A Definition of Service Scheduling
Service scheduling is the process business and organizations follow to ensure that their services and resources are scheduled as optimally and efficiently as possible. Service businesses and companies that have a mobile workforce especially must handle service scheduling efficiently, because they need to match the correct service technicians to the service calls to achieve optimal efficiency and productivity.
Service Scheduling Challenges
One of the most important aspects of service scheduling is planning ahead and making timely decisions. As competition becomes more fierce, companies feel the pressure to operate more efficiently with slimmer margins, which means utilizing their resources and service professionals most effectively while meeting customer requirements and expectations. But, these tasks become even more difficult with mobile workforce management and remote workforce management. There are several service scheduling challenges that organizations must overcome, including:
- Optimizing travel time
- Tracking field teams and remote workers
- Completing more calls the first time
- Planning for non-billable calls
- Weighing demand against resources
- Addressing breakdown service and planned maintenance
- Properly matching the job to the service professional every time
Benefits of Service Scheduling Software Solutions
One of the easiest ways to address some of these service scheduling challenges is to make use of a sophisticated computer system. Service scheduling software solutions give dispatchers, supervisors, and managers the tools and main interface they need to increase the efficiency of their workforce. Service scheduling software solutions that are cloud-based are increasingly in-demand, as organizations must have access to their service technicians in real time. It also is desirable for field service workers to have access to customer data from anywhere at any time as well.
These service scheduling software solutions, often based on proven business concepts, models, and best practices, automate and simplify service scheduling and the dispatch processes associated with mobile workforce management. Specialized service scheduling software integrates resource scheduling so that one system comprehensively manages the mobile workforce’s appointment bookings, multi-day tasks, crews, contractors, and more, while giving managers and supervisors 360° visibility into mobile workforce schedules, tasks, work orders, assets, timesheets, reporting, and more.
Specific benefits of service scheduling software are numerous and include:
- Work order management–Create work orders and remotely send them to technicians based on relevant criteria such as availability, proximity, urgency, and level of expertise.
- Customer data access – Ensure that your remote workers can access critical data to address customers’ requests. Provide contact information, histories, and other information that will help them to complete the job, along with specific equipment notes, model numbers, and other key information.
- Route planning – Organize customer requests by location to reduce travel time, vehicle wear, and fuel expenses. Tighter schedules often result in more time for additional requests or better focus on last-minute, high-priority requests. Some service scheduling software solutions make use of GPS technology to determine the best route for current traffic conditions.
- Recapture unapplied time–Get more visibility into work order progress and see how your service technicians are spending their time. Assign more billable tasks and reduce non-billable work for improved productivity levels.
- Identify trends–Use the included reporting tools to identify workflow patterns in order to weigh service technician productivity versus schedule saturation and better prepare for busy times while weeding out techs who can’t meet the demands.
- Inspire positive tendencies–Hold technicians accountable for productivity by sharing and comparing their monthly numbers. Help them set new goals to spur productivity and increase efficiency.
- Customer and technician satisfaction – More efficiency and productivity has positive effects on service workers and customers. Technicians will appreciate the more positive work environment, and customers will reap the benefits of faster and better customer service.
It’s true that service scheduling can feel more like a balancing act or a juggling show than a business process. With the right tools and business practices, organizations can handle service scheduling even with mobile workforces and remote workers.