Home-Tech Goes High-Tech for Service Calls

New system for assigning and completing service work orders make technicians more efficient.

Fort Myers, FL, May 26, 2010 --(PR.com)-- People across the country use smart phones to stay connected to work while on the road, but Home-Tech has recently found a new way to use the devices to make service calls more efficient for both its employees and customers.

The Southwest Florida air conditioning and appliance service and sales leader has armed its service personnel with BlackBerries® and developed a new system to assign service calls. Previously, technicians left the office in the morning with one job, and called in to Home-Tech’s dispatch desk as they finished each job to get their next assignment. Because the dispatch desk took calls from technicians – as well as customers – hold times could be long and technicians had to rely on the limited information about each job scribbled in their notes.

“It’s very difficult to find people that can repair appliances and air conditioners well, and it often takes a few years for technicians to become fully efficient at their jobs,” says Home-Tech’s information technology manager Tom Barber. “We wanted a solution that would help make our techs as efficient as possible, and also cut down on the amount of writing they had to do.”

Barber and his team developed a customized work order program that generates e-mails summarizing key work order information and gave each tech a BlackBerry. Now, as they complete each job, a message is waiting for them with details on their next one including a customer’s name and contact information, issue, whether the customer has a service agreement or needs to be billed, and the service history of the appliance or air conditioning unit that needs to be worked on. They also receive directions via GoogleMaps® with GPS tracking. As each job is completed, technicians simply e-mail a summary of the work performed back to the dispatch team to enter in the system.

“The new system has made us much more efficient. Both the technicians and dispatchers love it,” says Pam Marino, service operations manager. “It cuts down on our calls in the office, and it cuts down on waiting time and note taking for the techs. Our techs are more in control of their own days and don’t have to wait for someone else to move on. Our dispatchers are able to concentrate more on making their routes efficient. We’ve also been able to squeeze more jobs in during late afternoon or early evening hours, too, so it’s more convenient for our customers.”

The e-mails themselves have also proved a better communication method for the teams, Marino adds. It’s caused both dispatchers and technicians to be more clear and precise.

“So, we’ve had some pleasant surprises,” she says.

“Originally, we did this as a step to make us greener, more paperless,” Barber says. “We were using a lot of paper to keep customer records. This has worked out really well. We hope to add more functionality in the future, like printing customer invoices in service trucks. There’s a lot of potential to make things easier and more efficient for both our customers and employees.”

About Home-Tech
Based in Fort Myers, employee-owned Home-Tech has been an industry leader and trendsetter in the fields of air conditioning service and installation, major appliance sales and service, home-service agreements for nearly three decades. Founded in 1981 by Steve Marino, who continues as President and Chairman of the Board, the privately held Home-Tech employs 127 people and provides services in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Sarasota and Manatee counties in Southwest Florida. Home-Tech operates from two principal locations. Its headquarters, tech training facility and appliance showroom are located at 6400 Techster Boulevard in Fort Myers and a second office at 5215 Lena Road in Bradenton which services Manatee and Sarasota counties. For more information about Home-Tech, visit www.Home-Tech.com or call (239) 433-3344.

Erika Houser