Service/Maintenance: Not Everything Was Magic

Back in the 2014 Spotlight on Lakeside Service, we focused on a staff-driven service/maintenance program called SAFE that John was launching. SAFE is an acronym for Smoke, Air, First priority, and Emergency service.

This was an all-inclusive furnace, air conditioning, water heater, smoke detector, and CO alarm maintenance agreement that cost more than Lakeside’s standard maintenance agreement. It was supposed to provide the vehicle for John’s team to not only conduct performance testing, but have discussions with customers about it.

Unfortunately, John says the program did not work well for several reasons and wound up being shelved. “There just wasn’t enough buy-in from management and to be honest, the program was poorly executed by me. We abandoned it in 2017 or 2018, we still own the service mark on it.

“In its place,” he explains, “we focus on doing system performance (static pressure) testing on all our calls.

“On the heating side we measure airflow, static pressure, and temperatures. On the cooling side we do the same measurements plus enthalpy readings. Our techs do all of this on every single maintenance call. “Plus, nearly all our service techs also do it on every call, unless the issue a customer is having has nothing to do with static pressure. High-Performance testing and measuring are what they do first,” says John.

He adds that all installations are also tested and started this way.

The Magic of Data

Because Lakeside uses the Service Titan management platform, John says they have many tools built in for capturing High-Performance measurements.

“But we are seriously discussing using NCI’s ComfortMaxx™ software, especially on the installation side of the business. Our installers currently use paper forms, but we’re trying to go digital. Recently NCI’s David Richardson conducted an on-site training class for us, and he went over ComfortMaxx and AirMaxx™, which opened our eyes. Everyone here has iPad tablets, so it’s super simple to get into.

Magic of success quote

“I especially like the ComfortMaxx software as a tool for sharing results with customers. It’s great for presentations because it’s very visual. We are looking into making it work with our Service Titan system without having to do double entry or make it complicated for our field technical team.”

Selling Air Upgrades

John says that because of all their testing, measuring, and data collection, selling air upgrade work is fairly easy and his team does a lot of it.

“I think we are extremely successful selling minor air upgrades on almost every job. This includes increasing return drops, and doing duct upgrades around the equipment which happens all the time,” he adds.

“We’ve built some more-elaborate air upgrades as well. A few years back, David Holt did a class on how to sell custom air upgrades. Holt used spreadsheets to show customers Better, Best, and Good upgrade options. I took his spreadsheet and built a few different tiers.

“For example, Level 1 through Level 3, from installing a new return air drop to a new return air drop in a central return. The third level is a return air drop, the return, the plenum, and the first eight feet of ductwork and up to two supplies.

Click Below for the Next Page