Whether you're a field service shop that offers emergency services, a commercial contractor company, or serve only homeowners, service business scheduling efficiency has a significant impact on the profitability of your business.
For field service management, optimizing tech schedules to complete as many jobs as possible requires planning, vigilance, and quick thinking. Doing this work manually can be mentally exhausting and can cost you valuable work orders. The customer service reps or dispatchers who take your customer calls may not have in-depth knowledge of your tech team’s availability and each team member’s skills to do the work.
This means CSR’s and dispatchers have to:
Scan calendars to identify an open time slot
Call multiple service technicians to see who is available
Take a guess at how long the job might take to finish
Put callers on hold for as long as it takes to do all the above
If any of these steps are not executed well, customers could be left waiting, techs could miss appointments, or be very late, and jobs could be lost.
This is where quality service technician scheduling software can help considerably, taking the weight of scheduling work off your office manager and dispatchers. Well-designed scheduling apps, like ServiceTitan, make it almost effortless, and very quick, for CSRs and dispatchers to identify the right field service technicians for the job, on the right day, at the right time.
ServiceTitan is all-in-one contractor software that provides service companies with highly efficient scheduling and dispatch software as well as a range of tools to manage other essential aspects of your service business. These include: call booking, estimates, invoicing, payments, financing, marketing, payroll, time tracking, reporting, accounting, inventory management, and more.
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When deciding how best to manage the process of scheduling service calls, it’s best to consult your field technicians and review industry best practices. To get started, check out the following tips on how to schedule service technicians that, over our years of experience helping service companies grow, we have found produce the most successful results.
Top Service Technician Scheduling Best Practices
We’ll also cover how ServiceTitan helps you implement some of these scheduling tips in a seamless and efficient way.
Discover how ServiceTitan’s suite of tools to improve field service operations, including scheduling and dispatch software, can help drive your business efficiency and boost your bottom line. Request a personalized demo now.
1. Evaluate Tech Capacity When Scheduling Jobs
Before you can schedule service calls effectively, you need to have a solid understanding of the manpower your shop offers on a consistent basis. Many field service companies employ a variety of positions that do work in the field.
These employees typically include:
Full-time service techs
Make sure your scheduler and each individual employee have a clear understanding of their job status and how they will be scheduled for the foreseeable future. Clearly communicate any scheduling changes and welcome input from the people actually doing the schedules and field work.
Use ServiceTitan to Keep Track of Capacity
When a customer calls to book an appointment, ServiceTitan’s call booking feature immediately shows your customer service reps (CSRs) if the caller has previously used your services, or if they are a new customer. The system guides them through the booking process, prompting them to ask all the right questions to collect all the required details, so nothing is missed.
If the caller is a previous customer, the call taker is provided with their name and address, and all the customer details gathered on previous service calls. This allows the customer to be greeted by name and improves customer experience. We also pull up relevant property data, so CSRs can spot opportunities to sell extra services, including service agreements, equipment upgrades, or memberships.
Using ServiceTitan’s scheduling features, your schedulers can then view available time slots at a glance–without leaving the initial call booking screen. They don’t have to open multiple windows and risk getting lost within the software as the customer waits for them to get back on track.
2. Plan Ahead for Service Business Scheduling
For some service businesses, adopting new service business scheduling practices might seem pointless. Isn't it all going to get rescheduled anyway? While this certainly happens, it doesn't mean your business shouldn't plan and act intentionally when scheduling future appointments.
Established scheduling practices allow you to release a tentative schedule to your field service team four to six weeks in advance. Not only does this give your techs important insight into their prospective workload, but a tentative schedule helps CSRs and dispatchers make better, actionable adjustments as needed when scheduling curveballs come hurling across the plate.
3. Categorize Incoming Service Calls
Optimizing your field service schedule isn't simply about ensuring your team stays busy; it's also about making sure they're as efficient as possible. Geography and technician skills should play a role when assigning service techs to jobs.
For instance, you don't want a single tech zig-zagging across town all day, since that racks up fuel costs and travel time. Instead, try to cluster assignments in a single area.
The same goes for certain skill and equipment needs. Train CSRs and dispatchers about job types and how to match them to your techs' strengths and weaknesses. You'll be surprised how quickly they learn how to schedule service calls by assigning incoming jobs to the right technicians.
Intelligent Schedule and Route Optimization with ServiceTitan
Our scheduling optimization features automatically optimize daily schedules, so daily jobs are done in the most efficient order based on technician locations.
ServiceTitan’s route optimization software also helps your techs avoid the problems that keep them from arriving at appointments on time, and diverts them away from heavy traffic, providing alternative route instructions to get them to their destination as quickly as possible.
With intelligent schedule optimization, ServiceTitan’s scheduling tools make it easy for your dispatcher to keep your tech team flexible and proactive all day long. Using simple point-and-click, and drag-and-drop tools, jobs can be extended, shortened, or rescheduled altogether.
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4. Favor the Mornings in Your Service Schedule
If your company offers emergency services (or same-day service), it’s imperative you maintain the resources required to quickly respond to customers’ urgent calls for help. Jobs booked and completed on the same day provide great value for your field services business, not only financially (because you charge additional fees), but also from a customer service standpoint.
For many shops, this means scheduling known appointments in the mornings whenever possible, leaving more space in the afternoon schedule to respond to new customers and same-day appointments.
Advanced Capacity Planning with ServiceTitan
With ServiceTitan’s unique Advanced Capacity Planning features, you can set parameters for your capacity strategy, without having to train call takers to understand it. This includes establishing rules to reduce or exclude certain types of jobs at specific times, like regular maintenance work, when you want to increase capacity for high-priority or emergency calls, that will be more profitable for your business.
