What Is Dispatch Management for Home Service Businesses?

adminOctober 29th, 2018

Your schedules and routes are set. You’re ready to get your trucks rolling and keep them moving, one service call to the next. You’ve matched your best-qualified technicians to the vehicles, equipment, and maybe even other contractors they’ll need to be able to meet your customers’ expectations upon arrival.

And then the unexpected happens.

As a dispatcher at a home service company, you’re always one emergency or sick call away from having it all break apart into a mad scramble of people, parts, places, and apologies—unless you have an effective dispatch management solution in place for your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical company.

What Is Dispatch Management?

Dispatch management is a centralized, logistical process that allows businesses coordinate what needs to happen out in the field within a given timeframe. New, innovative software and mobile apps have the ability to not only to create schedules designed for efficiency but also to reassign, adjust, or shift priorities as conditions change.

In short, dispatch management can repeatedly:

  • Crunch an entire white board’s worth of scheduling details
  • Reconfigure and re-create detailed schedules of equal or superior efficiency
  • Integrate them with other systems
  • Alert everyone to the new plans
  • Employ assets efficiently so that businesses will be able to do more with what they have—at least 30 percent more.

Overcoming the Pitfalls of Traditional Dispatch Management

Every dispatcher feels the pressures of information overload and responsibility. They’re caught between customer expectations, their field technicians’ human limitations, and their company’s interests. Few service calls go the way you hope they will, yet the scenarios repeat:

  • Parts prove difficult to locate.
  • Equipment doesn’t fit through or into the space available.
  • Customers are delayed or miss pre-visit alerts entirely.
  • Repair areas are inaccessible—buried in debris or obstructed by trees and landscaping.
  • Problems fail to present, leaving a technician struggling to diagnose the issue.
  • Loose pets, unsupervised children, or interfering owners slow down the job.
  • A company vehicle falls victim to a roofing nail at a client’s home.

As stress levels increase, so does the margin of error—up to $200 billion worth of error, injury, turnover, lost productivity, and other issues per year in the U.S.

In the meantime, dispatchers are responsible for coordinating a myriad of details for numerous field technicians and their customer rosters. Plus, all of those details typically dovetail into other systems like work orders and billing, inventory and ordering, asset management, future scheduling, informational databases, and geolocational mapping, for example.

As each element of the home service business becomes more complex and tech-oriented, you need a responsive solution that holds it all together, ensuring that everything and everyone works together seamlessly. That’s what dispatch management software is all about.

How Mobile Dispatch Management Software Solutions Save Time and Money

The internet of things and smartphones have removed the barriers of distance, isolation, and time. Face-to-face video calls, messaging systems, and on-demand access to databases allow for real-time connectivity. This connectivity has changed the way we communicate in our everyday lives, but it’s also changed the way professionals in almost every industry do business—including the home services.

For example, a dispatcher no longer has to guess what's happening because dispatch management software constantly tracks critical service call elements. It then uses that data to suggest adjustments that will optimize the use of resources and assets while keeping your team on time.

Most importantly, dispatch management software and apps can function within a company’s established parameters. When conditions threaten to exceed or challenge those guidelines, notifications can alert dispatchers or schedulers of the impending conflict and allow them to make adjustments.

Being able to communicate in real time with your field technicians and customers offers practical benefits to an entire organization. Many home service businesses value mobile dispatch management software for the informed flexibility and adaptability it allows for.

Mobile dispatch management software can assist your organization with:

  • Personnel—Match, shift, and notify the most qualified field technicians available within their optimal operating area as requirements change.
  • Routes—Alter routes to accommodate emergencies, traffic patterns, weather, or service call complications smoothly.
  • Time management—Apply historical service call data and job times to create schedules that technicians are capable of completing successfully.
  • Booking—Let customers book services, change appointments, receive alerts and communications, and even track en route service.
  • Technician support—Access service manuals, diagrams, warranty information, and other technical media that will allow technicians to get the job done right the first time.
  • Follow-up customization—Allow on-the-spot parts orders, work order permissions, and rescheduling.
  • Consistency—Keep all decisions within predetermined parameters, but allow human override as needed.

The Future of Dispatch Management

Cumbersome paper schedules, Post-its, whiteboards, and handwritten lists cannot keep pace with the demands and expectations of today’s tech-savvy homeowners and products. But selecting the right software solution for your business means considering comprehensive options that not only empower your team to do more, but that also integrates seamlessly with how the rest of your business is functioning.

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