Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating, located in Bath, was started in 2016 by Managing Director, Nicola Seviour.
Nicola and her team were initially using a custom-designed job management software that was tailored to their business, however, this proved problematic. “It didn’t work. It wasn’t reliable and that hindered us right from the beginning,” says Nicola. She adds, “We were growing and I knew that we were in real trouble if we didn’t have a piece of software that could support us.” It was time for a change.
Moving to Commusoft
Nicola spent two weeks talking to people, searching the internet, and phoning software companies. She admits, “I wasn’t actually looking at Commusoft at all. But by chance I went on a review site and saw all the really good reviews and thought, ‘Let’s see what this is all about!’”
After speaking to the Commusoft team, Nicola trialed the software and before long, Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating were signed up and starting their training. When asked about the training process, Nicola replied, “It was amazing. I think your client services team are a real asset to the company. They were incredibly patient and their delivery was incredible.”
But it wasn’t just the training that got Nicola and her team off to a good start. Commusoft’s interface and user-friendly design helped too. “The thing that really grabs me with Commusoft is how it looks – it’s all very user-friendly and that helped me feel more confident on it right from day one,” explains Nicola.
Commusoft’s emphasis on after-sales service has also been critical. “I don’t feel that Commusoft has just sold me this software and told me to get on with it,” says Nicola, “I feel like you’ve backed us up and continue to support us as we grow. And that’s really important.”
Intelligent Scheduling and a 14% Increase in Revenue
From the start, Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating chose to implement Commusoft’s intelligent scheduling, which can radically improve job booking with optimised appointment suggestions.
For Nicola’s team, this has been one of the most important features, as she makes clear, “I love it – I think for us and for me, it’s one of the best features”. Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating now use it 99% of the time when booking jobs into the diary. On the challenges of manual scheduling, Nicola elaborates, “If my engineers are driving all over Bath for their jobs, they’re going to cost me more petrol and they won’t be as efficient as I’d like.”
Nicola knew that to grow her business and revenue, she needed her engineers to fit in an extra job per day, which required a more efficient solution, “That means not travelling around so much… and it means I need an intelligent piece of software”. She explains further:
“As bright as my team are, it’s very difficult to manually find an appointment in the same area when the customer’s on the phone. So the intelligent scheduling has been amazing. It’s not disappointed us and it’s already made a difference.”
But just how much impact is intelligent scheduling having for Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating? Nicola’s done the maths on what one extra job per engineer, per day means for her business:
“I can increase my revenue by 14% by the end of this year. And that’s huge – that’s massive. When you look at that in terms of monetary value, it’s a no brainer. That far outweighs the cost of putting Commusoft on our machines.”
If you want to calculate your own possible return on investment for intelligent scheduling, try our ROI calculator.
Easier Scheduling, With Less Room for Error
Whilst intelligent scheduling is helping Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating improve revenue through greater efficiency, what role do supporting features like engineer skills and shift patterns play?
“They stop user errors… we all make mistakes, don’t we?”, admits Nicola. She explains how when a customer requires an oil service, the scheduling tool will only show the engineers who are qualified to complete that type of work, reducing the chance of sending the wrong person for the job.
Equally as important are shift patterns. As Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating’s engineers start at different times of the day, Commusoft won’t suggest appointments outside of those shift patterns. Nicola thinks this will be increasingly vital in the future:
“As we add more office staff and more engineers, it’ll be difficult to keep track of. If there’s a piece of software that’s just guiding us along the right track – that’s what we need. And that’s exactly what Commusoft offers us.”
It’s not only Nicola who is pleased with the improvements that intelligent scheduling is bringing to her company. The engineers themselves are also benefiting from the optimised proximity and travel distance between their jobs. Nicola recalls how an engineer rang her shortly after implementing this new feature:
“He called me up and said, ‘Today I’ve had a brilliant day! I didn’t feel stressed… didn’t feel like I had to race to the other side of town’, and he felt it worked much better for him. When I looked at it, I could see he’d done much more work that day than any other.”
Customer Satisfaction and Improving Communication
From the outset, Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating wanted to offer a service that’s different to other companies. Nicola explains, “We answer our phones until 10 in the evening and we always turn up… customer satisfaction is an absolute priority.”
Commusoft enabled the company to double-down on their commitment to customer satisfaction through tools like the online booking form, which allows work to be requested through the company website. Nicola details why this is essential for them:
“We live in a world where everything needs to be done online. Customers can go to the front page of our website now and book an appointment at their leisure, any time of the day. We’ve found that it’s really popular.”
It’s not only job bookings that can be done online, but accepting quotes and paying invoices too. When discussing the estimate portal, Nicola remarks on its simplicity, “The customer gets an email saying you need this part, it’s going to cost this much money, and all they need to do is click to accept the job.” Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating always back up their quotations with an automated SMS message too, “It’s just polite – and we’re making sure that they’ve got the information they need in a timely manner.”
The whole process is quick and easy for the customer, thinks Nicola, “It’s really to do with the speed and the fact that they can do it online – from their phone, even when they’re on the bus going to work. It’s all done seamlessly.” As a result, Nicola says, “We get more sales. It’s that simple.”
A Wide Breadth of Benefits
Implementing Commusoft has led to a variety of other benefits for Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating too.
Saving Admin Time for Everyone
“Commusoft on a whole saves us a tonne of admin time.” Nicola remembers how engineers used to bring handwritten notes into the office for staff to decipher and type up into the software. “We don’t do that anymore. Everything is much speedier.”
Faster Invoicing and Improved Cash Flow
With Commusoft, Nicola’s team can get invoices out much quicker. “Before, it would take 4 to 5 days to send out an invoice. Now we get an invoice out to a customer within 10 minutes of finishing the job, which means we are much more likely to get paid quicker.”
It’s Easier to Train New Staff
Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating are a growing company, recently hiring a new pair of hands in the office. Nicola explains how Commusoft has made that process smoother: “When we take somebody new on, we need a piece of software for them to be able to pick up and run with. Jane, our latest hire, is already picking it up quickly.”
Engineers Are Happier
It’s expected when adopting any new system that there will likely be some scepticism. Nicola tells us how this was initially the case for her engineers, “They didn’t want to use it to start with. After 48 hours of launching though, I was getting messages saying, ‘This is brilliant. This is saving so much time!’”. It was apparent that the Commusoft mobile workflow was proving better for the team. Nicola adds that, “Previously, they would leave the customer’s house, sit in the van, and do their paperwork. Now, when they leave the customer’s house, both the job and paperwork is finished.”
Quickly Import Supplier Invoices
“I was manually entering our supplier invoices the long way round… these great big lists my supplier would send over.” Commusoft solved that issue with the automated supplier invoice import, allowing users to drag and drop them into the system in seconds, as a result Nicola says, “We haven’t looked back – we use it all the time.”
Future Growth With Commusoft
Looking to the future, Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating are planning to expand their geographical service area. As Nicola summarises, “We’ve got a model now that works and Commusoft supported that really well – all we need to do is expand into new areas and take on additional engineers.”
On top of that, Commusoft still has further functionality to offer and new features in development, which Nicola is eager to try. “I want to start using other tools you’ve got, like the stock control. Plus, any new features that you introduce, I will be right there as your guinea pigs to try them out!”, laughs Nicola.
When asked for any last remarks, Nicola concludes, “Overall, I am really thrilled with Commusoft and I know it’s going to make a big difference to the business.” With a predicted 14% increase in annual revenue from intelligent scheduling alone, we couldn’t be happier about the clear and positive impact Commusoft is bringing to Ace Energy Plumbing and Heating.