These settings will be automatically applied to your scheduling process, so CSRs won’t be able to book certain types of jobs within the rules you’ve set, preventing mistakes and prioritizing the type of profitable work you want to do.
As soon as a time slot is selected for the customer, this information is shown in the general dispatch board and in the relevant tech’s individual schedule, which they can see within the mobile app.
This may not be right for every shop, but those that specifically aim to dispatch for profit find it maximizes the number of jobs they can complete each day.
5. Take Advantage of Service Contracts to Secure Recurring Revenue
Maintenance agreements and contracts provide revenue you can count on during your slower seasons, and present an opportunity to add recurring appointments to the schedule.
For HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and other types of service companies, providing annual, seasonal, or monthly preventative maintenance service contracts ensures you will have future billable work, in what can be an otherwise unpredictable industry. Service contracts also build loyalty and trust with your customers.
If your business offers recurring services to homeowners, train your team to suggest service maintenance contracts and explain the benefits they provide. Not only do homeowners prefer the convenience of scheduled maintenance services, but they allow you to bulk schedule for months into the future.
You can leverage ServiceTitan’s integrated Service Agreement Software to set up regular maintenance memberships and equipment contracts in a few easy steps. Using these features it’s easy to schedule regular appointments so your team can stay on top of contracted services.
6. Utilize an Efficient Technician Scheduling Calendar
Scheduling software solutions often include a robust technician scheduling calendar. This allows businesses and dispatchers to view the calendar by day or the entire week, or see several months in advance.
Efficient Scheduling and Dispatching with ServiceTitan
ServiceTitan’s technician scheduling software allows a field service business to categorize jobs and add notes to the scheduled job for review on a mobile device. Dispatchers can also see a tech’s real-time location relative to a job site at any given time to effectively route emergency calls to improve customer experience.
“ServiceTitan’s dispatching software is the biggest, coolest thing about it,” says Dutton Plumbing & Rooter Owner Eric Falconer. “We’re really big on getting the right guy to the right job, and it’s tough to do without the right tools. That wouldn’t be possible without ServiceTitan.”
The dispatch board is easy to navigate. Tab options within the dispatch board include:
Alerts and notifications
Jobs that are Working, Paused, Done, Canceled, or On Hold
Dispatchers can see the jobs that have been assigned to a service technician in real time, along with those that have yet to be assigned. Using our simple drag-and-drop system, they can quickly assign jobs to technicians who are available and have the right skill set.
Dispatchers can also monitor how each tech’s day is going in the activity feed in the dispatch board. The feed tracks when techs are on their way to a job, when they arrive, when the job is completed, and offers real-time GPS tracking to watch where techs are between their scheduled jobs.
7. Maintain an Effective On-Call Policy
On-call policies remain a fact of life for many field service companies, and often prove essential for keeping promises to customers and maintaining a productive schedule. That said, it's important for field service shops to operate with an on-call policy that’s both effective and fair to technicians.
When establishing/modifying an on-call policy, answer the following questions:
What's the least number of on-call employees I need at all times?
Which employees are eligible for on-call duty?
How will rotations work?
How does on-call compensation differ from a normal shift?
Is there a voluntary on-call option for employees?
What “fitness for duty” requirements should you enforce?
How Peterman HVAC and Plumbing Uses ServiceTitan to be On-Call 7-days a Week
Peterman Heating Cooling and Plumbing can now offer HVAC and plumbing service on Sundays and extend its hours every other day of the week after signing up forServiceTitan Phones Pro. The Peterman team now answers calls from home whenever it needs to, and is able to stay open for longer periods, including weekends.
Phones Pro is a cloud-based phone service that is fully integrated with ServiceTitan, including its scheduling and dispatch software. It’s designed to increase booking rates and business revenue, as well as to improve efficiency. It allows your team to take calls wherever they are, and provides real-time transcripts and automatic recording, so you can monitor abandoned calls and train your CSRs to improve their call taking skills.
“It’s an amazing thing we’ve never been able to do before,” the Peterman team says. “Even on Thanksgiving day, one of our managers was able to log in from home and get calls directed back to our answering service. That’s something we would never have been able to do prior toPhones Pro.”
Read more about how Peterman Heating and Plumbing uses Phones Pro to answer more calls and boost revenues.
8. Listen to Your Field Techs and Dispatchers
Dealing with so many techs who have busy schedules outside of work complicates field service scheduling. But a crucial part of attracting and maintaining reliable talent in the skilled trades is practicing work policies that seem fair and sensitive to all your employees’ needs and concerns.
If your scheduling frequently frustrates employees and reduces customer satisfaction, consider reevaluating how to schedule service calls to turn the situation around. Fostering a healthy work culture requires accessible and adaptable management, so stay aware of employee sentiment to maintain loyalty and improved efficiency from your team.
9. Use ServiceTitan’s Field Service Scheduling Software
Long gone are the days of whiteboards and sticky notes. Modern digital tools help significantly with scheduling, especially if you service multiple territories or offer more than one type of field service. Field service businesses of every size now use integrated calendar and GPS tracking programs for optimization, to streamline scheduling decisions and squeeze the most efficiency and profitability from their schedules.
ServiceTitan not only provides your business with the best field service scheduling and dispatch software, it also gives you a comprehensive field service app that helps you manage every aspect of your field service business, including tools for:
To find out more about ServiceTitan's field service business software and how it can optimize your scheduling and other business operations, schedule a personalized demo.
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.