How Clarke Customer Care Built a Profitable Business Using OptimoRoute
August 28, 2020 4 min read
Increase onsite visits by 15% per day
Dynamic replanning allows for rescheduling in minutes
2 man-hours saved daily by using automated customer notifications
First-time fix rate is 80% – by accounting for vehicle capacity and technician skill set
In 2004, a small group of talented sales individuals at Clarke Kitchen & Design Showroom licenced for distributing high-end products decided to promote their sales with an innovative after-sales initiative.
Within a year that marketing initiative turned into a profitable stand-alone business that’s able to support entire operations and finances independently. That company is Clarke Customer Care. We spoke to their Director of Operations, Mike Fotiades and Pam Smedberg, one of the company’s most senior employees now in charge of Dispatch management. Fotiades explains:
“We thought about what would give us a competitive advantage when selling a product. We decided to offer top of the line installation services exclusively for three brands at just one phone call away”.
Today, Clarke Customer Care has 30 employees, 24 of which are expert technicians operating in five New England states.
Seven OptimoRoute Features that Increase Business Efficiency
When tasked with managing the now growing number of field service experts in the company, Smedberg faced no easy task. She knew that by offering their prospective clients high-end customer care – Clarke’s organizational structure, scheduling and efficiency had to be impeccable.
After trying different routing and scheduling software available on the market, it became clear that just route optimization wasn’t going to be enough.
Dynamic replanning and a mobile app for field techs
Their first routing software wasn’t able to accommodate for any on the fly changes:
“Before OptimoRoute, we would be routing several days ahead just to fit everyone in. The software wasn’t intuitive and once a schedule was made and the routes were optimized, that was it. There was no mobile app, which meant that I would have to contact experts in the field and inform them verbally about a last minute call.”
After switching to OptimoRoute, Smedberg was able to plan and even re-plan the workforce in minutes. Rescheduled routes would then be sent to techs already in the field on their smartphones or through email using OptimoRoute’s driver app.
Today, schedules are fluid and are scheduled 2 days in advance because of dynamic replanning features available to OptimoRoute users.
As a result, approximately 75% of all orders are successfully changed throughout the week depending on customer needs without additional costs or miles traveled by Clarke’s field experts.
Long term scheduling led to increased efficiency
By using OptimoRoute, Smedberg and her team of dispatchers automated the process of scheduling several days in advance using all available experts who combined could now complete 20 additional jobs per day.
In fact, their overall efficiency increased between 10-15% in terms of the number of orders completed daily. In short – one more job done per each technician at no additional cost.
However, planning their experts’ schedules days in advance wasn’t going to be the only factor in succeeding that Smedberg and her team needed to accomplish.
Planning for the right technician with the right skills and spare parts
In the installation and maintenance business to make money, it’s all about fixing it the first time. For Fotiades, when your field experts are the customer-facing part of your business and play a key role in driving customer satisfaction, hiring the right delivery team and gearing them with the right parts and tools is vital:
“We have a competitive advantage since we are always stocked with the right parts to fix appliances from our core brands. Our product specialists are trained to be experts in these products. 8 out of 10 times we fix the appliance from the first go. OptimoRoute has been a game changer for us because it gives us the ability to automatically match technicians to jobs by skills required.”
Efficient workload balancing for field experts increased worker satisfaction
Fotiades and Smedberg agree that customer service is always number one on their list. But straight after comes optimizing the amount of work their field technicians have to do.
“As a company, Clarke Customer Care takes their time in training their experts before sending them out into the field. What we look for in a worker is heart, good values and empathy” Fotiades explains. He adds that their company goal is not necessarily to work more hours, but to get more done in the same amount of time.
“Where does OptimoRoute come in? It allows us to evenly disperse the workload among our experts and not to spend unnecessary amounts of time driving around between jobs. Ultimately we are more profitable as a business.”
Realtime Order Tracking and respecting time windows
“When it comes to installation and maintenance, especially in our line of business, the first thing we fix is the customer then the appliance” Fotiades says. “We operate a standard and a VIP model where we guarantee a morning or afternoon service, the rest fit in somewhere in between”.
Therefore, accurate customer notifications are key in keeping their clients happy, informed and most importantly giving their back the most important commodity – time.
“What OptimoRoute does is gives us a method of informing our customers. Previously, we would have to pick up the phone and call up our customers one by one. We would call up more than a 100 customers and give them their time, that right there was taking up roughly 2 hours of my day” Smedberg explains.
Today, using Realtime Order Tracking, Clarke customers receive an email or text message two days earlier with a 2 hour arrival time window:
“Because we can send out automated text and emails, that saves me 2-3 hours. Also it gives us the ability to speak to our customers the way they want to be spoken to. They don’t want to be interrupted. They want a notification.”
Why Clarke chose OptimoRoute: Exceptional Customer Service
No two businesses are exactly alike and while there might be definite similarities, sometimes thinking outside the box can be the difference between success or failure. Smedberg explains the appeal of OptimoRoute:
“Other providers we talked to were not flexible. They could not tailor to our needs. But, OptimoRoute asked us: ‘What do you need?’ That made the difference.” And finally, when it comes to the value of OptimoRoute, Fotiades illustrates the ROI like this:
“Bottom line – you start using it on Monday, and it pays itself off by Wednesday.”
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