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Safe Home Control had an information problem. The company's mostly seasonal staff of sales reps and technicians...
spent too much of their time relaying information to headquarters and waiting for responses before moving forward on security system sales and installations.
Two years ago, the Wilmington, Del.-based company's vice president and corporate counsel Edward Prignano implemented Salesforce CRM, which cut down on call times and information inputting, but still left gaps in getting the closest technician to the house for same-day installation -- a big selling point for Safe Home.
After flirting with other field service management applications, Prignano went back to Salesforce and implemented its new Field Service Lightning, a service platform that helped tie together the technicians in the field with sales reps going door-to-door and the customer service reps at Safe Home's central location.
"We had seasonal employees where it's hard to train them and to keep track of who could be at the home the quickest," Prignano said. "Our goal was to find a technician automatically without having to do a lot of thinking."
Field Service Lightning allowed him to achieve that goal.
'Everything we did required a phone call'
Prior to adopting Salesforce, Safe Home sales reps relied on paper contracts, calling that information in to a centralized desk that would provide the sales rep with credit information, whether they've been a customer before and whether they've been cancelled for lack of payment. The cumbersome process involved a lot of repeated steps for reps in the field and at the call center.
Edward Prignanovice president and corporate counsel, Safe Home Control
"Everything we did required a phone call," Prignano said. "We would hand-write the contracts and call it back in and schedule the installation over the phone, repeating all the information. Those paper contacts would be shipped back to central once a week."
Two years ago, Prignano implemented Salesforce and made the contracts electronic with the help of DocuSign. The company rolled it out to seasonal staff last summer.
"The adoption rate last summer wasn't that great because some of the reps were already used to doing it by hand, so about 40% used DocuSign and the other 60% of contracts were still done by hand," Prignano said. "This summer, it's been 99% DocuSign and the only time it's not used is when there's no cellular service or the customer doesn't use email."
By cutting down on the amount of calls that sales reps needed to make, mistakes in logging information were cut down and sales reps had more of a complete picture of their customer.
"If a customer declines the product after talking with them, it's already a lead in our system and we can follow up with that if they don't purchase," Prignano said. "We have a ton of leads sitting in Salesforce, and they can be transferred to inside sales to reach out to them."
Choosing a field service software
Though Safe Home was integrated with Salesforce CRM, it considered other vendors for field service software and almost signed on with ServiceMax.
"ServiceMax met some of the goals we were looking for, like intelligently scheduling a service quickly," Prignano said. "The issue was, it was getting close to the start of summer, our busiest time, and they had to implement it and said it would take four to six weeks."
A spokesperson for ServiceMax said that while implementations can be done in less than four weeks, the company recommends customers take their time with configurations.
"We always advise customers to carefully examine their processes and workflows to properly test and pilot new configurations," the spokesperson said. "Clients that adopt that holistic perspective generally see greater value and enjoy longer-term success."
While time was of the essence for Safe Home, another factor played into Prignano's choice for Field Service Lightning: flexibility.
"The main reason we switched to Salesforce from [legacy CRM systems] was for customization," Prignano said. "ServiceMax came along, their product looked great, well put together, but the problem was I didn't like this long implementation period and ServiceMax would have to be the ones that change anything. We like to be flexible."
Right before signing an agreement with ServiceMax, Prignano purchased one license for Field Service Lightning and "started messing around with it."
"It was already built into Salesforce and I trusted it would be reliable," Prignano said. "I took a look at it, got an idea for how it would work. It had some intelligent scheduling where we could set the criteria and click on an account and it would give us a list of time slots to schedule."
After deciding on Field Service Lightning, the real work began. Many companies rely on third-party integration consultants to implement the software, but instead Prignano did the installation and training himself, making videos and pamphlets as he learned the software's functions.
Field Service Lightning was released in the middle of March, after many of Safe Home's technicians and sales reps had been trained for the busy summer months ahead.
"It was probably a really bad time for us," Prignano said. "Ordinarily we wouldn't have done it, but it was either that or renew a contract with a scheduling software company we weren't sold on for a whole year. It was kind of risky."
The rollout took about a week, with another week before it was bug free and used widely, he said.
"There was a learning curve," Prignano said.
The upshot Field Service Lightning
By moving its sales and installation process from paper and landlines to a digital process, Prignano said Safe Home has dramatically reduced its cancellations and increased sale conversions, with the largest factor being the ability to better schedule same-day installations.
"It used to take a long time to schedule and install," Prignano said, adding that the average call time to just schedule a technician was six minutes. "Now the average call is two and a half minutes."
The use of Field Service Lightning also ensures that the technician closest to the next installation will be the one called, thus increasing the amount of installations Safe Home's team can do.
In less than three years, Safe Home transformed its installation and selling process, going from 100% handwritten contracts that were mailed in weekly, to nearly 100% done through Salesforce and Field Service Lightning.
"For our staff, it has reduced call volume and call length, reduced errors and increased the amount of installations we can do," Prignano said. "It's been a huge benefit to us."
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