In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we shared news about the origins and progress of HomeX -- a remote diagnostics company that’s been making noise in the HVAC and plumbing service world -- and the corresponding HomeX mission to acquire HVAC service businesses.
This month we’re speaking with Guillaume Payen, president of the HomeX technology business, to learn some of the specifics on how the HomeX technology serves customers and service teams. Success in business is all about answers. Customers want answers to service issues and business owners want answers to questions surrounding efficient customer service, reduced callbacks and reduction in unnecessary truck rolls. The HomeX team is providing answers as it daily continues to question, “the way we’ve always done it.”
As an engineer with a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering, Payen worked in the aviation industry for 12 years in roles spanning from engineering, customer support and sales for Bombardier, based initially in Montreal and then in Paris. He returned to his native Canada in July of 2019 to join HomeX, where he initially applied his engineering and sales skills as the Head of Business Development focused on the growth of Schedule Engine, which HomeX later sold to ServiceTitan. Since that time, Payen has been concentrating his efforts and expertise on HomeX’s remote diagnostic solutions, to create diagnostic solutions which benefit both service companies and customers in the home.
“My time at HomeX has allowed me to gain an understanding of how difficult and competitive the home services industry really is, but also how amazing and selfless the people in the trades truly are, I consider them real superheroes. I feel very grateful to be able to speak to contractors on a daily basis and have the opportunity to understand their pain points and what they go through day after day,” Payen said. “It has reinforced the fact that, as a technology company that is building solutions for the trades, we really must provide them with software tools that can make their lives easier, but also help them grow their businesses and be more efficient along the way.”
Payen’s strengths are in leadership, fostering a positive and collaborative company culture, and always assessing problems and solutions from the customer’s perspective. He applies these principles daily to create an environment where his team thrives and the HomeX technology business grows.
The HomeX visual assistance software is the heartbeat of the HomeX remote diagnostic solutions. It’s not an IoT product or sensor-dependent hardware. It is a software solution purpose-built for use in home services. It allows for a person on-site, whether it is a resident or a technician, to get quickly and easily connected to someone in the office at the contractor over web-based two-way video, meaning there is no need to download another app on your phone. By using the Home visual assistance software, contractors can deliver an improved customer experience, enhance operational efficiency and make better use of resources.
“That means everything we do, and every problem we approach is with the contractor and their customers in mind. We’re building the experience, the features, the capabilities to address key pain points that contractors face on a daily basis as they try to grow their top and bottom lines, and give customers the experience they expect.”
The team also knows how helpful this streamlined approach can be to attracting and retaining the best technicians in today’s labor-constrained environment.
Telemedicine for HVAC
Payen likened the remote diagnostic method to telemedicine. “Teledoc took off and became a commodity. We enable the same sort of experience but for home maintenance. The HomeX solution allows for a very efficient collaboration between someone on site –a resident or a technician, and someone in the office, such as a customer service representative, service manager, dispatcher, sales consultant or senior technician. That allows the person in the office to guide the person on site using different tools such as a laser pointer, to capture relevant screenshots of the equipment, mark-up those screenshots, and capture accurate and relevant equipment information using our proprietary label understanding technology to better diagnose the issue upfront, to make sure the contractor can make a more educated decision on the best path to resolution.
“If you’re able to remotely have eyes on the equipment, the environment and the symptoms being experienced, there is a high probability that you can immediately understand the potential root cause of an issue, which will help determine which parts to order, which tools to bring and which technician to dispatch, ensuring the right calls are being made proactively and allowing issues to be solved in one visit a lot more often,” Payen explained.
HomeX remote diagnostics software is fully integrated with ServiceTitan, which allows for video sessions to be launched directly from a job in ServiceTitan, and once the video call has ended, for all the information captured during the interaction to be automatically synced into the notes section of the applicable job in ServiceTitan. It’s easy and seamless for those ServiceTitan users to use the HomeX software as they basically never have to leave ServiceTitan to do so. However, a contractor does not need to have ServiceTitan to use the HomeX software and can benefit from the tool on a standalone basis.
Payen said that when residents quickly engage with a contractor remotely over video, they immediately have the sense that they’re being heard, and the service is immediate. “They feel heard, like somebody’s actually listening to their problem, and it’s very likely going to stop their search for another contractor because they have the confidence that you are on top of their issue and will be able to get it resolved efficiently," he continued.
The contractor on the other end of the HomeX video sessioncan immediately start their diagnosis and go as deep as they would like to. It can stop at the simple gathering of relevant information by a CSR, to involving a service manager to go more in depth in the diagnosis, or even include a sales consultant should there be an opportunity to sell a new unit to the customer.
Additional benefits that come to mind include a reduced need for a second opinion, and the ability to establish instant trust and credibility with a new customer.
The next new exciting development Payen shared is the upcoming launch of a new product called “Check In”. It is an AI-powered chatbot experience, which leverages Generative AI, computer vision and HomeX’s proprietary knowledge graph to allow residents to provide more information about their issue in a natural and conversational way. Check-in knows when to ask for text, images or equipment info. This solution will help contractors make better decisions on the most appropriate next steps to resolve the issue even before engaging in a potential video session. This solution is already integrated with ServiceTitan and will be launching for general availability by the end of this quarter.
“The idea is to deliver the benefits of a Gen AI type experience but tailored for home services contractors so that residents can engage in a natural and conversational chat experience that would ask them the right questions about their problem. The questions would be tailored based on the equipment and the symptoms they’re experiencing. At the end of that Check-In session, a summary of the information is created and shared with both the resident and the contractor.”
Another exciting HomeX product already released in Beta is called “Copilot,” an AI-powered tool focused on enabling contractor personnel such as CSRs, service managers and dispatchers to have access to accurate, trustworthy and reliable equipment information at their fingertips.
“The information could be used by somebody in the office, or by a field technician, and based on the model number of a piece of equipment, Copilot will provide relevant information such as user manuals, warranty information, parts information and more. In addition, the user is able to enter a query which Copilot will understand and answer in the context of the equipment providing a trustworthy answer.”
Payen said that answers to queries also include links to applicable pages in the manual along with any potential warnings in order to provide the highest level of transparency and trust with the answers being generated.
“We want to be certain that whatever information is provided to the user is accurate because there’s no room for error in home services. As such, you get a direct answer to your query, plus access to the applicable supporting documentation. It’s another tool we offer to contractors to help them be more efficient as they try to diagnose and/or troubleshoot an issue with a customer,” Payen said.