What is Dispatch Software and its Benefits?
Fifty-three percent of field service leaders claim that optimal efficiency and productivity is their primary concern.
However, many companies still struggle with workforce scheduling and routing inefficiencies. Technicians may be sent to a location too far away, wasting company gas, or a technician may arrive at a facility lacking appropriate equipment to fix the problem. Additionally, rerouting technicians is a nightmare for dispatchers and may lead to job incompletions.
This is where dispatch software comes in.
What is Dispatch Software?
Dispatch software automates the manual process of dispatching appropriate technicians to the closest jobs. It also tracks arrival times, locations, and supply inventory.
If one technician is delayed at a job, the software enables the planner to reroute other trucks to eliminate late arrivals and increase customer satisfaction.
What Dispatch Software Does
The dispatch software's main feature is assigning work and routing appropriate trucks to appropriate jobs. Once the dispatcher approves the work assignment and route, technicians are immediately alerted and can access all of the job's previous data. This data includes which technician they previously worked with, if it's a repeat customer, a history of the previous tasks performed, what equipment they need for the job, and more.
Fifty-four percent of service technicians rated a lack of service history as their top pain point.
Dispatch software not only gives technicians all available service history, but they have instant access to it 24/7.
Some dispatch software will even allow technicians to send automated text messages to clients, alerting them of status updates and any possible delays.
Dispatch software also makes documentation much easier. Arrival times, job notes, and more are automatically imported into the work order reducing human error in record keeping.
Prior to dispatch software, a single dispatcher would devote his or her entire day to scheduling roughly 15-20 technicians. Now, companies only need to deploy a small team of dispatchers to handle hundreds of trucks.
While about52 percent of field services companies still use manual methods, larger companies have realized the benefits of dispatch software and companies of all sizes are rapidly adopting it.
Benefits of Dispatch Software
Dispatch software reduces the need to hire a large team of dispatchers and allows the field service company to invest more in its technicians. Here's how it helps both the service company and its technicians.
One of the biggest pain points service companies (and their clients) face is accurately estimating arrival times and job duration. As customer satisfaction is a top priority for 72 percent of field service leaders, schedule automation is a great asset.
With schedule automation, field technicians can report in-app if a job is taking an unexpected amount of time.
The dispatch software can then send a different field technician to the next stop, or send an automated text message to the client with an updated arrival time.
With a manual dispatcher, changing one truck's time would shuffle every other truck's schedule, creating quite a scheduling headache. However, dispatch software can do this automatically and more efficiently.
Schedule automation will also alert you if there are any issues such as double booking a truck or other schedule availability problems.
With route optimization, the dispatch software can maximize completed orders and reduce wasted time and gas by sending the closest technician to the job.
Regardless of whether you're a manager, fellow field service technician, or executive, everyone with the dispatch app can see which trucks are at which jobs.
For example, if a disgruntled client contacts a manager for an estimated arrival time, the manager can easily open up the dispatch software's app to see when the next technician can arrive.
If an emergency occurs, it's also easy to see who could arrive at the job most efficiently.
Forty-two percent of field technicians rate lack of inventory visibility as a top pain point. If a technician arrives on a scene without the appropriate equipment, he or she may have to return at a later date.
Dispatch software takes care of this for you by tracking inventory and sending only appropriately supplied trucks to appropriate locations.
Before dispatching software existed, one dispatcher could only handle about 15-20 trucks. For larger companies, dispatch software allows the service company to reduce their team of dispatchers and invest more heavily in field technicians.
Easy Reporting and Invoicing
Dispatch software can also save your accounting team time as invoicing can be done directly in the app. The app can automatically calculate transportation costs, assets used, and any other costs the job incurred.
This feature allows the client to receive the bill faster and reduces billing errors as the software pulls billing data directly from the job details in the database.
If the company is audited, dispatch software makes it much easier to provide an accurate account of any necessary data.
Field service managers are always looking for new ways to improve their service and increase customer satisfaction. Before dispatch software, field service managers had to manually calculate data from analog systems to piece together trends.
With dispatch software, it only takes a few clicks to lookup trends.
For example, if you wanted to know how long it takes a field technician to complete a particular job, you can easily sort by job type in the dispatch software and calculate the average time.
If you wanted to see the average number of jobs that required multiple visits in a month, you could also find that information with just a few clicks.
Who Should Use Dispatch Software
One recent study shows that customer experience will soon overtake price as the main brand differentiator. While dispatch software may save companies money by reducing dispatchers and cutting fuel costs, its real value lies in improving customer experience and branding.
Service dispatch software is useful to any field service company that deploys field service technicians, such as HVAC, construction, healthcare, property management, and more. Mid-sized and larger companies usually see the best ROI on dispatch software due to the complexity of scheduling multiple trucks, though many smaller brands use it to increase their brand value.
Your employees, managers, and clients will all thank you for using a simpler and more accurate dispatching process that reduces frustration, increases productivity, and cuts costs.