In this episode of Trade Talk, Tommy Cue speaks with Janet Rudebeck from FieldEdge about what contractors can expect when working with them. They talk through the customer experience in regards to support and training, new features, and how the tool works. They also touch on the acquisition of Coolfront, and its benefits to dealers.
✅ Any JB Warranties customers that are interested in learning more about FieldEdge should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Host: Tommy Cue, JB Warranties
Guest: Janet Rudebeck, FieldEdge
Read the transcript:
Tommy Cue: Good morning. Tommy Cue here with JB Warranties, the next edition of JB Warranties' Trade Talk. I'm here to welcome back, Janet Rudebeck with FieldEdge. Good morning, Janet. How are you?
Janet Rudebeck: Good morning, Tommy. I'm well, how are you doing today?
Tommy Cue: I'm doing fantastic. Thank you for joining us. We've had a great partnership over the last few years, and we both had some changes, and I just kind of wanted to talk a little bit about our similarities. First and foremost, it's kind of cool. The FieldEdge team has been fortunate enough to be placed in the Inc 5,000 best places to work as well. And then most recently FieldEdge was awarded the Stevie Award. Can you tell me a little bit about that, Janet?
Janet Rudebeck: Yeah. Absolutely. We're super proud of everything that's happened past year, last couple of years, especially given the way 2020 went. And culture at FieldEdge and customer service at FieldEdge are two very important things to us. And the Stevie Awards in particular are given to companies that do offer outstanding customer service to their customers. And we've actually won Golden Silver Awards in those categories for a few years in a row now. And so, it's something that we pride ourselves on. I talk about it in demos every single time. It sounds cheesy, but we have award winning support and we're proud of it.
Tommy Cue: That's awesome. And what I've heard from the contractors that we've referred to your program over the last several years is a beautiful thing. Tell me a little bit about FieldEdge and if a contractor decided to implement your platform, what onboarding processes does FieldEdge have to make that a smooth process for a contract?
Janet Rudebeck: Yeah. Absolutely. So we have actually put a ton of resources into our training and implementation department since we started a few years ago and really it's something that we take very, very seriously. Implementation is something that companies struggle with the most when you talk about software, whether you're on pen and paper, manual processes, or you're coming even from another software company. In our opinion, a software is only as good as it's implemented in the first place. And so, we really, really take our time with these dealers to make sure that they are comfortable with the software, that they are being trained properly so that when they do go live, they're rocking and rolling. So we take about a five to six week process with them. I know that sounds like a lot, but you have to understand that these contractors need to run a business in the background.
Janet Rudebeck: They got to be able to operate fully while training on FieldEdge part-time. So we take about an hour per week for those virtual online trainings, they'll have access to the videos that we're sending them as well, broken out into about three or four minutes. And then we do have FieldEdge academy, which is basically an online course that they can go on, watch a couple videos, there're quizzes at the end, and then they can go in and practice. So this allows them to kind of train one on their own, not personal time, but on their own time when they have maybe an extra 20 or 30 minutes here and there, we encourage them to go inside FieldEdge academy, complete those modules for the week. And then when that one hour training does happen, they have all of their questions ready, and we can go ahead and cover what we are for that day.
Janet Rudebeck: So they will get their own implementation consultant, which is very, very important. To have the same person from FieldEdge training you the entire time, this way they get comfortable with you. You guys get to know each other really well. A lot of things that I think we missed too is companies don't always ask those questions that they have. And so, we really urge our customers to rely on the FieldEdge staff during the training and implementation, especially. There are no stupid questions, we want to make sure that when they go live at the end of the six weeks, that they're comfortable with it. And then once they are live, they do get assigned a customer success manager. And this person is there to support them as long as they are a FieldEdge customer, hopefully forever, but they will be checking in with them every single month just to make sure things are going smoothly as well.
Tommy Cue: I will tell you what I've heard about the onboarding process over the four or five week period. It's been very smooth. Our contractors that have joined the platform it's gone over very well. The FieldEdge platform for the contractor that joined it last year, even the year before, you all keep enhancing the platform. And I know you've got some sub technician issue that you helped facilitate through the platform, it's making the technician's life easier, real time type reporting. Can you give me an overview of what you've added since we last did a podcast?
Janet Rudebeck: Yes. Absolutely. So the main theme, when you talk about software, one is to just become more efficient as a company. We want to get off of manual process. We want to get off of pen and paper. We want our end customer experience to be a very pleasant one. We want our customers coming back, but I think a lot of things that get missed or really get lost in the shuffle is taking care of our own employees is just as important. If we don't have good employees to go out there and offer these services and use this software in the first place, it's pointless. So we want to make sure that these companies have an attractive way to manage their business and technicians are hard to find they're even harder to keep. We even have a new generation of younger contractors and the younger technicians, excuse me, coming into the market and having a software like this is going to be very important.
