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February, 2018 - Smart Service

Highlights of WWETT Show 2018

On February 23rd, 2018 by

The WWETT Show is a pumper’s Super Bowl. The Indiana Convention Center, full of pumpers, plumbers and other sewage professionals, offers the latest innovations in plumbing, wastewater, and sewage technologies.

Despite taking place in the Indiana Convention Center, WWETT Show 2018 also carried through to the Lucas Oil Stadium next door. Attendees could meet some of the Colts cheerleaders, throw a football on the same field that made Peyton Manning famous, and check out WWETT Show Live. We did all of the above, and here’s what we loved.

WWETTest Demo: NozzTeq and Vactor

nozzteq and vactor wwett show 2018 nozzle demo
NozzTeq and Vactor started off the WWETT Show in a very fitting way. After all, the WWETT Show wouldn’t be the WWETT Show without getting a little, well, wwett. Vactor showcased its Vactor 850R All Weather Truck Jet alongside NozzTeq smooth-flow nozzles. NozzTeq uses science to engineer nozzles that produce steady, smooth, and powerful jet streams to clean sewers better with less fuel.

Most Unique Show: Vacall

vacall wwett show 2018 demo blue man suit
I never thought I would see a man (woman? alien?) in a blue spandex suit co-present a demo on sewage clean up, but such is life at WWETT.

The Vacall Recycler continuously filters sewers through a water recycling system. Virtually no water is needed from the city, making the Vacall Recycler efficient and green. The truck was cool and innovative, but I’m still not sure how I feel about the zany blue man.

Funniest Speaker: Keg

keg from keg technologies wwett show 2018 demo
“Keggy,” the yellow-haired and yellow-booted icon of Keg Technolgies, was brought to life by the oldest employee of the South Carolina sewage technology company. He didn’t need a microphone, he affirmed; his booming voice was loud and entertaining enough to captivate the audience.

Keggy showed the audience how the Keg nozzles work within a pipe. He put a piece of wood into the display to show how the nozzle cuts through anything in its way.

Coolest Technology: BlueLight

Bluelight wwett show 2018 demo
This demo, put on by Bluelight, was extremely cool to watch. According to the Bluelight website, this is a “LED curing CIPP lining system for laterals and small wastewater-pipes.” Basically, it uses a bright blue light to immediately cure resin pipe liners. This speeds up time on the job in ways sewage pros will greatly appreciate.
Bluelight resin wwett show demo pipe liner

Final Thoughts

Lucas oil stadium wwett show 2018
Overall, the WWETT Show 2018 was enthralling and inspiring for all those in the waste water and sewage industries. Hardworking plumbers and pumpers build and maintain the backbone of modern civilization. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate and take part in their world. I even learned a little on the way (apparently petrified grease is the worst of all smells!).


Marketing Your Cleaning Business To Stand Out From Competition

On February 16th, 2018 by

Running a successful cleaning business can be difficult when you are trying to stand out from the crowd. However, you can easily differentiate your cleaning company from the others by incorporating these cleaning business marketing tactics into your business strategy.

So whether you’re trying to figure out how to start a cleaning business, or you have an established cleaning company, you will find something useful in these cleaning business marketing tips and tricks.

Before

How you stand apart from your competition before you begin business with someone can determine whether that lead will become a customer—or even reach out to you at all. Resources should be allocated to the work you do before the work. These resources don’t have to be costly, and they can go a long way towards improving your customer relationships and driving more revenue.

Social Media

In this day and age, your online presence can be the primary deciding factor for potential customers trying to choose between you and your competitors. 41% of people say that poor personalization and a lack of trust have caused them to discontinue engagement with a company. Don’t let your cleaning service business lose just because of a lack of an online presence!

Working in the cleaning service industry provides you the benefit of an aesthetically pleasing end result. Show off your hard work! Spick and span houses can show potential clients that you are the cleaning business to choose because you have the proof to back up what you say you can offer. Posting finished results on Instagram can also remind people of how much they need your services again, evoking memories of how they felt the last time their home was cleaned by you.

Alerts

Keeping your customers updated with your arrival time helps establish trust between your cleaning service business and the customer. It shows that you respect their time and, therefore, value them as a client. For a simple solution, you can use a dispatch app or cleaning business software to let your clients know when your technicians are on their way.

Marketing

Put stickers, flyers, and more cleaning business marketing material in public places so that people become more familiar with your cleaning company. When they need your services, they’ll call you instead of your competition.

Make sure that your brand identity is consistent and identifiable, whether that be through cleaning company marketing materials, a slogan, or even in your cleaning equipment.

During

It is easy to forget that you have to continue marketing to customers you already have. Maintaining customer relationships is similar to any other relationship; you have to continue to woo them. This ongoing “tending to the garden” will ensure customer retention and referrals for your cleaning business and set you apart from other cleaning companies.

