Providing home owners with plumbing, HVAC & electrical services for 30 years Aux Home Services has provided residential home owners in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama with plumbing, HVAC and electrical services for 30 years.
Phil Smitherman established Aux Home Services in 1987 after completing his service in the US Navy. The Aux Home Services team is differentiated in the industry by its dedication to providing the very best in service by turning up on-time, being clean and tidy, and always providing homeowners with a quote upfront. This dedication to personal service has made Aux Home Services the trusted choice for thousands of home owners.
To keep pace with growth, needed real-time software and to go paperless Phil has grown his team to 55 employees running 39 vehicles. With growth comes a number of other challenges. ‘We’d been using the same software to run our business for 16 years. It was a decent solution, but it didn’t allow us to run in real time mode. To grow and continue to serve our customers, we needed to realize new efficiencies by going paperless,’ says Phil.
Real-time driver/vehicle location, dispatching, ETA & precise arrival & departure from jobs To achieve his goal of going paperless from end to end, Aux turned to Ergos Software, makers of Fastrax, a software solution tailor-made for the service contract industry. To extend those efficiencies into its vehicles, Aux Home Services also implemented TomTom’s WEBFLEET fleet management solution. Fastrax’s integration with WEBFLEET streamlines work order dispatching and monitoring of service technicians, allowing dispatchers to visualize in near real-time a vehicle location, precisely calculate drive time based on traffic, and track exactly when technicians arrive and depart jobs.
As a board member of the Nexstar Network, Phil adheres to industry best practices set out by this highly respected industry association. ‘Nexstar teaches our members to improve their efficiency and productivity so they can maximize profitability,’ explains Phil.
‘TomTom Telematics is among the best. They work with Ergos like a well-oiled machine to create the results we need.’
‘Using Fastrax integrated with TomTom, my dispatchers can see where the techs are at any time. In addition we have routing and real time traffic information. Dispatchers don’t know the roads or the side streets. Rather than taking drivers the popular route, TomTom WEBFLEET takes us the fastest route.’ Getting technicians to the job on time boosts customer satisfaction and offers the opportunity to fit in additional jobs. Phil explains, ‘In our plumbing division, the average ticket is between $800 and $1,000. We used to run three calls a day. Now, because of this new system we are running four a day on average. And we haven’t had to hire another person. We’ve simply increased sales by increasing our efficiency.’
With Fastrax and WEBFLEET, orders flow directly into the vehicle and into the hands of the technicians. ‘By going digital, they aren’t sitting in their truck spending 10 minutes every call doing paperwork. They just use Fastrax to sign and execute a job. That can add up to 50 hours a month in billed hour potential. If a technician is sitting in his truck doing paperwork in the summertime, the truck is idling and the air conditioning is on. That means we’re also realizing savings in man hours, wear and tear of the vehicle and fuel costs.’
The Fastrax dashboard is one of the most heavily used features at Aux. It ensures the team tracks KPI’s that most matter to the business, such as service agreements, conversion rates, average ticket value and billed hour efficiency. The tie between Fastrax and WEBFLEET is another clear benefit. ‘The integration is what made all the difference for us. The simplicity of being able to manage dispatch with your software integrating into all the vehicles – well, that is a huge efficiency benefit,’ says Phil.
The customer service and training provided by Ergos and OnPoint AVL (TomTom’s fulfillment partner) has been exceptional. ‘Change is hard, it disrupts the business and it can hurt customers,’ says Phil. ‘With Ergos and OnPoint AVL the integration was done better and smoother than I could have imagined. The Ergos team personally saw us through the conversion and were on site until the solution worked. Same with TomTom Telematics.
It’s the same in our business. Customers don’t buy products. They buy the people. That’s what creates brand loyalty.’ At the end of the day, Phil explains, the most important thing is to communicate with customers. ‘They don’t care about what software we use. They want a company that is efficient, that charges the same prices today as years back and delivers value,’ says Phil.