How to solve the most common gas engineer challenges

George Dibb
October 30, 2023

November’s here, and if you’re in the gas, plumbing, and heating sector, you know what that means; you’re about to enter peak season.

So there’s no better time than now to get to grips with the challenges that lie ahead and make sure you have gas engineer software in place to help. But this highly regulated sector isn’t just about ticking boxes. It’s a balancing act, from GasSafe compliance to meticulous planning for high-demand months.

According to data from HIP, late November and early December are the busiest days of the entire year. Especially for emergency call-outs.📲

This blog will be your go-to guide, offering ideas to solve these challenges to make operations run better than ever.

5 common gas engineer challenges [+ how to overcome them]

Plumbing, heating, and gas engineering is one of the most challenging field service management sectors. But help is on hand. From talking to customers in your sector, we’ve rounded up the top challenges you face and offer ideas to solve them.

The GasSafe Register isn't just a legal requirement; it's the hallmark of quality and safety in the industry. Fail to comply, and you're not just looking at penalties, but a serious risk to customer trust and your reputation. So how can technology help you maintain this crucial aspect of your business?

💡How tech can help

Good news: Solutions like BigChange incorporate a comprehensive suite of both domestic and non-domestic GasSafe documentation. This ensures that your engineers capture all essential on-site information.

And that's not all; the system is designed to automatically notify your office team of any Warning Notices and other compliance-related actions that may need immediate attention. So you won't just be compliant; you'll be proactively managing obligations.

Challenge #2: Managing Annual Service Reminders

Service Reminders

Keeping tabs on annual service reminders can be a logistical headache. A misstep here not only affects customer satisfaction; it can lead to compliance issues and even result in a loss of business. For instance, customers may forget who previously serviced their equipment if they aren't reminded. By proactively sending out reminders and offering one-click calendar bookings, you hugely increase your chances of repeat business.

And the problem only grows if you're dealing with both domestic and non-domestic clients. So, is there a way to automate this process to make it less of a chore?

💡How tech can help

Absolutely, and here's where a tool like BigChange shines. The system automatically triggers annual service reminders for both domestic and non-domestic customers. You're not just sending a generic message, either. The platform allows you to customise the format and timing of these reminders to align with your brand.

So, you're not just keeping up with your obligations; you're also engaging your customers in a way that reflects your company's ethos and branding.

Challenge #3: Efficient scheduling during peak season (and beyond)

Winter is when boilers start to falter, and gas engineers become local heroes. Your phone is ringing off the hook, and you can hardly keep up. But with the flood of service requests, scheduling becomes a mammoth task.

So how do you ensure you're not stretched too thin yet can fit more jobs into a day, especially during this busy season?

💡How tech can help

Enter advanced job scheduling. This powerful tool optimises your routing and planning to maximise efficiency. Not only that, but it also sends automatic customer notifications to minimise those time-consuming no-access visits.

The result? You make the most out of the peak season, keeping both your clients warm and your bottom line healthy.

Challenge #4: Juggling follow-on works

Automation on laptop

Being swamped with work is a double-edged sword. While more business is good, it also means you're in a constant race against time, especially when it comes to follow-on tasks. Whether it's ordering specific boiler parts or scheduling subsequent visits, managing these tasks manually is an invitation to chaos.

💡How tech can help

That's where a tool like BigChange steps in with its inbuilt automations. The system ensures that you never miss or forget any follow-on work.

You can create an automation task for new jobs depending on the outcome of the current job. For example, the job might be ‘completed with issues’ because parts are required. The system makes it really easy to map over information from the old job to the follow-on job. This makes light work of admin and ensures nothing is missed - such as previous engineers' comments.

Challenge #5: Standing out from the crowd

Customer portal with JobWatch

The heating industry is a crowded space. Sole traders and established companies are all vying for customer attention, often leaving the smaller businesses in the shadows. So how do you make your business stand out, especially when customers tend to focus on price?

💡How tech can help

A tool like BigChange provides more than an edge; it equips you with a comprehensive suite of features like customisable quote templates and automated follow-ons. Add to that ETA text notifications and a dedicated customer support portal, and you’ve got a robust system that keeps both your team and your clients in the loop.

These features allow you to showcase your scale, brand, and quality of service, giving you a competitive edge. You don't have to compromise on price to provide top-notch service. And what sets you further apart is the ‘file library’ feature. This digital archive allows you to store essential documents, ranging from site-specific risk assessments to machine manuals. All of which can be accessed remotely anywhere, anytime.

Gas engineer software to the rescue 🦸‍♂️

We've outlined the key challenges that gas engineering businesses often grapple with. But challenges shouldn't be roadblocks; they should be stepping stones to better solutions.

That's where job management software comes into the picture.

Essential features that tackle gas engineer challenges

  1. Comprehensive GasSafe documentation: To manage compliance effortlessly.
  2. Automated reminders: For staying on top of annual service schedules.
  3. Advanced scheduling: To optimise work during peak season and beyond.
  4. Automated follow-on’s: For seamless management of subsequent tasks.
  5. Customisable templates: To help your brand shine.

Direct impact on daily operations

By implementing these features, you're not just checking boxes; you're revolutionising your daily operations. Whether it's automating manual tasks or enhancing customer engagement, the impact is huge.

These features don't just solve problems; they make your business more efficient and customer-focused. As a case in point, here’s Celsius’ story.👇

Solving gas engineer challenges: Real-life results

Celsius Plumbing and Heating employee holding a BigChange mobile device

Back in 2016, Celsius Plumbing and Heating moved from its outdated software to BigChange. As a small fish in a big pond, Celsius struggled with masses of paperwork and operational inefficiencies. They were battling to deliver the kind of professional service that big contract clients were used to.

Transformation with BigChange

BigChange offered Celsius a 6-in-1 field service management software system. From CRM and job scheduling to vehicle tracking and management reporting, everything was streamlined. Director, Michael Cairns notes, "The BigChange mobile app really is a ground-breaking innovation for service companies like us."

BigChange didn't just make things easier; it had a measurable impact. "We used to average 6 jobs a day but now we are doing 7 or 8," says Cairns. That's a productivity boost of 30% for each of their engineers.

In the office, the gains were even more dramatic—productivity shot up by 40%, freeing up two staff members to focus on customer service.

One of BigChange's standout features was automating customer communications. Cairns says, "Running a service list was a frustrating and slow process until we automated the communications using BigChange." Service booking success rates jumped from 20% to an incredible 90%.

With real-time visibility and automated ETA messages, customers no longer have to waste time waiting. "Customers love the system," says Cairns. Plus automated quoting makes repeat sales easier.

📘Read the Celsius case study here.

Simplify and solve gas engineer challenges

It’s not easy staying on top of all the challenges gas engineer businesses face, but as you can see, help is here. By meeting challenges head-on and using tailored software solutions like BigChange, you can see massive improvements in productivity.

Take the Celsius Plumbing and Heating example. They didn't just get through challenges; they transformed their business. From boosting daily jobs by 30% to increasing office productivity by a whopping 40%, the numbers speak volumes.

The bottom line: It's not just about overcoming hurdles; it's about being the best at what you do.

So, as you weigh up your options, consider this: What could a 'Celsius-style transformation' look like in your business?

📲If you’re ready to learn more, talk to our experts today.

Or for further reading, take a look at these:

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