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:

  • Overlooking to assign field agents to some work orders
  • Not considering a field agent nearer to the work site and assigning a job to a distant agent.
  • Accessing an older version of the spreadsheet. The assigned work crew may already have another task leading to clashes in scheduling.
  • Send an underqualified technician for a complex task.
  • Assign field agents outside working hours or who are on leave.

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.

Read more: Tips To Make Your Field Service Business Competitive With A Job Scheduling Software

Here are the ways a job schedule and dispatch software preempts such situations.

1. Automate the job scheduling process

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:

  • Offers complete visibility into customer information and service history. The scheduling software integrates with CRM and other enterprise software. Data flows seamlessly, and information gets updated in all enterprise databases in real time.
  • Keeps track of the jobs assigned to the crew and schedules appointments based on availability. The algorithm considers working hours, holidays, and upcoming leaves. The same considerations apply when reassigning jobs. Job reassignments are an everyday part of the process. Some customers cancel or seek rescheduling of their service requests, or agents may call in sick.
  • Identifies the skill requirement for the job and assigns jobs only to field crews who match the conditions. The job scheduling software refers to the skills database that lists the field agent’s certifications.
  • Integrates with the inventory software. The job scheduling software scans the work order to identify the needed spares. The job assignment to a field agent takes place after confirming the availability of spares in inventory.

2. Enables Improvisation

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:

  • Speeds up approvals
  • Automates downstream changes in scheduling
  • Issues timely notifications to all stakeholders regarding the changes.

With such flexibility, first-time fix rates improve, boosting enterprise efficiency in a big way.

3. Keeps track of the schedules

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:

  • Field agents get complete information on the customer. They get job location, service history, and related information at their fingertips. They may, for instance, access the knowledge repository through the field service app for the instruction manual.
  • Directions to reach the work site through the best route. The field service app integrates maps to identify the best routes, factoring in live traffic conditions.
  • Track the field agent movement. Supervisors may keep track of the location of the field crews in real-time and intervene to set right any lag. Customer support agents may inform the waiting customer of any delays. Or the customer’s app may have a tracking feature, allowing them to track their field crew in an Uber-like way.

Read more: Accelerate Business Productivity with Scheduling & Dispatching Software!

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.

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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Aarathy is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at ReachOut Suite. She is majorly into content marketing and focuses on getting the messaging right across a host of marketing collaterals. While not working on content, you can find her juggling SEO, social media, branding and more. She enjoys exploring new frontiers in digital marketing and the associated challenges keep her going.

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