One of the most overlooked fields in ESC is Equipment Type. This is a shame because it can be incredibly powerful. The purpose of this field is to categorize each piece of equipment associated with a customer in an easily identifiable manner. Let's look at a couple of ways this can help you.
Let's say a customer calls in and says his compressor is making a lot of noise. Your new dispatcher pulls up the customer on the Qualification screen and sees they have 5 pieces of equipment. Which one should they attach on the dispatch? If one is clearly labeled compressor the choice is easy.
Here is another example: suppose you want to send a marketing piece to all customers that don't have UV lights. In this case we really don't want to exclude customers by manufacturer or model, because there are so many. Being able to exclude customers based on equipment type is really the only way to get this kind of information.
So if you haven't already done so, now is a perfect time to create the list of equipment types you want to use. This can be accomplished by going to the Customer Info pull-down menu and selecting Enter Equipment Types. Give some care when deciding what to enter here, as a general rule the more generic the information the better it is for marketing purposes.
For example: if you have WTR HTR GAS type and a WTR HTR ELEC type, it would be easy to find all the customers with a Gas Water Heater. Adding a couple extra types such as TANKLESS GAS and TANKLESS ELEC could be beneficial but it would also stop you from finding all customers that do NOT have a tankless water heater, because you can only select one at a time. So error on the side of being generic. You can always put additional information (such as capacity or gas vs. electric) in the notes or custom fields to help the technicians and the dispatchers.
Once you have this configured to your liking, remove access to this screen for most users using the Company → Setup Users screen.
Once your types are configured you can easily associate them with inventory parts that are set to post to equipment using the Manufacturer tab on the Inventory Entry screen. This will ensure that when the part is used on an invoice it will automatically post to the customer's equipment record with the type already filled out.
If you haven't been collecting this information before now, updating it on the Sales Invoicing screen is a great idea. Just go to the Equipment tab on the next invoice you create and look for any items without a type. If you find one, double click the equipment to edit it. Click OK after selecting the Type from the drop down list and then be sure to save the invoice.
Be sure to play around with Equipment tab of Report Generation(Customer Info → Reports → Report Generation) to get a feel for some of the awesome marketing options this opens to you as well. The potential return for entering this one little piece of information is just too good to pass up!
Written by Eric Rausin
Featured in February 2011 Newsletter