Service Managers & Techs ... this one's for you!
With 20 years experience in running a successful hot tub company, I'll share how I grew a company from 1 location to 7 with these tips, tricks and best practices for your service division. Learn how you can save time & money for your business.
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STEVE: Hello everyone, Steve Ruscigno here at Evosus's headquarters in Vancouver, Washington. Thanks for joining today, we're going to talk about some service tech, service department best practices.
Prior to joining Evosus, I worked in the hot tub pool industry for 20 years and I'm just going to share with you today a couple of little tips and tricks and best practices that I found help us to streamline and grow. We grew from a couple stores to over seven stores in my tenure there, so just a couple of things I've learned along the way that I want to share with you.
We're going to be looking today at utilizing the LOU software as I go through some of these practices, but these practices can be used if you're still on pen and paper, if you're using our Evosus legacy program, or if you're using any other software program, these pretty much are just some simple foundational, fundamental best practices to share with you.
So the first thing I'm going to do here is switch my screen over to LOU, and here I'm on a lou.evosus.com, I'm on a Google Chrome browser, you can access it from anywhere you have an internet connection.
So we know that the three profit killers of any service department are shop time, drive time, and overtime. So some of these tips and tricks and best practices I'm going to share with you were really designed to reduce those and try to eliminate as much of that as you possibly can.
So the first thing we're going to do here in LOU is a customer calls in, they want their hot tub, let's say, drained, cleaned, and refilled. So I'm going to go ahead and just create a work order here in LOU real quick. I'm going to pull up my customer. I'm going to pick Carl the customer and he wants a valet or a drain, clean, refill.
And then one thing I want to point out here, it’s kind of a little tip, so tip number one is if you have an interview, now I don't have an interview set up for this particular job but I'll show you what some interviews kind of look like. So you could have it for a hot tub delivery, hot tub not heating, a site inspection, jets not working, no power, so whatever. So I've created some interviews in here that when the folks that answer the phone to get the request for service, they can kind of go through a few simple troubleshooting techniques to kind of keep you from having to run out there and flip a breaker or go out there and rinse a filter or something like that. So those are very handy to have.
But back to my work order. So I've got a valet, drain, clean and refill. I'm going to pick a task type, which is drain and clean hot tub. My schedule division will be my main list division and I'll do it out of my service center warehouse and this is going to be some onsite service and I'm going to make this a work order.
So I go ahead and create the work order and here it shows me I've got this work order for Carl the customer, this is all the stuff over here. The request is right here, valet, drain, refill, so I'm going to go down here and put my labor SKU on it real quick. So I type in valet and I go down here to valet, so now I've got a labor SKU on that order And now I need to schedule the actual drain, clean, refill task.
So I click here and schedule to create a task, It automatically populates Carl the customer in there, populates down here what I want to do because I filled that out early on. My route is going to be my maintenance route, and let's say he wants it in the afternoon and it automatically assigned me to this, so I'm going to go ahead and I can assign the vehicle I'm going to be using, which is service Van one. And then any assets I may need for that job. So obviously I'm going to need that pump so I'll put that on there, and I'm probably going to need the shop vac too, so I'll throw that one on there and then I create that task.
So now that I've got that task created, customer called in, said they want their hot tub cleaned, refilled. I could take a deposit right here if I want, but for sake of time, I'm just going to jump into the schedule.
So now when we're looking at our service schedule for the day, we go to this, hit the schedule tile in LOU, and then it takes us to our schedule dashboard and we can see I have this split out by of my different divisions. So I've got delivery, I've got maintenance, I've got repair. So I can see I've got some appointments for each of these things here, they're confirmed, so if I want to go look at the actual calendar and so this is, so tip one or two for the day or best practice is we would always tell customers, because they always want to know where they're at in the day and when you're going to be there. What time you're going to be there, right? So over the years, you know, the cable companies, your utility companies might give you a window, eight to noon, or one to five, or all day long, whatever it is, it doesn't matter. Whatever you do, you do, and that's fine, but one of the practices that we adopted that really worked well is we would tell customers, call in after 9am the day you're scheduled for service and we will tell you where you're at in the technician's schedule. So the reason we did that is from 8 to 9 is that busy time in the morning, you're answering voicemails, you're answering emails, you're still kind of getting your schedule dialed in for the day, your techs might have to come in and route themselves, so there's a lot of things that can happen between that 8 and 9am.
The other thing is not that many people really call, they just say whatever, whenever, right? So that's fine. So it's about a percentage of them will call and then when they do call, your tech's already routed themselves for the day, they're already on the road, and then you can tell them where they fall on that schedule. So customers really like that, and it really kind of cut down on those early morning phone calls.