Janet Rudebeck: So we want our technicians to be motivated to go out in the field and up-sale, and take those payments in the field and offer indoor air quality accessories. We want them offering financing. There's a huge checklist of things that technicians need to remember to do as well, asking for reviews. So with our mobile application, one, makes it very easy for them to do all of this, but we also need to incentivize them and reward them for upselling in the field and selling certain pieces of equipment. So we have what's called performance pay inside of FieldEdge, and what companies who have FieldEdge can do is any single item that they sell, including service agreements, which is very important. They can go in and add a spiff or a commission. So either a fixed dollar amount or a certain percentage that the technician will make commission on if they sell on the field.
Janet Rudebeck: And with our intuitive custom reporting, basically the company will just go in at the end of the pay period, they'll easily be able to just run a report with the click of a button. They'll be able to see what all did our technician sell that have a commission attached to it, and how much do I owe each employee? And I was actually talking to someone in the industry a couple of days ago, who has been in this industry for a while. And he said that commissions and [inaudible 00:07:14] actually used to take him two full days to run that full report. And now, inside of FieldEdge, it'll take about five minutes total.
Tommy Cue: Wow. That becomes contractor friendly and extremely valuable. One of the things that you all have recently added, to my understanding is you've acquired a company called Coolfront and that fits into the FieldEdge platform. And from what I've learned about Coolfront, it's basically a pricing program. So now FieldEdge has a full implementable pricing platform. Can you elaborate a little bit on the Coolfront side of the platform?
Janet Rudebeck: Yes. Absolutely. So this is very exciting, we acquired full front two years ago and the price book conversation is one that is happening a lot right now in the industry. And it's actually something that HVAC plumbing and electrical contractors struggle with the most. I've been doing this for a few years now, and whenever I have a conversation with someone, most of the time, these owners are doing their own price book in the field. They are manually updating their own prices, which we get busy and we are not updating our prices as much as we think we are. I had a conversation with someone last week, who said he had an updated his price book in a year and a half in my heart sank. So when you take a step back and look at it, a lot of these companies are losing money and they just don't even realize it because they're not up to date on where the market is and how this market prices are at any given time.
Janet Rudebeck: So what Coolfront Technologies is, is a fully managed flat rate price book, and we are working on rebranding it to feel that flat rate. So I am going to start calling FieldEdge Flat Rate, but just know that it is the same core, Coolfront price book integrated within the FieldEdge platform. But what it is, is a managed database. So there's over 30,000 parts and 16,000 services already loaded in. We work with all major OEM brands. So if the technician is out in the field and he's pulling a particular part or service, what we're doing is basically taking a national average and based on their geographical location, you know how much this part really should cost. But ultimately, these companies are setting their own part markup. They are setting their own labor rates. So they have full control over their own price book.
Janet Rudebeck: But the fact that it's a managed database, which means that there are employees here at FieldEdge that are monitoring prices for them. So if the cost of refrigerant goes up overnight, which is something that fluctuates pretty often, we're shooting that update out to their application for them and notifying them that the price has changed. So this way they don't have to worry about managing their price books. This is something that's going to now be done for them. They don't have to worry if they're losing money or not, or even charging too much or not. So this is going to be fully implemented within the FieldEdge mobile app.
Tommy Cue: That's awesome. I know prices pricing contractors is the most difficult thing that they do. I can see the front page of the refrigeration news, almost every manufacturer has had a second price increase this year. So I can't express enough the value of having a functionable flat rate pricing platform, it's updated immediately. The benefit to the contractor is phenomenal. The other thing that you've done now is you're completely mobile friendly. So whether you have a selling technician or a sales person out in the field from the mobile device, they can fully function and quote financing, I'd highly recommend extended warranties. How does that work in the field for FieldEdge, from the mobile standpoint as a servicing technician that actually sells? Is that a pretty smooth process?
Janet Rudebeck: Oh yeah. It absolutely is. So it's just a native mobile application. So the technicians or our sales guys in the field will be able to use pretty much any smart device. It's not built specifically for Android or Apple one or the other. It works just fine on pretty much any smart devices. If they're using a tablet in the field, that's perfect, but technicians are going to be able to do everything digitally from the field, all the way from clocking in and clocking out for the day, quoting jobs, offering invoices. And we have multi-option floating tool now in the field as well, where technicians and salesmen are going to be able to offer good, better, best options in the field. You can offer up to five options in one particular quote or estimate to a customer. At the end of each work order too, we are automatically emailing everything that we're doing to the customer if there's an email address on file.
Janet Rudebeck: So all of those invoices, all of those quotes, we can accept it live if it's a kitchen table situation, or if they want to take some time to think about it, we're emailing that quote to the customer or offering financing. We have a full integration with GreenSky. So if they want to be able to apply for financing right then and there, technicians are able to just stay in the FieldEdge app and hit the GreenSky button so that the customers can apply. We also have fully integrated FieldEdge payments. So this way the customer, or excuse me, the technician is going to be able to, again, stay in the FieldEdge application for the entire duration of that call. So you will not have to hop out of FieldEdge, hop into another payment processing app to take the payment.
