Cloud-based BigChange field service management software (www.bigchange.com, 855/472-3035) addresses planning, tracking, and managing jobs for a field-based workforce with numerous capabilities accessible by management and/or crews in the office and in the field.
The fully digital job management platform features drag-and-drop scheduling of jobs on a calendar (working via day, week, and month views) and takes into consideration the skills and tools required as well as location and time-frame requirements and features. You can schedule a single technician or automatically configure teams or multiple teams to work together.
Job and work locations are automatically inputted via integration with GPS. The software, which supports geo-fencing, features live tracking of field teams, vehicles, and assets, enabling intelligent route planning and optimized response time to urgent jobs.
The integrated mobile app enables allows technicians in the field to generate quotes and purchases in real time, view past customer job history including photos, capture photos in real time, log parts, and upload receipts of purchases associated with the job. While onsite, they can add pre-defined items to a job, including parts and additional services offered during upsell.
Technicians also have complete visibility of the inventory associated with each job. Parts and equipment can be assigned directly to jobs, with the ability to check availability at various locations. In addition, team members in the field can create and book new jobs from scratch or modify a scheduled job.
Upon completion of the work, the technician can sign off on the job, create an invoice, email it to the customer and accept payment on the spot from the integrated billing and payment platform BigChange Pay, which streamlines invoice collections by giving customers payment choices, including many major credit and debit cards and digital wallets.
Management can configure custom alerts for technicians and can link fuel card transactions to actual vehicle mileage, verified by integrated vehicle tracking.
Customers can request work via a personalized online customer portal, view job progress live, and make new job requests. Other CRM capabilities include job confirmation and ETA updates, viewing of invoices, and service reminders.
Graphical business management dashboards addressing job performance, customer service, quotes overview, and sales opportunities (currently in beta testing stage) feature screens with graphs and charts that can be customized with the ability to drill down (beta testing stage at press time).
The solution also features pre-formatted business intelligence reports, including those detailing various aspects of performance and profitability, for example costs and profit by job, by technician, and by customer, as well as reports that track stock inventory.
BigChange integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage and other 3rd party solutions.
Pricing: fee per month starting with vehicle tracking and driver mobile app and escalating for complete all-in-one workforce management system including a fully managed rugged Samsung tablet.
Leadferno (leadferno.com) is a conversion platform that utilizes business texting and messaging to close more leads faster. It is accessible to visitors of your website allowing them to start SMS conversations for real-time questions, answers, and help.
The shared inbox allows you to read and reply to text messages and messages from Facebook Messenger and Google’s Business Messages all in one place.
The LeadBox is a customizable text widget that appears on every page of your website as an always-visible set of contact buttons. Customers can start text conversations, click-to-all, request a call, appointment bookings, estimate forms and more. It features auto-replies based on your business hours to capture business hours, after-hours, and weekend leads.
The solution includes the ability to use internal notes, saved reply templates of common answers, replies, questions, reminders and scheduled messages, and allows you to transfer text conversations from one team member to another.
You can track and report on your messaging leads and integrate with Google Analytics for advanced reporting. The platform includes the ability to access contacts and stores a full history of your conversations.
You can request Google reviews from your customers with a single click and Leadferno can also be integrated with other reputation management tools. The software integrates with CRMs using Zapier, a no-code platform to automate apps and workflow, and Leadferno’s API, a software interface.
Leadferno has three account plans based on your level of messaging, contacts, text number type, and integrations.
Pricing: monthly fee scaled based on edition. Free 14-day trial.
Interplay Learning (www.interplaylearning.com) is an online training platform for apprentices, technicians, and office staff in skilled trades, including HVAC and plumbing industries. The platform provides learning opportunities through experiential video courses and immersive 3D simulations. Using a desktop, laptop, or VR (virtual reality) headset, learners operate responsive hand-held “tools” to perform steps for a specific task, such as diagnosing a problem with a piece of equipment through the simulated use of a probe or other hand-operated tools.
More than 200 courses targeting the HVAC and plumbing market, led by experts, address a range of topics, including skills assessments and beginner basics and advanced troubleshooting scenarios, and jobsite safety topics. Administrators assigning a course can receive a notification when it is completed or late.
Pricing: per user annually, five-seat minimum. Fee covers all courses, custom learning paths, analytics and reports, and certificates of completion.
Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at [email protected].