Georgia HVAC manager: ‘ServiceTitan’s power is in the data and the numbers’
In the world of business and economies, The Pareto Principle is a belief that 80 percent of effects (revenue) are derived from 20 percent of the causes (employees). That’s a credo Piercefield keeps in mind while he unlocks ways ServiceTitan can boost the bottom line.
Based in Marietta, Ga., and serving the Atlanta Metro market, Piercefield presides over three brands—Coolray, Mister Plumber and Bright Box Electric. In total, those companies account for 450 employees, including 280 field technicians and 43 installers.
A typical day for Piercefield consists of communications with his management team, which oversees about $85 million in annual sales.
“It’s a very flatline management team,” he says. “I have about 17 direct reports, which a lot of people look at and go, ‘Oh, that's crazy.’ It’s really not. If you’ve got the right people, then I’m more of a cheerleader, coach and chief innovation officer.”
Here’s where the Pareto Principle comes into play. Piercefield does a lot of letting people who are good at their jobs “just do their thing.” And he spends time with others who are struggling—to a certain extent.
“I don’t always focus on trying to bring the bottom up to the top,” he says. “I like to take the top and explode it. A lot of time, we get stuck trying to fix the bottom. There's always going to be a bottom. You shouldn’t ignore it. But the real benefit of growth comes from exploiting the top, your strengths.”
Piercefield makes sure the 20 percent of his managers who excel get the attention they need. He doesn’t spend 80 percent of his time with the underachievers.
“I can improve the bottom 10 percent and we’ll make another million dollars,” he says. “If I can improve the top 10 percent, that can be worth $20 million.”
Andy Piercefield, president of Coolray Heating and Cooling LLC.
Switching to ServiceTitan
Piercefield’s oversight has helped make the switch to ServiceTitan a profitable move.
“It wasn't my first time doing a software implementation,” he says. “We decided we were not going to make it look like our old system. Do that and you end up with a poor replica of what you used to have. We wanted to let ServiceTitan do what it does and we’d adapt to it. That was our strategy.”
He says the company was engaged in the onboarding process.
“Everybody on my side was very engaged, and the ServiceTitan team that came out was outstanding,” Piercefield says. “We set up a war room in the conference room so technicians could call in, and we had all the experts there to help them. It worked out really well.”
He says a funny thing happened in the beginning that was counterintuitive to success: When ServiceTitan first went live it made the company slower.
“It slowed down our response times, it slowed down our booking times,” Piercefield says. ‘We had to adapt to that and find other ways to be more efficient, and I think we've come a long way. In the two years we've been on ServiceTitan we’ve become a lot faster today and more agile.”
How did the slowdown make things better?
“Everybody always wants more information, and that’s what you get with ServiceTitan,” Piercefield says. “We had been on a former program for 20 years—so everybody knew all the workarounds, all the shortcuts. ServiceTitan has a lot of things in it that you can't work around—because you’ve got to capture the data, which is the strength, the power.”
He adds: “The information is the power, and (ServiceTitan) doesn't allow you to skip that. We had to learn how to do that. And do you know what we found? We were faster before, but we were missing a lot more business. ServiceTitan isn’t more efficient—but it’s definitely more effective. And customer experience is so much better.”
Data and numbers
The power is in the data and the numbers, Piercefield believes.
“The power isn't that we get a truck to the house 10 minutes faster with ServiceTitan,” he says. “The power is that we know what that house bought from us before, we’re able to access them easily, and we can cross-sell them other products.”
ServiceTitan gives Piercefield the big picture.
“Some of my managers use the dashboards,” he says, “but what I’m looking at constantly is, in real time, where our sales are across all of our different divisions. I can see how many leads we have for tomorrow, and the nice thing about it is that ServiceTitan allows us to have some really nice APIs to pull that information in and out. You couldn’t do that in our old system.”
“You can’t hide in ServiceTitan. Technicians can’t hide. You can see right away who is doing their job. If someone’s effective you can tell on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. You can really dig into the facts.”
Piercefield says it all comes down to “access to cleaner data.” And that cleaner date helps him, and his managers, take stock of the workforce.
“You can’t hide in ServiceTitan,” he says. “Technicians can’t hide. You can see right away who is doing their job. If someone’s effective you can tell on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. You can really dig into the facts.”
To assist technicians with best-practices, Piercefield’s managers put out daily numbers to their teams.
“We have the different KPIs that we’re measuring them on, whether it be leads, a percentage of your service calls should turn into a lead, a percentage of them should buy IAQ, and they all have benchmarks,” he says. “We have 125 HVAC technicians, but they’re divided up into teams.”
Those teams are essentially peer groups made up of techs with similar strengths. Piercefield says the software lets everybody know where they stand—and he can take the Pareto Principle into account as he makes decisions on how to manage his time, and theirs.
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