How you are scheduling your service team has a large effect on your business. Whether you handle break/fix repairs, have your customers linked to contracts, or provide installation services, getting people to places is essentially what field service is. Service dispatch software is the efficiency tool many are using today to better utilize their workforce. Nearly every field service provider has a story of a time when their dispatching didn’t come through. But with field service scheduling software, those stories are becoming few and far between.
Often, it’s talked about how optimizing schedules will make your business more profitable. However, that doesn’t happen overnight. That’s because it takes a commitment from your dispatchers and technicians to become more effective. Dispatchers need to learn proper dispatching optimization skills. And technicians have to be equipped with field service mobile applications to help reduce administration time. It’s plenty of work in motion to make dispatch a true profit maker for any business. Let’s look at some tips for better service scheduling and dispatch.
Tip #1 Know Who Your Team Is
You can’t start using service dispatch software without knowing who is on your team first. The reality is, you may not have the manhours in your workforce to grow your business. So, no amount of optimization using field service scheduling software will grow your revenue. Look across your entire workforce and take a true count of who is working for you. How many people do you have?
- Full-time technicians
- Part-time technicians
- Regular subcontractors
- Specialty subcontractors
With this information, you can view see how many manhours you have to work with. If you are constantly taking on more service calls than you have people for, either use service dispatch software to build new practices or look at increasing the number of people in one of those workforce categories.
Tip #2 How Much Contract Work do you Have?
Preventative maintenance service calls are not just about helping the customer keep equipment from breaking. They are recurring work you can count on. They are dependable revenue your business knows they are getting throughout the life of the contract. And they are dependable service calls you’ll be able to automate in your field service scheduling software. That’s important when trying to build a more efficient workforce. That’s because recurring work can be the foundation in which you build your service delivery model.
You know when and where these calls are going to happen and have more freedom of scheduling. Unlike an emergency repair, where a customer needs you at that moment, preventative maintenance service calls can come with different scheduling options. Use them to build your schedules and put them in timeslots where you normally don’t have emergency calls coming in. Many field service businesses use morning timeslots for this type of work. That leaves the afternoons and evenings open for emergency calls.
Tip #3 Categorize Your Service Calls and Technicians
No service call is the same. But they generally can fall into a specific category of work that needs to be completed. By using categories of work, you can better utilize technicians who specialize in that category of work. Basic service calls can be performed by your apprentices. While more complex service calls can be completed by full-time technicians or specialty subcontractors. When a service call comes in, dispatchers can use a skillset search in their service dispatch software to narrow down the field of technicians. From there, they can make appropriate scheduling decisions.
By categorizing the types of calls you take and the technicians’ skillset, you can narrow down or open up your workforce and schedule service calls to the technician that makes the most sense. You can take it a step further by then using resource routing tools to select a technician based on their location. So, you have a request for service, put it into a category type of service call, narrowed own your technician pool through a skillset search and found the closest one available to that call. That’s how you optimize your scheduling practices.
Tip #4 Use Service Dispatch Software
With feature-rich service dispatch software, running a successful field service business has become much easier. That’s because the days of doing everything by hand are over. Whiteboards, emails and Outlook are the things of the past. Paper-based work orders should never be printed again. If you want to save time dispatching technicians, you need to give them a field service mobile application that limits the time they spend coming back to the office. And the time they spend performing administration work.
To be more efficient, you need software that handles all of your services. Break/fix, contracts and projects require technicians to complete them. And some businesses have specific technicians for each type of job. But with field service scheduling software, you can have your entire workforce available to use for any call. Share resources amongst your entire business and get jobs done faster.
Tip #5 Think of Your People
In all this talk of service dispatch software and optimization, the truth is you need the people to complete the work. And in order to get those people, you need to attract them to your business. The field service industry has seen a shortage of technicians, so it’s more important than ever to take care of the people you got. That means having good on-call policy and being sensitive to your technicians’ time.
On-call policies are a must in the field service industry. However, if you are having technicians work extra hours every day, that can turn them off your business. It’s important to build a rotation that works for the entire business and keep that in mind when using field service scheduling software. Built that rotation in and have your technicians only available for on-call service when it’s their time.
Dispatching and scheduling can be very frustrating, but by working with your technicians, you can build a great workforce culture. Make your technicians a part of the scheduling process. Take their experience in the field and turn it into efficiencies using service dispatch software. By doing so, you will retain their services, grow your business and become a more efficient service business all-around.