Leave a Remember-Me.

Being present in the cleaning work you do even after you do the job is the key to continued business. This tactic worked in the 1800’s when women would spray letters to their loved ones with their perfume, and you bet your last dollar it works in your cleaning business as well. The key is to make your cleaning business more visible than the competition.

Need some ideas for effective remember-me’s?

If your client is out of the house or building while your team is cleaning it, leave a business card.

Setting a folded placeholder on the counter that states “Cleaned by” with your cleaning business name is a good way to remind your clients who did the work when they arrive to their clean home or business.

Leave a sweet treat to associate your cleaning business with a nice little sugar rush!

A fridge magnet is a good way for your clients to always have your information available.

What’s your trademark?

Your cleaning company brand visibility has to meet halfway with your brand identity. Getting noticed won’t do anything for you if you’re not also remembered. Having an identifiable uniform or vehicle is a good way to establish yourself as a dominant player against your cleaning service competition.

After

Closing the deal is an essential part of establishing your cleaning business-customer relationship. Cleaning companies often forget that it is important to continue “closing” even after you have attained the customer. This can be done simply and effectively by following up after each job.

Follow up.

After you’ve finished a cleaning job, send your client a follow-up email! It is a pleasant way to ask for feedback and encourage scheduling a recurring visit. A follow-up lets your customers know that you care and value their continued service.

Conclusion

Little things can contribute to your cleaning business standing out from competition and becoming a reliable asset in your customers’ lives. By standing out before, during, and after the job, your cleaning service business will be the clear choice for new and recurring customers.


Smart Service joins the International Door Association!

On February 15th, 2018 by

At Smart Service, we believe in trade associations. We support their various trade shows and cultivate important relationships with many industry leaders with important association posts. That’s one of the reasons we’re so proud to announce our recent partnership with the International Door Association (IDA).

The International Door Association (established in 1995) provides resources to garage door dealers (and other related companies), providing guidance and assuring professional standards. When you deal with a garage door company with an IDA membership, you know you’re in good hands.

In joining the IDA, Smart Service will gain the opportunity to reach even more garage door dealers and help these companies reach their business goals by providing garage door software and services.

Smart Service also plans to attend the IDA Expo this April 25-28 in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can find us there at booth #2338.

Do you run your own garage door company? Consider scheduling a free demo of Smart Service today!


Best Tablet For Contractors Of Every Budget

On February 14th, 2018 by

When working in a field service business, you use your tablet a lot. Filling out forms, looking at customer or job information, and even collecting payments can now be completed digitally instead of with a paper and pen using field service software.

Tablets are in more demand than ever in the field service industry and understandably so. When looking to purchase a tablet for yourself or for your field technicians, it is important to understand what your needs are.

When you work out in the field, you may need a more durable tablet. When considering models, look for something waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. These features can be found in a device’s listed IP rating. IP ratings, or Ingress Protection, can be good indicators of a tablet’s environmental endurance. These features are often necessary when you work in a hands-on work environment.

Here are four excellent rugged tablets that can be used to mobilize your field service operations:

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 $420.82

  • Longest battery life
  • Pen slot
  • IP68

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 holds a unique spot as a ruggedized mid-level tablet. It is built for the outdoors with an IP rating of 68 (protection against dust and protection against temporary immersion in water) and good visibility in sunlight. Its rubber shell features a slot for its stylus pen.

At 7”, this small, but durable tablet fits perfectly in the hand. Right now it does not have cellular capabilities, but it is a new product so this could change in the future.

iPad $399-$929

  • Most accessories
  • Best camera
  • Different size and storage options
  • Requires case

If you are looking for a versatile tablet, the iPad is for you. Running on Apple’s iOS, the iPad is sleek, easy-to-use, and can easily shift from work to play. All iPad models can be purchased with cellular capabilities and come with awesome cameras.

The iPad is generally delicate compared to some of the other rugged tablets on this list. Despite this, a vast selection of rugged cases and screen protectors can help protect these devices, making them better suited to field service work. Because Apple has the largest supply of accessories, you can also find keyboards, scanners, and all the other add-on pieces you can imagine.

The iPad provides a good deal of size and storage options, meaning your company can easily find one suited for your needs. The size of the screen ranges from 7.9” to 12.9” and the devices can hold a (nearly) unlimited supply of equipment pictures and notes, with internal storage options ranging from 32 GB to 512 GB. Because of this, the price ranges from $399-$799 without cellular connection and $529-$929 with cellular capabilities.

Getac Z710 $1,499-$1,799+

  • Sunlight viewable
  • ATEX certified
  • IP65

This rugged android tablet offers everything you need for field work. It has 3.5G cellular capabilities, excellent vehicle mounting accessories, and cool features like a built in barcode scanner (though you can use your camera as a barcode scanner on other tablets).

