Stephanie Reuter wants to use her “work smarter not harder” motto to build a bigger, stronger, more profitable business at Aquarius Home Services.
Kinetico, an Ohio-based company that sells and distributes commercial and residential water treatment systems, helps by providing an interactive pricebook that gives field technicians a mobile sales tool centered around a powerful, revenue-producing customer experience.
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ServiceTitan, a Glendale, Calif.-based giant in home services industry technology, was founded to serve HVAC and plumbing companies, then expanded to include software for electricians and garage door technicians.
Now the company also provides software built for water treatment industry, serving about 50 companies so far, and wants to be the water conditioning company management solution of choice.
And the three together are looking to turn Reuter’s mantra into a rallying cry for the water treatment industry.
Reuter, director of operations at St. Paul, Minn.-based Aquarius, knows how that can happen. In her 11 years with Aquarius, she has watched the water conditioning portion of the business grow into Kinetico’s No. 2 dealer in warrant points, and expand from three locations to 12 in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Kinetico has partnered with ServiceTitan, integrating superior products with a superior software solution. Kinetico’s goal? To help their dealers grow their business through the best management technology on the market, with a program customized for the water industry.
ServiceTitan’s all-in-one software and the power of the company’s development team were the answer.
But while the relationship with Kinetico introduced Reuter to ServiceTitan, it was the software that sold her.
Finding a water treatment software that fits a growing business
Aquarius has been in business for 32 years, starting as one guy in one truck in water treatment and growing into a company with 85 field staff and 50 office workers in the water conditioning industry, plumbing, electrical and HVAC across two states.
“(We have) a lot of things that we needed to cover,” Reuter says, “so it was important for us to find something that fit.”
The something was ServiceTitan.
Clint Smith, who helped bring Stephanie and Aquarius on board with the home services software, explains what a move to ServiceTitan means for client companies.
“It’s like, if your job is to cut down trees, in this moment we all stop and sharpen the ax, which feels unproductive,” Smith says. “But it's so that we can cut two or three times as many trees down now moving forward.”
Work smarter, not harder. That’s what the Kinetico partnership with ServiceTitan accomplishes.
The software solution makes for a more efficient, intuitive, profitable way to run your business. And the partnership with Kinetico produces a great customer experience.
The combination of ServiceTitan and Kinetico:
Educates customers by making the pricebook an integrated part of the communication, on a mobile device you can hand to the customer. “People have to believe there's a need before they buy into any solution,” Smith says. “Showing customers pictures of the problem, and good-better-best solution options, allows them to decide for themselves. Education is huge.”
Streamlines billing, including the ability to save cards on file and to filter for customers who, for instance, have memberships, or maintenance agreements, or an outstanding balance.
Provides an immersive customer experience, with photos and videos of the Kinetico equipment and products you sell. Letting the customer see them trumps anything anyone could say.
Manages recurring services and optimizes routes.
Automates processes and reports on the performance indicators you want, giving you consistent, customized data for running your business, easily and at your fingertips.
“There are so many strategies we've built into the software,” Smith says. “This isn't just about reporting. This is about customer experience. When they have a better experience, you get the yes and they choose you and remember you again and again.
“That's where you get to win over your competitors.”
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Making the decision to switch home services business management software
The move to ServiceTitan wasn’t automatic, Reuter says, because she needed to have a reason to make a move to a new software. Usually, that has to be about revenue.
“If (ServiceTitan) wasn't something better, we certainly didn't want to go through the pain because it's literally like having an office full of experienced staff and the next day you're all brand new, everybody,” Reuter says.
A trip to Pantheon, ServiceTitan’s annual user conference in Glendale, Calif., was the clincher.
“We actually got to hear from all different kinds of businesses that were utilizing (ServiceTitan). Some were brand new, some had been on it for quite some time.
“Hearing them talk about the responsiveness and how innovative ServiceTitan is, and how willing to make changes and constantly upgrade to make it better every day, was just refreshing.
“We were like, "That's what we need. We need to take it to that next step and go."
Since going live in February 2019, Reuter says Aquarius, has seen a 26 percent growth in revenue.
“It's a huge improvement in our business,” she says. “A lot of it is because of the things that ServiceTitan enables us to do. The visibility of the dashboards, individuals knowing where they stand, being able to see, especially with all those locations, where everyone's at.
“Really, the reporting and visibility of knowing what your business is doing day to day has been the key.”
Reuter says average ticket and close rates are up, and that the improved customer experience through Kenetico and ServiceTitan gets a lot of the credit.
“We've enhanced that customer experience so much by the visibility of being able to give them options with pictures that they can see. They can have a comparison side by side on the iPad. Being able to do financing right on the spot, where it's literally a click of a button and you can spin the iPad around—they can put in their information, get an answer right away.
“Those types of things have enabled us to close more deals.”
That defines working smarter not harder, and it’s built into the software.
“ServiceTitan is born and bred for home services,” Smith says. “That's the difference. We're built around your model. We're built around your customer, around your communication needs, operational needs, etc.
“It’s the only software that from the ground up was born and bred for the industry as a whole.”
We asked Reuter how ServiceTitan propelled her company to gains in efficiency and revenue, and whether it’s worth consideration for other Kinetico customers. Her answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: What were some of the common pains or struggles that you were having before you switched to ServiceTitan?
