In the days of yore, when Any Hour Services (Orem, Utah) dispatched the old-fashioned way, hectic moments sometimes led to things falling between the cracks.
That is never ideal for a service business.
But that has changed, thanks to a forward-thinking software and the proper application of artificial intelligence (AI).
Any Hour was part of the beta testing of Dispatch Pro, an AI-powered enhancement to ServiceTitan,the cloud-based software for the trades.
“It has definitely reduced the number of reschedules while also increasing our average ticket,“ said Alyssa Briggs, Dispatch Manager at Any Hour, which offers electrical, plumbing, heating and air services. “The revenue side of things definitely went up.”
In addition, Any Hour management is better able to assess and address the needs of its technicians.
“I've been here for nine years now, and I refer to the days when I had to dispatch without Dispatch Pro as the wild, wild West,” Briggs said. “To think about going back to the wild, wild West just seems like a very large step in the wrong direction. I’d feel like I was starting over.”
This is all no small feat. On a given day in the Provo-Salt Lake City area, Any Hour can be in 400 different homes. The business has three locations under the Any Hour Service umbrella of 26 more locations nationwide within the Any Hour group.
More jobs, less drive time
Dispatch Pro, even in its beta stage, reduced drive time for Any Hour’s 50 technicians by 30%.
“If you can save 30 minutes 50 times a day, we can get to more jobs, which in turn has been a huge part of our growth,” Briggs said.
Dispatch Pro joins other ServiceTitan Pro products (Marketing, Scheduling, Pricebook and Phones Pro). All are seamlessly integrated, and developed with input from contractors who know what they need.
Dispatch Pro is an AI-driven tool to help dispatchers efficiently handle more trucks in the field, informing their decisions aided by settings controlled by their company, to dispatch for profit and efficiency, and match the right technician with the right job. That can free them to do other duties and deal with the inevitable scheduling surprises more quickly.
“I think it’s a scalability tool,” Briggs said. “It allows you to grow.”
Everybody wants Dispatch Pro
Briggs joined Any Hour nine years ago. She was in college for accounting, but wasn’t sure she’d like the desk job. A relative suggested she try a desk job with Any Hour’s call center; she wound up enjoying it, dropped out of college and has been in dispatch since 2015, eventually working her way up to the manager job.
She’s not sure how many of her offices rely on Dispatch Pro, but she knows one thing: Everybody wants it.
“It reduces labor,” Briggs said.
And it increases service – to the team and the customer. Because Dispatch Pro takes care of the challenge of routing techs to jobs while minimizing hours driven compared to hours on the job. That in turn has boosted company and customer morale and culture.
“We are less focused on where the technicians are going and what they're doing,” she said, “and we can focus more on, ‘How can I pick this technician up off the ground who is feeling really down in the dumps today?’
“Or, ‘How can I thoroughly explain to this customer who we are and how we work as a company and that they called the right place when they picked up the phone and dialed Any Hour's phone number?’
“Now we can really pride ourselves that we are putting our energy into something that's making a bigger difference than just feeling good about a pretty board.”
Getting more comfortable with AI
Briggs concedes she originally was not sold on the idea of Dispatch Pro. But the more time she spends with it, the more she likes it.
“The biggest change for me was probably overcoming my own ego and thinking I was smarter than AI,” she said. “I'm sure many dispatchers can relate.”
Over time she learned that ServiceTitan would provide the information as to why certain decisions were made. Those that might not have made sense in the “old” system of dispatching did not rely on AI.
“ServiceTitan will throw alerts and say, ‘Dispatch Pro can't assign this call because of X reason,’” Briggs said. “That really helped me understand how the system works, and that when it’s garbage in it's garbage out. Input equals output.”
While in beta, Briggs offered insight and suggestions to ServiceTitan for the best ways to optimize Dispatch Pro.
“If you're a company that really cares about taking care of your customers, and if you're a company who cares about your dispatchers having trust with the technicians and having a strong relationship, it aids in that whole experience,” she said. “And the money will follow.”