SOURCE: Service Experts Inc.

Service Experts Inc.

June 22, 2010 12:25 ET

Service Experts Inc. Sees Cost-Savings, Cash Flow Improvement and Higher Sales

Handheld Devices Offer Paperless Documentation and Route Optimization

RICHARDSON, TX--(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) -  While many HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) technicians spend their days buried under endless copies of work orders, illegible notes from service appointments, and extra time spent navigating to the next appointment, one company is revolutionizing the way its techs do business. Service Experts, North America's leader in air conditioner and heating repair and replacement, developed proprietary handheld devices, named FAST, that puts the power of a peerless system at techs' fingertips.

FAST technology links specialized devices, which look like large walkie-talkies with screens, to dispatch and a central documentation application. This shift from the old radio-based dispatch and paper documentation system allows faster and more accurate routing and quick, electronic access to customer files.

"We began this program with one pilot center in 2007 and last spring, opened it up to all 120 Service Expert centers," says Jackie Joo, Director of Business Systems at Service Experts. "Having access to real-time data allows our technicians to work faster and schedule more appointments per week."

The time-savings begin with dispatch. Before FAST, techs had to radio back and forth with the dispatch center for routing information and confirmation, which could involve several minutes of waiting. Multiply those few minutes many times a day for hundreds of technicians across the country, and the inefficiency becomes very apparent. FAST allows technicians and dispatchers to communicate in real time and avoid that back and forth delay. GPS (Global Positioning System) within the device ensures technicians are given the most efficient route to the next appointment, saving time and gas while reducing redundant radio time.

"We've seen the average ticket price go up 15% at our centers," says Dave Allen, general manager of two Service Experts centers in Utah. "FAST recommends additional products and services to improve a customer's indoor comfort and ensures our technicians bill accurately."

Once at an appointment, technicians can access a customer's history and service electronically and document details from the current visit -- storing clear information for future service visits. This improves customer relations by presenting a professional appearance to homeowners and improves service on later visits because all data is readily available. Customers benefit by having a technician who knows the history of their home and heating or air conditioning unit.

"We rolled out an update that allows credit card payments using FAST and soon, we will be able to process checks with the devices," says Joo. "This keeps our customers' payment information safely encrypted electronically and not written out on paper that could be lost."

Other future additions slated for the FAST program include electronic time sheets for technicians and bar code scanning functionality.

The FAST program has brought a strong return on investment for Service Experts. Real-time data allows centers to better manage the daily operations of its technicians and also to track opportunities for training and development. The speed of the FAST program allows Service Experts to realize revenue two-and-a-half days earlier than when using a paper-based system, improving cash flow. Costs have also decreased across administrative functions while data quality has improved.

Tech training programs have also improved, thanks to FAST. Center managers need only review recent digital transactions to see how a tech interacts with customers. As a result, center managers are able to work with techs on areas that need improvement such as generating leads, making recommendations and growing sales. The electronic record of service calls means techs get feedback on their performance faster and can offer even better service.

Service Experts LLC is the largest retail service company in North America providing home energy-efficiency solutions and installation, maintenance and repair of heating, air conditioning, ventilation and indoor air quality systems. Service Experts furnace and air conditioning technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading certification program for technicians in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. Their service is known for their exclusive Five Standards of Excellence and a written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

Headquartered in Richardson, Texas, Service Experts has formed an extensive network of high-quality, well-established centers in the United States and Canada. To locate a Service Experts center or arrange for heating, air conditioning, or indoor air quality products, service or maintenance, consumers may access the company's Website, serviceexperts.com, or call the Service Experts toll-free number at 1-888-HEATCOOL (1-888-432-8266). Useful heating and cooling information can also be found at the Blog of their spokesperson, Sam the Service Expert, at ServiceExperts.com/SamsBlog.

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