At 7” this is a small rugged tablet. It is large enough to fill out digital forms, but may be a bit on the smaller end for some of your other field service needs.

This is a rugged tablet though, and it has the qualifications to prove it. With tempered glass, LumiBond sealing, and an IP of 65 (protection against dust and protection against strong water jets), this tough tablet can handle extreme temperatures, a 6 foot drop, water, and dust without breaking on you. It also offers a sunlight readable display that you can use with your gloves on.

If the environment you work in is potentially explosive, you have no need to worry. This durable tablet is ATEX certified, meaning it will not ignite in temperamental environments. Even if you do doubt its level of ruggedness, the Getac Z710 has a 3-year warranty to boot.

Xplore Xslate D10 $1,699+

  • Sunlight viewable
  • Requires add-on for cellular functionality
  • Companion keyboard
  • Lots of ports

If you want a rugged tablet that looks tough, the Xplore Xslate D10 is for you. Even the name sounds like someone you wouldn’t want to be in a boxing ring with. 10.1” is on the larger side for tablets, but that can be nice when trying to look at documents or fill out forms. At 2.4 lbs it is the heaviest of the tablets listed here and boasts an IP of 65 (protection against dust and protection against strong water jets).

The multitude of ports available on this tough tablet is perfect for contractors, architects, and project managers who have to deal with USB drives and large files. Not that it needs extended storage though, this durable tablet boasts 64GB.

Compared

 

Galaxy Tab Active 2iPadGetac Z710Xplore Xslate D10
Price$420.82$399-$799, $529-$929$1,499 – $1,799 with 3G$1,699 +
Screen8″7.9″, 9.7″, 10.5″, 12.9″7″10.1″
Battery Life10-12 hrs10 hrs10 hrs8 hrs
CellularNoYes3GYes, with HDMI input
Storage16 GB32 GB – 512 GB16 GB64 GB
IP68add on6565
Display in SunGoodadd onGoodGood
OSAndroidiOSAndroidAndroid
Camera8 MP8-12 MP5 MP5 MP
Weight.91 lbs.65-1.49 lbs1.75 lbs2.4 lbs

Questions to Ask Yourself

Tablets can be a large purchase. They are wise investments, and like any investment, they require planning. Asking yourself these questions can help you decide which rugged tablet is best for your business.

1. What is my budget?
Take time to figure out how much money you are able to put into this investment now and in the future.

2. What is the total cost of ownership?
Keep in mind that the cost of a tablet is never just the price listed. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is how much the device will cost in the long run. Repairs, accessories, and even replacements can all go into the TCO of a new tablet. So sometimes, a cheap tablet isn’t always the cheapest choice.

3. Do I need cellular capabilities?
If your field service business dispatches jobs with software like Smart Service, it is probably best for you to use a tablet with cellular capabilities. If you only fill out forms on the job and don’t need to collect payments or keep track of employees, a non-cellular rugged tablet may suffice. If direct communication is your primary goal, tablets might not be the choice for you! Perhaps a rugged cell phone would fit your needs better.

4. How volatile is your work environment?
If your work environment is actually volatile, it may be worth it to dish out $2,000+ for a very rugged tablet. If you are trying to prevent your field service tablet from sustaining damage while out on the job, you’ll probably be more than fine with a cheaper tablet and a sturdy tablet case.

5. Do you rely on pictures?
While a 5MP camera can do the basics, you’re not going to get a lot of detail on that image. Taking pictures and adding them to your notes can be a handy way to keep track of past jobs. How necessary is that in your business?

6. Is it easy to handle?
Everybody loves a huge screen, until they have to hold it all day. Test out varied rugged tablet sizes to see what feels the best in your hands.

Conclusion

In the end, it is up to you and your business to decide what factors are most important and which rugged tablet is right for you.


Visit the Smart Service booth at the 2018 WWETT Show!

On February 13th, 2018 by

Always wanted to go paperless and simplify your scheduling/dispatching process? Find out how at the Smart Service booth (#6266) at the 2018 WWETT Show in Indianapolis this February 22-24! There you’ll get a chance to see the finest software tool the plumbing/septic/wastewater industry has to offer. Our friendly booth staff will give you a brief demonstration of Smart Service, showing you how the QuickBooks-integrated tool can digitize your job process, eliminate waste, and improve your bottom line.

Smart Service adds scheduling, dispatching, billing, work orders, and customer management to QuickBooks, letting you shift your focus from tedious administration back to the work your company does best. Take the first step towards boosting your business by visiting booth 6266 at WWETT 2018!

Here’s the show schedule:

Thursday, Feb 22, 9 AM – 5 PM
Friday, Feb 23, 9 AM – 5 PM
Saturday, Feb 24, 9 AM – 2 PM

The Smart Service crew will man booth 6266 from start to finish each day, so be sure to pay us a visit!

Can’t wait for WWETT? Unable to attend? Schedule a demo of Smart Service today for a personal tour of the field service scheduling software.


