Dispatch management is essentially customer experience management. The better the dispatching process, the better the experience will be for the customer. Field service organizations need to find ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs, and dispatching can play a fundamental role in both of those, while also driving a successful customer experience.
Dispatchers have one of the most demanding jobs in a field service organization. It’s a highly stressful position where they have to manage the customer’s needs with constantly shifting priorities, emergency situations, parts, and labor shortages, while trying to find the most efficient schedule possible for possibly hundreds of technicians each day.
To increase efficiency, field service businesses are investing in dispatch management software to give their dispatchers every advantage. This software is assisting in dispatching and route management to get the most out of each technician’s schedule every day. With a full view of schedules and routes, dispatchers can make better decisions about each appointment and work orders coming in.
Let’s look at ways to get more out of your dispatch management to make your operation more efficient.
Use Dispatch Management Software to Automate Scheduling
Automation is the key to the future and dispatch management is no exception. Automation is making decisions easier, which in turn has an effect on the customer experience.
For example, a customer has signed a contract with your company and requires a specific technician, with a certain skill set to complete the job for any contract work. Automation can schedule that exact technician when any appointment or schedule call as part of the agreement comes up. That removes the tedious task of the dispatcher having to manually search for the right technician.
Warranty information can automate a specific type of service call, with a specific type of technician. Even scheduling policies can be built into dispatch management software, so technicians aren’t working overtime hours or on holidays.
Automation is taking some of the difficult decision-making away from dispatchers. It is establishing pre-built schedules, personnel, and even parts requisitions onto work orders and contracts so that the dispatcher can work on creating the best schedule possible.
By automating dispatch management, customers can be assured that the technician they want will be the person assigned to their request. The technicians will be bringing the correct parts with them, with the right skill set to complete the job. That means fewer return visits, a higher first-time fix rate, and a better customer experience overall.
Daily Optimizing of Technician Routes
Another form of automation as part of dispatch management is optimizing routes. It is a critical task each day to ensure the technicians are working efficiently in order to reduce expenses and drive and idle times, while increasing the productivity of technicians overall.
A well-optimized route can save thousands of dollars a month in fuel and repairs costs on company vehicles and get technicians to the job site faster. Dispatch management should be concerned with the route planning of each of their technicians because they could quickly find inefficiencies. For example, do you have technicians crossing each other on the way to other service calls? Perhaps it’s best to reschedule them so they stick to a specific area for that day.
Dispatchers can also be more accurate with the customer about when the technician will be available with an optimized route. No customer wants to be told a technician will be there between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. But, if dispatch management software can optimize the route, a more accurate time frame can be provided to the customer.
Daily optimization of a route takes late and emergency calls into account, ensuring that each route is designed to reduce drive time. When paired with a field service mobile app, it is an optimal team for dispatch management because dispatchers can continue to adjust the routes as needed throughout the day. Technicians in the field can continue to follow the next work order on their mobile app and proceed to the next call. Overall, this saves time on communicating changes to the schedule, the route, and returning to the office to grab work orders.
Dispatch Management Needs to be Flexible
Service requests can come in at any time. Emergency repairs on short notice are common and priority customers are going to expect service quickly, or else they will find someone else. This is one of the toughest challenges in dispatch management. With the day’s schedule already made and a route optimized, emergency calls can throw the entire schedule off.
However, software for dispatchers can allow them to immediately respond to these requests and even calm a nervous or angry customer. Dispatchers who perform route optimization have a clear view of where their technicians are during the day, especially if their mobile app is informing them of where the technicians are in real-time.
Dispatchers can now check the routes a technician will take or see who is already in the area and re-route them to the emergency call. By having a full view of every technician on their team, they can begin to quickly reassign work orders, re-optimize the routes, and keep service moving, despite a small interruption.
Customers want that level of on-demand service and are beginning to expect it. By having software solutions for dispatchers to use as part of their dispatch management practices, dispatchers can become that on-demand service, without affecting other customers already scheduled.
Dispatch Management is Becoming Dependent on Data Management
How to get more from dispatch management is to give your dispatchers more data to work with. The more data and information they have, the better the decisions they can make. That includes using Business Intelligence systems to run reports on drive times by technician, first-time fix rates, and average service time per technician so that they can get a better understanding of who they are scheduling.
More information means more control. Real-time maps with GPS tracking, mobile apps linked to dispatch management software to show where the technician is in the work order, and AI tools will give dispatchers all the information they need to be as efficient as possible.
See what struggles dispatches are facing by reading our guide: The Shared Struggles of Field Service Dispatching. Contact us to see how Fieldpoint is solving dispatching problems with our field service software.