Janet Rudebeck: Everything will be fully integrated so that they can go ahead and finalize into QuickBooks that same exact day and the beauty about FieldEdge payments as well, tying it back to the quotes and invoices. So if a technician or a salesman is out and he does a multi-option quote for a customer, we are able to email that quote to the customer. Customer can go online except the option that they choose, and they can also either make a down payment or a full payment on that quote as well, which is something that is very, very popular these days. When you talk about the no contact, all digital, we're not making any mistakes, the options are very clear to the customer as well. So it just really makes for a much more smooth process. And again, it's so easy for the technicians to be able to do this in the field that they're making more money, the customer's happy, and ultimately the dealer is successful.
Tommy Cue: Fantastic. So we're talking about the technicians and the salesperson in the field, but I'm the business owner. And I want to be able to look and see on a hourly basis sometimes, maybe every half day. Tell me about the owner's dashboard that's been fully built out and what they can expect to see when joining into the FieldEdge platform.
Janet Rudebeck: Yeah. Absolutely. So when we're talking about utilizing the mobile application and taking those payments, and selling and creating invoices. What is the point of all that? The point of all that is to report on it so that we can improve [inaudible 00:14:00]. And with the owners dashboard, we have a live integration with QuickBooks, which is our most popular feature, but as soon as they sign on to FieldEdge, they're going to have an immediate health check of the company. So there'll be able to see at any given time live, how much have we sold so far this month, this year? What are our potential sales?
Janet Rudebeck: So what do we have floated out in the field that we can still go after? What are we missing? We're quoting a lot of customers, but maybe they're declining our offer for whatever reason, how are we trending month over month with our ebbs and flows? We even break it down by technician as well. So they'll have full visibility into those potential sales and total sales, which technicians are really contributing? Which might need a little bit more coaching? So really at first glance in with just the click of a button, they're going to be able to kind of see where their company stands at any given time.
Tommy Cue: Nice. I tell you, we've sent several folks through your platform. The free demo is a beautiful thing. You just go up, reach out to the FieldEdge team and their website you'll have access to a free demo. I'd highly recommend it.
Janet Rudebeck: I would prefer if people reach out directly to me, it's much easier. I believe my contact information should be up when we post this, but it's just email@example.com.
Tommy Cue: The other thing I'd asked, Janet, is there anything else of value that you think that contractors should know today moving forward about the FieldEdge platform?
Janet Rudebeck: Yeah. Yes. Absolutely. We've talked about a few specifics, but if you're an HVAC plumbing or electrical contractor and you're struggling really with anything from front of the house to back of the house, we can probably come in with a solution. We actually started out by creating the very first dispatch board in 1980, and we're now in the fourth generation of the company. So we've been doing this for a very long time, we understand the pains that you face on a day-to-day basis. Some key features that really set us apart too, I already mentioned it a second ago, but that live integration with QuickBooks is huge. All software companies do integrate with QuickBooks, but it's that batch and sync process that everybody's so familiar with it. We have eliminated the batch and sync process. So 100% of everything that you do inside FieldEdge is going to automatically reflect in QuickBooks for you.
Janet Rudebeck: So just eliminating that headache of possibly having to still manually enter in invoices, having duplicate entries in the system, it's a much more cleaner, seamless way to operate your business. Service agreements is something I haven't really mentioned, and this is something that is the backbone of a lot of companies. And everybody knows you should be offering these, but the hardest part about it is managing them. So FieldEdge does automatic reach outs to the customers for you letting them know that their maintenance appointment is due. So that way the customers are coming to the dealer instead of the other way around.
Janet Rudebeck: And that takes up hours and hours of time, as you know, and nobody answers their phone anymore these days. So having that automatic reach out allows them to free up some time and focus on other things for the business. And then just to tie it back to the first question, I mean, our support system is fantastic and with a robust software like this, you need that support system. So I always implore anyone that I sell FieldEdge to, to rely on us for that. Please don't hesitate to ask us any type of questions. This is what we're here for. So really there's kind of a place for everything.
Tommy Cue: Nice. Well, again, we partnered up for the last couple of years. It's been a beautiful partnership. All I do is I recommend the FieldEdge platform, the contractors, go to the demo, see if you think it's a fit for your company. And I can tell you that I've heard from a lot of contractors that joined the platform, the four or five week onboarding process has gone very smooth. It had some great success. Thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate it very much and we'll work together in the future moving forward.
Janet Rudebeck: Yeah. Tommy, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. And we do offer JB Warranties customers loyalty discounts, because we have a partnership. So I would prefer if people reach out directly to me, it's much easier. I believe my contact information should be up when we post this, but it's just firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you do end up going through the website, you just please, please make sure to mention you are a JB Warranties customer, and you will qualify for those specific discounts for coming in through JB.
Tommy Cue: Fantastic. And at the end of this, we will have the link as well that a contractor can click. Again, Janet, congratulations coming up. You've got some exciting things in the next few weeks.
Janet Rudebeck: Thank you so much, Tommy.
Tommy Cue: on the horizon is what I've heard. So congratulations to that, and we'll talk to you very soon.
Janet Rudebeck: Oh, thank you so much, Tommy. I appreciate it. Good to talk to you again.
Tommy Cue: Okay. I'll talk to you soon.
Janet Rudebeck: All right. Bye-bye.
Tommy Cue: Bye-bye.
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at JB Warranties