The Case for Better Field Service Dispatch ManagementBy My Service Depot on Monday, January 11, 2021
In the field service industry, technicians often need to think fast and make changes to a job's details.
The field service industry truly lives and dies by its namesake: providing services out in the field. The need to travel to so many different locations on a daily basis can change the priorities of a company drastically compared to other industries. With the physical remove between those in the office and those in the field, the field service industry has a very unique set of challenges to overcome. Other industries can provide their services in-house or from a distance, but the field service industry requires flexibility at an unmatched level in regards to where and when a service gets provided. With most of the industry’s work taking place out in the field, the means to manage customers and jobs from anywhere becomes that much more important for daily operations.
The Challenges of Field Work
Working out in the field comes with its own unique set of complications and challenges. A technician may often find themself in a position where a job needs adjusted or rescheduled while working in the field. The reason for this can vary greatly, from not having a part needed to complete the work, to not having proper access to the job site, to needing more time to complete a particularly challenging job.
With these needed adjustments comes a call to the office to make the required administrative or billing changes. Often, the technician serves as a middleman between the company and the customer. This can frequently make for a long and drawn-out process, especially on busy days when you need to get in touch with a representative quickly. These long hold times, coupled with a halt in the technician’s work, can lead to an unhappy customer. A technician with the ability to make minor changes or reschedule appointments out in the field will save the customer, the technician, and the office a good deal of time and effort.
Better Field Service Dispatch Management
Many companies have come up with their own ways to address this problem, but none truly resolve every facet of the issue at hand. A solid line of communication between the field and the office can help. Not only does this reduce the wait time (should the office need contacted), but it can also provide technicians with a better understanding of the process, should the customer have questions. However, even a dedicated line of communication can still get bogged down as spikes in the volume of requested changes occur.
An alternative option involves providing technicians paper templates to fill out for various requests. This can include templates for part requests, rescheduling, and additional billable hours for a long job. With proper notation, these templates save a great deal of time and effort out in the field, preventing delays due to hold times and other similar issues.
None of these changes or requests can get processed until the technician returns to the office with those forms, though. While templates can save time out in the field, customers may end up waiting even longer to receive a response, once again resulting in potential dissatisfaction.
A less common solution involves providing the technicians with access to their own schedule for the upcoming days, allowing them to make tentative appointments based on their own availability. Of course, if a solid line of communication isn’t established between the field and the office, this solution can often result in more problems than it solves. The office and field staff may end up competing to fill the same time slots, resulting in double-booking. Without a truly inclusive solution, issues will get solved in one area, only to reveal new issues elsewhere.
Using Field Service Dispatch Management Software
This is where Smart Service can help! Smart Service is a scheduling application accessible through any mobile device or desktop. Scheduling, invoicing, quoting, and more are always at the user’s fingertips when using Smart Service. Any technician with the proper permissions can pull up the application and make changes to a customer’s job while still on-site. Not only that, but technicians can review the job description and account notes in real time, at the touch of a button. No more hold times while waiting for the office to make changes. No more delayed responses that make the customer feel forgotten or unvalued. Providing all the convenience of scheduling software from both the office and the field, Smart Service is the inclusive solution many companies in the field service industry desperately need!