Providing clients with immediate customer response was the foundation on which Jamie and Jeff Briesemeister, owners of St. Louis-based Integration Controls, had built their custom integration business. The concept may have been simple in theory, but over time, their unwavering, drop-everything dedication to servicing their clients was costing them time, money, and reputation. Keith, their sole service manager/lead service technician (also an owner), was handling it all, and as the company began to scale up, juggling the increasing volume of calls, truck rolls, and paperwork became increasingly difficult to manage. “We knew we needed to make a change in order to maintain our 24/7 level of same-day customer service, and yet we were also busy selling and installing. Finding a better solution was critical to scaling our company,” says Jamie.
It was a chance encounter at the CEDIA Business Xchange in San Antonio, 2017, with OneVision Resources’ Joey Kolchinsky that gave the Integration Controls team the nudge it needed to explore a new approach to service. “It was definitely an ‘aha’ moment,” says Jamie of her reaction to the presentation by Kolchinsky of his company’s unique customer service platform. “We finally realized that we didn’t need to rebuild our own customer service department all on our own. OneVision could provide us with a complete white-labeled solution, including ongoing management, leadership coaching, training, and support. The idea of partnering with them to do something that we had been struggling to efficiently do ourselves made perfect sense. It also allowed us to keep our focus on growing the business and nurturing client relationships.”
Realizing they could partner with an entire team of dedicated OneVision professionals for less than the cost of hiring a single employee was a “no brainer.” Integration Controls started working with OneVision to implement a system that provided “profitable service visits, while restoring a better work-life balance for the company and for our rockstar co-owner who was starting to burn-out,” says Jamie.
Adopting a New Service Management Mentality
Change is never easy, and although Jamie and Jeff were completely aligned with the vision, it took some time to fully implement OneVision’s platform. “There was a lot of data to get together and significant onboarding of our staff,” Jamie relates. However, OneVision was there to coach them every step of the way. The OneVision team helped Integration Controls import 100 percent of their clients into the service platform so that every client receives a consistent experience. OneVision also advised their staff on how to effectively communicate the value of premium service memberships to existing and new clients, trained everyone in the company on how to sign up clients, and provided marketing materials and sales tools for the team to use on the company website and to hand out to clients during meetings. At a point in time when Integration Controls needed a quick, quality, turnkey solution, OneVision was there to implement and curate the experience the whole time.
Today, the OneVision system has been fully integrated into Integration Controls’ business strategy and structure. All of their clients have adopted the process and agreed to the new terms-of-service, ensuring that service is delivered in a consistent and profitable manner across their entire client base. Additionally, about one-third of Integration Controls’ current customer base has signed up for a paid membership, generating appreciable recurring revenue for the company. The company is also seeing greater efficiency than ever in their business operations, allowing them to rest easy knowing that their service department is both profitable and sustainable. While the business is feeling positive results from a financial analysis, Jamie stressed that “the big sigh of relief comes in knowing calls are being responded to with the level of care we require, expectations are set, and hard conversations are being had by more than one or two people. It makes doing business easier.”
Quality Control Gets Back on Track
As Integration Controls struggled to keep up with a growing business and service calls, thorough documentation on the service side was often short-cut. “Back then, it was quicker and more efficient for our main service tech to keep everything in his head when he was crunched for time—which was way too often,” says Jamie. “He had all of the problems and solutions in his personal knowledge vault, but it didn’t always transfer to others in the company.” Consequently, the level of customer service faltered whenever he wasn’t around to answer clients’ calls or questions from other Integration Controls staff. Even more troubling, profitability was taking a hit as invoicing slipped through the cracks due to the time-strained nature of the service department. “We were giving away service for free, especially on the weekends,” Jamie continues. “Truck rolls, remote access to clients’ systems, and phone calls were inconsistently logged. Our passion for fast, caring, customer service got in the way of profitability and scalability.”
OneVision’s structured approach nipped these problems in the bud. The process combined with enterprise-level ticketing systems gives everyone at Integration Controls a central place to capture, manage, and track customer issues in a collaborative manner. Everyone has access to the information, and although OneVision’s Basic Support team initially responds, Integration Controls has everything it needs to react accordingly. “OneVision is able to quickly identify issues and diagnose solutions so that we only send somebody out to a client’s home when it’s absolutely necessary, and we show up with the appropriate materials,” Jamie says. “This has been a real time-saver—I’m confident we’re saving at least an hour on each service visit as a result since troubleshooting and initial diagnostics have already been performed.”
Selling the Fast Pass
After years of “giving service away,” the OneVision platform enables Integration Controls to charge for 100 percent of their time spent on the phone or at the client’s home. Jamie admits that introducing existing clients to the program wasn’t easy; nor was breaking her team’s habit of rushing to assist a client on a moment’s notice. “We had one client who during the transition opted out of a paid membership plan who called us on our personal lines with an issue on a Saturday,” Jamie recalls. “As much as we wanted to immediately call him back, we redirected him to the dedicated service line and reminded him that he elected to receive limited support, which dictated that he’d receive a call back on Monday.”
While the client was initially frustrated, when reminded that he had received the level of service he chose, it opened the door to discuss better service plans, updates, etc. “The various levels of service that we now offer as part of our OneVision partnership have become a great tool for qualifying clients and negotiating contracts. Since most of our clients want great service, when we find those who reject paid plans or don’t want to pay for the remote service equipment, we can scale our product and service offerings before we sign the job, or, perhaps not take the job at all,” Jamie says. “We all know technology fails at times and service will be needed. Without raising our pricing across the board, we now have a way for clients to opt-in for faster service when it’s important to them. I like referring to it as our ‘fast pass.’ Our clients will always get service from us within two weeks, but when clients are forced to stand in line and wait for service, many will eventually buy the ‘fast pass’ that gives them a same-day response.”
As for the client who initially opted out of a service agreement? After needing service on systems the day before a big party he subscribed to a priority membership, received the service he expected, and hasn’t cancelled since. Able to receive remote remediation, Integration Controls got him up and running within hours. “It saved us a service call on a Friday after a long hectic week,” Jamie says. “This is the kind of ROI that is immeasurable with a service platform like OneVision’s.”
Related: Rethinking Service
Better Time Management Boosts Company Morale
Jamie admits that adopting the OneVision platform requires hard work: onboarding and adopting a new system after performing service the same way for over a decade took some time. While they instituted the OneVision service program in 2018, the process of enforcing the structure for 100 percent of both legacy and new clients extended into 2019. To date, Integration Controls has signed on new paid members with a 40+ percent close rate.
Clearly, the company’s clients understand the need to have access to quick, reliable service for their home technologies. And although it is harder to quantify, Integration Controls is driving additional revenue and profitability in their company through increasing their hourly rates as part of OneVision’s comprehensive service strategy. Improved labor utilization and overall efficiency derived from the process also contribute to a healthier bottom line — in addition to creating a structure that ensures a profitable service department.
“RMR is great, but having a sustainable and profitable service department is ultimately the most important to us,” Jamie states. Beyond the financials, they’ve gained something invaluable in return — better management of their time and resources, plus the ability for their tech staff to unplug temporarily from their work on nights and weekends for a healthier work/life balance. “Our clients continue to show loyalty, Keith finally has his weekends back, and we now have a profitable service department,” Jamie says. “It’s been a win-win, overall. Plus, we have been guided by a company who cares about service as much as they care about our viability as a company – and about us, as people”.
For more information, visit https://www.onevisionresources.com.