Dispatching and scheduling technicians is being put into the spotlight in the field service industry. It’s more important than ever that technicians get to their destination on time. Customer demands are expecting prompt service and being late isn’t an option. That’s why hiring good dispatchers is so important to the success to a field service organization.
But just having someone who is good with scheduling and delegating service calls isn’t enough. With more service calls coming in and, in most organizations, fewer technicians, it’s a challenging job to have. And even with the best dispatcher, they need help when scheduling to make sure,
- Preventative maintenance contracts are being met
- Technicians are showing up on time
- Visibility is being offered into technician movements
- Customers are staying satisfied
With more demand on dispatchers to get it right, many are turning to field service scheduling software to assist. It’s no longer just a bonus to a dispatcher’s toolset, but rather, a business decision that has long lasting implications. With so many benefits in having a field service dispatch software, it isn’t hard to make a business case for it and why it’s a must-have for the field service industry.
Let’s investigate some of the benefits of having a proper field service scheduling software.
1. Route Optimization
Getting a technician from one job site to another is not even half the job of a good dispatcher. Especially when the technician has more than two service calls to make in a day. When their schedule is loaded with calls, dispatchers don’t want their technicians on the road, crossing the city multiple times in a day. They would prefer their calls to be close to each other, so that the technician isn’t driving more than they must.
That’s where route optimization comes in, and with a field service scheduling software, dispatchers can see the routes their technicians are taking. With resource routing tools, dispatchers can adjust their technician’s schedules, so they follow the most optimized route. That means service calls follow the best available route plan that will cut down their time on the road and miles travelled. This has two drastic effects on the business.
- Technicians are spending more time working and less time driving
- Company vehicles will have less miles on them, requiring less service
These benefits not only save the business money on service repairs, but also increases their revenue. Technicians who are not in traffic are working and billing. The less time on the road, the more revenue they can possibly be earning.
2. Increased Technician Utilization Rates
More billable hours is exactly the business case to be made with a field service dispatch software. Studies have shown that technicians are utilized between 50 to 60 percent of their time for billable work. That means, 40 to 50 percent of their time, they aren’t generating revenue, but they are still an expense, clocking in hours. For field service organizations to be more successful, they need to increase that utilization rate. Every percentage point upwards is revenue for the company. So, dispatchers are under more pressure to get those utilization rates up. That’s what makes route optimization so important, because every minute a technician is in traffic, on break or waiting for work to come in, is a minute they could be putting in wrench time.
With two field service dispatch software functions, dispatchers can improve technician utilization rates. With the resource calendar, they can see each technicians schedule with each service call scheduled. With that information, they can make changes to limit the number of breaks or time waiting for the call to begin. Instead, the schedule can be optimized to fit as many calls in as possible into their workable hours.
Second, using resource routing tools, dispatchers can optimize routes to limit travel times. Combined with an optimized schedule, the technician will increase their utilization rate, which generates more revenue for the business.
3. Greater Visibility
There is plenty of data and information out there for dispatchers to use to better optimize a technician’s schedule. They just need a field service scheduling software to use it properly. Customers no-show, calls get cancelled and emergency calls come up, but that shouldn’t send your service department into a panic. With field service dispatch software, your dispatchers will now be able to handle those issues with ease.
With resource routing tools, an emergency call be fit in quickly by locating the nearest technician on the interactive map. The service call can be added to their schedule for the day, and their route re-organized to maintain the best optimized route possible. Technicians can be pulled from other jobs, and have their work reassigned to another technician, all without breaking their utilization rate or route optimization.
Resource routing tools as part of a field service scheduling software also tells dispatchers exactly where the technician is. This pinpoint accuracy allows them to make better decisions on future calls. They can keep customers notified when technicians are on the way, or if there is a delay. And with the field service dispatch software, can make changes to their schedule to keep the utilization rate high across the entire service department.
The Case for Field Service Scheduling Software
The business case many will make for field service scheduling software is that it’s about better serving the technician. But what field service organizations should be looking at is the benefit to their customers. With a better utilized workforce who have had their routes optimized, the end goal will see customer service rates increase as well. Customers will know they can rely on your service time for all their needs. Whether it’s an emergency, their preventative maintenance contract, or on-time service delivery, they can count on you.
If you’re looking to generate new business, that’s the reputation you want to have. Loyal customers are great references and will help you increase your business. And as you get more customers, you will be using field service scheduling software more often to keep everyone happy.