The HVAC industry is going through a massive shift, in large part because of two specific trends: the mass retirement of baby boomers and the greater expectations of customers.
Customers are demanding more from their HVAC technicians, but HVAC service organizations are challenged by the fact that their workforce is getting smaller. As well, repairs are getting more challenging, and attitudes around service delivery are evolving. It’s making it harder for HVAC organizations to offer the best service possible.
With competition growing, HVAC field service organizations are turning to HVAC software to help lead them through these two trends. They are also changing their ideals on what service actually is and what it means to their organization. It should come as no surprise that HVAC field service software is leading the way into the future. But it is how it is getting there and how it is helping these organizations combat these two trends that is worth looking into.
The New Customer Experience
The service industry has changed as values and ideals around service have changed. Today, services such as Uber, Netflix and Amazon make it easy to for us to satisfy our need for a ride, entertainment and shopping instantly. It’s an on-demand world, and while HVAC repair may not be an on-demand industry, don’t try telling customers that.
Customers are wanting service instantly, without having to go through the normal procedures of calling into an office and waiting on the phone. They want to know when their technician is on the way, the status throughout the job, and want the job done right the first time. And HVAC organizations are having to accommodate those demands, plus many more.
For many HVAC organizations, it’s not a simple turn of the switch to make a business on-demand, or to even get close to that level of service. It requires training, preparation and the man-power to do it, which is in short supply. HVAC field service software does help HVAC organization move towards on-demand service delivery with functions designed to make dispatching faster, greater insights into technician movements and by offering more ways for customers to request service.
Communication lines between customer and head office and then to the technician have improved. Customers can request service through many different means, and work orders can be generated automatically, ready to be dispatched. With insights into technician schedules and routes, dispatchers can make quick dispatching decisions within their HVAC software. A technician can be rerouted to a call in an emergency case or have a new service call slipped into their schedule ready for them to take. Dispatchers have greater control now over each technician and through field service software, can optimize schedules to improve service delivery.
With advancements in mobile technician, field service mobile apps are taking administrative time away from HVAC technicians. This gives them back more wrench time which can be used on other calls. And more information is available through HVAC software for the technician in the field through the mobile app that will help speed up repairs. Again, this cuts down the time the technician is spending on each repairs, giving them more time to take on additional calls.
The Declining Workforce
As customer demands grow, the stress on the HVAC workforce grows with it. As baby boomers retire, they aren’t being replaced at the same rate. This means, there are few technicians who need to take more calls, which creates a difficult challenge for everyone involved. Dispatchers want to send the right technician with the right skillset to a job site, but with such a reduced workforce, it’s a challenge to get the right people.
HVAC Software, however, is starting to help solve the problem of experience that new technicians don’t have. With HVAC field service software, technicians have greater access to information that can help them finish a repair. They can:
- Check service history on equipment to see repair notes from a retired technician
- Have repair manuals and documents sent to their field service mobile app
- Can use Virtual Reality to help train them in the repair before going
- Have Augmented Reality options to guide them through repairs in real-time
HVAC Software for the Next Generation of Technicians
The difference now with HVAC field service software is that HVAC organizations can hire differently. A new trend that is starting is that HVAC are hiring based on the soft-skills, as opposed to certifications in repairs. Many managers and executives are realizing that the skills on the job site can be tough. Training can bring new technicians up to speed and give them the experience they need. But with the demands of customers and the focus now on a better customer experience, HVAC organizations are hiring technicians with soft-skills:
- Great customer service
- Sales techniques to increase profits
- Analytical thinking skills
- High interest in technology
These new technicians, mostly from Gen Z, are used to technology, software and mobile apps already. So, by introducing HVAC software into the workforce, they don’t shy away from using it to their advantage. There is no ‘old way’ off doing things for them, as they use mobile devices to text and communicate. It’s a natural thing for them to do and is making HVAC organization think heavily about the HVAC software they use, thinking of the workforce they will have, and not what they have currently.
The Best HVAC Software to Work with New Trends
As the industry changes, so too does the HVAC software that helps the industry grow. When trying to select the best HVAC field service software, you’re looking for one that checks all the boxes on the new trends in the field.
- Helps new technicians gain experience and training
- Opens lines of communication between the office and the field
- Gives customers the ability to request service on-demand
- Builds a legacy system for retiring technicians
- Automates multiple processes to increase the amount of service calls technicians can take
Determine what your needs and values are and find an HVAC field service software that puts you on the right path. Don’t let these new trends hurt the business you have grown. But rather, use these trends to propel your business forward, with a powerful HVAC field service software as your engine.