Streamlining the process of scheduling and dispatching can allow plumbing businesses to book more jobs, drive more revenue, and provide better customer experiences, while also making the lives of their CSRs and dispatchers easier. However, actually accomplishing this can be challenging for a few reasons.
CSRs often need to spend a lot of time scouring the dispatch board trying to figure out:
Where are openings in our schedule?
Which techs are available during these times?
Do the available techs have the right skills for that particular plumbing service?
Is the customer available during that time slot?
The CSR often has to put a customer on hold while they call dispatch directly with the job information and then act as a go-between to try to get an appointment scheduled.
This is a time-consuming process that typically leads to delays in scheduling and the potential loss of a frustrated customer (who may have an urgent issue or is otherwise growing impatient). A hesitant CSR doesn’t inspire confidence in your business’s ability to be responsive.
This is just the beginning of the pain points involved with scheduling and dispatching. There are also challenges such as:
Sending the right techs to the right jobs: If the CSR misses important information during the call, the dispatcher may not send a plumber with the proper skills and equipment to do the job correctly the first time.
Navigating between different apps and spreadsheets: Having the dispatcher navigate between a variety of spreadsheets, plumbing apps, software, and maybe even a whiteboard in the office to coordinate everything is inefficient and challenging, to say the least.
Monitoring job progress: Once jobs are dispatched, there’s still the issue of having to monitor job progress, stay on top of problems, make changes to the schedule, and easily communicate with techs in the field.
Many plumbing contractors and business owners are looking for a scheduling and/or plumbing dispatch app to improve this pivotal aspect of their business.
But can a single-purpose app solve all those problems? Or will it leave your CSRs and dispatchers in the same boat (albeit a software-based one): Still inefficiently flipping from an app to another software or screen and back while trying to book a new job?
This is where a holistic field service management software such as ServiceTitan outperforms apps built solely to handle scheduling and dispatching.
ServiceTitan’s plumbing contractor software solution can streamline not only scheduling and dispatching, but your entire plumbing job workflow and associated processes as well.
To demonstrate, in this article we’ll cover:
Want to see how ServiceTitan works to streamline your plumbing business operations? Schedule a call to get a free, live, one-on-one walk through of the features we describe throughout this article.
How ServiceTitan Stands Out from Other Plumbing Dispatch Apps
When it comes to scheduling and dispatching, ServiceTitan outperforms other plumbing dispatch software and apps with its integrated, real-time capacity planning, optional scheduling website widget, and other advanced dispatch features.
Real-Time Capacity Planning: Implement Strategy to Balance Your Man Hours with Bookings
ServiceTitan’s Adjustable Capacity Planning tool allows plumbing businesses to establish a profitable scheduling capacity strategy while simultaneously transforming the way call takers process incoming calls — leading to new jobs getting booked and dispatched quickly and efficiently.
Once parameters are set, instead of having to create and populate a spreadsheet, make mental calculations, or appoint someone to ensure your strategy is executed on a day-to-day basis, ServiceTitan’s scheduling software automates the implementation of your capacity strategy for you.
For example, you can reduce or exclude annual maintenance appointment slots from a busy holiday week and increase the capacity for high-priority, urgent service calls. (Because, of course, your customer’s water heater is going to break during the week of Thanksgiving when they have a house full of guests.)
On the other hand, you may want to ensure there’s plenty of room in your schedule for those service maintenance appointments during slow times. Our Adjustable Capacity Planning tool allows you to easily make those adjustments, too.
Unlike many other plumbing service software products, once you’ve set your capacity parameters in ServiceTitan, it’s embedded in the call-booking workflow.
The scheduling software automatically guides your CSRs through incoming calls step by step, making sure they obtain crucial information and then schedule a service call in a timeframe that works for your business as well as for the customer. (This also means you don’t have to give your CSRs explicit details about which jobs to book when. Once the available slots for a certain service type are booked for that week, those types of appointments won’t come up as an option in the schedule, so it’s impossible for call takers to make a mistake.)
You can make changes to your capacity plan and schedule options as needed. For example, if and when a crisis develops (such as in the aftermath of a devastating storm), you can again reduce the capacity for low-priority jobs and increase the number of available slots for urgent plumbing jobs.
A Website Widget That Automates Scheduling for Tech-Savvy Customers
An increasing number of homeowners prefer to book their own appointments online versus having to call and speak with a CSR. ServiceTitan makes this simple with a user-friendly website widget that plugs into your plumbing website and guides customers through the online scheduling process.
A series of prompts utilizing drop-down menus narrows down the specific service they need. The customer describes the specifics of their issue by typing within the “Item Description” box.
