Mel Carr Electric has been in business in the Albany, N.Y., area since 1976, offering up-front pricing and flat rates and earning a reputation for outstanding customer service and reliable work.
But that doesn’t mean the company isn’t looking for ways to grow and stay competitive. In 2019, that meant choosing between their old software provider and industry giant ServiceTitan’s all-in-one software solution for the trades.
It’s not that their old software provider hadn’t done its job. But Rob Carr, the Mel Carr Electric president and son of the company’s founder, wanted more. He says the software hadn’t delivered enough.
“We were with (another software solution) for two years,” Carr says. “We were working with their customer support on the regular, trying to give feedback updates and all that stuff. We … kept getting promises that just were never delivered upon.”
Among those promises? Better options for sales presentations in the field, which would improve the customer experience and increase close rates.
“(The other company) just finally admitted that it was going to be a while before they could get to that point,” Carr says. “That was the primary reason we jumped ship.”
Mel Carr Electric went live with ServiceTitan in January 2019.
“Going into ServiceTitan made everything a little bit smoother, simpler and easier by comparison,” he says. “Because it is without a doubt a better product.”
How much better?
We asked Carr to list three improvements ServiceTitan offered over his previous software, and he couldn’t.
He listed seven.
Comparing ServiceTitan to other software
“What I told my entire staff when we were getting the product was, ‘it’s twice the price, but I think it’s five times the product,’” Carr says. And ultimately I now say, ‘it is twice the price, but it’s 10 times the product.’
“It’s even more than I thought it would be for the better.”
Here are seven of the ways Carr says ServiceTitan is superior:
Accurate, real-time business performance data. Everything from close rate to average ticket to up-to-the-minute revenue is available in ServiceTitan, in one place. “A dashboard that I can truly believe was No. 1,” Carr says.
Better display of sales options for the customer. What Carr asked for from his previous software and was told wasn’t close to implementation was available immediately in ServiceTitan. That capability has increased his customer closing rate and enabled growth.
More capabilities without hiring more people. Carr listed sending technician bios to the customer ahead of service calls as an example. Previously, that would have required extra work from the office. With ServiceTitan, it’s automated from the app and offers real-time tracking of the service vehicle. The technician bios, Carr says, have also increased customer trust. “It made our whole conversation a lot easier,” he says. “We just weren’t doing it at all before. … The software took care of things that we never even realized we needed.”
The ability to record customer service phone calls. Phone calls to CSRs are recorded automatically and available through the app, providing training opportunities, increasing conversion rates and eliminating confusion. “Today alone we’ve utilized those recordings two or three times,” Carr says. “Shockingly, the guys in the field listen to the calls, too. I never expected that to happen, but they love it. They want to know what they’re getting themselves into.”
Real-time updates from the field. “The guys in the field love it,” Carr says. “We’re not bothering them as much by calling and asking, ‘Hey, how much longer, what’s going on there?’ We can watch them as they write a quote. We can correct them with our new guys and make sure that they’re doing it right. We can tell when they’ve gotten a signature, ‘Hey, they’re finishing up, they’re cashing out.’ And that is incredible.”
Text updates sent to the customer from the app. This fulfills a big customer desire, Carr says. “One thing we hear most from people is, ‘Text me. I want a text.’ It’s informal, it’s quick, it’s personal, it’s in your pocket. It’s what people are looking for these days. And we didn’t quite realize it beforehand.”
An intuitive pricebook that can be updated remotely. If a technician runs into a problem with the pricebook or needs a change, Carr can help immediately, from the office. “That is wonderful,” Carr says. “Sometimes they need me to make a change. Oh, you're right, let me do this. Click, click, click. OK, refresh. Boom. He’s like, ‘OK, here it is, I got it right now.’ And he clicks a button and we’re done. It’s so user friendly. So intuitive. (The software) just knows your next step.”
Is the time right for you to switch software?
Those seven improvements are just part of the reason Carr knows the switch was right for the company.
“I always felt that (the old software company) was trying to pass themselves off as the same thing as ServiceTitan and I never quite believed it,” he says. “Like I said before, (ServiceTitan) is 10 times the product. It can do that much more. It’s that much better.”
Carr says he would recommend ServiceTitan to friends in the trades. And he has.
“Some of my very close friends in the (Nexstar) organization ... adopted early, and when I was talking about switching over, they said, ‘Well, ServiceTitan is not perfect either. Blah, blah, blah. It comes with its own issues.’ Which is absolutely true and valid.“
Compared to the other company, Carr says Service Titan’s issues “are nothing.”
“These guys (who use ServiceTitan) don’t know how good they have it,” Carr says.
From a year’s experience, Carr does.
“I know we were growing beforehand so it can be a little tricky to decipher what’s coming from where, but as an organization (ServiceTitan software) has solidified us,” he says.
“It’s just a much, much better product, and it’s definitely something that is integral to our growth today and who we are as a company.”
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