The Best Hand Creams For Working Hands

On February 9th, 2018 by

While hand cream sales go up across the board in the winter, most people’s dry hands don’t compare to your rugged, hard-worn, rock-hard mitts. When you work with your hands, odds are they are going to be dry and cracked. While this may seem like it comes along with your field service job, a little TLC can turn even the roughest working hands soft and supple.

Of course, keeping your working hands moisturized might not appear on the top of your to-do list. However, we care about your grisly meat hooks, and took the time to put together a list of the best hand creams for working hands. This stuff’s been proven to work by other field service technicians. It’ll do the job and work hard for your hard working hands.

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream

okeeffes working hands hand cream

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream is made with working hands in mind. They understand that it is tough to do a job when your hands are dry and cracked.

This family-owned business began when Bill O’Keeffe, a rancher, developed chronically dry skin due to his work. His pharmacist daughter, Tara, created O’Keeffe’s Working Hands to help her father.

The thick consistency of O’Keeffe’s forms a thin coating around your hands. It is non-greasy, has not been tested on animals, and doesn’t have a scent. Its round container fits easily in large pockets and can be taken anywhere.

$6.49 3.4 oz ($1.91/oz)

Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer

jack black industrial strength hand healer
As far as we’re aware, this hand cream has no connections to the comedic actor Jack Black. Which, to be honest, is a little disappointing. Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer contains vitamins A and E as well as macadamia nut oil and eucalyptus to condition rough skin and cuticles while remaining non-greasy. It has a light eucalyptus smell from the natural oils used in the cream, so it might not be the best choice for somebody who wants an unscented hand cream. However, this cream is vegan for all you animal lovers out there.

The hand cream has been tested on golfers, carpenters, chefs and other people with hard-working working hands.

$15 3oz ($5/oz)

Eucerin Advanced Repair

eucerin advanced repair hand cream
Eucerin creates a long line of moisturizing skin care products. This light feel hand creme dries quickly and is not greasy. While it claims to be unscented, it does have a very light smell.

While this does a great job moisturizing, this might not be the choice for you if you work outside a lot. It contains an ingredient called alpha hydroxy acid that can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. So lawn care professionals should probably avoid this one!

$7.50 2.7 oz ($2.78/oz)

Burt’s Bees Natural Hand Salve

Burts bees natural hand salve hand cream

This all natural product is the best solution for hardworking people looking for a compact tin that offers moisture for dried, cracked hands. It has the classic Burt’s Bees smell and light herbal scent that appeals to both men and women.

Burt’s Bees had humble beginnings, but this craft stand business run by a beekeeper and artist quickly spun into a giant business. Burt’s Bees uses all natural ingredients and produce zero waste! How cool is that?

The salve has an oily-balm texture, but quickly soaks into the skin. It is non-greasy once rubbed in. It also comes in a smaller 0.3 oz container for those with really small pockets (or really small working hands?).

$7.64 3 oz ($2.55/oz)

Udderly Smooth

udderly smooth hand cream

Although, it might seem weird rubbing something meant for cow udders onto your hands, there is some validation that this must really work on people if it worked on cow udders first. Farmers using the product on their cows realized quickly that their hands became smooth after use as well. Udderly Smooth, while initially made for cows, does not test on animals. The greaseless hand cream has a light aroma.

Udderly Smooth hand cream is now used by chemo patients, bicyclists, and other active people around the world. If you’re questioning whether it will work on your working hands, just remember that it worked on working udders. How much tougher can hands be?

$9.59 2 oz ($4.8/oz)

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

Kiehl’s ultimate strength hand cream

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve says it is made for active hands. While some don’t like its strong smell, most love its greaseless texture and quick absorption.

The company began as an apothecary 165 years ago and evolved into selling skincare and grooming products. Kiehl’s uses avocado oil and sesame oil to create a “glove-like” protective coating around hands to prevent drying.

$16.00 2.5 oz ($6.4/oz)


5 Field Service Business Lessons You Can Learn From The 2018 Super Bowl Ads

On February 7th, 2018 by

The Super Bowl is over. People all over America have wiped their faces of the red and blue paint and returned to their mundane lives. As red, blue, and green become a sea of brown gloop, people reminisce over the game highlights.

While most take pleasure in the football (or great pain, if you’re a die-hard Patriots fan), many also watch the largest game of the year for the awesome ads.

The ads? You ask. What ads? Those gaps in the game where you and your friends go to the bathroom and crack open a new beer showcase ads by some of the largest brands in the world. Companies like Pepsi and Amazon dish out a good 5 million dollars for 30 seconds of attention from the 103.4 million people that watched the game on Sunday.

