Scheduling is a complex exercise due to the dynamic nature of field service operations. The multiple variables involved in the mix compound the challenge. Such complexity means service managers who rely on manual methods and spreadsheets make mistakes.

The field service scheduling software streamlines the process. It ensures optimal use of resources, including the technician’s time. This blog will take you through the ways in which service scheduling software unlocks the efficiency and productivity of a service technician.

Why do service technicians need service scheduling software?

When a new work order arrives, the manager uses the field service scheduling software to identify the technicians available. They use the tools offered by the software to assign the work order to the most suitable available technician. 

The service scheduling software gives schedulers unified views of work in progress and open work orders. Dispatch managers can shortlist the available technicians to take up open work orders. The software helps them identify:

  • Tasks already assigned to any technician and when he will be free to take up the next assignment. Service managers can use the insights to leave a gap between two job assignments. 
  • Technicians with the skill set, certifications, or experience to undertake specific jobs.
  • The location of the work. Grouping jobs by location minimizes travel time.
  • The work timings. The software offers dispatch managers insights into technicians’ off days and leaves. 

Top advantages of field service scheduling software

When service businesses use field service scheduling software, they get many benefits. These benefits improve technician productivity and improve enterprise efficiency. These benefits enable the business to recoup the investment fast.

1. Less time and energy waste

Scheduling has a direct impact on service technician productivity. Often, manual scheduling results in erratic workloads and uncertainties. 

The field service scheduling software distributes work evenly. Work allocation to service technicians becomes smooth and friction-free. The order and predictability of work schedules reduce work-related stress. Technicians can do their work without rush. 

Another big-time waster is traveling to the client’s premises. The time that service technicians spend on the road, traveling to client premises, impacts productivity. If they spend a long time to reach the client’s destination, or if they have to backtrack, they have less time to work during their shift. 

Service scheduling software integrates with maps to streamline dispatching. The app guides the technician to the customer’s premises using the best routes. The best routes need not always be the shortest when considering traffic and road conditions. Also, schedulers can make work assignments so the technician can proceed from one job to the next without backtracking. 

Reaching the client’s destination fast also conserves the energy of the service technicians. They face reduced stress and can focus on the job well without distractions.

2. More flexibility

Many service businesses have rigid systems where the service technicians cannot change the work order. The situation at the client premises may differ from the work order specifications. The client may require extra work, or the work order specifications may differ from the ground realities. Also, today’s business environment is dynamic. The work requirements may change between generating the work order and the technician reaching the work site.

Field service scheduling software ensures flexibility to cater to such uncertainties. It enables:

  • Service technicians to amend the work order on-site.  
  • Dispatch managers to prioritize jobs. The dispatch managers can attend to premium, high-paying, or regular clients on priority. They can also divert the nearest qualified service technician to attend an emergency job. 

3. Easy access to information

Service technicians often struggle to gather all the information needed to do their jobs well. Lack of information forces them to waste time seeking clarifications. They often work on their hunch, leading to mismatched expectations with the client.

Field service management software integrates all relevant information in one place. Field service mobile apps offer all relevant information in an integrated console. The app allows service technicians to access:

  • Work orders, customer contact details, and service history.
  • Instruction manuals, product handbooks, and other resources related to the work.
  • List of pending tasks and upcoming schedules.

Service technicians do not have to waste time searching for information or seeking clarification. All information becomes available at their fingertips.

4. Streamlined collaboration

A big challenge facing field service is the lack of reliable real-time communication between the field agents and the office. WhatsApp and other generic chat applications are unreliable and difficult to trace. Such options soon get messy when there are multiple technicians in the field. Often, important messages get skipped. Delays in communications waste precious minutes of the field agent.

Service scheduling software app improves on-site communication and collaboration. Service technicians may use the field service app to:

  • Communicate with the office. The service manager can keep the technician updated on any last-minute changes. The technician can get instant clarifications and confirmations to proceed with any changes. 
  • Receive notifications about changes to the work schedule to remain updated on the go.
  • Download forms and checklists to streamline workflows. Service technicians may download customizable or ready-made forms and checklists and work accordingly.
  • Connect with remote experts if they face any obstacle or challenge during their work.

5. Reduced paperwork

Paperwork is a productivity drainer. The time technicians spend filing reports and other paperwork comes with the opportunity cost of servicing an extra client or two. Also, they file reports at the end of the shift, meaning the supervisor and customer cannot access real-time status updates. Technicians refer to their field notes when preparing the report. Manual information transfer increases the chances of errors or some important information falling off the cracks.

Field service management software eliminates such paperwork to improve process efficiency and accuracy. Field technicians may use their app to 

  • Capture electronic data, including images, and auto-generate reports using such data. 
  • Dispatch reports to the office at regular intervals, offering near-real-time updates. 
  • Auto-generate invoices on work completion and collect the payment from the customer.

6. Effective performance management 

The success of field service operations depends on timely task completion. Any delays or inefficiencies lead to cost escalation and wastage, which makes the service unviable. Since field service operations take place at remote locations, performance tracking becomes difficult.

Business managers can use service scheduling software to track the performance of field agents. They can use the software to:

  • Track the service technicians’ GPS to see if they are keeping up with the daily schedule. They can follow up if there is any lag in setting up issues in real time. 
  • Track technicians’ time to complete tasks to assess their productivity and punctuality. Such data-driven insights can become the basis for providing training interventions. 

How ReachOut helps

Good field service scheduling software such as ReachOut gives a fillip to field service processes. ReachOut streamlines processes unlocks efficiency, and ensures technicians work at their best productivity. 

ReachOut service scheduling software allows fixing appointments and dispatching of technicians with ease. Intuitive features such as calendar-based views and drag-and-drop interfaces make scheduling easy. Advanced options, such as the ability to subdivide tasks among team members, allow managers to enforce a greater degree of control. 

Service managers can track the status of appointments and new jobs at any time and take instant action to ensure timely work completion. They can communicate with service technicians through the companion mobile app and get things done without any delay. The suite offers several custom forms for any occasion, or the service provider can upload their custom stylized forms. The ability to generate and send reports and invoices improves productivity big time.

ReachOut’s comprehensive set of features enables smooth end-to-end execution of work orders. Optimized processes cut down on repetitive tasks. User-friendly interfaces make processes friction-free. Robust back-end and seamless integrations with third-party tools ensure optimal productivity.

Scheduling and dispatching are often chaotic. Optimizing technician schedules and improving their productivity reduces operational costs. It also results in a better quality of work, reducing the turnover of skilled technicians. Service businesses can reduce their hiring costs and manage the skill shortage plaguing most service businesses.

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Digitize your field service operations from scheduling to invoicing with ReachOut. Connect your technicians with the companion mobile app to execute jobs and reduce paperwork in the field. Try ReachOut now and give your customers the fast and quality service they deserve.

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