All Industries, Management, Operations

Bradham Brothers — Part 10: The Onboarder's Tips

Mike Persinger
June 15th, 2021
4 Min Read

Bradham Brothers, an HVAC and electrical company in Charlotte, N.C., is going through onboarding with ServiceTitan. With 50 employees and about 20 trucks in the field, taking on a new software can be a challenge. This company took ServiceTitan along for the journey.

Part 10: The Onboarder Speaks

For six weeks, Bradham Brothers President Pete Bradham’s biggest concern about onboarding with ServiceTitan has had nothing to do with the software and everything to do with the launch date in late May, with the potential for 90-degree days.

“Yeah, that's valid,” said Nora Bishop, Bradham’s ServiceTitan onboarder.

In the final week before go-live, the potential became a near certainty, with high pressure settling in over the Southeastern U.S. pumping heat into the Carolinas. The first 90-degree days of the year would sandwich Bradham Brothers’ go-live. But a delay? That’s not something Bishop would ever suggest.

“This is a weird time of year to onboard anyone because you know they're about to be busy,” she said. “But you also know if we hold off, you're going another three, four months with a subpar software.”

And besides, Bishop said, based on her color-coded spreadsheet, Bradham Brothers is very well prepared. It’s almost all green, signaling completed tasks, all the way down. And Bradham Brothers employees have been doing their user acceptance testing (UAT), another key.

“UAT is going through ServiceTitan and going through the basic actions that you'll be taking on a day-to-day basis, and making sure that the processes that you've taken have the expected results,” Bishop said. “It's broken up by call center, dispatch, mobile memberships, accounting.

“You're basically going through and seeing, if I try to book a call, do my customers come up? Is their information in there? Can I book it into a call? The job types that I need, are they in there?

“It's just making sure that it works the way we think it's going to work.”

The fact that the technicians and office staff have done their UAT practice positions Bradham Brothers well, Bishop said, no matter the weather.

“They should be OK,” she said. “With that practice, retention isn’t something that is really difficult.”

The onboarding checklist

Bishop has an unofficial success checklist for onboarding, a list of things every company should do or have before going live.

On the list:

  • Have a Q&A between the onboarder and the team. It gives them one last level of comfort. “It's great if Pete and Kelly know everything, but we have to make sure that everybody else knows everything and they get their questions answered too,” she said.

  • Assure that UAT is done. This increases buy-in. “Let's make sure the team is involved,” Bishop said. “They know this is happening, they're getting trained so that we can make this transition as smooth as possible.

  • Get the technicians in the system early. It’s not necessary to be live in ServiceTitan to allow techs to mirror their call procedures. “I don't want them to wait to go live,” Bishop said. “There's no reason to hold off on introducing the technicians to the software.”

  • Identify any necessary changes. If workflows need to be adjusted, do that before the go-live date, not after. Those changes can be identified by the UAT work by technicians and office staff.

  • Handle issues as they arise, throughout the process. Being easygoing might seem like a good thing, but it can mean trouble. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, don't know the answer. We'll just move ahead. We'll worry about that later.’” Bishop said. “We want to worry about it now.”

  • Incentivize training. “It can be tricky to rally the troops,” Bishop said. “I've had people incentivize the team with a Starbucks gift card for whoever finishes their trainings first, or whoever does the most gets something. That can help a lot.”

  • Delegate what you can. “Get salespeople involved in the pricebook, CSRs involved in call reasons, cancel reasons, hold reasons, even custom fields,” Bishop said. “They know what they need more than an owner is going to know what they need.”

  • Have an internal cheerleader. Someone needs to be in charge of helping everyone take the change in stride, and roll with it. “No matter how well we prepare for this, there's going to be at least one thing that happens on the first day that either we've never talked about or they didn't think about,” Bishop said. “It might not be a showstopper, but there's going to be something.”

Notably not on the list: Worry about the weather.

“Bradham Brothers might get a hundred calls,” Bishop said. “They might have a busy day. But as long as they've done the basics of taking those calls down, the system is going to be more intuitive and more user-friendly than what they're on now.”

Ready, set …

With help from his leadership team, Bradham has taken all the right steps, Bishop said, including “assigning the heck out of UAT.”

“That last check-in that we had was like, the lights came on,” Bishop said. “I had been nervous up until then because they were doing their television commercial and Pete had a lot on his plate and they weren't doing a ton of setup, but he kicked it out after that last one.

“There are still some technicians that haven't signed in, but he knows about it, they're working on it. The majority have their usernames so I'm not super stressed about that.

“Otherwise, I'm pretty happy.”

It’s less than a week before Bradham Brothers goes live on ServiceTitan.

“It's scary because it is a switch over to something new,” Bishop said. “But from his team, I'm not getting any red flags. I think this is going to be smoother than he thinks it is.”

UP NEXT: 'Family'

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