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ServiceTitan vs Sera
Breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of each software.
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ServiceTitan vs. Sera: Comparing the Service Industry’s Leading Software With a Startup Competitor
For service business owners who are thinking about investing in one field service management software (FSM) or another, there’s perhaps no more important question to answer than:
How does this particular software platform compare to the other options on the market?
But very often, it’s difficult to tell what the actual differences are between products. FSM solutions tend to offer many of the same features, so from the surface they look the same.
In this article, we’ll do much the same for Sera, a relatively new FSM that has been making waves in the last year or two with a sleek social media campaign that emphasizes Sera’s dispatching and scheduling functionality.
There’s no doubt that the folks at Sera, which was formerly known as ServiceShift, have done a nice job highlighting their product’s best features—or that strong dispatching and scheduling capabilities are important to any high-performing service company.
But the fact of the matter is that dispatching and scheduling make up just a limited portion of a service company’s overall business processes. That goes for small businesses and large, HVAC shops and pest control companies alike.
In certain cases—for small shops that aren’t looking to grow much or increase their market share, for example—a relatively limited software tool, with a narrower range of features and functionality, might get the job done.
But business owners who are looking to streamline their entire operation, scale their company, and get ahead of the competition can often benefit more from an FSM like ServiceTitan, which offers an integrated and holistic approach to the full scope of contractors’ needs.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll zoom out to examine a broader range of functionality for both ServiceTitan and Sera, considering the ways each product addresses key requirements and challenges of service contractors. Specifically, we’ll look at:
Scheduling and dispatching
Reporting and inventory management
Customer financing options
Discover what ServiceTitan can do for your commercial or home service business. Schedule a call to get pricing and a personalized demo of our software today.
Evaluating ServiceTitan and Sera in 4 Key Business Areas
As we noted above, Sera has staked their reputation primarily on their scheduling and dispatching capabilities, which are designed to improve ease-of-use by minimizing the number of clicks required to schedule appointments and assign technicians to jobs.
Similarly, Sera emphasizes their quick onboarding process, which allows users to get up and running within 30 days of signing up.
And while there’s much to be said for speedy onboarding, it’s also true that part of what enables Sera’s abbreviated implementation is the limited features that their software offers, and the relatively basic functionality that those features provide.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at ServiceTitan’s broader range of features, and the significantly more advanced functionality that those features give the contractors who use our product.
1. Scheduling and Dispatching
Scheduling and dispatching with ServiceTitan might require a few more clicks than with Sera, but the benefits of ServiceTitan’s flexible and versatile functionality that users get in return are substantial.
Our software offers a variety of easy-to-use interfaces that not only make scheduling and dispatching fast, clean, and accurate, but also take into account the project management challenges that tend to crop up at busy service companies.
Our color-based tagging system, shown above, allows contractors to code upcoming jobs as a function of their specs. For example, dispatchers can categorize future work according to the estimated time required and the tools their techs will need. That way, when techs arrive on site, they’ll be sure to have everything that their task demands, and there’s no reason to worry about whether too much or too little time has been allotted.
ServiceTitan also gives dispatchers a real-time view of each of their tech’s job-cycle status over the course of the day, providing them with the ability to reassign them to new and/or newly urgent service calls as they come in. With this feature at their disposal, tech assignment is both fluid and flexible, so contractors are well positioned to meet and exceed customer expectations while also attending to their own professional needs.
ServiceTitan alerts, which are applicable in many business settings, can be especially useful where dispatching and scheduling are concerned. To make certain that the tech with the most appropriate skills gets scheduled for every single job, for example, many of our subscribers like to deploy alerts to track their company’s response to fresh calls. (This is especially true for potentially high-ticket-value jobs, like new HVAC system installs.)
Customer experience and communication also benefits greatly from the use of ServiceTitan’s alert features. Homeowners receive appointment reminders, and specific, accurate ETA estimates in real time, greatly reducing the chance of no-shows and limiting the time that customers spend waiting around for techs to show up.
No less important to maximizing efficiency and quality of service than making sure the right techs with the right tools get assigned to every job is ensuring that those techs are armed with as much information about their assignments as possible.
ServiceTitan’s dispatch software does just that, providing techs with huge amounts of data—customer information including service history and current service requests—about job sites before they get there.
A major differentiator, when it comes to dispatching, between our software and Sera is that ServiceTitan gives techs access to recordings of customer calls with their CSRs. This game-changing distinction guarantees that techs are as well-informed as possible about customers’ existing systems, and gives them all the background they need about wants, complaints, and concerns so that they can hit the ground running when they arrive.
Owners and managers love the call-recording function, too. It allows them to monitor their dispatchers to verify that they’re following customer support scripts. And in the event of a disagreement with a homeowner, call-recordings give them a record they can reference to sort factual claims or complaints from fictional ones.
