Dispatching is the procedure of assigning contractors or employees to fulfill services for a customer. In the field services industry, customers schedule services in advance and a field technician is dispatched to the appointment based on their skills, coverage, availability, and location.
Dispatch Software Definition
Dispatch software is a digital application that automatically assigns jobs to field service technicians. The software selects technicians based on eligibility criteria, customized rules and rankings, and scheduling logic. The best dispatch software can assign jobs to various workforce types, such as third-party, employed, or blended workforces.
ServiceDispatch intelligently schedules and dispatches to third-party, employed, and blended workforces. With criteria-based scheduling, the software can directly assign jobs to field technicians based on a standardized process and a variety of criteria, such as:
- Eligibility: skills, coverage, etc.
- Rules: preferred suppliers, partnerships, etc.
- Ranking: contractor costs, reject rates, etc.
- Scheduling Logic: availability, locations, etc.
This custom logic dynamically adjusts service job workloads dispatched to field service technicians to meet fluctuating demands. It also enables field service providers to meet unique, or changing business requirements.
For instance, field service managers can ensure heightened safety around the COVID-19 outbreak to protect field technicians and customers alike. By employing mobility rules, they can control which zip codes their technicians are dispatched to based on locality, or outbreak hotspots. This enables technicians to minimize their exposure by staying local and prevent heightened risk from entering known outbreak zones.
Effective dispatch management requires access to real-time data and the ability to adjust services accordingly. With ServiceDispatch, field service managers can access contractor availability and field status updates on in-progress jobs all in real-time.
By improving visibility into job progress, and automating reporting, end-to-end service workflows are simplified. Automating tedious tasks not only reduces the chance of errors, but it also allows field service managers to get out of the weeds and spend their time focusing on the bigger picture.
In this modern age, accessing data is essential to effective business strategies. ServiceDispatch has comprehensive analytics with visualizations and reporting across the blended workforce, allowing managers to conduct and present powerful data-driven analyses. With access to easy, real-time dashboards and visualizations, managers can present their findings and demonstrate exactly how effective their strategies have been without ever leaving the platform.
As the workforce is “graying” and the labor pool is decreasing, it is becoming more and more difficult to access the number of technicians necessary to remain successful in the field services. Expanding service capacity with contractors and freelance technicians is an essential part of meeting changing demand in the field services while staying ahead of the service technician shortage.
With intelligent integration of third-party service contractors, field service managers have access to a larger pool of qualified, ready-to-work technicians. This guarantees the expansion of a service provider network, both quickly and at a lower cost than hiring permanent technicians.
Contractor search makes finding the best fit a quick and easy process, with the ability to create custom, predetermined performance criteria. This means access to additional technicians at the exact moment they are required, with an efficient process to search and find the best technician for the specific job. With access to a wider range of skills, finding the most qualified and geographically relevant technician is easy, and ensures each job is completed to the high-quality standards that customers expect.
Dispatch Software Benefits
Dispatch software provides invaluable insights and facilitates data-driven decisions that set field service organizations up to succeed. Here are just a few of the main dispatch software benefits:
- Optimize Scheduling
Dispatch software optimizes scheduling, saving field service organizations both time and money. With a digital scheduling system, assigning jobs and creating schedules becomes a streamlined, simple process. Access to accurate and real-time information also ensures that every scheduling decision is backed by data. By stacking and prioritizing rules, managers can quickly see what is important, with easy to use drag and drop controls and color coding. When changes inevitably do occur, real-time adjustments can be made to ensure the best outcome possible.
With ServicePower’s software, a leading global appliance company was able to save $1M YoY with scheduling optimization, and reduced technician travel time by 15%.
Intelligent scheduling can reduce errors, improve efficiency, and lead to better savings. By ensuring that the best technician is scheduled for each job, providing visibility into real-time location and communication, wasted time and scheduling errors are a thing of the past.
- Improve First-Time Fix Rates
A first-time fix rate illustrates how frequently a technician is able to resolve a customer’s issue during the initial appointment. First-time fix rates are a key KPI for field service organizations, as they indicate the success of a service. Improving first-time fix rates is essential to providing quality service, optimizing costs, and delivering positive customer experiences.
Dispatch software ensures that the most qualified technician is dispatched for each service job, contributing to an increase in first-time fix rates. With real-time access to parts and inventory, each technician is able to make informed decisions and show up to the appointment with the appropriate equipment to fix the issue on the first try. This not only leads to an improvement in first-time fix rates, but also an increase in technician productivity, and a decrease in time on site.
For instance, a leading global insurance organization experienced a 40% increase in first-time fix rates and a 20% decrease in time on site after implementing ServicePower’s Integrated Dispatch, Claims and Customer Portal.
- Increase Technician Productivity
High technician productivity is critical to developing and maintaining a competitive advantage in the field services industry. With numerous technicians being dispatched to service customers, the time spent on each appointment adds up. Wasted time on-site is expensive, and customers are not satisfied when an appointment takes longer than expected.
By relying on data for dispatching the most qualified technicians, and allowing for open communication between technicians and customers, dispatch software takes the guessing out of the job and decreases the chance of error. Skilled technicians arrive on-site informed and ready to go, eliminating time wasted on redundancy and mistakes such as bringing the wrong equipment for the specific issue. This increases technician productivity and delights customers with high-quality, fast service.
With ServicePower’s software, UK-based Castelan Group experienced a 25% increase in technician effectiveness, a 15% increase in first-time fix rates, and reductions in cost per repair.