The widget then prompts the customer to select an appointment from available time slots. Customers only see real-time availability options that sync with your capacity strategy — just as if they were working with a CSR.
Once they’ve selected a date and time that’s convenient for them, they’re prompted to review the details and choose whether to receive the booking confirmation and other communications by SMS or email.
ServiceTitan sends the booking directly to the dispatch board and sends a link to the customer where they can manage it on their own in the future. (For example, if they need to cancel or reschedule, all they have to do is click on the link and follow the prompts.)
All of this is managed directly within ServiceTitan. There’s no additional fee, and you don’t have to purchase or manage another third-party tool like you’d have to with other scheduling apps.
Additional Advanced Dispatch Features
ServiceTitan’s dispatch board is organized so that dispatchers are able to do almost everything they need to do without having to leave the board, which is much more convenient and efficient than having to navigate through multiple apps and sheets (or a whiteboard on the wall).
A few highlights (which we’ll explore in depth later) include:
Drag-and-drop functionality (or right-clicking the mouse) which allows dispatchers to easily assign a tech to a job or move a job to a different time.
Easy-to-see alerts that notify dispatchers when something’s not going according to schedule, allowing them to be proactive with fluid situations in the field.
An Activity Feed that gives dispatchers real-time job status updates and that allows dispatchers and techs to conveniently communicate with one another.
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An In-Depth Look at How Our Scheduling and Dispatching Features Work
With ServiceTitan, scheduling and dispatching seamlessly connect for an efficient workflow.
Streamlined Scheduling for CSRs and Customers
Scheduling starts on the call-booking screen. When a customer calls your plumbing company, the CSR sees the customer’s basic contact information before answering the call. ServiceTitan takes the customer information and automatically fills it into the job overview page.
If the caller is a pre-existing customer, the CSR can click on their name to see their entire history with your business, including customer information such as previous service calls, membership or warranty information, billing records, etc.
They (and Dispatch) also have access to the customer’s property details, such as whether it’s a single-family home, the square footage, the age of the structure — all information that can guide the choice of an appropriate tech and even indicate the possibility of additional sales opportunities. (For example, an older home might have equipment that’s due to be replaced.)
Customizable drop-down menu options guide the CSR through a series of fields to narrow down the scope and urgency of the job, making it almost impossible for them to make a mistake or to forget crucial information.
Job Type (e.g., After Hours, Annual Maintenance, Clogged Drain, Fixture Install)
Business Unit (e.g. Plumbing Scheduled Services - Residential, Plumbing Install - Residential)
Marketing campaign (e.g., Billboard, Angie's List)
Priority (High or Low)
The CSR can include important notes about the job in the Summary section.
You also have the option to record calls in case a dispatcher or technician needs to go back to listen for clarification or to be better prepared upon arrival.
After obtaining this information, you can easily view the available scheduling options for that specific job type that fall within the capacity planning strategy you’ve implemented.
The calendar clearly shows which time slots are full and which are available. It’s easy to click through to future weeks (e.g. for low-priority or time-intensive jobs), if necessary.
By clicking on the information icon on the time slot, the CSR can see which techs are available during that time slot and what their skills are. This helps the call taker to assign the correct tech for the job (and avoid sending a tech to a job site only to find out they don’t have the necessary skills to take care of the problem).
Once a CSR chooses a time slot, ServiceTitan automatically fills in the date of the service call along with the selected arrival window (e.g. between 10:00 a.m. and noon on July 28th). The job start time defaults to the start time of the arrival window, and saves the job directly to the dispatch board.
This process is much more efficient and provides a better customer experience than having a call taker spend valuable time trying to scour the dispatch board and/or putting a customer on hold — possibly multiple times — while they talk to dispatch to get it figured out. And, because your capacity planning is embedded in the scheduling software, you don’t have to worry about scheduling and dispatch mistakes that are counterproductive to your business strategy.
Sophisticated, Easy to Use Dispatch Board
ServiceTitan’s dispatch functionality allows dispatchers to stay on the board to do most tasks, so they don’t waste valuable time going to other apps, spreadsheets, or even elsewhere within the software.
The dispatch board is straightforward and easy to navigate. Tab options include:
And jobs that are Working, Paused, Done, Canceled, or On Hold.
Dispatchers can clearly see which jobs don’t have a technician assigned to them yet.
To assign a technician, they can simply drag and drop a tech’s name to a job and drop the job on the board. It’s also easy to use drag-and-drop functionality to move the job to a different time of day or to reassign the technician to a different job.
