Mobile Applications for Business Case Study
Nuccio Heating & Air Cranks Up Mobility Applications for Improved Productivity (Cont'd)
The AT&T solution has allowed us to control our overhead while efficiently servicing customers.”
- Joe Nuccio, CEO, Nuccio Heating & Air
About Nuccio Heating & Air Conditioning
Nuccio Heating & Air Conditioning Facts
Take steps to automate business processes and go paperless
Mobile payment solution running on smartphones for processing highly secure, mobile point-of-sale payments; AT&T Business Messaging for dispatching service calls; Actsoft from AT&T for managing highly mobile service technicians – all running on the AT&T Wireless Network
Increased productivity by at least 15 percent; controlled costs; improved company image; provided more responsive customer service
Heating and air conditioning services
Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Nuccio Heating & Air serves commercial and residential customers throughout five counties surrounding the metropolitan area. Fifty-two employees – the majority being highly mobile – sell and service heating and air conditioning systems for the company’s longtime, loyal customer base.
Nuccio Heating & Air service technicians processed credit card payments by calling the company’s main office, taking at least 15 minutes for each transaction. The company wanted to automate this payment process as well as other business processes to improve its technicians’ productivity, company image and customer service.
Nuccio Heating & Air has automated its credit card payment process with a mobile payment solution running on smartphones and the AT&T Wireless Network. Service technicians now process payments in a few minutes, increasing productivity by at least 15 percent. Using AT&T Business Messaging, the dispatcher easily texts customer information to technicians, preparing them for service calls. Customer service representatives better manage technicians and their drive time with Actsoft® from AT&T.
Planning for the Heat
Considering the price of fuel these days, cutting down drive time significantly impacts our operating costs.”
- Joe Nuccio, CEO, Nuccio Heating & Air
What was once a part-time summer job turned into a 34-year-long career for Joe Nuccio, founder of Nuccio Heating & Air. Since 1978, Nuccio’s business has thrived in good times and not-so-good times based on some straightforward business practices.
“Throughout the years, our focus has always been to take care of our customers,” said Nuccio. “If we do this and do it well, our customers take care of us. Keeping them cool or warm and happy over the years has given us a large, very loyal customer base – something we treasure and work very hard to keep. It is very gratifying to hear a customer say, ‘you installed my first air conditioner - yourself!’”
Nuccio Heating & Air serves commercial and residential customers in five counties surrounding Tampa, Florida. Born and reared in Tampa, Nuccio knows the market and its weather, a chief predictor of business volume. Starting in April and running through October, Florida temperatures will reach annual highs, resulting in more and more customer service calls for Nuccio.
While Florida’s heat is predictable, its weather patterns can be erratic. “We plan for the heat, yet we know anything can happen that will disrupt our work – hurricanes, torrential rains, floods – you name it, we have it, here in Florida,” said Nuccio. “In our service department, we take planning to heart and remain flexible to make our commitments to customers.”
Fixing Problems Fast
In Florida’s competitive air conditioning industry, the differentiator is “speed.” Nuccio is always looking for ways to help his service department work better and serve customers faster. “If it’s 95+ degrees and a customer’s air conditioning goes out, we need to get there and fix the problem fast.”
Customer service representatives (CSRs) handle all incoming calls about service issues. They get the customer’s address, qualify the problem, review the customer’s history and schedule the service call. As a courtesy and safety measure, the CSR sends the customer an e-mail confirming the date and timeframe of the service call, including a photo of the service technician assigned to the job.
Nuccio’s certified service technicians are skilled to diagnose and fix the vast majority of all customer problems on the initial service call. Each year, they are required to keep their skills fresh with online training and on-site courses. Sales representatives call on customers who need new air conditioners and/or heating systems. The company also has a lean staff in its home office to support sales and service with needs like processing customer payments.
Processing Payments On the Spot
Each day service technicians and sales representatives would call the dispatcher to process customers’ credit card payments. “In August of last year, we recorded an all-time high in card usage,” said Nuccio. “On a good day, we estimated that one card transaction might tie up a service technician for 15 minutes. And I don’t believe the customer felt very comfortable with the technician calling in his credit card number to ‘someone else’ off-site. I felt this call-in process presented productivity and perception issues.”
