Dispatchers can be the lifeline of your field service business. Field service dispatch software is helping them become better at their jobs. However, it’s still one of the largest challenges in field service management. Getting people to the right place at the right time is critical to the success of your business. And having effective dispatching can make all the difference.
So, giving them the power of a field service dispatch software is definitely going to make their job easier. It’s not just about getting a technician to a job site when you dig down deep. It’s about perfecting a route, learning to prioritize and most importantly, making customers happy. Field service management requires a strong dispatcher at the heart of every business. If you want to deliver the best service possible, there are four ways you can turn your dispatchers into well-oiled machines.
Tip #1: Never say “no” to a customer
This is generally the golden rule of field service management. But it’s worth stating as the top tip because field service is about making customers happy. Knowing what each customer wants and expects isn’t easy. Dispatchers have to handle the needs, wants and demands of hundreds of people. And then they have to meet those needs, wants and demands with excellent service. When customers call with a problem, a “no” is a customer looking for another service provider. Even an “I don’t know” doesn’t give a lot of confidence to your customers that your dispatch is on their game.
So, with field service dispatch software, give dispatchers the ability to turn every “no” into a “yes”. When a customer asks for service, dispatchers can see their entire workforces schedule to see where they can fit a service call in. With it being all in one portal, dispatchers don’t have to search through Outlook calendars and emails to see who is available. Even if the answer is “not today”, dispatchers can offer an exact timeslot when a technician will be on site tomorrow. Or, give them options and let the customer decide what is best for them. And you can only get that level of options by getting the full view of your entire workforce schedule.
How does field service dispatch software help?
- A complete view of your entire organization’s schedule
- Ability to give your customers an option of when they want service to happen
- Narrow timeslots for when service can be completed
Tip #2: Learn to Triage with Field Service Dispatch Software
Dispatchers need to become masters of triage. That’s because they are the ones determining which calls are most important. And that can be because of many different reasons. Firstly, it could be an emergency call with severe implications, such as the failure of medical equipment. Secondly, contracts may prioritize customers. Finally, it can be based on what is best for the schedule and the business. Whatever the case may be, dispatchers need to be able to triage the calls coming into them and figure out which ones need to be addressed.
Turning to a field service dispatch software will make dispatchers a master of triage in no time. From one software, they can look into the service history of the equipment and see how it was handled before. They can look at contracts and decide if the customer has a priority contract that has to be handled immediately. And they can see full schedules, routes and technician locations to see if someone is close by to take the call. Mastering triage will instill confidence in your customers that the person they are speaking with has knowledge of the situation. And that they are actively trying to solve the problem as fast as they can to get service completed. With hundreds of calls coming in each day, triage can overwhelm a dispatcher. However, once mastered, triage is a skill that will drive field service management across the entire business.
Who gets priority in triage?
- Customers who have life-threatening repairs that need service as soon as possible
- Customers who have signed contracts for same-day service at a premium rate
- Customers who would lose money and labor time for every minute their equipment is down
- Customers who are on a route of a technician or near another one and can have work orders reassigned
Tip #3: Route Profitability
Routing a technician to a job site is another part of the appointment process dispatchers have to be masters at. However, it’s not as simple as getting a technician from job site A to job site B. That’s because routing has to be profitable. Driving from job site to job site is an expense every field service management business has to take on. Fuel costs and truck repairs are normal, and travel time may be charged to the customer or not. If not, the business has to eat the cost of the technician sitting in traffic. So, dispatchers have to take that into consideration when routing technicians and try and minimize the negative effect travel has on the bottom line. In a sense, making routing profitable.
You don’t want your technicians driving all over the map all day long. You want an order that reduces drive times, the amount of time spent on busy roads and doubling back over routes they already crossed. Field service dispatch software gives mapping tools to dispatchers. So, they can see exactly where each technician is located. And then what route they are taking that day and what service calls they have coming up. They can easily optimize the technician’s schedule to reduce driving time, which opens up more time for additional service calls. These additional service calls are what make routing profitable.
Give your dispatchers real-time information:
- GPS location of each truck as it moves from job site to job site with the field service mobile app feature
- Ability to make changes to a technician’s schedule and reassign other calls to other nearby technicians
- Added calls can be optimized to fit that technician’s schedule
Tip #4: Perform a dispatch debrief
Once the appointment is set up, don’t turn your back on it. The dispatcher isn’t finished with the appointment until the repair is complete and the customer is satisfied. There is plenty that can happen before the technician collects a final signature to close out the call. So, it’s important to perform a dispatch debrief and continue to adjust the schedule.
Once complete, dispatchers need to ensure all the proper information was collected, if the appointment was a success or if another one has to be scheduled. Perhaps a first-time fix wasn’t achieved and it’s because the dispatch sent the wrong technician. To ensure a high first-time fix rate, dispatchers need to go back over their dispatch history and see where they can improve. Field service dispatch software can alert them to any problems that have occurred with a work order. And first-time fix rates can be built in as KPIs for dispatchers to track. With the ability to build custom reports and dashboards, dispatchers can have all the information they need to do a proper dispatch debrief. And through that, they can limit their mistakes in the future.
What should dispatchers have on their dashboard?:
- Reports on their first-time fix rate and the success and failure of technicians
- Drive time of labor time of your technicians to figure out who is the best technician
- Alerts on work orders that are overdue or need to be addressed immediately
Use field service dispatch software to be more efficient
Field service management is all about finding ways to become more efficient. And if you are looking at a specific area to be very efficient in, it should be your dispatching. By using field service dispatch software, you are giving your dispatchers tools to get real-time information from the field. And with the information, they are selecting the right technicians, making route planning profitable, triaging the calls coming in and scheduling appropriately. Find out today why getting field service dispatch software is the #1 tip for any field service business looking to grow.