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If you’ve been considering using service scheduling software in your HVAC/plumbing business but aren’t certain it’s the right thing for you, it may help to look at it the way most customers do: they want it. They need it.

I know this from experience, and we have studied scientific research that backs it up with more hard data. While building an HVAC/plumbing company from one truck to dozens from 1996 to 2007, we focused on operating efficiency because efficiency is the key to profitability. Online scheduling gives operating efficiency a big boost.

It’s About Time

We looked at all of our field and office processes to see how to do them better and faster. Everything we do in our business – and personal – lives ultimately comes down to TIME. So, our goal was and is to get as much done as we can with every minute, every day.

We didn’t have the plumbing/HVAC software to help us then that is available today. After I sold the business, I set my sights on developing field service management software that could help any small business make operating efficiency gains of up to 30 percent. Some of our customers are doing even better.

Service scheduling software is the first thing we worked on because that’s what affects customers the most. Like us, they want control of their time. They LOVE being able to schedule service appointments that fit into their schedules, not ours.

Self-scheduling not only helps customers; it also helps your business by drastically reducing the time you spend filling up your schedule. Here’s how that is a win-win.

What Your Customers Really Want

Customers like it when we don’t waste their time. It takes time to call your business and then wait on the phone while a CSR looks for available times – and they have to call during business hours. If the customer needs to reschedule, they have to go through the whole process again.

Research of online booking by GetApp, which helps businesses evaluate business software options, found that customers’ biggest pain points were related to booking appointments by phone:

  • 67% said they prefer online booking
  • 59% are frustrated by waiting on hold and having to call during office hours
  • 94% said they would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offers online scheduling.

Your customers are already so accustomed to booking hotels, rental cars, automobile service, and airlines online that it has become the natural order of things. When was the last time you talked with an airline ticket agent?

Customers expect you to have online booking. You need service scheduling software.

Why HVAC Owners Don’t Use Service Scheduling Software

Some of the reasons we hear most often from HVAC/plumbing business owners who are not offering online booking for service appointments include:

  • I’m not tech-savvy
  • It’s too complex
  • It’s too expensive
  • I like personal contact
  • I haven’t had time for it

We don’t take any of these lightly. They all are real reasons – but they can become more like excuses than reasons if you don’t look for more information.

No matter how you slice it, If you’re not using service scheduling software for your HVAC/plumbing business, you are making your business unavailable to more than half of the people who otherwise would do business with you!

That is business you will never get unless you make it easy for your customers to book their own appointments on your website. They want to – and it’s great for your business. Smart scheduling software can be filling up your schedule while you sleep.

Popular small business software provider FreshBooks cites “not making it easy for your customers to book time with you” as one of the five top ways an appointment-based business loses money.

Great Customer Experience Helps You, Too

As a service business, your success is dependent almost entirely on each customer’s experience dealing with you.

“Customer experience” is not any one thing; it is all the little things that happen each time a customer interacts with your company. Those experiences and perceptions include an employee’s attitude, tone of voice, timeliness, helpfulness, knowledge, appearance, and more.

Service scheduling software reduces the number of routine interactions where mistakes often happen – a CSR may not be able to understand a foreign accent, or there may be a bad phone connection that results in people getting bad information.

The time that automating these routine tasks frees up for your employees can be used better to reach out to customers about things that need a human decision – or to follow up on outstanding proposals for service or new equipment.

Here are some of the benefits of HVAC/plumbing scheduling software that help make a great customer experience while generating more business.

Customers

Your Business

Efficiency

Everybody is busy. If we can save a few minutes here and there, we do it. Customers who want service and are ready to spend money with you can see available times on your website and lock them in without having to wait while a CSR looks for an open time slot.

You save time, too, by reducing call volume, and your CSRs don’t get tied up on the phone with unrelated distractions. There is no small talk or a long pause while a customer checks their schedule against what the CSR suggested. You don’t invest a second in the scheduling process.

Flexibility

Customers can schedule service on weekends when they are planning their weekly schedules. The power of this convenience is often underestimated by business owners who look at the schedule from their own points of view.

Putting your customers in charge of their schedules doesn’t mean you are losing control. The scheduling software lets customers choose from times you have available on your schedule – they are helping you fill it up.

Fewer Mistakes

With smart service scheduling software on your website, you will be pleasantly surprised how few wrong addresses your techs need to chase down. Customers input their own location and contact information. Those who are not native English speakers like knowing their information has been entered properly and spelled correctly.

Your techs will feel less pressured when they don’t waste time looking for a non-existent address. With Sera, they also will have information about the problem before they arrive, so there is little chance for confusion regarding what the job is about. More on that below.

Confirmations

Good online scheduling software also sends appointment confirmation messages immediately by text, email, or both. Customers like doing business with companies that respect their time and let them know their appointments will happen as scheduled.

Customers who have confirmed appointments don’t have to wonder if their message got through. They expect your tech at a certain time, so they are less likely to cancel. If they need to reschedule, they can do that online anytime, day or night.

Perceived Value

Extensive scientific research shows customers will choose saving time over saving money  almost every time and in nearly all circumstances.  And they are willing to spend even more money  if they believe it will save them more time!

When customers value your business more highly your public image becomes one of a premium service by professional people who do things right the first time. Establishing premium pricing enables you to attract and pay for top talent.

Integrated Dispatching and Service Scheduling Software

Not all field service management scheduling software includes Automated Dispatching software, but it should.

Scheduling and dispatching are so closely linked and interdependent that they simply must work seamlessly together. There can be no chance for interoperability or software integration problems.

The full integration of scheduling and dispatching functions is the key to what makes Sera’s software so effective, especially for small-to-medium field service businesses looking to grow.

The Smart Scheduler/Automated Dispatcher ensures the right tech gets to each job at the right time. It integrates with the Tech App to provide techs the job and routing information they need. It all happens without your staff having to do anything, other than monitor the situation and override it, if necessary.

Sera also includes a Customer Hub where customers can review their accounts and service records in a secure online area and a robust Admin Portal that enables you and your staff to manage operational and financial performance with live data as each action takes place.

See how the four software components work together to make your business more efficient and profitable with automated HVAC scheduling software by Sera.

See the Difference

I know all the many pitfalls and hardships of running a service-based business. No matter what size business you’re running there is a lot of waste that eats up your cash flow and ultimately your profitability.
Sera puts money back in your pocket by doing the redundant, time-consuming jobs while your entire company works ON the business instead of IN it. No other software can give you this level of automation that will completely transform your business.

Billy Stevens
Chief Executive Officer

This can change your life faster than you may imagine. See it for yourself with a free, personal demonstration!

Conclusion

Customer self-scheduling for HVAC/plumbing appointments is available to any size field service business. You can add it now and start seeing improvement in jobs booked, operating efficiency, and profitability in a few weeks.

Research shows that most people prefer the time-saving convenience of being able to schedule HVAC/plumbing and other service appointments online, instead of having to call your office. They want to be in control of their schedules and not have to fit into yours.

Instead of dehumanizing your company, service scheduling software that is part of a field service management software solution enriches the customer experience – and your bottom line.

Are you ready to learn more? Request a live, personal demonstration.