Alternatively, right-clicking on a job brings up a menu of options for common tasks, such as:
View Property Data
Dispatchers can Edit a job to make changes, such as adjusting the arrival time frame, changing the technician, or adding a note in the Special Instructions field (e.g. “dog on property”), etc. When they save those changes, ServiceTitan notifies the technician in the field, who also has access to them.
The Alert feature brings unusual activity, such as when a tech is running late, to the attention of the dispatcher. The dispatcher can go into the specific job where an alert was issued to assess and troubleshoot.
The Activity Feed is another feature that allows dispatchers to communicate with techs in the field and helps them stay on top of everything that’s going on. It’s on the right side of the screen where it’s easily visible at all times. In the activity feed:
Every time something changes on a job, the dispatcher sees a notification. For example, when someone gets dispatched, arrives, or completes a job, the dispatcher will see a notification of that activity in the feed.
Dispatchers and techs can message one another directly through the feed. (ServiceTitan keeps the technician-specific chat history available for 14 days.)
Dispatchers can type a mass message through the activity feed. They have the option to send it to the entire group, a team, or to selected individuals.
Automated Job Confirmations is a feature integrated with the dispatch board. You can send a notification text to the customer within a designated time frame (e.g. 24 hours prior to the appointment). When the customer confirms the appointment, the dispatch board automatically reflects the confirmation. If you prefer to call your customers, your dispatcher can manually confirm the appointment with a simple right-click of the mouse.
The route optimization feature comes in handy when you’re able to assign several short jobs (e.g. four or five quick stops or maintenance calls) to a tech in one day. ServiceTitan orders the jobs according to the most efficient route so that your tech isn’t wasting valuable time zigzagging across a geographical area.
The Technician Experience: Viewing Schedules and Dispatch Updates in the Field
The mobile experience for the technician is correspondingly clear and intuitive.
Technicians have their own dashboard page within ServiceTitan Mobile which you can customize according to your preferences.
You can allow your techs to see all of their scheduled jobs for the entire day, limit their ability to only see their next job, or some other combination. You also have the ability to authorize some or all of your techs to self-dispatch if that works better for your business.
Techs can access the job card on their mobile dashboard. Clicking in allows them to see the relevant details about the job, including the customer name, location, job type, arrival window, opportunities (e.g., potential membership sale or other revenue opportunity). They can listen to the CSR call recording and view relevant notes about the job.
As soon as they’re dispatched, the homeowner receives a notification that the tech is on the way, along with the option to track the tech’s location in real-time using GPS tracking technology. Dispatch can also follow the tech’s travel, so they always know where everyone is in real-time.
ServiceTitan can be configured so that when a tech arrives within a certain radius of the destination, the dashboard automatically updates the tech’s location to Arrive, or the tech can manually click Arrive.
With the field service mobile app, techs can also:
Take and upload pictures
Collect signatures on work orders
How ServiceTitan’s Plumbing Software Seamlessly Streamlines the Rest of the Job Workflow
In addition to the scheduling and dispatching functionality we’ve detailed above, ServiceTitan’s suite of features can streamline your entire business operation.
For starters, our software is cloud-based, so your office staff and techs in the field can simultaneously share and access job management information in real-time. And because it’s integrated, they won’t have to manually reenter the same information in multiple platforms, which increases efficiency and greatly reduces the chances of error.
With the mobile app, your techs have access to even more functionality that improves efficiency while increasing sales (and your profit margin). Using the app on a mobile device, such as a tablet, Android, iPhone, or other iOS device, they can:
Present customers with the option to apply for financing when necessary.
Generate and present a paperless invoice and accept payment with ServiceTitan Payments. Techs can auto-deposit checks on the spot, process credit cards using a chip reader or tap/swipe option, or even utilize Google Pay™ and Apple Pay® integration.
Manage and grow customer memberships with our Service and Membership Agreement software.
And, as a business owner, you’ll appreciate that:
ServiceTitan’s Timesheets feature automatically documents your techs’ drive and work times and syncs with payroll, saving time and preventing errors when it comes to time tracking and payroll preparation.
You can easily stay on top of key performance indicators (KPIs) with our Field Reporting functionality. Track revenue and trends, get real-time updates, and monitor metrics such as CSR and technician scorecards to see where additional training and coaching could increase performance, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
To sum it up, whether you’re a plumber with a small business or your business operations include multiple shops in several cities, ServiceTitan’s holistic plumbing contractor software provides so much more functionality and value than a scheduling and/or plumbing dispatch app alone ever could.
To see how ServiceTitan can streamline your plumbing business, schedule a call to get a live, one-on-one walk through of the features we describe throughout this article and more.
ServiceTitan Plumbing Software
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive plumbing business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.