For field service businesses, the right dispatch software and getting the most qualified technicians to the right job locations on time is vital to success. However, many Australian companies tend to manage this process manually, using antiquated systems like whiteboards, business calendars, and emails to coordinate their team. While manual scheduling may work for a small crew, it’s easy for details to get mixed up if you’re handling several projects at once. This increases the risk of late arrivals, project delays, and disgruntled clients.
Instead of relying on manual processes, field service businesses will benefit from utilising dispatch software. Dispatch software is a program used to create work schedules, assign technicians to appropriate jobs, and track their movements. The software is designed to streamline decision-making for dispatchers and helps on-site teams mobilise quickly. By implementing dispatch software, your businesses can reap the benefits of these six powerful features:
Smart scheduling helps dispatchers determine which field technicians should service a client at what time. It does this by automatically processing client service requests to identify appointment dates, job priority, and the skill sets required. Dispatch software then searches your company roster for technicians who fit the criteria based on certifications, prior work experience, and availability.
When the software has identified a qualified technician, dispatchers can simply drag and drop the job on that technician’s schedule. From there, dispatch software will notify the technician of a new assignment through an alert on their mobile device. The drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to adjust schedules when customers reschedule or technicians are suddenly unavailable.
Route planning and optimisation
Route planning features calculate distances between job locations so you can schedule your technicians’ appointments based on proximity. For instance, if a technician is finishing up a job in Parramatta, it makes sense for their next appointment to be within the Greater Western Sydney area. This way, technicians spend less time on the road and more time servicing multiple clients in a day.
What’s more, dispatch software integrates with navigation apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps to help technicians make their appointments on time. It considers factors such as real-time traffic data, weather conditions, and scheduled roadworks to suggest optimal routes that reduce travel time and fuel expenses.
Client communication and portals
Giving clients up-to-date information can go a long way in improving customer satisfaction. With dispatch software, you can link clients and contractors to a portal where they can track and communicate with field technicians. These portals can automatically send alerts and notifications about field technicians, including their photos, profiles, and the estimated time of arrival. The best dispatch software will even provide real-time location updates using GPS tracking so clients know exactly when technicians will arrive. Additionally, clients can communicate directly with technicians via instant messaging or phone call if there are service or scheduling issues they want to discuss.
Notes and checklists
Service delays usually stem from the fact that technicians aren’t fully prepared for the job they were assigned to. Some field technicians may not know the correct work procedures for particular tasks, which hinders productivity and leads to serious incidents. Other technicians may also forget to bring the necessary tools and equipment for a job, requiring them to make multiple trips between headquarters and the job site.
Dispatch software prevents these problems from occurring by enabling managers to provide comprehensive notes and checklists before technicians get to work. Notes can communicate real-time job information such as client-specific requirements to technicians. Meanwhile, pre-made checklists can remind technicians which tools to bring, how to inspect a job site, and what steps are required to finish a job. Work checklists can even be modelled after safe work method statements so your technicians understand and fulfil their moral and contractual obligations.
To accommodate field technicians who are constantly on the move, dispatch software is compatible with various mobile devices running major operating systems like iOS and Android. This allows dispatchers to send detailed instructions to on-site technicians. Also, since field technicians can receive on-the-go work orders, they no longer have to make frequent return trips to the dispatch desk to check for scheduling changes. All the information they need is in the palm of their hands, so they can complete more service calls in a day and generate more revenue for the business.
A centralised management dashboard gives you complete visibility over your day-to-day operations. It displays pending service requests, technician schedules, locations, travel times, and job progress updates. With all this information in one place, dispatchers can make smarter decisions about the team. For example, if you notice that high-performing technicians are being underutilised, you can dispatch them to areas with a larger concentration of service requests. The management dashboard can even reveal frequently requested services and market trends in certain locations that you can capitalise on.
Powerful dispatch software
Dispatch software is an indispensable solution for mobilising your workforce, improving customer service, and growing your field service business. WorkBuddy is a well-rounded job management system that combines powerful dispatching capabilities with job quoting, compliance, contractor/subcontractor management, and invoicing. If you need a solution to elevate your business, WorkBuddy is the number one choice. Contact us today to learn more.