Reuter: While we did have a mobile application, it was very basic. It was really just a means of adding some items to an invoice and being able to collect payment and a signature. There really wasn't a lot to being able to present to options in a fashion that the customer really cared about.
Q: What are the ServiceTitan features that you feel are most valuable?
Reuter: The Pricebook is huge. Being able to add content, add pictures, you can add videos to your Pricebook so that, again, presenting options to a customer becomes a much more interactive experience rather than, "I'm just writing words on a piece of a paper that once you leave me, nothing." That has been huge.
From the internal side, being able to connect calls and marketing efforts seamlessly has been great for our marketing team to be able to know what is really working.
A lot of the automated reporting stuff, again, has enabled us to just be so much more knowledgeable day to day.
Those are probably the biggest ones for us.
Q: How have hose data reporting features improved your business?
Reuter: The reporting features we had before were very limited. A lot of it was after the fact, so if I'm trying to figure out how to fix January, here I am in the middle of February and I finally know what went wrong.
Currently, we know things as they're happening. I mean, literally I can get an alert that says, "We had four salespeople run appointments and they did or didn't close," without waiting for them to call me and give an update.
Having that real-time reporting was huge for us. We can literally make business decisions on how to make changes while we still have time to fix today, or tomorrow, or this month. We were very reactive before. By the time we knew, that's already gone and past and you're in a new season or a whole different set of circumstances.
Q: Do the alerts give you a better handle on the business?
Reuter: One of the biggest things is ServiceTitan has the ability to have alerts and you can set up an alert based on whatever parameters that you want. You can say, "I want to know every time something is sold," or, "I want to know every time estimates are given and they're not sold so that I can immediately follow up.” Then I can determine if there's something that's worth us giving that customer a call right away.
We immediately know those things.
Q: What would you tell someone who is about to go through the transition?
Reuter: I think one of the best questions that was asked when we were just going through the meeting prior to the implementation were, "What are the things you can't live without? What things are you OK with losing?"
Those super-important things you can't do without, make sure you let your implementation people know. If it's not something that's prebuilt into the software, they can help you figure out how you're going to do it.
Q. What was on your list?
Reuter: A perfect example was counter sales. Huge for us, and probably for any water treatment dealership that sells filters and salt and things like that. There wasn't like this perfect module already built into ServiceTitan for it, but we knew that, "OK, if it can't do this, game over."
We figured out a way, granted it was a few extra steps and not the most pleasant thing in the beginning, but ServiceTitan also went, "OK, we get it. You guys do a lot of these."
They immediately started working on a process to have it do those and there is one now, but again, that was something that we had to say out loud up front that, "Hey, we need this.”
They will help you figure it out.
Q: How user-friendly is ServiceTitan?
Stephanie: It is very user-friendly. I mean, everything about it is very intuitive. Even someone that's first day without any explanation, you could figure out how to go through the system. It's in that fashion very user-friendly.
Q: Does the app work in offline mode for your technicians?
Stephanie: We were very concerned about that. Having some of our locations in more rural areas, there's always this question, "Oh, my goodness. If I'm going to be at this house and there is like one bar of a signal, how is it going to work?"
It works great. It is able to capture that information and then as soon as you get back into a service area push it across. Anything, like collecting credit cards. It's able to process a credit card even when you're not in the greatest of signal areas.
Q: Are you using the optional modules in your applications?
Stephanie: We are using some of them. We're currently using Marketing Pro. We have integration with our GPS. We have integration with our reviews, so we're using a lot of integrations. Not everything at this point, but again, this is our first year. We chewed off a lot, but we're still improving, so ...
Q: Did ServiceTitan replace all your existing lead management, accounting software and inventory tracking?
Stephanie: Well, not ServiceTitan all by itself. Like I said, there are integrations, so Intech is now our accounting software. Our inventory management is within ServiceTitan, but there are lots of different integrations, so if you have other products that you're utilizing that you want to keep there's a chance that it integrates within ServiceTitan.
You don't necessarily have to abandon everything that you're using if you don't want. However, there are a lot of things that are within the platform, so you may not need all of those extras.
Q: How have you been able to shape ServiceTitan’s software to serve you?
Reuter: What we had before was very, "This is how it is and unless everybody wants something, we're not going to add," where ServiceTitan is very customizable. If there's something that just Aquarius needs, we can make a custom field for it or we can make a special report that's just us.
It doesn't have to be all 4,000 ServiceTitan customers want it before anyone starts to look at it.
Q: Why did ServiceTitan’s responsiveness to customers make such a big impact?
Reuter: This isn't just someone that's like, "Yep, we've got this product. We're going to collect your money. It's going to work for you for the next decade just like it is." I mean, we needed something that was going to move as quickly as the world we live in does, to constantly be listening to members and making those changes.
That's really the turning point where we're like, "OK, this is going to be worth it.” Trust me, change is tough all across the board, but we knew we had to do it.
Q: So was the switch worth it?
Reuter: If you had asked me on Day 2, I would have been like, "No."
I'm kidding. It was 100% worth it, but again, it was tough. Just keep reminding yourself why you're doing this, because there's going to be a period where you literally feel like no one knows anything.
If you were to ask any member of our staff, "Could we go back to our old (software)?" They would be like, "What? Are you kidding me? Why are you even talking?"
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive water treatment business software solution built specifically to help companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.
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ServiceTitan Water Treatment Software
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive water treatment business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.