So here I am at 8am in the morning, let's say, and I come into my schedule and I see here I'm going to change, I'm going to go over to the maintenance division because that's where I scheduled the one deal. And I look down here and I'm the tech and here's, I've got three repair jobs, and now I have that drain and clean. And then I've got my other technician up here, Leah, she's got a couple of water care jobs as well, but notice over here on the right I've got some unscheduled tasks for today so I can go ahead and take some of these, and let's say I'll take this pool cleaning maintenance for Bill Blag, and I can just drag that over here and drop it right on my schedule and it populates. And let's say I want to give a few more to Leah so I'll take these and throw this over here. Maybe we'll take this one and put it down here and we'll take this one and put it over here. And we'll do one more over here for Leah. So now that's scheduled. So when I drag those and drop those on the calendar, it automatically updated the task for that technician as well as the work order, automatically updates it, so if I need to take a little bit more time on this one here, this maintenance and cleaning, I can just go over here and make it a little bit bigger. Whoops, I moved it. Yeah, now it fills the time.
So now that I've got the schedule set for the day I'm going to go back home here, and if I'm the service manager, the dispatcher, the person in charge of scheduling, I'm going to, once I've got my schedule, I've looked at the calendars and things are set up, then I can go into my day here. And so this populated to me because I'm in here, and it shows me I have six jobs for the day and I know I also need to look at Leah's schedule. So I'll start with Leah, just go in here to switch. I'll find Leah. There she is. And then I'll switch.
So now I have Leah's schedule on here. So the first thing I'm going to do as the person responsible for scheduling and routing and all that stuff, this is the list of tasks for today for Leah. First thing I want to do is map her day, see what it's going to look like for her.
So we see she's got the five stops here, we see there's a driving distance of 74.6 miles. I can simply click this optimize route, which again, shop time, drive time, overtime. So for drive time, optimizing the route will obviously help that profit killer a bit. So you see we took it from 70 some miles down to 62 miles. So this is the most optimized route now for Leah. So I can save this route. Now when Leah goes out in the field and she's got her LOU schedule companion app, which I'm not going to demonstrate today, but she goes out with her LOU schedule companion app, she simply syncs that app with one button and now her route is rerouted in the most efficient way.
So then I've got that now I'm going to go do mine, because I know I need the most efficient route as well. Go back here. I couldn't find myself on there for a second time, I'll just do this, it's quicker. Go back to my day, now it's to my schedule. Again, I've got my six or so jobs here. Same thing, I map my day. Whether you're doing this manually or you have a software program that does it for you, either way, you're going to want to optimize your route. So then I go ahead and optimize that route and I save it.
So that's what routing will do for you is it'll save you drive time, right? So big, big things. So obviously, you know, weather, traffic patterns, all that stuff in your markets are, they're real things and so any way you can optimize your route's going to help you out.
Another thing that came up a lot was customers would want first call of the day. They'd want to guarantee that you're going to be out there first thing in the morning. So what we started is we called it a VIP service and we charged an extra fee, somewhere around $75 extra, and that ensured that they get that first call of the day. And the reason we did that is because now you're talking about the technician is going to have to reroute themselves around that first call so you could have more drive time, it could potentially put you into overtime, so we know those two things are profit killers so one way to handle a profit killer is to bring some revenue towards it.
So another little tip and trick we did that worked really, really well.
So we've looked at how we can save drive time, now let's look at how we could save some shop time.
So I'm going to go back here and I'm going to go to my warehouse tile here and I want to make sure my technicians have all the parts and things, items they need for the jobs for that day. So I'm going to go in here to this tile called transfer inventory to vehicles and what I'm going to do is I'm going to create a list. I'm going to create a list for either the warehouse guy or gal to pull or when the technician comes back they can go pull it but it's going to give them a pretty good list of everything they're going to need for that day.
So I know that I'm in service van one today and I know that I supply that out of my warehouse so I'm going to pick my receiving stock site as service van one and my supplying stock site as the warehouse.
So this tells me based on reorder alerts that I need to put some more five pound chlorine in my van but really what I want to look at is the SKUs on the order. So these are all SKUs or inventory items that are on my jobs for today. So I want to create a pick list so that I make sure I get all that stuff. So I can simply select them all or select the ones applicable to me and just hit this button to create pick list. And so now this pick list has been assigned to me, now I can go either print it out, hand it out, reassign it to anybody else, and that makes sure all the product is on the vehicle for that day's jobs. And again, that's going to save us some shop time. So another profit killer, shop time, we can save some time there by being organized, whether you're doing it handwritten or again you have a software program that will do it for you.
So those are a couple things, shop time, drive time, we've kind of covered a little bit. One of the things I'll mention about a pick list or any list you're pulling for your technicians to take out in the field with them is one of the tips we use is we had a double check system. So we always wanted two sets of eyes on that thing before it left. One of the worst things that could ever happen to me, and I'm sure it's happened to you a time or two, is that you get a technician out to a job, they drive all the way there and they don't have everything they need for that job. So this obviously helps eliminate that, so now you're talking shop time, drive time, and overtime potentially because if they're going back and forth to the same job site a couple times because they forgot something mow we're in an overtime situation.
