Chess-playing computers. Robotic arms performing medical surgeries. ChatGPT writing marketing copy. Everywhere you look today, AI is empowering something new and exciting to help reduce our workloads, improve our health, or challenge us to think a little deeper.
At ServiceTitan, we operate with a similar mindset. What tools and resources can we provide to help contractors in the trades work smarter, grow their businesses, and earn more profit? Our latest innovation, Dispatch Pro, works with AI to help solve the pain points of dispatching, a critical role that must be performed with precision at any service company.
Working together with AI, rather than resisting change or being afraid of it, is the whole point, says Josh Lu, Senior Product Marketing Manager at ServiceTitan. Just look at the examples above. When the world chess champion joined forces with Deep Blue, a chess-playing super computer, their team became the best all-time chess player. And similar things happened in the medical and marketing fields.
“While automation and change are really scary at first, what we find is when we partner with these tools over time, together, as a team, we can come up with the best solution,” says Lu, the host of a recent webinar on the topic.
Dispatch Pro, powered by Titan Intelligence, uses a machine-learning algorithm to automatically recommend the best way to dispatch technicians and maximize profit daily. In development for several years now, ServiceTitan unveiled this powerful new tool and provided a vision of the future of dispatching in this webinar.
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What is Dispatch Pro?
Dispatch Pro is an automated dispatching engine that maximizes revenue by using proprietary algorithms, combined with machine learning, to assign the best opportunities to the best technicians, says Anya Singer, ServiceTitan Principal Product Manager.
“With Dispatch Pro, you can put your dispatching on autopilot, and focus more on important tasks, like technician support and customer care,” Singer says.
As a former dispatcher, Singer led the charge for ServiceTitan in its development of the new tool. “I have outsized empathy for dispatchers, because I understand how difficult it is to get through the day, and how much mental capacity this job takes,” she adds.
After conducting a survey of 500 dispatchers, ServiceTitan found that:
50% reported their stress level was 7+ on a 10-point scale
74% believed their shops needed to hire more staff
“All of that exists with constant pressure to meet revenue goals, retain technicians, and make customers happy,” Singer says.
So, how can ServiceTitan make all of this easier without sacrificing quality and growth? Enter, Dispatch Pro.
“We help dispatchers achieve more with less mental load,” Singer explains. “Instead of spending most of their energy on constantly reshuffling the board, and reacting to what's happening, we enable dispatchers to use their EQ [emotional quotient or emotional intelligence], and proactively focus on cheerleading technicians and providing stellar customer service.”
How Dispatch Pro Works
With Dispatch Pro, your team will continue to use the dispatch dashboard in ServiceTitan, but now they will see a new Dispatch Pro logo in the top right-hand corner of the screen. To begin using it, dispatchers simply click on the logo and the little icon turns green.
“We've worked with nearly 50 customers at this point, for multiple years, and we've figured out what works,” Singer says. “We are preconfiguring the entire setup for Dispatch Pro so that it's easier for you to get on.”
For shops with more nuanced dispatching procedures, the Dispatch Pro settings can be adjusted or customized to fit your needs. More on that later.
“Once you have it available in your real environment, the runs and the reshuffling of the board will happen automatically,” Singer explains. “Every 10 minutes, it just continues reshuffling. You arrive in the morning and all of your jobs are assigned, you just need to review them.”
When Dispatch Pro reshuffles, it’s basically crunching the numbers and simulating a variety of scenarios to figure out the most optimal way to assign your job board. The tool assigns jobs based on the projected revenue for each job and the projected overall revenue expected from each technician.
“Once it's in your environment, it's going to be using your numbers, your projections, and will take into account both the potential repair value and the potential lead-turnover value,” Singer says.
Say one of your techs is taking longer than anticipated on a job and you need to extend their time. Make that simple time adjustment in Dispatch Pro, and the job board automatically reshuffles the rest of the day in the most optimal way possible. And if you accidentally get overbooked or a tech becomes unavailable, Dispatch Pro automatically sends an alert to notify you of the problem and make recommendations to resolve it.
