The coronavirus pandemic, according to an Arizona-based service provider who regularly has 35 technicians in the field, has created a greater-than-ever reliance on workplace communication—and ServiceTitan’s process-driven software.
“ServiceTitan helps with cash flow, it helps with communication, and it helps with situational awareness,” says Rainforest Plumbing & Air Process Director Dallin Tippetts.
“You can’t know where you want to go unless you know where you are—and ServiceTitan has the reporting functions that tell you where you are.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused customers to cut back on the big-ticket projects usually tackled by Rainforest, which has locations in Mesa and Tucson and primarily services commercial clients.
Multi-family apartment complexes, for example, are being squeezed financially by tenants who can’t pay rent because breadwinners are out of work. That creates a domino effect: The complex managers have to cut back on service calls, forcing Rainforest to keep a closer eye on cash flow.
“With rent forgiveness going on, we’re hearing from some of our customers that they’re collecting about 50 percent of rent, which is catastrophic for them,” Tippetts says.
Apartment buildings still need maintenance, but these days, entering and servicing a multi-family complex can be a challenge—because that sort of a workplace multiplies the potential for coronavirus exposure.
“They have a legal obligation to maintain these units, and we’re happy to have the business,” Tippetts says. “There are conflicting interests between cash flow and health and safety, though. We’re right smack dab in the middle of that.”
Here, then, are insights into how Rainforest is using ServiceTitan features to remain agile in an uncharted business environment:
Why did you switch to ServiceTitan?
Rainforest was one of the first commercial service providers to start using ServiceTitan. After signing up, Tippetts saw a night-and-day difference.
“We were kind of cavemen going into it,” he says. “We didn’t do anything that wasn’t on paper. Oh, man. It’s been revolutionary, really.”
He’s impressed with the availability of information ServiceTitan gives employees at every level of the company. It’s empowering—and that plays into the Rainforest vision of empowering people by creating five-star service experiences.
“Anything that touches on that empowerment thing is huge for us,” Tippetts says. “That can be like when a customer is calling in and wants to book something. Boom, their whole history is right there.
“A technician may be on a call for a backed-up drain. He notices we’ve been out there five times for that same drain. That empowers him to be able to recommend some sort of an upsell item.
“That’s been such a huge thing for us. ServiceTitan has made each job more valuable.”
In addition, the duplicating forms feature saves techs time in the field and eliminates multi-page write-ups the office staff would sift through for each visit — especially with multi-family complexes and service calls of 300 units at a time.
Internal communication in the Age of COVID-19
Communication is the biggest asset gained from ServiceTitan, according to Tippetts.
“We’ve been able to leverage the tool to communicate with our guys,” he says. “You know, everything during this health crisis is such a fluid, changing situation. So, the ability to quickly send out a mass text message is big.”
Rainforest uses a ServiceTitan form, triggered by a system tag, that dispatchers put on the first call each technician runs each day.
It’s a health check form, asking, among other things:
“Are you experiencing any symptoms?”
“Is anybody you live with experiencing any symptoms?”
“And if something were to change tomorrow, like if health experts report that there are more symptoms than fever, shortness of breath and dry cough, I can very quickly change that question to ask about that,” Tippetts says.
Any health scares to date?
Tippetts says if the health questionnaire for technicians came back with somebody saying, “Yes, I have been coughing,” the company would pull that tech out of the field.
“Thankfully, we have not had to do that,” he says. “It’s always in the back of your mind that these guys want to work. Is anybody filling out the form just saying what they know we want to hear? All you can do is ask the questions and hope that guys are being honest. But, yes, if that comes up, we have a system in place to act quickly.”
Managing external communication during coronavirus
Rainforest is using ServiceTitan to modify customer notifications.
Booking notifications are connected to information about how the company is actively working to protect the public.
“We can link customers to a blog post that we prepared on our website,” Tippetts says. It’s a short blurb about some of the things that we’re doing—the social distancing, gloves, disinfecting surfaces, all that. It’s all integrated in with the customer communication tools that are already there in ServiceTitan.”
Utilizing ServiceTitan tools to their fullest
Remember, Tippetts says, that there are things we can’t control about the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t know when this is going to be over,” he says. “We don’t know how it’s going to change. Specific to the business, we don’t know how or when our customers are going to pay us. The only thing that we have control over is to continue to keep the phone ringing and to keep the guys busy.”
So, in addition to maintaining safety for his team and customers, Tippetts is focused on keeping the calls coming in. To do that, he says, the company has gone back into sales mode.
“We’d gotten used to just having a full board all the time; having more work than we could get to,” he says. “We built a brand and a reputation that’s taken care of itself. But nowadays, we find ourselves back in the sales role, again. It’s tough. Should we really be out here trying to sell our services in the midst of all this? Does it feel right?”
Yes, it does, Tippetts concludes.
In the end, the Rainforest team realizes that what they do is an essential service—and their services are beneficial to how people live their lives.
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