These ads, created by some of the biggest names in advertising and marketing, offer excellent business lessons that your field service business can use. So if you’re in plumbing, electric, HVAC, or you just like Super Bowl ads, listen up while we take commercials and turn them into 5 handy field service business tips and tricks. You know what they say, when life gives you lemons… write a compelling piece on Super Bowl ads and how they can, in fact, apply to the field service industry.

1. Be better than the competition.

It is important to stay on top of competition. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses (yes, everybody has weaknesses) allows for your business to develop and implement strategic plans.

Wendy’s vs. McDonald’s

Wendy’s calls out McDonalds for using frozen beef. Wendy’s understands its advantage over the other massive food chain. Though McDonald’s and its vast golden arches have dominated the fast food industry for quite some time now, Wendy’s is marking its place as its direct competitor. Not only does this show that Wendy’s provides a higher quality burger, it also put Wendy’s in a competitive stance at equal footing with McDonald’s. This levels the two chains and establishes Wendy’s as the other, better McDonald’s.

Wendy’s snarky banter with McDonald’s is an extension of the correspondence between the two burger chains on Twitter. This is an excellent display of brand consistency.

Wendy’s has done a remarkable job of establishing brand voice, contributing to its personification. Metaphorically, Wendy’s is slowly but surely becoming “Wendy”. While this change may seem trivial and minute, it promotes a closer relationship between the fast food chain and its customers. When that transactional relationship becomes personal, customers become loyal devotees, akin to friends.

Sprint vs. Verizon

Phone networks have a reputation for battling each other on a level similar to a presidential campaign (we’ve all mistaken those blue/red network maps for electoral maps at some point). This swarm of attacks provides the perfect environment for polarized opinions. Networks like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile fight for the spot at the top, each promoting themself as the “best” network.

However, in this ad, Sprint does something a little different. Instead of claiming to be the best like Wendy’s did, Sprint takes its seat behind Verizon. Understanding its competition allows Sprint to make a biting argument against it. Is a 1% difference really worth paying double?

Sprint, while playing off the trendy fascination with AI technology, manages to establish itself as the cool, popular guy on the block. The scientist switches phone plans to sprint after Evelyn and his other robot “coworkers” make fun of him. This social pressure is a very powerful player in decision making, and Sprint utilizes this perfectly while maintaining a light, humorous tone.

How to use it:

Sit down with your coworkers and jot down what makes your field service business better than your competition. Play up your advantages when speaking to potential clients. Tell them exactly why they should pick you and not your competitor. In a world full of endless options, customers want to know why you. So tell them.

Then take a step back and jot down where your business falls short. Don’t worry! Even your weaknesses can be played to your advantage. You may not offer round-the-clock service like your competitor does, but your business delivers better bang-for-the-buck. The added service isn’t worth it. You know that, and your customer should be aware as well.

2. Partner up.

Partnering up with another business is an excellent way to gain new clients, get prolonged publicity, and reduce marketing costs.

Jeep + Jurassic Park

The ad features Ian Malcolm, a character in the movie Jurassic Park, first released in 1993. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will arrive this summer, so the ad serves as a double promoter, both for the vehicle and the movie.

Jeep’s advantage is in what the car can do. It is an offroad vehicle—and it shows that in its ads. Even if you won’t use it to run away from a T-Rex, the point is that you could. It is this feeling that Jeep wants to instill in drivers. That feeling of possibility, wonder, and adventure is displayed perfectly within the context of Jurassic Park.

Partnering up with competition also allows for continued publicity on both ends. When you watch Jurassic Park in the theaters this summer, or when you hear about it, you’ll think of Jeep. The reverse is also true. Whenever you see a Jeep, you will consider the link with Jurassic Park.

How to use it:

Finding a complementary business to “partner” with can reduce costs, strengthen your field service business’ reputation, and be a source for strong leads. When you work in the field service business, it is unlikely that you cover all areas of the field. If you’re an electrician, it is very unlikely that you are a plumber as well. So find somebody who is, and recommend them to your customers. They, in turn, will do the same, and suddenly your client pool has gotten a lot larger. You can also run special joint packages that your competitors won’t be able to match.

Partner up with a business that you’re not in competition with. If you are a contractor, partner up with a plumber. You don’t want to be promoting your own competition, so make sure there is no overlap in the services provided.

Make sure your new business relationship is symbiotic and that both companies complement each other without taking away market share from either side. Pick a business of merit because their reputation will become tied to yours. You don’t want to recommend an HVAC technician that doesn’t follow through.

3. Stay top of mind.

The goal of any company should be to remain present on the mind of its consumers. This ensures brand loyalty and continued business.

Tide

This Tide ad is an exemplary display of what it means for an idea—or brand—to linger. These Tide ads were shown every quarter of the game, each one building off of the last. The expectation and anticipation of each tide ad led viewers to search for signs of Tide in every new ad.

This functions phenomenally well because every ad effectively does become a Tide ad. Though Tide jokes about this in its slogan “It’s a Tide Ad”, the effect is clear and unassuming.