- Improve Customer Experience
Improving the customer experience should be the main priority for field service organizations in the modern business landscape. Customer experience is critical to sustaining the growth of a company by helping to retain revenue and earn new customers. For instance, with a positive experience, customers are six times more likely to buy, twelve times more likely to recommend the company, and five times more likely to forgive a mistake.
Dispatch software improves the customer experience by providing the highest-quality service possible. With clear communication, timely technicians, quick service, and the ability to solve the customer’s problem on the first try, customers are more likely to leave the service experience feeling satisfied. Customers expect a friction-less, easy experience, and dispatch software helps field service organizations provide that for each and every customer.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key metric for measuring customer experience, with an increase in NPS demonstrating an increase in satisfaction with the customer experience.
After implementing ServicePower’s Dispatch, Claims and Managed Services, LG Electronics USA experienced a 27% increase in NPS.
There are numerous benefits to leveraging dispatch software, and ServiceDispatch is the only field service software that can dispatch to a contracted, employed or blended workforce.
Want to learn how field service dispatch software can transform your business to drive customer satisfaction and profits?
Dispatching to a Blended Workforce
What is a blended workforce?
A blended workforce is a type of labor pool that is composed of employees on different contracts, such as full-time, part-time, contractors, and freelancers. By leveraging contractors when the workload exceeds the capacity of the full-time employees, companies are able to more readily meet the changing demand in their industries.
Benefits of a Blended Workforce
- The ability to augment service provider networks quickly and at a lower cost than hiring permanent employees
- Increasing geographical range of service network otherwise not possible
- Expansion of services provided to customers due to the new range of skills and the broadened knowledge base of contractors
- Increasing service flexibility and efficiency across a broader network
- Faster time to market utilizing when contractors with an existing field service experience
There are numerous benefits to employing a blended workforce because contractors and employees both bring unique advantages to the table. However, there is often confusion about the exact difference between a contractor and an employee.
Contractor vs. Employee
Contractors and employees may perform the same work and receive the same pay, but there is a significant legal difference between the two. For an employee, the company is responsible for withholding income tax, Social Security, and Medicare from the wages paid. For a contractor, the company is not responsible for withholding taxes. In addition, employment and labor laws do not cover independent contractors.
The Role of Field Service Technicians
What is a field service technician?
A field service technician can be an employee or an independent contractor and is responsible for helping clients install, repair, and maintain service equipment. When equipment malfunctions, a field technician is dispatched to troubleshoot the problem in a timely manner and maintain positive customer relationships.
Field Service Technician Responsibilities:
- Providing service and customer support during dispatches
- Managing all on-site installation, repair, and maintenance
- Diagnosing errors and technical issues and determining the best solution
- Producing timely and detailed service reports
- Operating vehicle safely and following all company protocols
- Cooperating with a team and sharing information across an organization
- Building and maintaining positive relationships with clients
Mobility is an important aspect in maintaining the daily operations of a field technician, as they must physically move to different locations in order to complete service jobs and retrieve service equipment from various warehouses. Due to the transportation requirements, remote and mobile access to information is critical to job success.
Empowering technicians with mobile access to data allows them to assess the service situation as a whole and is what sets exceptional services apart from outdated, manual services. ServicePower’s integrated mobility app optimizes operational efficiency, streamlines technician communication, increases technician productivity, and improves the customer experience. Field service managers can rest assured that the most qualified technicians will be dispatched, with access to real-time work order and scheduling, map and location services, and parts and inventory management.
Mobility App Capabilities include:
- Work Order and Scheduling Management: end-to-end work order management, dynamic schedule of workload and activities, rules-based data collection forms, provide estimates and invoice creation
- Parts and Inventory Management: inventory search, usage, Reuters and ordering history, parts catalog, inventory and pricing information, manage inventory parts orders, locate parts and adjust inventory
- Mapping and Location Service: real-time traffic and ETA updates, job status and GPS location notifications, customizable triggers and alerts
- Customer Engagement: on-site promotional offers and signature capture, in-field payment processing with customer invoices, customizable surveys
Accessing information on the go is no longer optional in the modern business world, it is necessary to provide customers with the quality of service they expect and deserve. This holds true across numerous industries, as communicating and dispatching to remote technicians is common in many fields.
Dispatch Service Industries
ServiceDispatch is designed to intelligently serve numerous industries, with custom features that enable each organization to define and adjust their needs accordingly. ServiceDispatch has the capability to provide tangible value for organizations that need to dispatch to a contracted, employed or blended workforce across numerous industries.
Every industry has its own challenges, and ServicePower delivers customized solutions that continually provide excellent service experiences to retain customers starting from installation and delivery, to maintenance and equipment repair.
Here are a few of the industries that ServicePower expertly serves:
ServicePower automates and innovates the contractor management process across manufacturing, appliance OEMs, and home appliance services. This includes improving the customer experience, increasing first-time fix rate, and improving operations and service profitability. Learn more about ServicePower’s industry-specific home appliance and manufacturing solutions.
ServicePower streamlines the warranty claim processes and greatly improves the customer experience. With the ability to leverage over 4,000 active third-party service providers, home warranty service work is possible regardless of fluctuations in service demand, without sacrificing service quality. Learn more about ServicePower’s industry-specific home warranty solutions.
Customer retention is paramount in the insurance industry. With ServicePower, insurers can reduce the time on site, better enable adjusters and automate the claims process to increase policyholder satisfaction and improve the bottom line. Learn more about ServicePower’s industry-specific insurance solution.
When security companies dispatch field service technicians to a job site, it is necessary to ensure that they have the right information and the tools to accomplish the task successfully. ServicePower helps improve SLA compliance and optimize costs while delivering an exceptional customer service experience. Learn more about ServicePower’s industry-specific Security Systems solution.