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Your company’s dispatcher serves a vital role when it comes to keeping your techs performing at a high level and delivering awesome customer service on everything from emergency calls to sales opportunities. A strong dispatcher knows the exact location and specific skill level of each tech, and how to get the right person to the right customer at the right time.
Dispatching for field service management requires discipline, leadership, and effective communication skills. Schedule success for your company with these 6 tips for smooth and efficient dispatching.
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1. Hire the right dispatchers
Whether your company relies on dedicated dispatchers or combines CSRs and dispatchers into one position, the people working in those roles need the right skill set and temperament to meet the demanding job of dispatching.
The best dispatchers are:
Great at multi-tasking
Organized and detail-oriented
Good at navigating the local area/community
Assertive, confident, and effective communicators
Cheerleaders for your company
Knowledgeable about your company’s services
Quick learners and tech-friendly
When deciding who to hire as new dispatchers, rely on more than good luck. Some interview questions might include:
Are you good at juggling multiple duties all at once? Please give a specific example.
Can you provide an example of how you handled an unintelligible caller?
Can you describe a dispatching experience where you made an important decision or addressed an emergency situation without your supervisor?
What types of dispatching software systems are you familiar with?
How do you keep track of all of your calls and the actions you take for the calls?
Ever felt overwhelmed by stress? What did you do to keep performing your duties?
2. Prioritize "triage" in your dispatch process
Dispatchers decide which service calls are most important, and which ones can wait—a process similar to the one used by emergency room doctors and nurses to triage patients for acute or non-acute medical care, or the police department for emergency vs. non-emergency calls.
In the training process, teach emergency dispatchers to master the triage dispatch process by clearly defining which calls require priority service. Those might include the following:
Customers with medical conditions, dire safety conditions or Covid concerns.
Customers with maintenance agreements who pay for same-day service.
Customers whose business must shut down if immediate repair service isn’t available.
Customers whose service issue can be resolved quickly by a nearby technician.
A vigilant triage strategy optimizes your dispatch process so techs complete more jobs, while also boosting customer service and satisfaction.
3. Front-load your workdays
Good dispatchers know how to schedule each day, so all of your techs perform at an optimal level to meet all of your customers’ needs.
Depending on the trade, your company may choose to guarantee emergency or same-day service for a fee. Jobs booked and completed on the same day provide great value for your home services business, not only financially but also from a customer service standpoint.
To make this happen as often as possible, instruct your dispatcher to schedule non-urgent jobs in the morning and keep the afternoons more open to handle urgent calls that come in seeking the first responders for home service issues throughout the day.
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4. Dispatch efficient routing
Every so often, it's advantageous for a dispatcher to send a particularly experienced tech across town to handle a specific kind of job. It certainly makes the customer happy and often leads to referrals for future jobs.
Most of the time, however, dispatchers need to minimize their techs’ travel times. This means grouping jobs by proximity and tech availability on a particular day for optimal drive time and better fuel efficiency.
On average, Americans waste 54 hours each year stuck in traffic, so make sure your dispatchers use smart routing to direct service techs through potential cone zones. If dispatching techs from home, assign work orders in their local area. When customers call for home services emergency responders, they’ll be relieved to know your team is already in the neighborhood.
5. Use dispatching software to keep customers in the loop
We often focus so intently on making sure our dispatchers and techs communicate effectively that we forget the other critical person in the equation: The homeowner.
Dispatching software for field service management allows companies to keep their customers in the loop, so dispatchers can notify the homeowner of any scheduling changes and interact with them in real time.
ServiceTitan’s dispatching software allows home service companies to:
Send automated email and text appointment reminders.
Text customers a tech’s photo and profile, so they know who to expect.
Give customers a tech tracker map, so they know exactly when to expect their tech.
Receive texts from customers who need to reschedule or inquire about an appointment.
Track equipment locations, supplies, and inventory.
Dispatch for profit, or assign highly skilled techs to particular jobs for maximum profit.
See a customer’s work history and who serviced them previously.
Send messages to techs to update them on job details, delays, and more, maintaining maintain a healthy working relationship.
Track tech progress for problem-solving and to better anticipate their availability for newly scheduled jobs.
6. Modernize your dispatch process with the right tools
How does your home services business coordinate scheduling and dispatching? Are you still scribbling things down with pen and paper, or spending tedious hours trying to route hundreds of service calls using Google Maps?
Dispatching software brings new technology to field service management companies and improves every aspect of your contracting business, from the first phone call for service to a job well done. Help your business improve efficiency and increase profits by putting a nimble, responsive dispatch process in place.
We've built the ServiceTitan Dispatch Board to help modern field service companies optimize their fleet management, improve customer service, and complete more jobs. The software allows dispatchers to make on-the-fly decisions as new jobs come in with a simple drag-and-drop—so it's easy to respond to scheduling curveballs and match your best techs to the most profitable jobs.
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.