So the other tip and trick I'd like to share with you is add on sales. So for 20 years I had service technicians tell me we are not salespeople, we don't want to sell anything out in the field. But I always told them we never ask you to sell something that they don't need. So we never asked them to sell something the customer did not need. Now we know, especially those of you out there that have been doing this for a minute, we know that customers do not take care of their hot tubs so they always need something. It's either chemicals, it could be a cover, it could be a number of things, filters, they buy these things and they expect them to last forever, of course we know they don't.
So one of the best practices we did is we had our technicians carry product on their vans. So we'd always run up against, we don't have room, I don't have room in my van for that chlorine or those filters or whatever the case, right? So we improvised, we got together with them and came up with a solution. So when we're out in the field in our service vans, we do not carry two pound chlorine, we only carry five pound chlorine. Right? So our thing was if the customer wants a two pound chlorine, they can drive into the store and get it, but our guys and gals are out there with the five pound thing, and we know that these customers need this product.
So the best tip, trick, practice that we did, however, was we actually focused on the numbers. So we published weekly numbers of how they did for total revenue and then we broke out kind of what we call add on or after market sales because we wanted to see how many Ozones they've sold out there, if they sold a cover, if they sold filters, if they sold chemicals. Again, stuff that these customers need, not that we just want them to sell.
Once they adopted that philosophy of, wow, these people are really appreciative that I've got this stuff on my van and they can buy it right now, really got them to buy into that concept.
And then one of the things you do is when you publish these numbers, it kind of brings this peer pressure thing into play, right? Where everyone wants to kind of compare themselves to others, and we call out the people that are doing well, right? Encourage the behavior you want to see. So that worked out really, really well and we put some spiffs and contests in place, like whoever sold, you know, we'd maybe put something on sale, say an ozonator, whoever sold the most ozonators in the month got a certain spiff or reward. So those things work really, really well. So that's kind of my quick little tips and tricks for service.
I'd like to take a pause here and reach out to our panelist, Kim, and see if there's any questions out there so far.
KIM: Oh one question that we got was regarding routing a tech's day and specifically the question was, when you're remapping the route for that day for that tech, does it take into account the desired times by customers? So can you do both time and routing by distance at the same time?
STEVE: Yeah. So once you go into your day, after you've rerouted it, so if you map my day here, and then you optimize your route, which I've already done, then I can, from this screen right here, then I, after I optimize my route, before I have my technicians sync in from their outfield with the LOU schedule companion app, then right here I can actually move these around so I can drag and drop these. So if you do have a customer with a guaranteed time, you can move them in your route and it'll stay optimized beyond that one call. So yes.
Okay, so again, profit killers of a service department, shop time, drive time, overtime. So we encourage everyone to find their best practice that fits best with their company and how you all operate and to try to eliminate those three killers of shop time, drive time, and overtime.
Now I know that I demonstrated LOU, powered by Evosus, our cloud, all-in-one cloud business management software, and so I'd like to just take a couple of seconds here at the end to show you what to do if you want more information about LOU.
So I'll log out here and you can see that I'm at www.lou.evosus.com. So this is where you'd, if you had LOU, you would sign in here with your credentials, but if you go down here to quote, you can simply go in and create your own quote.
Now most customers, we encourage them to be on Enterprise because you can have multiple stock sites. So if you are someone that has your vehicles in stock sites, you can track all that inventory dollars rolling around in the market, then definitely you'd want Enterprise because you can have unlimited stock sites, revenue departments, licenses and so on.
Then if you go down here, you can kind of fill out based on how your company is set up. You know, you're the boss, whoever is in charge is the boss, they're going to have all three of these bundles. This foundation bundle is no charge, so if you have some bookkeepers or accountants or service personnel that just need to have access to the software but not necessarily doing transactions, that's an absolutely free license, the foundation. But then you can kind of put your own employees in here, add more at the bottom if you need to and just kind of figure out how many of your folks are in your retail store, how many of your folks are out in the field and you can kind of build your own custom quote. And then there's some add on options, additional integrations down here that you can select those too. I won't spend the time talking about all those today, but you can see as you build out your quote down here, it's going to populate up here.
So we know that, you know, let's just say you got a couple of employees here, we got a seasonal employee. So just to give you kind of an idea here, you can see that the one-time startup fee for the Enterprise program is $5,000 or $4999, and then everyone's going to spend around a few hundred dollars a month on user licenses, depending on how many users you have.
So when you're done building out your own quote, you can either go up here and click this button to send me this quote or sign up now.
The other thing I'd like to mention is if you want any more information, if you want a complete new overview or how LOU would work best for your business, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, that's email@example.com, and what we do is we'll have a conversation, we'll get to know a little bit about how your business operates and we'll be able to create a custom demo for you to see how LOU could help you streamline and grow your business.
So that's all I got for today, folks. I just wanted to share those few little simple tips, tricks and best practices for my service department years, and also if anyone wants more information on LOU, demonstrated a little bit of it, but there's many, many more facets and features to LOU that can help you streamline and grow your business. So until next time, take care out there. Thank you all.