When Joe Choate founded Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing in 1958, he had no way of knowing that his business would still be thriving 65 years later—and his family would still be running it in the Memphis, Tennessee, area.
Of course, Choate’s runs a bit differently today than it did in the ‘50s. Instead of using pen and paper to keep track of operations, the Choate family uses ServiceTitan, the all-in-one software built for the trades.
Brian Choate, assistant general manager and grandson of Joe Choate, explains why the company made the switch back in 2018.
“Basically, our goal was to be able to be more efficient,” Choate said. “That was the key thing. We wanted to be more streamlined, (and be) able to tap into (data). We use almost every (ServiceTitan) tool for every kind of situation there is.”
For example, ServiceTitan has given the Choate’s team the ability to communicate in real time, keep detailed job histories, ensure their pricebook is up to date, and make more accurate business projections as it grows.
The ability to work faster and cut out the manual processes will be increasingly important in the coming years, Choate said, as the company aims to hit $50 million in annual revenue by 2030.
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Modern tools for marketing
Amid the growth at Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, the company’s core values have remained the same over the years, and customer service remains an important part of the business.
But today, providing great customer service doesn’t just mean a company has friendly, knowledgeable techs. It means investing in modern tools that make it easier for customers to get in touch—and quicker for techs and front office workers to reach customers.
That’s where ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro software has had a massive impact, said Choate.
Marketing Pro: Marketing Pro enables Choate’s team to gather and respond to online reviews, manage multiple social media profiles from one dashboard, and create tailored customer outreach via email, text message and mailings.
Memberships: Marketing Pro has also resolved one of Choate’s biggest challenges: Getting customers who are enrolled in preventative maintenance memberships to actually schedule their service appointments.
Before, customer service reps would call clients to book these appointments, but “we could never get ahold of them, or they wouldn’t call us back,” Choate said. “Come the end of the season, (customers would) call and say, ‘I never got my maintenance. And we’re saying, ‘Well, we tried.’”
With Marketing Pro, the team now uses an automated, multi-layer process to reach out to customers, beginning with a reminder email, then a text message, then a postcard.
To boost more job bookings with these campaigns, Choate’s relies on ServiceTitan’s Schedule Engine software, which enables customers to book online. Every email and text message Choate’s sends includes a link where customers can schedule their own appointments. These bookings are then directly placed into Choate’s dispatch board.
“We're seeing more and more jobs are being booked from (customers’) phones—and I'm not talking phone calls,” Choate said. “Being able to book online from your phone has definitely helped us get even more calls in.”
Software that can do it all
Choate describes his brother, who also works at the family business, as “the visionary” of the bunch. In fact, it was his brother who originally pitched joining ServiceTitan. Choate remembers watching the demo together when it clicked.
“Honestly, I don't think we knew fully everything ServiceTitan could do, but we did know what we were lacking and wanting to do,” he said. “ServiceTitan was able to fill a lot of those holes.”
Five years later, here are Choate’s favorite features.
Phones Pro: Choate loves Phones Pro, ServiceTitan’s cloud-based phone offering. The tool connects seamlessly into the rest of the platform, automatically classifying every call to a specific job. The software also generates transcripts of each call, records the number and length of calls and provides metrics around reps’ performance. This information has “been eye-opening,” Choate said. “Being able to help coach (customer representatives in) situations that occur where otherwise, you’d be kind of left in the dark. We weren’t able to ensure the high level of customer service and quality before.”
Forms: The first step to building a more efficient process is making sure everyone follows it. With ServiceTitan’s forms software, that’s not an issue at Choate’s. That’s because their techs are able to use their tablets to fill out standardized forms after each job. They can also upload photos and videos to each form, allowing everyone to “get more information of what that technician in the field is seeing,” Choate said.
Pricebook: Choate’s team went from a paper pricebook system to a completely digital one. The switch was a little painful—until techs got the hang of it and started quickly building estimates at job sites, browsing items with pre-set descriptions, and referencing current pricing that’s automatically updated in the system.
And, honestly, Choate said, that’s just a sampling of the features his team uses to work faster.
“Marketing Pro, Phones Pro, integrating into accounting, the purchase order inventory,” Choate said. “I mean, you call out the tools, we’ve either beta tested it or we're already using it.”
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A new generation of service
With Choate and his brother leading the charge on new tech like ServiceTitan, a big question remains.
What does their father, Joe’s son, think of all of the changes?
“I think he’s kind of amazed with how far we’ve come,” Choate said. “Before ServiceTitan, we were still (using) paper, so just imagine the difficulty. Once we got (the software), and have been able to automate a lot of things, it’s been something really special.”
Joining the family business has been a “golden opportunity” for Choate, and he treasures his role. It’s why he is committed to seeing that Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing continues building on its success.
“ServiceTitan is always innovating, and I think that’s why Choate’s and ServiceTitan have been such a good matchup,” Choate said. “When you have two companies that share that same (vision), I don’t see how we won’t succeed.”
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.