HVAC Field Service Software

HVAC companies face some unique challenges in field service.

HVAC service business is a demanding business requiring utmost attention and skills of technicians. Not only business is very competitive, the electricity companies are bundling services as part of their operations.

Hence, to be able to compete with large corporations, you need an efficient field service software like Field Force Tracker. The software enables HVAC companies to succeed and manage their operations more efficiently.

HVAC  Service Operation Management

For many, some or all of their work can be emergency calls, which come in that day. These then need to be prioritized and worked into the day’s schedule as soon as possible, but this then means changes to the planned work and it is understandably difficult to make on the spot decisions about what should give.

Many HVAC companies we speak to are still relying on paper-based processes to some extent in managing their workflow. This brings additional difficulty to making changes to schedules and allocating work to technicians as those in the office may not be working with all the information they need.

HVAC companies often also cover a lot of different areas of work. These are highly complex and require the right skills, parts or tools for the individual tasks. Workflows may have a number of dependencies which need to be stuck to, to complete the job. Many companies cover everything from design to install, renovation and service work, meaning each day is different to the last.

The use of paper-based processes can mean that up to date information is not available until a few days after the work has been completed, so delays occur in checking stock, re-ordering parts and getting out invoices.

A further issue that HVAC companies face is how fast the industry is evolving. Equipment is becoming smarter with HVAC units becoming much more complex and more connected and intelligent buildings are growing in their popularity. Customer expectations increase alongside this technological evolution and service delivery must keep pace with these advancements.

Here we look at how some of our Field Force Tracker HVAC customers overcame the issues they faced in their evolving businesses and see the benefits and results they achieved.

Eliminating Paperwork for Field Service

One of our customers had a paper-based work order system they’d been using for decades that was inefficient and expensive. Technicians had to visit the office every day, so travel costs were high and technicians had less time for jobs. Processing the paperwork meant significant administrative overhead and time as it took 7-10 days to invoice customers from the job completion.

Field Force Tracker solved the paper problem. All work orders are now generated and submitted electronically. As a result, the company:

  • Significantly reduced the number of office trips by technicians, cutting travel costs and increasing revenue-producing hours.
  • Eliminated the need for administrative overhead dedicated invoicing.
  • Decreased the time from service completion to invoice from days to minutes.

More Efficient Service Calls Management

Another HVAC company realized that cloud-based technology was the best way to make their business processes more efficient, and maximize profits. They have both residential and commercial customers, so wanted a solution that could handle both. Through using Field Force Tracker they now can connect with a specific technician or multiple technicians to assign jobs or alert them of a new/changed job, which they can see on the mobile app. The dispatch capabilities provide alerts, location tracking and GPS routing. It also works as a time sheet to ensure that work is being recorded. The price book in the app means that an estimate can be emailed, which the customer can sign off, saving time as well as keeping an accurate account of what has been done.

They estimate saving 40-60 hours a week.  No time is wasted, the technicians get jobs faster, and we can track the job status so they can immediately go to the next job. Jobs are completed more quickly, so we can schedule more jobs per day with the saved time.

The highest praise comes for the accounting features. The easy sync with QuickBooks eliminates double entry of invoices in our accounting system and we can simply e-mail invoices to customers.

Improved Customer Service

One of our HVAC customer was looking for ways to reduce paperwork and increase the profitability of their business as well as deliver even better service to customers.  Prior to Field Force Tracker the dispatcher would receive calls and dispatch jobs to the technicians through manual text messages. Technicians would write out paper estimates on site and then return completed work orders to the office at the end of day, causing extra drive time and lag time.

Now, the dispatcher can quickly review each technician’s status using the scheduler and assign new jobs to the next available technician. On site, technicians can collect more information with the mobile app. For instance, the tech can record the model and serial number of each piece of equipment. “With this type of information stored in the customer’s record, we can easily determine what parts are needed to complete the job.”

Efficient Inventory Management

They also use Field Force Tracker reports to predict customer needs. “If I see that 20 of our customers have the same furnace model, it makes sense to start carrying replacement parts for that model.” That means faster service since they no longer have to order parts through their distributor when the need arises. Instead, the trucks are fully-stocked with the proper parts.

Field Force Tracker leads the way in simplifying field service for HVAC companies. Our solutions let you automate your field work – from dispatching work to updating job info on site and instantly sending electronic invoices – all from our easy to use mobile app.

About Field Force Tracker

Field Force Tracker (http://www.fieldforcetracker.com) is a leading global provider of its award winning mobile workforce solutions for service-based businesses of all sizes delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS). Our solutions enable businesses of all sizes (from 1 user to 10,000 users) to meet the challenges associated with managing and running complex service operations. It helps in improving the productivity of their mobile workforce.

With Field Force Tracker, customers can create service schedule and route quickly, dispatch sooner, collect correct information at once in the field and invoice faster. The field service software makes it easy for users to eliminate waste, get more done in less time and be more profitable.

Field Force Tracker is a wholly owned unit of Rapidsoft Systems Inc. (http://www.rapidsoftsystems.com). Rapidsoft Systems, Inc. has its main office in Princeton, NJ, USA, a US R&D Center in Mercerville NJ, and sales, support and development offices in Palo Alto, CA, USA, Singapore, Dubai (UAE), Bombay, and Noida (India).