The ad effortlessly links itself to the idea of clean clothes. If it’s clean, it’s gotta be Tide. The majority of the “mock” ads featured by Tide also hold clear connections to being clean. Mr. Clean, tennis, shaving cream, and Old Spice all exude obvious connotations to the idea of remaining pristine and fresh. This furthers Tide’s goal in what it wants to be associated with and its line “If it’s clean, it’s got to be Tide.”

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten to mention David Harbour, the likeable actor from the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things” who is featured in the commercial. Good choice, Tide. Well done.

NFL

I’m not quite sure why the NFL needs to advertise for itself during its own program, but, hey, why not? Viewers got to see Eli Manning during each quarter, goofing off with his teammates by dancing and talking about a thumb war. Though this ad didn’t shine creatively, it does serve as another example of always being present in the minds of your consumers. (And its mere existence is proof that you don’t have to be creative to reap the benefits of this tactic, either!)

How to use it:

Sending your customers regular emails or texts works as a great reminder that they need your field service business. Put stickers featuring your field service business name and phone number inside their units. That way, when your customer’s AC breaks, they’re going to open it up and contact you.

4. Call for action.

The end of any marketing campaign, whether it be a page on your website, your business card, or a full length commercial, should contain a message inviting action. Continued interaction with a brand is the goal of any marketing campaign.

Mucinex

Mucinex acknowledges the post-game depression (and often hangover) state half of America suffers from the Monday following the Super Bowl. It is playful and pokes fun while maintaining character consistency through its snotty character. Mucinex ends the advertisement with a hashtag, #SuperSickMonday. This hashtag is brilliant because it establishes a line generic enough for widespread use as a Mucinex line. Mucinex invites viewers to poke fun at themselves and their day off by using the hashtag.

Jurassic World

The official trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom aired during the Super Bowl. The movie looks thrilling and suspenseful, as all Jurassic Park movies are known to be. At the end of the trailer, it requests viewers to try an effect on Facebook. Without citing what the effect is, the trailer inspires curiosity among the viewers, encouraging them to go on Facebook, try the effect on Facebook’s camera feature, and continue brand interaction on other platforms.

Squarespace

Keanu Reeves surfing on a motorcycle in the middle of a desert has to be one of the coolest, most inspiring images. Ever. He repeats affirmations alongside a recording, ending with a continuous, rolling “Make it happen.”

Squarespace, a website builder, invites viewers to watch the rest of the cool clip and see what Keanu Reeves built using Squarespace. Many of those intrigued by the ad (or intrigued by Keanu) did go to the website to see the rest, continuing interaction with the company.

How to use it:

On your field service website, make sure each page invites viewers to message you, request an estimate, or subscribe to an email chain. Whatever the action is, it is important to make the request visible and available, encouraging people to follow through and turn visitors into leads.

5. Do good too.

These days, giving back to the community is expected of companies with the resources to do so. Because these donations can often be accounted for in tax returns, they typically make little to no difference to a company’s bottom line. In a society with growing consumer consciousness, giving back can also be a source of inspiration for continued business.

Budweiser

After the hurricanes that struck America and left many in need of shelter and water, Budweiser transformed some of its breweries into good-samaritan canned water manufacturers. It displayed itself as a builder of America and a helper of those in need. This encourages consumers to continue business with Budweiser because though they are a major corporation, they are not one of the greedy ones. This ad emphasizes that Budweiser is American, and therefore, to be American is to drink Budweiser.

Groupon

Groupon takes a slightly different “Do good” angle than Budweiser did. Groupon positions itself as a resource for you to do good. It encourages viewers to use Groupon, and in turn, support local businesses. After all, “What kind of person wouldn’t want to support local business?” Groupon asks. Groupon is beneficial for both you, the money saver, and local businesses, the money receivers. Nothing like a “win-win” situation to promote business and promote doing good.

This Groupon ad uses Tiffany Haddish, America’s current sweetheart, football players, and a really hateable, opulent man to establish a sense of togetherness and social duty surrounding the use of Groupon. It’s the cool thing to do, and everybody you know and like is doing it. There are people who hate local business, and there are people who use Groupon.

How to use it:

Even though your field service business is not as large as Groupon or Budweiser, doing good as a business can still be beneficial both for your field service business and for the community.

Show your customers that your business gives back by sponsoring a scholarship, volunteering with your technicians, or providing the occasional pro-bono service for a family in need. Showcase this on your marketing platforms to set yourself apart from competition. (Hey, you could even mention how many trees you saved from hitting the chop house by using Smart Service, the handy-dandy field service scheduling software for QuickBooks.) Doing good for others is an act that can prove beneficial both for the community and your field service business!

Recap

The Super Bowl may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the commercials and apply their techniques to your own field service business marketing strategies. This year, the Super Bowl ads were funny, tactical, and effective. Using the lessons learned from the ads will result in a touchdown for your field service business, get your customers running back for more, and get a quarterback in your wallet. (Ha, ha.)