When Nuccio heard about using a mobile payment solution, he was very interested. “I called on AT&T, and they were very quick to respond,” said Nuccio. “They were knowledgeable and answered all my questions. I immediately knew mobile payment was the way to go.”
In just a few weeks, the AT&T account team brought in resources to get Nuccio’s highly mobile sales and service teams “up and running,” processing credit card payments for customers on the spot.
Now, all of Nuccio’s service technicians and sales representatives use card readers on their smartphones. “It’s a simple, quick process. The technician simply swipes the card and gets the customer’s signature. The payment is immediately processed; he hands the card back to the customer and is back in his vehicle ready to go to the next appointment – all in a matter of minutes. With the mobile payment solution, we’ve increased our productivity by at least 15 percent by being able to process cards faster and, as a result, service more customers,” advised Nuccio.
Nuccio salespeople also use the application to process payments on newly installed air and heating systems, and the main office has a smartphone with the card reader for customers who walk in to pay for services. “It’s important for us that all credit card data is encrypted and not stored on our phones,” said Nuccio. “Customers really like the new payment process, and we can confidently tell them that it’s a secure system.”
Dispatching More Complete Information
Service technician productivity gets an additional boost when CSRs use AT&T Business Messaging to dispatch newly scheduled service calls. Before using the AT&T solution, CSRs would call the assigned technician on his cell phone. In most cases, he wouldn’t be able to answer, delaying the hand-off. Once connected, the technician would need to grab paper and pen to take notes as the CSR read off the customer’s issue, shared any pertinent history and provided the address.
Now when a customer calls in, the CSR enters information about the service call into the Business Messaging website. “The CSR simply hits a key to transfer all information to the technician,” Nuccio added. “We can include all types of information like whether or not the customer has an extended warranty.”
When the technician has completed the service call, he uses AT&T Business Messaging to text the CSR with the service completion code and service invoice number. This information goes to billing or in a report listing jobs for completion. “If a customer’s wife is eight-months pregnant, he can’t wait even a day to get his air fixed,” said Nuccio. “Business Messaging helps us get more complete information to our technicians much faster.”
In the heat of the summer, Nuccio CSRs handle up to 200 calls per day. “If our CSRs had to talk with technicians to relay the information instead of using Business Messaging and to process card payments without our mobile payment solution, that would double their workload,” advised Nuccio. “I would definitely have to add more people to the CSR team. The AT&T solution has allowed us to control our overhead while efficiently servicing customers.”
Optimizing Time and Travel
The CSRs use another AT&T mobile application to help manage the service technicians while in the field. Before each day starts, the dispatcher uses Actsoft from AT&T to plan and optimize each technician’s daily route to minimize drive time. “Considering the price of fuel these days, cutting down drive time significantly impacts our operating costs,” said Nuccio.
Throughout the day, using the GPS tracking capability of Actsoft, CSRs can pinpoint the exact locations of technicians and use that information to advise scheduled customers or emergency service customers on estimated arrival times. Nuccio explained, “Knowing everyone’s location has really helped us manage customers’ expectations.
While we can’t give an exact arrival time, we always call each customer to let him/her know that the technician is coming and that they are next on the schedule. If a technician is going to be longer than planned, we can use information provided by Actsoft to re-route another technician to his next appointment.”
Actsoft has also established an accurate accounting of technicians’ stops, travel times and even speeds traveled. “We plan to automate our payroll process, using Actsoft data,” said Nuccio. “At this time, we are comparing our technicians’ timesheets to the information from Actsoft software. If we see any abnormalities, we consult with the technician.
During our slow season and after we have had some time with the system, we will transition to using Actsoft for payroll timekeeping.”
In fact, Nuccio plans to automate the company’s servicing process so that technicians are completely free of paper while on the road.
Nuccio concluded, “The AT&T solution has helped us in many ways: stay in better contact with customers, be more productive, project a more favorable image and control our costs. With help from AT&T, we’re getting to our company’s paperless goal – one step at a time.”