Optimizing your route dispatch and planning process can increase the efficiency, profitability, and overall growth of your field service business. An efficient and organized dispatch process reduces long wait times and delays and also allows you to respond to emergency service requests, propelling your business ahead of other competing field service providers.


The role of a dispatcher

The role of a dispatcher is to efficiently plan service appointments in the field. They form a bridge between the needs of the clients and the availability of the interveners in the field. An effective dispatcher can efficiently assign the right jobs to the right workers in the field. They rely on their in-depth understanding of their workers’ availability and capabilities, along with in-depth knowledge of travel routes and tools that can help field workers deliver accurate service on time.

Dispatching is the keystone of successful management of field services and therefore plays an essential role in improving the customer experience. While each industry has its own unique considerations for successful dispatch, ultimately it must build on these 8 best practices to foster excellence.

1. Effectively prioritize tasks

The factors that influence prioritization vary from company to company. In order for the dispatcher to effectively prioritize tasks, they must understand the scope of fieldworker responsibilities at a granular level. They need to know what the field workers are doing and also how they are doing it. Plus, better prioritization starts from the top down. It is important for management to understand the unique factors that impact their field service management processes so that the allocation methodology is best shaped.

2. Comcommunicate professionally

Dispatchers have a unique power to influence the experience of the worker as well as that of a customer. Therefore, it is important for the dispatcher to demonstrate clarity and professionalism in their interactions with the worker and the customer.

3. Promote teamwork

Dispatchers and field service agents are inherently dependent on each other for success. Therefore, investing time in understanding each other’s responsibilities helps improve communication and sharpen workflows.

4. Improve response time

Customers don’t like to wait for service. If the service is not fast and reliable, they will complain. If you want to improve the customer experience, you need to work on improving your response time. Improving response times can include logically scheduling tasks for your field workers, optimizing routes, and tracking local traffic and weather.

5. Collect data and analyze it

Data gives you valuable insight into your business. Collecting data such as the number of loyal customers, the miles driven on each vehicle, and the average time it takes to reach each workplace goes a long way in improving your on-site service business. This data also gives you insight into industry standards, how you are performing, and where you stand relative to other field service companies.

6. Route optimization

Routing is not as simple as bringing a technician from site A to site B. It is complex because driving from A to B is an expense. Routing should be done in a way that minimizes travel time, reduces travel times, and does not negatively impact results. Route optimization also allows technicians to take additional service calls.

7. Carry out a dispatch debriefing

Once the appointment has been fixed, it is important to carry out a dispatch briefing. This is an important step in making sure that the date is a success and if the next one needs to be scheduled. To ensure a high resolution rate the first time around, dispatchers should scan shipment history to see where they can improve.

8. Inventory management

Making sure your field technicians have the right tools and equipment to do their jobs is one of the biggest challenges for field service companies. If you want to manage inventory efficiently, you need an integrated system where everything from planning, route planning and inventory is updated automatically and in real time.

Improving the efficiency of your shipping doesn’t have to be difficult. Get started on the 8 best practices above, improve customer experience and increase profits. If the manual process of improving dispatch efficiency overwhelms you, remember that there are easier ways to do it. Trust the field service management technology and software that can help.

Akhil Rajan is Customer Success Specialist at Zuper, a smart workforce management platform for service-oriented businesses. Working with clients on a daily basis, he has a deep understanding of their needs and weaknesses and is therefore able to contribute to Zuper’s marketing strategies with the content he writes. He writes on topics such as how to increase workforce utilization, how to reduce service turnaround time and increase workforce efficiency, customer adoption, cost reduction strategies, etc. – to name a few. He is often found buried in books or playing chess in his spare time.

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