When we think of the trades, we're often reminded of plumbers fixing leaks and installing new fixtures. Electricians restoring power and light to a home. HVAC technicians providing relief during the hottest summers and coldest winters.
But dispatching is a discipline too—a critical one to providing effective service to homeowners and outpacing the competition. Below, we take a look at six actionable tips home service companies and dispatchers can consider when improving or revamping their fleet management strategies.
1. Hire the Right People
Whether your company has dedicated dispatchers or combines CSRs and dispatchers into one position, you want to find people whose skill set and temperament is a fit to the demands of dispatching.
Successful dispatchers are:
- Great at multitasking
- Familiar with the local area/community
- Assertive and effective communicators
- Cheerleaders for their team
- Familiar with services offered by your company
- Quick learners and tech-friendly
2. Make "Triage" a Priority
Doctors and nurses employ a process called triage to decide which patients need immediate care and which can wait. In the trades, dispatchers are in charge of this process of prioritizing homeowners who need emergency service and identifying those who can wait until later in the day (or week). A vigilant triage strategy not only means you're optimizing your dispatching to complete more jobs but also boost customer service and satisfaction.
3. Front-load Your Workdays
Depending on the nature of your industry and the kind of service you offer, you may or may not guarantee emergency (or same-day) service. Jobs that you book and complete on the same day are valuable to most home service businesses (both financially and for customer service).
To make this happen as often as possible, look for opportunities where you can schedule coming/non-urgent jobs in the morning. That keeps more time open in the afternoons for your fleet to respond to calls your business receives that day.
4. Keep Your Routing Efficient
Every so often, it's advantageous to send a particularly experienced tech across town to handle a specific kind of job, but most of the time, you want to minimize travel times for your team. On average, Americans spend a 14.5 million hours in traffic every day, so you want to do your best to keep your techs local to calls in their area. This not only means shorter drive times and better fuel efficiency, it also means that many customers will be relieved to know that—when they have a problem—your team is already in the neighborhood.
5. Pull Customers into the Loop
We often are so focused on making sure our dispatchers and techs are on the same page that we forget the other critical person in the equation: the homeowner. New technology now allows companies to keep their customers in the loop, so dispatchers can be confident that homeowners are being notified of any changes-- and even interact with those who are expecting an appointment.
ServiceTitan allows home service companies to:
- Send automated email and text appointment reminders
- Send tech bios to customers (via text) so customers know who to expect
- Give customers access to a tech tracker map so they know when their tech will arrive
- Receive texts from customers who need to reschedule or have a question about an appointment
6. Give Your Team the Right Tools
How are you doing your scheduling and dispatching? Pencil and paper? Google Calendar and Maps? Dispatching technology has come a long way and your business may not be able to achieve all it can without a nimble, responsive dispatching system in place.
We've built the ServiceTitan Dispatch Board to help modern field service companies to optimize their fleet management, improve customer service, and complete more jobs. Dispatchers can make on-the-fly decisions as new jobs come in with a simple drag-and-drop—so it's easy to respond scheduling curveballs and match your best techs to the most profitable jobs. The ServiceTitan Dispatch Board also allows dispatchers and techs in the field to stay in touch via SMS text, so your team is always in contact with one another and on the same page about the day's schedule.
ServiceTitan is the number one, award-winning field service management software for the home service industry. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform has helped thousands of HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and electrical companies drive new revenue, modernize their customer service, and bring their enterprise into the 21st century. For more information on what ServiceTitan can do to help bring your company to the next level, contact us today to request a demo.