships and create strong additional streams of revenue for your business.
But succeeding in service isn’t a walk in the park. Follow this year’s top service best practices to get your contractor team ready to make it your best year yet!
Best practices to adopt
No. 1: Improve field worker productivity with mobile. According to TSIA’s Field Services Benchmark Survey, 81% of companies have implemented mobility platforms in the field. So, while mobile for field service workers isn’t a new trend, it’s fast becoming the most powerful tool in the service technician’s tool belt, helping boost productivity, improve service delivery, and increase customer satisfaction, among other benefits. This year, expect to see significant improvements in dispatch and scheduling, data capture, service history detail and knowledge management, all with the help of mobile devices and apps in the field.
No. 2: Focus on equipment preventive maintenance. As equipment becomes more sophisticated, service organizations will be able to use new product innovations to improve the success of their preventive maintenance programs. Whether that involves a renewed emphasis on PM work orders through a service management app, or taking advantage of the future of IoT (Internet of Things) to automate the PM process, service organizations should seize the opportunity of a consistent and predictable PM operation.
No. 3: Fuel best-of-breed software integrations with cloud software. While the breadth vs. depth debate used to have strong pros and cons on either side, the emergence of cloud software has virtually eliminated past advantages of a “suite” solution and swung the pendulum toward best-of-breed systems to meet each of your business needs. Companies that adopt cloud deployment have an easier time integrating enterprise software, like ERP and service management systems. And today’s options for best-of-breed are exponential and affordable given cloud deployment, making it a no-brainer for businesses to invest in an app to meet the specific needs of their industry or department.
No. 4: Take advantage of the convergence of vehicle and mobile technology to drive more efficient fleets. Carrying and managing multiple devices can be overwhelming, not to mention costly for businesses. The desire for a simple, integrated approach has led several automotive manufacturers to combine mobile technology into new vehicle designs: “There is tremendous opportunity from the convergence of the West Coast technology and the auto industry with its huge technology depth,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG, in the Wall Street Journal.
Field service organizations that take advantage of the convergence of fleet and service technology will reap the benefits of more efficient routing and a more connected service experience between field techs, managers, and back office workers.
No. 5: Get creative with data collected in the field. If you’re using paper-based manual inspections, collecting the bare minimum is all you have time do. But by automating inspections with a service management app, contractors can move beyond the inspections they have to perform, and gather information they want, like customer satisfaction insight, competitor information, technician performance, and sales opportunities.
No. 6: Use actionable data to drive decisions. Along with the ability to collect more data than ever comes the desire to display and analyze that data to guide decisions. With access to relevant data, you can analyze your operations with greater depth and a new level of business intelligence. Due to an increase in information access, ranging from individual technician performance statistics to work order type success rates, managers using data to drive decisions are able to make more informed decisions by following the trends the data reveals.
The growing focus on customer service in nearly every industry means that, as a service business, you have a huge opportunity to delight customers and turn your plumbing and hydronics business into a well-oiled, revenue producing business.
Joanna Rotter is the content marketing manager for MSI a field workforce automation company. Contact her directly at [email protected], or at 262-241-7800. For more information, visit www.msidata.com.