Does my field service company need a dedicated office dispatcher?By My Service Depot on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Has your field service business reached the point where hiring a dedicated office dispatcher makes sense?
You’ve grown your field service company beyond just yourself, hiring some much-needed employees to work with you. With these extra hands, your business has reached the point where you have a steady stream of customers calling and scheduling service.
But a growing business comes with its own challenges. As your business grows, you juggle more and more moving parts. You work with more people, more schedules, and more customers. You can easily start to lose track of it all.
When you’ve got a growing list of customers and technicians, you need optimized schedules for maximum efficiency. Instead of handling things yourself, consider turning to a pro. Instead of another grizzled technician, make your next hire an experienced office dispatcher.
What can a dispatcher do for my business?
Field dispatchers work from your main office. Or, if you don’t have an office, they work remotely from home. Dispatchers perform three core, sanity-saving functions for field service businesses.
1. Customer Communication
Don’t ask your field crew to take the lead on communication with customers. They’ve got their hands full and can’t always answer the phone or reference critical customer info.
Instead, ask your office dispatcher to field all customer calls. This person should have professional communication skills and feel at ease talking on the phone all day. Dispatchers approach difficult people and situations with patience and a level head, helping you deescalate tricky calls and improve customer service.
2. Dispatching and Scheduling
Scheduling plays a critical role in your field service company. A dispatcher not only handles the logistics of scheduling, but goes one step further, assigning jobs by proximity and priority.
Let your dispatcher organize the intricacies of your team’s calendar. Office dispatchers will schedule customer service appointments and keep your technicians’ calendars full.
Get a lot of emergency calls for service? Let your dispatcher triage everything while your field crew focuses on simply doing a great job.
3. Managing Business Records
Dedicated office dispatchers help clean up your paper trail. They organize everything from customer files to work orders to billing, streamlining all the administrative aspects of your business. But, if you really want to get the most out of your dispatcher, give them a digital field service software package like Smart Service. This puts all of your business’ information at your dispatcher’s fingertips, helping them save you even more time and money.
The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Dispatcher
Dispatchers can become a valuable part of the team, but has your business reached the level where hiring one makes sense? Let’s break down the pros and cons of welcoming a dedicated office employee on your team.
- Talent and Specialized Experience – A professional dispatcher has talent and skills that develop over years of on-the-job experience. You’re good at certain tasks as a business owner, but you might not have dispatching expertise. Hire someone who’s already great at dispatching to grow your business faster.
- Improved Customer Service – Reduce the number of missed calls and late arrivals with a dispatcher. They run your business more efficiently, handling customer concerns while your field crew focuses on their work.
- Save Time – You just can’t do it all. Dispatchers take the pressure of scheduling and managing technicians off your plate. Focus on what you do best: being the boss.
- Hiring the Right Fit – Hiring can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield. If you have the resources to hire a dispatcher, you need to find the right fit. Your dispatcher should be friendly, experienced, and overflowing with patience. If you can’t find someone with those qualities, you’ll waste a lot of time and money.
- Cost – The biggest downside of hiring a full-time dispatcher? The cost. Can you afford the expense right now? It’s a chicken and egg scenario where you need help growing your business, but you might not earn enough to support another employee. It might help to look at things on a shorter-term basis here. It’s easy to think of hiring a new employee as a $40k+ expense, but you really only need to pay for a few months of work first. At that point, you’ll either discover that the new hire pays for themselves, or you can cut bait with a minimal sunk cost.
So, what are you supposed to do?
If money’s tight, consider a virtual service like Nexa for right now. A virtual assistant can pick up some of the slack until you’re able to hire a full-time dispatcher. Keep in mind that contractors won’t have the expertise of a full-time dispatcher, but they can help you buy time until you can bring a full-timer on board.
Do what’s right for your business.
If you can afford it, hiring a dispatcher is an important milestone in the growth of your business. It’s the critical first step for building an efficient, professional company. Arm your dispatcher with the right software tools to get even more easy wins for your business.