Apx invests in software

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
PROVO, Utah--ApxAlarm has invested a sizeable sum - in the neighborhood of $750,000 - in an enterprise technology solution designed to makes its installation and service calls more efficient and improve customer satisfaction at the same time.
The summer model giant expects to reap benefits quickly. “We are forecasting a ROI of one year,” said JT Hwang, CTO for Apx Alarm.
Apx announced May 29 that it signed the deal with ClickSoftware Technologies. The program will be up and running by October, Hwang said.
The system will be used to manage, schedule and route the workload of 300 full-time Apx field service technicians who handle thousands of installation, service and repair calls annually. 
Technicians will use Blackberries to keep in touch with Apx headquarters and customers. However, the software takes over much of the work previously performed by people. The software is configured to automatically assign technicians to certain locations. For example, if a technician has an install that runs overtime and so cannot make a later scheduled appointment, the system will search for an available technician, with the right skillset, in the geographic area and notify him to take the appointment. 
“From the customer service standpoint, [customer service reps] can take care of everything in one place. The billing, service scheduling, alarm signals are all on the same screen.” Typically, a customer service rep would have to transfer a customer to a different department, or navigate around the computer system to perform these different tasks. 
Hwang said the program will make the customer service department more efficient, and will enable field service engineers to handle more jobs “due to more efficient route scheduling, less time spent driving.” That will also mean lower fuel use. 
The program automatically places reminder calls to customers and uses GPS tracking to notify customers within a narrow time frame when the technician will arrive at their home. 
With real-time scheduling, “the customer can pop out and run an errand and know he won’t miss the technician,” said Simon Morris, ClickSoftware’s director of marketing. This makes customers happy and ensures that when Apx spends the $250 or so it costs to roll a truck, that the customer will be there.