Academy Air initially sought help from Schedule Engine for after-hours Live Voice support with managing its customer calls. But, suddenly faced with a rash of call center turnover, the St. Louis-area HVAC company discovered how Schedule Engine's comprehensive software solution could meet all of its call center needs in what had become a crisis.
"Schedule Engine actually fulfilled a call center role for Academy Air during a time of rebuilding," says Michelle Micheletti, Regional Director of Marketing for Academy Air. "The team really kept our business flowing during that time, because we didn't have people to answer the calls. Most of our calls were just going to abandon, or if you'd go to a third party, you're just turning around and giving that message back to a lean call center that can't call them back."
Rather than losing calls and missing opportunities, Academy Air deployed Schedule Engine Live Voice to handle the phones 24/7, with industry-trained agents answering incoming customer calls.
"It helped us from a business perspective, it helped our call center, and it also created a great experience for our customers," Micheletti says. "Customers feel fulfilled, they're being booked right then, and they're taken care of.
"It was really a game changer," she adds. "Thank God they were there to help us through that rebuilding because it was a critical time when we would've seen big deficits in our business if we didn't have that support."
During a recent conversation with Eddie McFarlane, a board member of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and co-host of Schedule Engine's Toolshed video training series for home service leaders and technicians, Micheletti explains how Schedule Engine helps Academy Air meet customers on the customer's terms.
No Calls, No Conversions
Let's be honest. Managing a team of CSRs and running a successful call center for a busy HVAC company can be a tough gig. Your customer service reps leave your company's first impression on a customer and often dictate how that customer engages—or doesn't engage—with your business.
And your CSRs, like the Schedule Engine industry-trained agents, don't need to know everything technical about HVAC. Their main job is to just book calls, and they do so by building relationships with customers, getting to know them, and determining their specific needs.
With Schedule Engine, you gain a comprehensive software solution that streamlines the scheduling process for HVAC companies by capturing the right opportunities at the right time. For companies like Academy Air, which spends its marketing dollars to drive leads, answering customer calls whenever they come in proves critical to driving conversions.
"It was a win-win overall, and I'm happy to say we've been able to go back to pretty much a normal schedule where we use Schedule Engine for overflow and after hours," Micheletti says. "It's just an amazing partnership."
Meeting Customers' Evolving Expectations
HVAC customers' expectations are evolving, as the majority shift their preferences to searching online and booking appointments how they want when they want, and without talking to anyone. Are you meeting the modern homeowner where they are?
Academy Air's partnership with Schedule Engine, a ServiceTitan company, allows customers to book appointments online whenever it's convenient, and the HVAC company even offers customers a $25 incentive if they do choose to book online.
"It's really about automation," Micheletti says, especially for younger homeowners used to securing services digitally. "We have to adapt because that generation is going to be our next or continuing client. They want ease and convenience. The more we can do that in this vertical, the better we're going to be."
When you make things more convenient for your customers, your HVAC company becomes much more competitive and stands apart from the rest.
"I think it's really getting in the consumer's mindset. What would I want? What's going to make it easy for me to book the call and get some help? It's a call I don't want to make, right? How can I make that convenient, easy, and really build trust with that client?" Micheletti explains. "I think it's great to make it simple. I don't want to have to answer 50 questions before I book the call. I want to book the call, then when you come, we can talk about it, and talk about options.
"It's really changing that mindset a little bit," she adds. "I know we want to answer the right call with the right technician, but we also have to think from the consumers' perspective. Let's make it easy for them."