It’s no secret that technology trends shaping the startup scene, such as digitization and the cloud, have also upped the ante for traditional industries. Established service organizations must increasingly compete with nimble newcomers — and it’s not enough to simply invest in a few new tools. As industry veterans like LionHeart Critical Power Specialists discovered, you need to fully embrace technologies like the cloud and mobile to stay competitive.
LionHeart — which maintains, tests, and upgrades industrial power systems, such as generators and transfer switches for hospitals and data centers — had a loyal customer base, but an aging and costly management process. Here’s how the Huntley, Illinois-based business upgraded its system and brought its 23 technicians (and 4,000 customers) into the future of service.
Providing the Highest-Quality Service at a Lower Cost
Thanks to LionHeart’s dedication to quality, the company has long held a leadership position in the Chicagoland area for power generation system services. But at the same time, LionHeart owner Don Ritter admits there were signs the company could take it to the next level in several areas, such as expanding into hot new markets, reducing service costs, and maintaining high employee retention.
“Our service processes were so manually driven, and took so many hands to complete, that we realized we’d soon price ourselves out of the market,” Ritter explains.
The biggest barrier to cost reduction was the time- and labor-intensive document trail involved in completing work orders — especially for complex service requests on generators and power systems. “If a technician worked on 30 power systems, completing the jobs would create a minimum of 60 pieces of paperwork,” Ritter says. Technicians had to re-enter information about contracts and work orders between Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel, and data could be re-entered incorrectly at any stage — adding yet more time to check entries and correct errors.
Switching to a cloud field service management software from ServiceMax enabled LionHeart to eliminate redundant data entry and paper-shuffling between technicians and customers — which, in turn, reduced costs.
“When technicians returned from the field, they’d have to go on overtime to do paperwork,” Ritter says. “That’s an expensive way to do business.”
He expects LionHeart to decrease overhead costs with automated field service tools, but he’s not using those savings as an argument for shrinking the workforce. Instead, Ritter sees it as an opportunity to improve customer service and expand into new markets across the country and and to provide additional services.
When technicians returned from the field, they’d have to go on overtime to do paperwork. That’s an expensive way to do business.
Happy Employees, Delighted Customers
Another key impact of LionHeart’s investment in field service software is the ability to both attract and keep star employees. That has a direct impact on customer service — perhaps even more significant than easy access to service records, says Ritter.
“Turnover is the thing that’ll kill you because it takes such a long time to build that technical knowledge, so you don’t want to lose people,” he says. “We knew that by improving service we could also improve life for our employees.”
If the frustrations of managing service records disappears, Ritter says, technicians are happier — and happier workers create happy customers.
In addition, since service records are always at hand (and not trapped in a spreadsheet or an email), LionHeart customers now have easy access to performance and maintenance history information on its customers’ critical electrical systems.
“We often get calls asking for service records going back 10 years,” says Ritter, especially when LionHeart customers experience turnover and need to know how systems were maintained.
It’s an attractive feature for customers, and one that provides a competitive wedge against newcomers and legacy providers. “It gives [customers] more value at their fingertips,” says Ritter. “We can give them an added level of service.”