How to Retain Dispatching Control with Dispatch Pro
Right now, you may be thinking, “Whoa! I need more control.” At ServiceTitan, we get that, so we provide a set-up guide (under Global Settings in Dispatch Pro) with four specific settings that can be easily adjusted based on your service company’s preferences for:
For routing, you can decide whether to optimize for most revenue or most efficiency.
“On average, we've seen most of the customers in our pilot program succeed with more revenue,” Singer says. “But if you feel like you want more efficient routes, and maybe you care a little less about the best opportunity for your tech, you can go more to the left of this scale.”
This section also allows you to set a hard limitation on maximum drive time for your technicians. While ServiceTitan recommends allowing for at least 60 minutes drive time between jobs, Dispatch Pro follows whatever parameters you prefer.
“We'll never send somebody out three hours away, just because it's a great opportunity, unless you tell us you want to,” Singer says. “You can create maximum drive time overrides for specific zones as well.”
When it comes to locking jobs, you’re essentially telling Dispatch Pro how comfortable you are with making last-minute changes to your job board.
“In the perfect scenario, we want to optimize all the way until the very last minute, until the start time of your job. But if you’re not comfortable with that, or if you have to call your customer ahead, like 10 to 20 minutes, you can set it to a different setting, then the job gets locked on that technician. We won't move it around when the time comes,” Singer says.
With prioritization settings, you can also control which job types are optimized by Dispatch Pro. For instance, you may want to retain total manual control over how install jobs are scheduled or when responding to an urgent recall or warranty job.
In addition, we’ve expanded our priority levels and now include up to eight buckets from which to choose. “We'll prioritize the top buckets higher than the bottom buckets, and you don't have to fill them all out, you can just fill out some. Then, we'll essentially make sure the jobs at the top are going to be prioritized,” Singer explains.
While Dispatch Pro often reshuffles jobs based on the highest projected monetary value, some job scenarios may have a lower monetary value but higher priority, such as recalls and warranty calls or jobs with specific customer tags. Either can be moved up or down on your priority list.
The technician settings in Dispatch Pro give you better control over sending the right technician to the right job. You can assign jobs based on the tech’s skills, their trade licenses, and even specific zones or regions. If your techs are more versatile and can do pretty much everything, you can just leave this setting wide open.
The data Dispatch Pro takes into consideration when assigning technicians to certain jobs includes the tech’s:
Recent sales performance
Drive time preference
Job type skills
Proximity to the job
How Dispatch Pro Solves Your Dispatcher’s Pain Points
What are some of the toughest issues about your current dispatching process? Do they include things such as:
Too little bandwidth
Fail to schedule timely recurring services
Slow reaction times
Too much chatter with techs
Fail to schedule techs based on skill levels
And many more!
How do you ensure your dispatchers send the right tech to the right job? Are they choosing the right tech with the highest close rate for that skill type? Or are they simply choosing to send certain techs based on their proximity or availability? Or, in some instances, are they dispatching techs based on favoritism?
“With Dispatch Pro, if your priority is to get the right tech to the right job, that is exactly what this tool is built for,” says ServiceTitan Strategic Account Manager Brett Kawanami.
“I had one owner who said, ‘Hey, if we can solve to make sure I get the right tech to the right job, that's the difference between me closing a $16,000 change-out, versus just a $300 service call to just fix a fan or something,’” he adds.
The job of a dispatcher is a tough one, Kawanami says, especially when it comes to the demands on their mental load capacity.
“Just calculating ahead all these things. Where is the tech? Who has the best closing rate? Who has the right skill for this job? Are there other considerations? The customer has a dog or they're allergic…Oh wait, there's an urgent job that came up! Now I’ve got to scramble and reshuffle everything," Kawanami says.
Dispatch Pro, powered by Titan Intelligence, takes that heavy workload and automates much of the on-the-spot decision-making required by dispatchers to fill up your company’s job board.
“That's really the power of Dispatch Pro,” Kawanami explains. “Maximize each job, while also reducing the mental load on the team and hopefully increasing morale, but allowing them to be more efficient, and drive more revenue for the business.”
