Whether a business focuses on multi-stage projects, recurring maintenance work, or service jobs, good scheduling practices can make or break business efficiency. A lot of trades businesses have multiple contractors and employees tending to projects in different locations. There must be standards in place amongst all staff to ensure the business is working as one unit, delivering the best customer service, making sure the right people and equipment arrive at the right place.
While there are a number of ways you can run scheduling processes, in today’s technology driven world, a service scheduling software is the best way to go.
Why Do Field Service Businesses Need Scheduling Software?
Scheduling software can help businesses improve processes and increase efficiency in a number of ways. One of the most important benefits of service scheduling software is reduced miscommunication between field and office staff. Through the automation of the scheduling and dispatching process, scheduling for field service becomes more organised and scheduling changes can be made in real time. With the addition of a field service app, schedule updates and changes can be communicated in a matter of seconds.
Increased billable hours
Not only does software decrease the opportunities for miscommunication, but also saves time as field staff no longer need to call into the office or vice versa to make project updates or complete any last minute changes. Manually creating employee or contractor schedules takes hours of time that could be spent on other, more pressing tasks. With automated scheduling, assigning staff to projects takes a mundane task down a more streamlined and efficient route. When the processes for creating schedules are automated, administrative and office staff have more time to devote to other operations.
Meet customer expectations
This leads to another benefit of employing service scheduling software - an increased level of customer satisfaction. When your field staff schedules are all housed in one place and easily accessible, it’s a walk in the park when you want to provide more accurate data to customers. Customers feel left in the dark when there is no clarity or there are frequent schedule changes. Appease field service customers by communicating job start times with more accuracy while increasing your credibility as a trusted service provider.
How Can Businesses Properly Schedule and Dispatch Using Software?
While scheduling software can help simplify and streamline the scheduling and dispatching process, strategic planning is needed to get the most out of the software provided.
- Plan your routes strategically. Create routes based on accessibility, availability, and most importantly, efficiency. Routes should be created to assign the best member of staff for the job in question. You can also be strategic by prioritising customers who are having an emergency or those who are on contract and therefore should be given scheduling priority. While it is important to consider location and routes, it is just as important to think about the types of customers and their priority.
- Assign a dedicated scheduler. Appoint a member of the office staff who can focus solely on scheduling. Or depending on your business size or industry, hire a company scheduler. With a designated scheduler on hand, you can help decrease scheduling errors and further ensure that your dispatching is efficient. Additionally, when a scheduler is using service scheduling software, that person can make better decisions because all of the information for a job or project is housed on one platform.
- Uncover issues in your processes. In order to properly use a scheduling program, you must get to the root of any mistakes that were made prior to implementing new software. Many of the issues in your scheduling and dispatching processes may be due to manual error, however, review current processes to see if issues stem from any other areas.
What Should Field Service Businesses Look for in a Scheduling Software Solution?
It’s important to find the best scheduling software for your business needs. Not every software solution on the market will work for your industry or for your specific workflow. In addition to finding the right features to best dispatch field service staff, look for these key components in your software solution:
* Compatibility with other systems. If you are looking to integrate an automated scheduling program with other software tools already in place, you will want to ensure that the connection is smooth and seamless. An alternative to integrating a separate scheduling piece into your processes is to employ an all-encompassing software solution that has dedicated scheduling functionality, allowing the scheduling and dispatching features to work together in a streamlined manner.
- Automated schedule notifications. One of the key benefits to scheduling software is the ability to receive schedule updates and changes as alerts or notifications. If the scheduling program provides multiple calendar views and features for assigning resources, but doesn’t automate the way those schedules are shared, you are missing out on a key piece of efficiency in your scheduling processes.
- Timesheet capability. Whether through a timesheet integration or built-in timesheet features, a good scheduling software should allow you to combine timesheet functionality with scheduling processes. You need to be able to review recorded time and scheduled jobs in the same database in order to make better scheduling decisions in the future.
These key components provide a fully functioning field service scheduling feature. However, this is just one piece of the overall operations management puzzle for field service businesses.
If you want to gain complete visibility into your business, ditch that field service scheduling spreadsheet on the office notice board:A comprehensive field service management tool is the answer. From job management and customer relationship management to asset maintenance and data input, software dedicated to optimise field service scheduling and dispatch will allow you to run your business with greater efficiency.