HVAC, Plumbing, Management, Business Tips, Success Story

Elevated Care: How Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing Uses ServiceTitan to Prioritize Its Customers

Pat McManamon
May 16th, 2024
6 Min Read

Sadie is a cute-as-blazes Wheaten terrier who spends many of her days at the offices of Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing in Phoenix.

The light brown pooch is a playful pup who greets everyone as she wanders through the office. Sadie also is ready with the ‘Wheaten Greetin,’ where the terrier jumps off all fours and spins in happiness when she sees a human she likes.

The pooch is part of Goettl’s culture, and that company culture is foundational in the success of a business that built its brand by taking care of people – employees and customers – with a focus on personal attention and home.

The Norman Rockwell-like drawing on Goettl trucks of a young boy with suspenders and a flat cap is emblematic. Few American artists remind us more of home and simpler days.

“That image was born out of a lot of ideas and continuing to work on the brand and refine it,” said Angela Miller, Goettl’s Senior Vice President of Integrations. “(Owner and CEO) Ken (Goodrich) talks about his relationship with his dad in his commercials; not everyone wants to do that.

“I think that people connect with that, just as Norman Rockwell captured in his art that everyone can connect to those family values.”

Building on Tradition: From Family Values to Modern Success

Goettl Air Conditioning was born on April 14, 1939, when Gust and Adam Goettl decided to help Phoenix residents deal with the desert heat. During World War II, they focused on manufacturing goods that would help the war effort, but post-war, the brothers drove through Phoenix streets with AC units attached to trucks to offer some cooling. That marketing established the brand in the city.

Goodrich’s father worked for Goettl; Ken even held flashlights while his dad worked on units. In 2012, he purchased Goettl and its offices in Phoenix and Tucson. He since has expanded to Austin, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Southern California, with a long-term plan to grow nationally. Along the way, Goettl has relied on ServiceTitan, the cloud-based software for the trades, to facilitate efficiency and growth.

The business motto: We do things the right way, not the easy way.

“When we're in the customer's house, we want to provide them with a service that's going to last,” Miller said. “And we want to provide them with those old-school values of, ‘Hey, we want to make sure that something works the way it used to and when we walk away, that you're feeling good about the interaction with Goettl and getting the type of service that you're used to.’”

The same attention to people comes in the company’s hiring and fostering of its team. Goettl president, Jake Gress, said the best way to attract good people is to take care of the existing talent. Team members are associates, not employees. The focus is on hiring quality individuals whose actions will establish and/or strengthen the brand recognition Goettl seeks.

“I think people are the differentiator for us, and that's why we try to go above and beyond to have great facilities, the best trucks, the best tools and equipment, technology like ServiceTitan,” Gress said. “I think that's going to be a differentiator for us. To invest in our people, invest in that development and that training.

“Because at the end of the day, it's all about the people, right? It's all about your interactions with the customers. The more that you can empower them and the more that you can make their jobs easy, the better it's going to be.”

Hiring with Heart: The Sadie Certification

The focus when hiring is on a candidate’s attitude, effort and curiosity.

Even Sadie plays a role in finding the right people. And don’t laugh, because dogs can tell.

Goodrich saw the kind of pooch Sadie was, and immediately bought in when a colleague told him Wheaten terriers can judge character. Arizona Foothills Magazine reports that Goodrich once hired a landscaper to do work at his house, and noticed that Sadie did not interact with him. The landscaper eventually stole a bike that belonged to Goodrich’s son and never finished his work.

Now all potential hires must be “Sadie certified,” which means Goodrich brings them by the house to make sure Sadie approves.

Potential employees have admitted that the experience was nerve-racking. One potential hire even put bacon in his shoes, hoping it would help. 

Goodrich and Goettl have hired more than 200 Sadie-certified employees.

“If you treat your associates right, at the end of the day, they’re going to be the best recruiters out there in the industry,” Gress said. “They’re going to talk about the opportunities presented to them and the type of culture we have and the type of development we have.”

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From Insights to Actions, Technology Drives Customer Satisfaction

Goettl has core KPIs across each area of the business, which are shared and discussed daily. Using ServiceTitan means those KPIs are easily available.

“It’s driving the insights,” Gress said. “So we can go spend time on the action. That's where I think there's a lot of power within ServiceTitan. Setting up what those things are going to be that are important to your business.

“It gives you the ability and time to turn insights into action.”

Goettl ensures information is updated regularly on the software, and the information empowers technicians, CSRs, and the marketing team.

“The more that we can make those connections and make our customers feel special and that they're part of our big family, hey, it's just going to create stickiness in the relationship and that lifetime value,” Gress said.

ServiceTitan data even allows the company to zero in on associates who are performing well, and why.

“There are many folks that are quiet in nature,” Gress said. “But they still perform at a really high level. I think the data speaks for itself. 

“One of the powerful things that ServiceTitan does for us is we get to understand our business at a granular level, but we also understand our people at a granular level.”

Associates who are recognized become empowered. And those who need coaching or prompting are given just that. ServiceTitan’s efficiencies help by simplifying much of the admin work, so associates can concentrate on the job, and the customer.

“If you’re a business that wants the best and the brightest, if you’ve got the best tools and the best technology, the best and brightest are going to want to work for you,” Gress said. “ServiceTitan helps make it easy.”

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