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December, 2017 - Smart Service

The Benefits of Giving Back to the Community for Field Service Companies

On December 27th, 2017 by

Field service companies that give back to the community enjoy many benefits for their philanthropic efforts. Those advantages include improvements in team morale, the generation of new business, and more. Depending on the method in which a field service company gives back, those benefits yield varied results for the company and its employees. Listed below you’ll find some of the most significant benefits of giving back to the community.

Biggest Benefits of Giving Back for Field Service Companies

  • Improving Team Morale
  • Providing a Sense of Unity and Pride
  • Developing a Positive Reputation
  • Increasing Company Visibility
  • Creating Networking Opportunities
  • Improving the Local Community
  • Building Respect for Company Leadership
  • Reinforcing Company Values
  • Having Fun

Improving Team Morale by Giving Back

Giving back to the community gives field service companies a chance to improve team morale and provides a sense of unity and pride throughout the organization. By taking time to do something that benefits the community collectively, employees get to feel good about the positive impact they make while also getting to know their co-workers better outside of a work context. Participating in a holiday food drive at your local soup kitchen or volunteering to work with an organization like Habitat for Humanity allows your employees to see each other in a new, positive environment. This improved morale will boost the collective output of your team in the long-run.

Developing a Positive Reputation and Increasing Visibility in the Community

When your company donates to a charitable cause or volunteers at a local event, the reputation and visibility of your organization improves throughout the community. If you work in plumbing, HVAC, or electrical services, volunteering to help rebuild a school, church, or home in the neighborhood can also allow you to showcase your skills to prospective customers. Volunteering your talents helps you to build a reputation for generosity and for your skills in your trade. This improved status and visibility will lead to new business when other participants in the volunteer effort need your services.

Creating Networking Opportunities

Many times, when your company gives back, networking opportunities present themselves as part of the event or project. Whether you’re helping out at the local soup kitchen or volunteering at your industry trade show, new contacts have a way of presenting themselves when you least expect it! These networking opportunities include meeting field service companies from other industries who could recommend your services down the road. You also get a chance to network directly with potential customers. Additionally, the philanthropic leaders you work with on your charitable project will act as advocates for your company in the future. These new connections could lead to valuable work down the line.

Improving the Local Community

There is overwhelming value in working as a team to improve the local community. Whether this includes sponsoring a youth sports team, boosting a fine arts initiative, or building a home, supporting the community in which your employees live also improves their quality of life. If you help rebuild a church or raise funds for the Girl Scouts, you may very well directly impact your employees or their families with your efforts. One way or another, the work you do in the community will come back to reward those who work for you.

Reinforce Company Values

Taking time out of your busy day to give back to the community serves as a way to demonstrate that your collective mission as a company amounts to more than just making money. This philanthropic spirit helps build respect for company leaders, showing employees that the boss cares about the community. Furthermore, company values—things like going the extra mile, helping your neighbor, and teamwork—all go on display when you give back to the community.

Giving Back is Fun

Offering your skills as a plumber, electrician, HVAC contractor, or landscaper to improve the community can be a lot of fun. And when fun doubles as productivity, everyone wins. You get to step outside of your daily responsibilities (alongside your co-workers) when you decide to give back. That experience can go a long way.

For information on Smart Service, the industry-leading field service software for scheduling and customer management, simply click here!

How Your HVAC Company Can Deliver the Best Customer Service

On December 21st, 2017 by

The key to growing your HVAC company lies in outperforming your competition by delivering industry-best customer service. The service you provide your customers could make the difference between increasing revenue and losing business forever. But how does an HVAC company deliver elite customer service that generates repeat customers and new referrals? This article details the most important ways to accomplish that goal.

Best HVAC Customer Service Tips

  • Show Up On Time
  • Prepare for the Job
  • Dress Professionally
  • Get the Most out of Customer Phone Calls
  • Follow Up with Customers
  • Provide Warranty Reminders
  • Offer Seasonal Tips
  • Submit Detailed Invoicing
  • Confirm Accurate Estimates

Show Up Prepared, On Time, and Professional

Showing up prepared and on time for a job qualifies as an essential part of delivering excellent customer service. When your HVAC technician arrives for a service call with a new customer, their arrival marks the very first impression or interaction that customer has with your company. You want that experience to begin the right way by making sure your team arrives on time and equipped with the tools necessary to complete the job efficiently. Your technicians should also dress professionally for that service call, with a clean company shirt tucked into a pair of work pants.

Get the Most out of Customer Phone Calls

When a phone call comes into your office, your staff must ask all the pertinent questions related to the issue. This way, you can help identify a solution long before your technician arrives on the job, while also beginning to build a relationship with that customer. Gathering details from the customer on the phone ahead of time will also help your techs show up prepared with the right tools, thereby providing a better customer experience. Similarly, following up with a phone call after a service appointment can serve just as critical a purpose. During that follow up conversation, you should accurately recap the work completed, advise of any maintenance tasks related to the job, and outline next steps.