For customers who went live on the Dispatch Pro beta version between February and April 2022, then compared to the same time frame in 2023, Kawanami says impact results show:
13% median growth in year-over-year revenue
5% median increase in average ticket
Using Dispatch Pro to run their boards allows companies to do more with less, and gives dispatchers the flexibility to globally monitor the entire scheduling process while helping field techs and customers more.
“That just speaks to the power of when you let the system run, and it's doing this machine learning, learning from you, but also giving the dispatcher the flexibility to be the king or queen of the board. They don't have to give that up. They still know your customers and your team the best,” Kawanami says.
HVAC, plumbing, and electrical companies who “dispatch for dollars,” Kawanami says, have seen the most success with Dispatch Pro thus far. If you seek only a route optimization solution and just want to maintain the status quo, then the current iteration of Dispatch Pro probably isn’t a good fit.
“This probably is not your product if you want to keep your systems the same,” he says. “But if you're really trying to figure out—‘How can we be better? How can we better serve our customers? How can we increase team morale? How can I give my dispatcher a tool that makes them better, and also hold the technicians accountable?’—that would make you a great fit for Dispatch Pro.”
Dispatch Pro Q&A
1. Does Dispatch Pro replace dispatchers entirely?
“No,” says Singer. “It really supercharges dispatchers. It's a tool to help dispatchers do more with less stress. It's really the co-pilot. It does not replace the dispatchers.”
2. Does Dispatch Pro only optimize the job board, or does it also contact customers or send jobs to technicians?
Dispatch Pro does not contact your customers, and you’ll keep dispatching your techs in the same way you do now. “We'll reshuffle the board, and then whatever settings your technician has, they will see what their job is,” Singer explains.
3. How does Dispatch Pro work with ACP (Adjustable Capacity Planning)?
“Wonderfully,” Singer says. “ACP is a really great tool to ensure you have the right number of jobs on the board. The better you are at making sure the number of jobs on the board is optimal, the better result you're going to get from Dispatch Pro.”
4.How does Dispatch Pro handle a customer’s request for a specific technician?
Dispatch Pro includes a feature that allows you to make a job technician-specific, so that job never gets reshuffled to a different tech.
5. What if we want to start a technician on the job farthest out, and then bring them back home?
“We don't have any settings in terms of the first job of the day, so we'll just pick the most urgent ones, and the biggest opportunities, to get done as soon as possible,” Singer says. “We only try to route technicians home at the end of the day. In the beginning of the day, we just assume it's fair game to send them to wherever the biggest opportunity is.”
6. How does Dispatch Pro impact technicians?
Dispatch Pro has no visible impact on your techs’ mobile app, but it may improve the conversations you have about their performance. If they complain about other techs receiving better opportunities, just show them their performance metrics in Dispatch Pro.
“We look at the recent performance,” Singer says. “We’re going to reward the hot hands, and if somebody's on fire, we're going to give them more jobs, even if they haven't done so hot before.”
7. Does Dispatch Pro automatically dispatch technicians?
“It doesn’t yet, because we don't know, specifically, when the technician is ready to start driving to the next job, so we're still trusting the dispatchers and the technicians to manage it themselves,” Singer says.
8. How about special needs on calls, like small spaces, attics in the summer, crawl spaces, or Spanish-speaking services?
“We see those typically managed with skills at the moment. It's the easiest way,” Singer says. “You can add those as a skill to your technician, and then you can change that on each individual job that requires it.”
9. How long does Dispatch Pro take to learn your technicians, and know who's best suited for which opportunity?
“On average, if you've been on ServiceTitan for about three to four months, then we'll already have enough data to make good historical predictions,” Singer says. “If you’re a newer customer, we might go with more industry standards until you have enough data. Then once you have enough data, we'll start using your specific predictions. But we don't require a ton of data. Our machine learning models are top of the line.”
10. Does this include lead generation, or average lead sale? How often does it recalculate the technician’s hot hand?
“We recalculate performance on the fly, and we're going to take into account both the repair-conversion likelihood and the lead-turnover likelihood, whichever way you track your leads,” Singer says. “The one thing I would recommend is to make sure the leads are somehow connected to the original jobs, because it makes it easier for us to know the jobs are connected and the technicians created a particular lead.”