Improving Field Service Using New Technologies

The most definitive qualities of a Field Service organization is well established practices and client focused set up. In any case, best-in-class service organizations. However, best-in-class service providers know that it takes more than that to stay ahead of the game. Here are three steps you can take to make your company more competitive in the field services industry.

Make Customer Satisfaction a Priority

Best-in-class service providers know that the most important metric is customer satisfaction. That is why they are taking great strides to adopt measures that consistently target this metrics. From tackling issues like real-time repairs to data analysis, successful service providers are capitalizing on all tools available to ensure their customer’ss needs are met quickly and efficiently.

• Make communications easier: Offering alternatives to phone and email-based customer service is one way best-in-class companies are adjusting their business processes to reflect customer habits. Not only is this the more flexible option for customers -available 24/7, no need to wait on hold for customer service representatives, adjustable to the customer’s own schedule – it is also a more cost-effective alternative for service providers.

• Focus on solutions: Working with field service management (FSM) software is making it possible for service providers to collect and assess large amounts of data across an extensive client base. By comparing and contrasting data sets, the best-in-class are able to detect repeated patterns in machine breakdowns and offset these disruptions with tailored maintenance schedules. This ensures less downtime for customers and stable productivity rates. In addition, accumulated data provides insight into recurring problems that helps improve first-time-fix rates and offer quality service.


• Keep customers involved: Keeping customers in the loop regarding scheduling, arrivals, and real-time status updates is key for customer satisfaction. Customers are looking for a transparent service experience that allows for their active involvement. Allowing customers to schedule appointments that work for them and track status in real-time gives them control over their service experience. Customers who knows that you value their time are customers who will value your services.

Explore new approaches to Field Service

Good service providers know the company and their customers better than anyone. They know what works and what does not. Best-in-class service providers take this one step further. They know that being good at something is not the same as being great at something. Sometimes a company needs to adapt its business strategy to new models and technologies. Keeping an eye on trends affecting the industry is essential for staying ahead of the pack.
• IoT and predictive technology: The inter-connectivity made possible through IoT is powering a number of other innovations triggered by the digital transformation. For example, the aforementioned messenger systems changing customer service often rely on QR codes that are scannable using mobile devices. And in much the same way, machines fitted with sensors are communicating with connected devices to alert service technicians and users to imminent breakdowns or repair needs. This kind of predictive technology is making it possible to fix problems before they occur.

• Crowd service: With predictive technology comes a greater need for manpower. The best-in-class are turning to crowd service solutions to accommodate the need for skilled and experienced service technicians. By integrating a crowd – a pool of service technicians made up of the company’s own employees, partners, subcontractors, and freelancers – into their labor force, service providers are sure to have ready access to a capable technician whenever necessary. This is making it possible to provide preemptive and real-time fixes.

• Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality: With the increase in data from machine sensors, FSM software, and crowd service technicians, it is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on manual scheduling. The best-in-class are turning to AI to help sift through all the data and determine the best possible scheduling solutions. Given the customer’s history, device issue, location, technician’s expertise, road and weather conditions, and more, an AI-powered scheduling system can immediately determine the best woman or man for the job. And should a service technician lack some of the necessary expertise, he or she can count on augmented reality solutions like AR goggles or mobile device overlays to help locate and fix an issue. Service technicians can even use AR to involve an offsite specialist in the repair process.

• Virtual reality and digital twins: Virtual reality has also been a game changer. It is making it possible for companies to create virtual models of devices, digital twins, before investing the financial and manpower resources into the manufacturing. These digital twins not only make it possible for companies to determine how a device will best operate or perhaps even malfunction, they can also track and monitor the manufactured device across their lifecycle. This is a real attribute for predictive maintenance.

Though your company might not need all these technologies to operate successfully, studies have shown that best-in-class are 45% more likely to monitor several parameters to perform predictive and proactive maintenance. They are also 70% more likely to offer their service technicians resources accessible while on site to help them get the job done. With this kind of dedication by the best-in-class to provide optimized service, it is a risk to your competitive edge not consider all the options available.

Promote employee development

Technology is nothing without the people implementing it. Employee engagement is essential for best-in-class service providers. They take special care to ensure their employees are motivated, well-trained, and an integral part of business development.

• Manage your workforce: There is of course a challenge to managing a mobile workforce. With service technicians scattered across a number of locations on any given day, service providers must work hard to optimize communications and training to guarantee consistent and reliable service. If service technicians do not feel like a valued and integrated part of the business, they are less likely to perform well.

 

• Adapt to the Changing Times: The demands on service technicians are changing with the digital transformation. By that same token, the way the future labor force is approaching career goals is also shifting. With a new generation of employees entering the labor market, companies need to take into account new demands for flexibility, mobility, and diversity. This is especially obvious when considering millennial, who are more drawn to jobs with flexible work schedules and locations, and a diverse set of responsibilities. Adapting your business model to align with these interests will be essential for attracting new talent.

It is not an easy to task to implement all these changes in one fell swoop. However, the best place to start when considering how to improve your business performance is with the people most affected by your practices. Engaging with your customers and employees will provide the kind of insight you need to transition from good to great! co-ops realize that it takes more than that to remain on top of things.