This Is What Homeowners Want In 2018—Is Your Field Service Business Prepared?

On February 5th, 2018 by

Efficiency was on the tip of everybody’s tongues at the Home Show in Indianapolis. The show, running from January 19-28, featured HGTV stars, a showcase home, tiny home village, and many, many exhibitors. Well over 100,000 people attended, in a frenzied hunger for inspiration.

The Indianapolis Home Show appeals to homeowners seeking ideas and guidance for their own home. Some are in the middle of a large scale renovation and others simply want to see what new products and services are all the buzz. The Home Show sets precedent for the housing industry, homeowners, and field service industry workers alike.

Industries that target homeowners (construction, plumbing, electric, HVAC, and more) should have had their eyes and ears on red alert last week so as to gain perspective for what homeowners want for 2018. Home trends can shape the market for particular services, products, and features. If your business isn’t doing it, you can bet your last dollar that somebody else is—and reaping the rewards for it too.

Tiny Houses

tiny home in indianapolis home show

Efficiency rang through the walls of the Indiana State Fairgrounds like a well-oiled bell. A village of tiny homes served as an island of grass and wood in the middle of the West Pavillion. This hobbit-like village looked like it was straight out of a storybook. Five tiny home builders displayed their finished work, complete with fine finishings and furniture to set the stage.

rugged tiny home
The tiny house movement, a lifestyle branching out of minimalism, started around 2014 and has since taken hold of America’s heart. The rise in tiny house popularity was triggered by the economic collapse in 2008 that left many Americans struggling to put a roof over their head. Financial strain was a burden many Americans faced in the years after. The solution? Smaller roofs.

The American economy has recovered a bit, but it seems like the tiny house movement is here to stay—just with some added fixtures and minor embellishments. Adorned with granite countertops and high-quality built-ins, tiny houses have taken a clear shift from their humble beginnings.

Tiny houses are characterized by being environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient, compact, and transportable. These are all features businesses catering to homeowners need to take note of and act upon. This can be done by specializing in smaller scale units, energy-efficient models, and eco-friendly systems. The tiny house feeling can also be applied to houses of a larger construction. The ideas behind the tiny house are ones larger households wish to incorporate into their houses as well.

Houses of Green

modern sink and stove
The crowds at the Home Show in Indianapolis were green—both with envy of all the finest fittings and with, well, going green. One could practically hear all the exhibitors yelling “Energy-efficient!” at all the passersby. Their unspoken admonishments were received warmly, however, as “efficient” seems to be everybody’s favorite word.

For homeowners, going green means cheaper utility bills and a nice morality boost for those who are environmentally concerned. It can also be a means for people to become more self-reliant, similar to the tiny house movement.

Almost every aspect of a person’s house can go green, down to the decorations and stuff that fills space. While your field service business might not need to learn about DIY’ing picture frames and vases, you might want to listen close to the rest of this.

Areas of the house that can easily adopt the “color” change can be found in electric, geothermal, water conservation, appliances, and HVAC units. This means that your field service business should be incorporating this into its business strategy. Specializing in energy-efficient solutions angles you as the know-how king or queen of this subfield. When somebody searches “energy-efficient HVAC”, your name should be the one that pops up first. Offline, your field service business can offer energy-efficient solutions alongside traditional ones.

Get Smart

Smart Thermostat
No, no. This isn’t a Smart Service sales pitch! (Though Smart Service could help you manage your field service business through easy scheduling and QuickBooks integration.)

We’re talking about smart homes.

All the gifted Alexa and Google Home devices sold last Christmas should have been signal enough that our concept of “home” is evolving to something more connected. Smart speakers are nifty devices that use artificial intelligence to control your house, and in turn, change it into a home. Smart technology can include smart thermostats, smart lighting, smart sound systems, smart security, and smart cleaning appliances.

While everybody is hungry to turn their homes “smart”, not many people know how to do so. Whether your focus is in smart HVAC technology, smart lighting, smart security, or something else, understanding smart home technology and knowing how to incorporate it into a smart home system is a service you can easily adopt in your field service business plan.

To Conclude

Efficiency was on the mind and in the eyes of everybody at the Indianapolis Home Show. This trend is certain to be on the minds of American consumers throughout 2018 and will likely continue to be present in the future market as well. Paying attention to industry trends—and staying ahead of the competition—is important for those field service businesses wanting to enter 2018 with a bang.


Lessons Your Field Service Business Can Learn From This Year’s Super Bowl Teams

On February 1st, 2018 by

Normally, The Smart Service Blog strives to provide field service businesses with actionable, usable, useful business and technology tips. However, with this weekend’s Super Bowl looming, we thought we might throw all that out the window and have some fun instead. So, if you, like me, would like to find some way to justify browsing Super Bowl content for work, well… you came to the right place.

