The job of a dispatcher is stressful. They have to ensure the right field agent reaches the right job site, at the right time, with the right set of tools. But scheduling is not as simple as assigning the next crew in line for the next job. Scheduling jobs is a challenging and dynamic activity.
Many companies still use spreadsheets and whiteboards to schedule field crews. Scheduling through such means leads to errors. The common errors include:
Even when schedulers get the job assignment right, the situation can change, forcing a rework. The customer may call in and request a postponement. An assigned technician may call in sick. Such reassignments impact not only the job in question but also other jobs assigned to the work crew. The scheduler has to scramble to pull in replacements, forcing changes to the entire schedule for the day or even the week. A job remaining unassigned for long owing to the oversight of the scheduler is a sure-shot way of customer dissatisfaction.
Here are the ways a job schedule and dispatch software preempts such situations.
Job scheduling software automates scheduling tasks.
In a manual system, the call center agent key in customer information and complaint details. They go by the customer’s words and do not know the state of the equipment. The agent does not have visibility into the service history, parts needed for the repair, or even the correct location of the worksite. The scheduler often makes scheduling based on such incomplete information.
The scheduler always has access to documents that give information on service history. But in a manual setup, retrieving such documents is difficult. More so, when customers keep on calling and work pressure to assign technician mounts.
Likewise, the scheduler remains opaque about the field crew. They may not always remember the jobs already assigned to a field crew. Referring to the whiteboard or spreadsheet is extra work, which causes further stress to the harried schedulers. The schedulers may not have an updated spreadsheet or whiteboard either. Also, there is no easy way to check the qualifications or experience of the work crew. The schedulers often go by ad hoc notes or make guesses.
An automated job scheduling software:
Often, the customer gives incomplete details when raising a service or repair request. The field agent may confront extra work over the work order specifications. The field agent may have limited leeway in a manual setup to take the initiative and do the extra work needed. He may have pending jobs, and any delay at one suite would hold up all the other positions. Contacting the supervisor by telephone and getting authorizations becomes a time-consuming process. Also, the scheduler may not arrange substitutes for the field agents’ other pending jobs at short notice.
Flexible job schedules and dispatch software allow the field agent to change the work order. Field agents may also create and accept new work orders to reflect the actual situation on the ground. The job schedule and dispatch software:
With such flexibility, first-time fix rates improve, boosting enterprise efficiency in a big way.
Scheduling jobs is only a small part of the overall job. Success depends on effective end-to-end follow-up.
With manual scheduling, it is not uncommon for work crews to forget about the assignment and miss the appointment. Or the scheduler may miss informing the customer, and the work crew may find the door locked or the customer unprepared to welcome the field agent. Job scheduling software alerts field agents, customers, and other stakeholders.
Job scheduling software makes it easy to keep track of schedules and streamline operations. The mobility component of the field service app enables:
The Mobile field service app offers a neat UX that clarifies each work order’s status and visibility into the field agent’s progress. They may assign the next job to the field agent regarding the status of pending jobs, pre-empting scheduling clashes, or delays.
The success of field service depends heavily on streamlined scheduling. Investing in ReachOut Suite job scheduling software adds value and speeds up the process. ReachOut offers complete visibility, seamless integrations with other enterprise databases, and robust security. Enterprises can deliver superior quality field service and reap a competitive advantage. Connect with us today to learn more about how ReachOut Suite can digitize your field service business.