As customer expectations continue to evolve, so too must the systems in which field service organizations deliver their service. As more customers sign service level agreements and preventative maintenance contracts, it is imperative technicians are meeting their responsibilities. The value of on-time service delivery with a high first-time fix rate can be measured in return customers, more contracts and higher revenues.
More pressure is being placed on dispatchers to ensure technicians are arriving on time and with all the information they need. They also need to schedule in a way that allows for more service calls to be completed each day by each technician. And they must limit the number of miles they drive, and idle times technicians have. It’s a classic juggling act that is made difficult with manual processes, such as spreadsheets and whiteboards in the office.
It also can attribute to the evolution of scheduling and dispatch software, field service mobile apps, and resource routing tools. These systems are giving dispatchers and technicians more flexibility to get jobs completed. They are also making scheduling and dispatching fast, simple and optimized. But still, some field service organizations don’t deploy field service management software with these tools. They are maintaining their normal, manual way of doing things. And it’s drastically affecting their business, especially when competition in the field service industry is growing and others are using these tools to their advantage.
Let’s look at some pros and cons of using a field service scheduling software to dispatch your team of technicians.
Con: Technicians Don’t Arrive On Time
It can be one of the worst things a service company can do – making a customer wait. There are plenty of reasons why a technician could be late to a job, such as traffic, other calls running long, or a technician being slow, but customers only care that they were late. And that can lead to a lost customer quickly. Technicians not arriving on time is one of the reasons customers move to another company. And with manual processes, dispatchers can’t take traffic conditions into consideration, monitor technician movements or status changes. On-the-fly changes can’t happen as easily as it would with field service scheduling software, as whiteboards must be altered, multiple technicians need to change schedules and be contacted.
Pro: Increase Customer Satisfaction
A happy customer is a repeat customer, and a repeat customer generates more revenue. So, making your customers happy with prompt service is one of the largest reasons for using field service scheduling software. Customers are expecting their technicians to show up when they need to be there. And it’s even more important if you have a preventative maintenance contract with designated dates and times. Missing one of those appointments can break a contract. And customers have plenty of options and can look elsewhere. With field service management software, contracts generate work orders automatically, ensuring nothing is missed. Dispatchers can schedule technicians, get them to the site on-time, and ensure customers are always satisfied with the service they are paying for.
Con: Technicians Can’t Find A Solution
Just getting a technician to a job site is one battle. Finding a solution to the problem is another. Customers don’t want to have their technicians return for another visit, and it is why first-time fix rates are being tracked more often now. The two main reasons why technicians can’t find a solution the first time are that the wrong technician was sent, or the technician was sent without proper parts. Jobs requiring a specific skill set or certification require technicians with those skills. With field service scheduling software, a skillset search will reveal the technicians with the skills and certification to complete the job. This ensures the right technician is sent, with the right skillset, avoiding the conversation with customers that they don’t know how to find a solution, and someone else will need to be dispatched. With field service scheduling software, parts can also be added automatically, and with field service mobile apps, technicians can see all the parts they need, before hitting the road for the day.
Pro: Improve Response Time
When emergency calls happen, you want to be the company that has the reputation of being there at a moment’s notice. With field service scheduling software, you can be that go-to company. With resource routing tools, dispatchers can locate the nearest technician to the call just by looking at their map. They can then make changes to that technician’s schedule, alter other technicians to accommodate and get someone on-site. That’s the power of field service scheduling software, as all that information and options to accommodate an emergency call are at their fingertips. With improved response time, you’ll win more contracts, generate more revenue and make your customers happier with prompt service.
Con: Long Wait Times
A large complaint of customers is having to wait for service. We’re talking weeks before someone can get on-site and look at their problem. It might not be a problem in some situations, but with increased competition in the field service industry, customers can always find another option. And if you have them under contract, they are expecting to be on top of the list of service calls to handle. Without scheduling software, you’re stuck with the time slots you have. It can be challenging to move calls, find open space or add it onto a technician’s already busy schedule. With a field service management software, however, dispatchers are finding ways to add new service calls. By rearranging appointments, they can find the idle time and put it to good use. As well, with resource routing tools, they can optimize a schedule to get technicians to their jobs faster, turn driving and idle time into more wrench time.
Pro: Increase Revenue
The bottom line for using a field service scheduling software is the bottom line. Field service organizations are always looking for ways to increase revenue, and field service management software is becoming that way. With on-time service with the right technician on-site, customers will be happy with what they are paying for and continue to return. You can reduce the loss of time you technicians experience through driving and idling and replace it with an optimized schedule that will keep them off the road and at a job more often.
Field service scheduling software is helping to redefine first-time fix rates, is reducing costs in fleet maintenance and allowing field service organizations to take on more calls. All of these combined means more revenue opportunities to capitalize on, and potential growth from the business.