2. Reporting and Inventory Management
To get a definite sense of how their business is doing—and thus how and where to make changes—contractors need a deep, detailed understanding of their numbers. And for that, the vast majority of service business owners these days are going to require the kind of advanced reporting features that only a top-notch FSM like ServiceTitan can provide. Things like:
Seeing whether and why they’re losing money
Evaluating individual employee performance
Understanding which marketing approaches are working for them and which aren’t
This is another key area where Sera’s speedy, just-the-basics approach puts the product in a very different category than ServiceTitan, which offers more extensive reporting functionality.
Monitoring employee performance in a detailed, systematic way can be challenging. But ServiceTitan Employee Scorecards make it easy. Fully customizable, and full of useful stats on metrics like jobs completed, call conversions, service agreements, and revenue generation, these scorecards allow owners and managers to stay effortlessly up-to-date on how their CSRs, field service techs, and sub-managers are doing.
Similarly, our field reporting dashboard gives supervisors a real-time view of their techs over the course of the workday, furnishing live transmissions on customizable metrics like the ones shown in the screenshot above.
In combination, these capabilities provide service business owners with a clear-cut picture of their employees’ strongest and weakest areas, allowing them to assign them to the tasks for which they are best suited, and coach them on competencies where they seem to be struggling.
Similar reports and real-time data are instantaneously available on marketing campaigns, maintenance agreement profitability, accounts receivable, sales tracking, and more. With ServiceTitan, contractors can see where their investments are paying off best, and where they might want to reroute some of their resources, as well as what elements of their shop might be due for some rethinking in order to optimize results.
In conjunction with ServiceTitan’s reporting functionality, many of our subscribers also like to use our inventory management features, tracking what they have in the warehouse, what materials and equipment their trucks are carrying, and what supplies are running low. That way, they can be ready to fulfill most any customer request or change order at the drop of a hat. (Our fully integrated, automated, and highly customizable pricebooks, which can be connected directly to industry supplier catalogs—complete with updated pricing—make this process as painless and efficient as possible.)
In contrast, very few of these features are available with Sera.
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3. Customer Financing
Making a sale—especially for a big-ticket item like a new HVAC installation—often depends as much on a customer’s ability to quickly and easily finance their purchase as it does on the quality of a contractor’s work, their reputation, or the persuasiveness of their sales presentation.
No matter how convincing the pitch, or how urgent the work in question, if a homeowner can’t immediately envision how they’re going to pay for a project, they’re likely to delay—and often ultimately opt not to buy.
Without providing customers with financing options that make purchasing their services painless and affordable, contractors are going to find sales that would otherwise close falling through.
Financing represents yet another stark point of differentiation between ServiceTitan and Sera. Where Sera offers no financing functionality at all, ServiceTitan subscribers can choose to work with one of our two primary financing providers.
Depending on their business needs, they can choose the one that makes the most sense for them. With our “Second Look” financing feature, contractors can also offer homeowners who might not qualify for primary financing an alternative option. (Sometimes, when a customer sees only a single financing choice, they conclude that if it’s not quite right for them, there’s no possibility of hiring that contractor.)
ServiceTitan financing options are accessible to techs via mobile device, and with just a few swipes on an iPad, iPhone, or tablet, customers can get approved on-site with our iOS or Android mobile app.
Upon approval, credit card payments can be applied to the invoice, as shown below.
In addition to improving our users’ customer service and dramatically increasing their close rates, ServiceTitan’s customizable financing model guarantees that contractors don’t get boxed into purchase agreements that fit poorly with their overall business structure.
4. Customer Service
Because we’re a much larger company than Sera, we have more extensive resources to support our users and help service companies get the most out of our product.
For example, we created a feature called NEXT. Contractors can use it to model a near-exact copy of their account that’s disconnected from their actual business. We like to think of it as a kind of sandbox—a tutorial space in which business owners and managers can experiment with ServiceTitan’s many features, including new additions as they go live, without fretting about derailing their operating system or damaging the records that they rely on to run their business.
Our users can also get a dedicated Success Manager on the phone at any time of the day. Success Managers have been trained not only to assist with troubleshooting, but also to help subscribers make the best use of the software’s myriad features to improve their operations.
Furthermore, ServiceTitan provides contractors with a Titan Score to show them how much use they’re making of our software’s available functionality. With Titan Score, subscribers get a clear understanding of how they might deploy additional features to maximize their return on investment, lowering the overall cost of subscription by taking advantage of ServiceTitan’s full range of resources.
For smaller shops that are simply looking to make small improvements to basic functions like scheduling and dispatching, an FSM tool like Sera can be a viable option. But contractors who are truly looking to grow their business and streamline workflow to maximize revenue, stay ahead of the competition, and seamlessly integrate all of the core functions of their business, an advanced FSM like ServiceTitan is the only way to go.
As we’ve outlined in this article, the 4 key areas where ServiceTitan offers significantly more advanced functionality than Sera include:
Scheduling and dispatching
Reporting and inventory management
Discover what ServiceTitan can do for your commercial or home service business. Schedule a call to get a personalized demo of our software today.