Provide Warranty Reminders

Warranty reminders represent a great way to go above and beyond for your customers. By keeping accurate records of when furnaces and air conditioners get installed or serviced, your company puts itself in a position to offer valuable warranty reminders to your customers. You can deliver these via phone or email. Such reminders help lead to repeat business. Customers generally appreciate the follow-up and select your HVAC company to take care of any work the expiring warranty might necessitate.

Offer Seasonal Tips

Another way to go above and beyond for your customers? Reach out with helpful seasonal HVAC tips. These tips include reminding customers to change their furnace filter during the winter months, reminding them to check on their air conditioner before starting it up in the summer, and delivering other advice related to the heating and cooling of the home. You can include these seasonal tips in an email drip campaign, a direct mailing program, or as part of a phone call made by your office administrator. Offering seasonal tips helps you reach out to customers in a non-selling way to let them know you care. This helps your business stay top of mind as an HVAC company of choice.

Provide Accurate Estimates and Detailed Invoicing

Customers always want to know how much they have to pay for HVAC work ahead of time. They also want to make sure the final invoice matches up with what they expected based on the original estimate. Failing to set the proper expectations with customers by issuing inaccurate estimates will leave a bad taste in their mouth. Similarly, when you invoice, detail all of the work completed so your customer doesn’t feel cheated on material or labor costs.

Let HVAC Scheduling Software Accelerate Your Customer Service

Your team will operate more efficiently and ultimately deliver the best possible customer service when you maximize your scheduling process. Leveraging an HVAC software solution to optimize the scheduling aspect of your business can truly help your company. Reach out to our product experts to learn how our Smart Service scheduling solution can help your business grow.

How to Create an Effective Email Marketing Campaign for your HVAC Business

On December 20th, 2017 by

Email marketing serves as an effective way to get your HVAC business in front of new and existing customers for a relatively inexpensive price. According to Marketing Sherpa, 61 percent of consumers report enjoying receiving promotional emails weekly, while 38 percent would like emails to come even more frequently. This trend makes it imperative for your HVAC business to capitalize on untapped revenue by engaging in this channel. To do precisely that, read the steps detailed below.

The Best Email Marketing Campaigns for HVAC Companies Include:

  • A Defined Email Strategy
  • Seasonal HVAC Tips
  • HVAC Sales and Discount Offers
  • Consistent Delivery Schedule
  • Follow-up and Reply Strategy
  • A New Email Acquisition Plan
  • A Dedicated Email Platform
  • Testing Email Subject Lines
  • Testing Email Copy

Defining an Email Strategy

Defining an email marketing strategy for your HVAC company includes identifying who your campaign should target and what goals you’d like to accomplish. As far as targeting, typically you’d begin by leveraging an email list of existing customers. Eventually, you will acquire new email addresses through website leads and service calls. But when you initially create your campaign, your goals should include targeting past customers for repeat business and staying top-of-mind during seasons of the year when HVAC services become most important.

Offering Seasonal HVAC Tips

Not all of your email marketing messages should focus on sales. Developing an effective nurturing campaign that offers helpful tips and best practices is equally important. Seasonal HVAC tips and advice could include content like, “How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter,” or “What Is The Best Way To Start Up My A/C in the Summer.” These emails allow customers to engage with your content and learn some helpful advice while keeping you top of mind for potential future HVAC issues.

HVAC Sales and Discount Content

Along with your nurture emails, HVAC companies will also want to create email content that speaks directly to sales and discount programs. These emails would go out during slow periods to generate new or repeat business. For tracking purposes, you should include a promotional code unique to your email campaign to determine how many customers that channel generates. Sending this type of content in combination with your nurture emails will ultimately produce the best results overall for your email campaign.

Establishing a Consistent Email Delivery Schedule

Establishing a consistent delivery schedule includes determining the weekly, monthly, and seasonal email content you plan to send throughout the year. To get started, we recommend sending one email per week, rotating between nurture and sales-oriented emails. HVAC companies should send seasonal emails as well, offering tips and best practices when the seasons change during the winter and summer months. As your email campaign becomes more sophisticated, you can also include emails that go out to customers after completing a service call or when a warranty gets close to expiration.

Follow Up and Reply Strategy

One critical mistake when creating a new email marketing campaign? Failing to identify a strategy for following up and replying to inquiries the campaign generates. An office administrator, owner, manager, or anyone else at the company with the ability to follow up with incoming email messages should be assigned this responsibility. No matter what, you do need to have one person in charge of checking for email replies on a daily basis and taking the lead on replying to those messages. This correspondence could very easily yield leads and new business.

Implementing an Email Acquisition Plan

You must begin your email marketing campaign with a plan to acquire new emails. One of the best places that HVAC companies can obtain new emails is through service calls and work estimates. Any time a technician meets with a customer or prospective customer, they should aim to acquire an email address. Your website should also offer a place where visiters can opt in to your email marketing campaign.

