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4 min read

How AI Scheduling is Changing the Field Service Industry

How AI Scheduling is Changing the Field Service Industry

What is AI Scheduling in the field service industry?

AI scheduling is a key aspect of field service software that optimizes and automates technician schedules in real-time. In the field service industry, AI scheduling helps match the right technicians with the right jobs, ensuring that every service request is fulfilled in a timely manner regardless of last-minute changes to schedules or fluctuations in demand. 

How is AI Used in Scheduling?

AI is used to automate complex scheduling tasks that tend to be time-consuming and error-prone when done manually. For instance, a Field Service Organization (FSO) can use AI scheduling to identify the most qualified technicians that are geographically closest to a service job and the parts and inventory necessary to complete each job on the first try. 

Moreover, FSOs can input custom business-driven constraints for specific scheduling tasks, and the AI scheduling software leverages its proprietary algorithm to quickly find the optimal solution that best fits within these constraints. This allows for unique customization based on each company's differing needs, as well as any changes in the larger picture, such as the scheduling complications from traffic and weather conditions, or even ones that have arisen from the pandemic. 

However, the efficacy of AI scheduling is fully dependent on the quality of the underlying algorithm. That’s what makes ServicePower’s AI scheduling solution so powerful. ServicePower’s patented algorithm is the world’s first practical use of Quantum Annealing, capitalizing on the power and scalability of distributed computing models. This ensures that the AI behind each schedule is truly providing the most accurate optimizations. With high-quality and accurate AI scheduling, FSOs are able to maximize the numerous benefits of automation.

What are the benefits of automated scheduling?

As part of a company’s digital transformation, AI scheduling provides FSOs with the sought-after advantages of intelligent automation and data-driven decision-making. And with a multitude of unique challenges, FSOs stand to benefit greatly from automation. For instance, here are just a few of the complexities that FSOs are currently faced with: fluctuating demand for services, technician safety, the graying of the workforce, the growing need for remote service, and not to mention, the high expectations of modern customer service. Automated scheduling helps FSOs overcome each and every one of these complexities. While there are numerous benefits of using AI scheduling, let’s dive into the top four. 

Top 4 Benefits of Automated Scheduling

1. Increasing First-Time Fix Rates

First-time fix rates are a direct reflection of the quality of work that an FSO provides its customers. For example, an FSO boasts a high first-time fix rate when the majority of service jobs are resolved on the first try and a low first-time fix rate when technicians need multiple attempts to fix a problem. While improving first-time fix rates should be the main priority for every FSO, it can be quite a challenge without the help of an intelligent field service solution. AI scheduling makes it easy. 

Automated scheduling increases first-time fix rates by improving overall schedule quality. This includes making sure that the best fit technicians are scheduled for every job, with access to the information and parts they need to be successful on their first try. With detailed technician accounts, AI scheduling software can assign jobs based on experience, certifications, location, and more. By leveraging data-driven decision-making, there is no guesswork in selecting the right technician, and the most qualified technicians are empowered to do what they do best- troubleshoot, repair, and resolve service issues. 

2. Improving Customer Experiences

In order for an FSO to provide a positive customer experience, a customer needs to have their problem resolved quickly, all while feeling informed, respected, and empowered. AI scheduling helps make this a reality. 

Automated scheduling not only makes sure that the best technician is available to resolve a customer’s issue, but also that they arrive on time, exactly when a customer expects them. Moreover, when a customer is experiencing unplanned downtime on a critical device, the last thing they want is to have to wait for a technician to show up. By arriving on time, prepared, and capable of resolving the problem at hand, technicians can fix a customer’s issue on the first try, respect the customer’s time, inform the customer of the reasoning for the issue, and even empower the customer to prevent or troubleshoot the issue on their own in the future. This makes for a positive customer experience, which also helps improve customer retention

3. Enhancing Technician Experiences

While the customer experience is certainly important, FSOs must also pay attention to the experience they are providing for the technicians working for them (both contracted and employed). This means equipping technicians with the information, tools, and ability to perform their absolute best work without accidents on the job, health risks, or biased scheduling. 

High-quality AI scheduling software sets technicians up for success, regardless of their employment status. By scheduling the most knowledgeable technicians for each job, the risk of misusing equipment and getting injured is reduced. With specific zip code management, FSOs can also exercise control over the locations where technicians are scheduled. This helps technicians pick up local jobs, minimizing commutes and limiting exposure to COVID-19 hotspots. Lastly, AI scheduling software takes the bias out of scheduling by using data to select technicians, rather than interpersonal relationships. Technicians are core to the financial success of an FSO, which means their experiences need to be taken seriously. 

4. Optimizing Costs & Maximizing Profits

AI scheduling helps modernize field service workflows, simplifying traditionally complex tasks, reducing redundancies, optimizing resource allocation, pleasing customers and technicians, and ultimately maximizing profits. Scheduling has historically been a time-consuming process that did not guarantee successful results. Scheduling mistakes can be expensive, both in time and resources. 

Previously, a last-minute schedule change could result in the inability to resolve a service issue or even the complete loss of a service job. With AI scheduling, the algorithm simply reassigns the best technician for the job, updates the necessary parts and customer information, and makes sure the technician arrives on time ready to resolve the issue on the first try. Not to mention, AI scheduling empowers FSOs with full visibility into real-time reporting, so these KPIs and profits can be measured and optimized moving forward. 

Embracing AI Scheduling

AI scheduling is transforming the field service industry, and FSOs that embrace this change will be ready to reap the benefits. 

ServicePower’s AI scheduling software can set your FSO up for success. Explore how