Your business may be crazier than ever. The pandemic has forced plumbing, HVAC, electrical and mechanical contractors to take full stock of their job pipeline and skilled workforce.
Some contractors have experienced a big drop in business, especially in serving retail, hospitality, and other businesses negatively impacted by an absence of business. Other contractors have seen steady or increased business as people spend more time indoors and at home.
What has not changed is that your business is oriented toward making a profit. Here are five of the most common reasons business owners and operations managers don’t want to change anything right now, and some reasons why doing nothing might be handicapping your business.
1. We’re swamped with business.
Great! You’re busier than ever. That means more revenue, which requires a lot more dispatching, estimating, customer service, more hours for your people, and potentially more profit.
But how are you going to fit more activity into your current systems? If you are working with inefficiencies today, like manual paperwork, unplanned overtime, unplanned trips, and manual invoicing and payroll processes, expect those inefficiencies to be magnified.
Now more than ever, it makes sense to focus on evaluating and piloting integrated platforms to eliminate manual and dual entry of information, put your office, field, and customers on the same page, streamline operations, and empower your field techs to do more in the same amount of hours.
2. New technology is hard to implement and use.
You’ve done software. But the last time you tried to install new stuff, you ran into problems. It took time to get things working. It slowed you down. This is a common experience. The root cause isn’t your company, nor is it always the software vendor. It boils down to three things: lack of planning, lack of project management, and poor onboarding support.
Work with a vendor who specializes in your industry. Some software offerings try to serve all industries, while IndusTrack concentrates on its top customer industries: plumbing, HVAC, electrical, mechanical, and cleaning. We’ve done this quite a bit, so we have prepared checklists for what you need to do before you log in for the first time and while you onboard. We also migrate your electronic customer data for you, so you’re never starting with a blank slate. If you’re all paper, we even have solutions to get the info out of file cabinets and onto your screen.
We recommend phased rollouts. That means you don’t start using every feature all at once – only adopt as you need to. Our dedicated onboarding staff have several years of experience guiding customers to ramp up quickly. Change is uncomfortable, but that’s where the greatest growth starts.
3. We’re growing and taking on lots of new people and/or business.
Adding new people and new lines of business is always stressful. It may seem like the wrong time to change how you do things. However, at the same time, if you have inefficiencies and your processes result in lots of unplanned costs, you’re training people to continue down a broken path.
Meanwhile, your competitors may already have a working Field Service Management platform in place and they’re either ramping up or rolling it out to everyone, so that they can optimize operations, improve communications, accelerate job completion and be more proactive with customers.
This is the time to really invest in your people: by giving them better tools, you’re empowering them to do better work and please customers. Your field techs are the brand ambassadors for the company. Teaching them on a new, better, integrated system that gives them better communication and easier job management will lead to a better customer experience.
4. Our technicians will have a hard time with any new technology.
We’ve literally heard people say, “Our techs are dinosaurs,” and, “They’re still using flip phones, I don’t know how we’re going to get them onto this stuff.” Similar objections happened when companies transitioned from pagers to mobile phones. There were concerns about consuming airtime minutes and the cost to replace damaged or lost devices.
By the late 1990s, the efficiency of speaking in real time with the field — especially during a crisis of any kind — erased those concerns. Like the best smart phones, good software is intuitive and easy to learn. IndusTrack built its user interfaces and processes based on the best vendor tools and feedback from customers. If your people are still using flip phones, buy tablets or iPads for use in the field. The minor acquisition cost pales in comparison to the boost to efficiency and revenue.
By letting tech laggards dictate the speed at which you grow the business, you’re suffering opportunity costs. More efficient operations, accomplishing more jobs in the same work week, being able to easily locate techs, trucks, and inventory, and making investments in your whole team. Tech-savvy employees are scratching their heads wondering “when you’ll automate this stuff.”
5. There’s too much uncertainty in the market right now.
Last but not least, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We don’t know what’s going to happen to certain business or consumer markets after this or that election. We don’t know what our competitors or our customers are going to do. All we can control is what we do with our business.
That’s true almost all the time. The best thing you can do for your business in really uncertain times is to take control of things that eat your margins, discourage your employees, and leave your customers disappointed with their experience. Moving to an integrated Field Service Management platform immediately reduces uncertainty within operations and the customer experience.
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