Finalizing an Email Platform

To launch your email marketing campaign, you need to decide on the platform that works best for your business. There are some email marketing platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Hubspot or others that work exceptionally well. Signing up and using an email marketing platform will provide actionable data and insights you can use to optimize your campaign moving forward.

Testing Email Subjects and Copy

After accomplishing each step listed above and launching your email marketing campaign, you should continue to test and optimize the email subject lines and copy to find the messaging that works best. The subject line is especially important since it is the only thing customers see before deciding whether or not to open the email. Writing and testing new copy and calls to action will help generate the best results.

For information on Smart Service, the industry-leading HVAC Software for scheduling and customer management, simply click here!

How to Embrace Change and Grow Your Service Business in 2018

On December 14th, 2017 by

The ringing in of the new year has always meant letting go of the past and starting fresh, taking what you learned from the past year and applying that knowledge towards facing the one to come. Usually you see this attitude in individuals striving towards personal goals and desires (the new faces at the gym come January 2 bear testament to that), but you can also apply the same mindset towards making your company bigger and better in the coming year. In fact, many field service industry experts will tell you that owners must embrace change if they hope to remain competitive in their field. But what does embracing change actually mean in business terms? How will you know the best way to implement needed adjustments to your company practices?

Be Critical, Be Honest

As with any other task of self-improvement, your first step involves determining what you and your company could do better. This requires more than a passing glance at your policies and procedures. If you really want to get to the heart of the issue, you’ll have to examine every level of your operations. Consider the following examples of the way special scrutiny can result in a lot of valuable and eye-opening information.

Streamlined Logistics

Arguably the greatest challenges associated with working in the field service industry concern efficiently managing the movement of individuals, equipment, paperwork, and information. For example, do you know for certain whether your technicians always take the most efficient route to service calls? Though the proliferation of GPS has made pathfinding much easier in recent years, that technology alone does not guarantee that your employees go from call to call as efficiently as they could.

“The previous owner would drive from one end of town to the other and back again,” says Ryan Heezen, who purchased A to Z Shredding in Rapid City, South Dakota in 2014. By identifying this inefficiency, he knew to invest in a program that could create the most efficient route for a day’s service calls. That program saved him $6,000 in fuel costs in the first year he owned his business.

Paperwork Puzzles

Not every business owner is as forward-thinking as Ryan, however. In fact, many still insist on using outdated paper records despite the ease and availability of electronic filing. In this arena it’s often easy to give in to laziness or shrug off the task of converting your filing and billing systems, simply because your old paper-based style has always been “good enough.”

Kari Wakefield, owner of Capitol Heating & Air Conditioning in Lincoln, Nebraska once felt that way, too. But once she took a closer look at the hassles associated with paper billing, she realized that her company could not hope to grow if it stuck with the old way of doing things. “After completing each job, our technicians had to write everything on the work order,” she says. “Work orders passed from department to department. As a company, it became difficult to stay on top of things when each individual work order passed through so many hands.”

This clunky and outdated system often resulted in incomplete tasks and general confusion amongst her employees. All that came to a close when Kari transitioned her company to an all-in-one software solution that allowed for the easy, electronic sharing of work orders and other information. Better still, that same program also allowed her employees to remain aware of the status of any particular task. “The best part of the program is that all jobs are immediately updated so we know the status of each job at all times,” Kari says. “New jobs can be easily created and delegated to technicians based on their schedule and location.”

Aggravating Accounting

Headaches associated with bookkeeping can become a daily reality no matter what industry your small business operates in. Those headaches, however, can become full-blown migraines for owners of field service companies due to the sheer number of financial elements they have to keep track of. In addition to basic expenses like salary and utilities, many business owners must also monitor fuel costs, loans for equipment and vehicles, training costs, invoices for customers and vendors, and so on.

That’s the problem that Al Fecci, owner of Jersey Coast Fire Equipment, sought to solve. “We were like everyone else,” Al said. “We used paper and pencil.” Eventually, Al had had enough. He decided to entrust all of his accounting and customer management—along with many other vital aspects of his business—to one piece of software. “It’s streamlined our whole way of doing business,” says Al.

All in One Solution

The owners we’ve highlighted in this piece were once in the same position that you might find yourself in now: eager to grow a business but hamstrung by outdated practices and technology. What, then, sets them apart from the countless other small business owners who fail to keep up with the times? Smart Service!

Ryan saved money by using the program to craft efficient routes for his drivers. Kari used Smart Service to create dynamic work orders that can be easily shared among employees and clients. Jim and Kathy discovered that Smart Service could simplify everything from bookkeeping to scheduling to inventory management.

These represent but a few of the benefits offered by Smart Service and its paired applications. Though no business strategy guarantees a way to ensure that a company remains efficient and profitable in the year to come, you won’t find a safer gamble than Smart Service. Countless business owners across the country have used the program to streamline and optimize their operations. You might be the next one to discover just how much of a boost this all-in-one software solution can provide to your company’s efficiency and profitability. Feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly customer service associates if you’d like more information on Smart Service or if you’re interested in setting up a free demo for your company.

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