People may not associate plumbers with technology, but the modern plumber knows that technology makes his job much easier. From offering customers better products and services to managing the office and fleet more effectively, modern technology is helping the plumbing industry evolve. Here are some trends to watch if you are in the field:
Technology Focused on Green Living
Going green” is no longer a fad; it is now deeply ingrained into today’s society. According to Hardware Retailing, 47 percent of retailers who sell plumbing products indicated that they had customers actively seeking green products for their plumbing systems. For modern plumbers, adding these into their service offerings is not just a good idea for customer service, but also a good idea for overall business growth.
Technology is helping in several ways: Consider, for example, the dishwasher. New dishwasher technology that recycles rinse water for the wash cycle can save the average family as much as 700 gallons of water a year. Home automation technology that automatically shuts off sprinkler systems based on weather reports can also help save water. Plumbing contractors that can offer these services will find themselves in high demand.
Using greywater (water that runs down the sink drain or shower drain) for other purposes in the home, such as flushing the toilet, is another water-saving innovation, and this is one area where the services of a plumber are absolutely necessary. Once installed, a greywater system can save a significant amount of money, but only a licensed plumber is able to set up the complicated system. Plumbing professionals that can learn how to offer these services will be in an excellent position to gain new clients.
Technology to Improve Customer Comfort and Health
In addition to saving water and energy, customers are looking for plumbing technology that makes them more comfortable and healthier at home. For instance, technological advancements that make toilets and faucets “touchless” are becoming increasingly popular in the home. Customers enjoy being able to close the lid, flush the toilet and wash their hands without having to touch germ-infested surfaces.
Water filtration systems are increasingly on demand as consumers are learning more about the dangers of tap water. Reverse osmosis filtration systems are a popular option in the modern home, because customers want instant access to clean drinking water.
Shower technology is also making the home experience more comfortable. Luxury faucets and showerheads can turn the home shower into a spa-like experience. Plumbers who can offer these types of upgrades to their customers will meet a growing need in the industry.
Technology to Streamline the Fleet
Most plumbing companies have a fleet of service vehicles they dispatch to deliver their services to clients; technology can make vehicle management more efficient.
GPS fleet tracking technology, for instance, allows the dispatcher to know where vehicles are and what the best route for them to take is. This limits wasted fuel from poorly planned routes and ensures drivers arrive on time. It can also limit wasted time and mileage when drivers take personal trips in company vehicles, because the technology provides a level of accountability.
With GPS fleet tracking, companies can improve customer service by ensuring that drivers are on time to their service calls. This is important, because 67 percent of customers will not do business again with a company that sends a technician an hour late, according to Software Advice, a service that assists plumbers in finding field service software. Sending drivers on time using the most productive route, and estimating arrival times accurately, requires the use of GPS fleet tracking.
Whether technology is improving the work of the plumber or the customer experience, the fact remains that it is changing the face of the industry. To ensure that your plumbing business remains relevant, be sure to keep up with these changes.
Robert J. Hall of Track Your Truck is president of one of the leading GPS vehicle tracking systems for small and midsized companies.