Super Bowl LII pits the indomitable, indefatigable, and (let’s be honest) widely reviled New England Patriots against the young, exciting, upstart Philadelphia Eagles in frigid Minneapolis, Minnesota. As of this writing, Vegas favors New England by 4.5 points, which—again, let’s be honest—seems like a wild overestimation of Philadelphia’s chances.

But! We’re not here to predict sports outcomes. We’re here to see what business lessons we can learn from these two very successful teams and their very successful seasons.

The New England Patriots

The Patriots may be one of the most hated teams in sports, but you can’t argue with their success. In the 17 year Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, the team has amassed five Super Bowl wins, 15 playoff appearances, and the best overall winning percentage in the NFL. How did they do it?

Hire good people and stick with them.

Tom Brady is a good employee.

There’s a reason people call it the Brady/Belichick era. In almost two decades of action, the player/coach duo have seen their share of ups and downs (but mostly ups). Through it all, Patriots ownership hasn’t wavered, they’ve always stuck by their boys. (It helps when your trophy case keeps expanding, of course.) The lesson here? Find good talent, then keep that talent happy. If your employees are “engaged and thriving”, they are 59% less likely to switch jobs in the next year. Hiring well yields championship results in every profession.

Do whatever it takes.

The Patriots are notorious for seeking an edge wherever possible. Occasionally, this gets them into trouble (so I’m not actually 100% sure I should be positioning this point as good advice). In 2007, their overzealousness cost them when they got caught illegally videotaping signals from the Jets sideline (hoping to gain a marginal edge against a woebegone opponent). Then, famously, in the 2014-15 playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts raised a hullabaloo about Tom Brady’s deflated footballs, kicking off the unforgettable deflategate scandal.

Both incidents arise from attempts to gain an edge over the opponent, however slight that edge might seem. Now, obviously we recommend operating your field service business within the confines of the law. That said, you should take a critical look at every facet of your operations and determine which could stand improvement. Perhaps digital dispatching should replace outdated scheduling processes? Perhaps an improved social media profile could give you an edge online?

Avoid mistakes.

The Patriots don’t commit very many penalties. In fact, their tendency to avoid flags has raised a few eyebrows…

Whether or not you suspect foul play or collusion, the fact remains… the Patriots don’t make a lot of mistakes. While we can’t totally rule out a massive conspiracy between the team, league, and officials, at least part of the Patriots’ squeaky-clean on field play comes from good coaching and strong player discipline, qualities your business can absolutely emulate. Remain careful on the job, don’t rush, and double-check your work. Little mistakes like forgetting to provide your employees pay stubs could end up costing you $50—per employee! Doing a job right always trumps doing it quickly and paying for a mistake.

The Philadelphia Eagles

Hey, where’d this team come from? The Eagles opened the season with 50/1 odds of winning the Super Bowl (only the 19th best odds in the NFL). As the sophomore season of 2016 #2 overall pick Carson Wentz, 2017 was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Then, the improbable happened. The Eagles rocketed to an 11-2 start on the back of an MVP-caliber season from Wentz… only to plummet into despair when Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14.

Yet, somehow, Philadelphia persevered. Backup Nick Foles took over and guided the team to a 2-1 finish. When the playoffs began, the Eagles continued their improbable run, surviving an ugly divisional game against the Falcons before trouncing the Vikings in the NFC Championship. They have their work cut out for them in their juggernaut Super Bowl opponent, but, hey! Upsets happen in sports all the time.

So, what can we learn from Philly’s meteoric season?

Never give up!

When Carson Wentz went down, most experts crossed the Eagles off as Super Bowl contenders. However, it looks like Philadelphia has taken the classic WWII propaganda slogan to heart:

Always sound advice.

Similarly, your business will encounter unexpected setbacks. Maybe one of your vehicles will get in a wreck. Maybe an employee will come down with an injury or sickness at an inopportune time. You never know what the service industry will throw at you, but you, like the Eagles, need the resolve to deal with it. When things look dark, make sure your day-to-day job performance remains top-notch.

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake Super Bowl

Certain coworkers of mine might pitch a fit were I to omit any mention of Mr. Timberlake from this article. That’s fine, though! As it happens, there’s a great lesson we can learn from this year’s halftime act.

Seize all second chances!

The last time JT performed at the Super Bowl, the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” got added to the cultural lexicon. Now, fourteen years later, Justin has a chance for redemption… which he can achieve simply by ensuring everyone on stage remains clothed. Low bar? Sure. But it’s good to have achievable goals.

Like JT, you (or one of your employees) will commit the occasional snafu. Maybe you’ll make a mistake on an important job or commit some Timberlake-esque social faux pas. Should this happen, do what you can to rectify the situation, then seize (and knock out of the park) any second chance your customer might offer.



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