Many times business leaders get so engrossed in managing the institutional aspects of the business i.e. efficiency of the processes that the human aspects, like actual interactions with employees and customers get ignored.
How business interacts with customers, at what touchpoints, and how has been the customer experience are some of the key components of the human aspects that companies must figure out to stay on top of the competition. All these factors are integral to customer experience. According to Walker study, “customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.”
Although it seems to be mixing apples and oranges, the objective here is not to prioritize between operations and customer experience, instead bring everything under the umbrella of customer experience—to see the processes from the lens of customer experience.
If we see the scheduling and dispatch processes from customer experience perspective, we would find many loopholes and gaps, which if improved, has the potential to transform the profitability and revenue.
Customer Experience Begins with Employee Empowerment
Customer experience is the sum of consumer responses during all the stages of the consumption process, from the first point of contact through marketing content to the post-purchase stages. As the coverage area of customer experience is so wide, scheduling and dispatch processes play a vital role in delivering positive experience to the customers, from both marketing and sales perspectives.
For example, say you have a team of 10 field service technicians and all of them complete 7 jobs each day. It means there are 70 interaction points in a day, and if these points are used wisely, your business has a chance to create 70 brand advocates just in a day. These interaction points are extremely crucial because they use a high-bandwidth communication medium—face-to-face communication.
The potential of f-2-f communication is high because both a large amount of information can be absorbed during face-to-face communication. Besides, body language and facial expression cues support the context and clarity of the medium.
But to utilize the value of this medium, you must first empower your scheduling manager and field service technicians to perform their jobs with utmost accuracy, consistency, and effectiveness.
The Benefits of Scheduling and Dispatch Optimization
Scheduling and dispatch hold the key to success because it connects to the every spectrum of the service segment—people and processes.
This means if you are optimizing scheduling and dispatch processes, you are in turn improving your work order management, inspections, and invoice and payment management systems. On a broader level, you can measure the ROI by measuring the reduced cost of field service operations and an increase in customer satisfaction levels and service experience.
According to a report, “89% of customers are willing to pay a premium for modern technology used in technician scheduling.” This clearly indicates that customers favor a better experience. Besides, these benefits along improved customer experience will surely compel you to optimize your scheduling and dispatch processes:
1. High Team Productivity
The major difference you will experience in productivity when scheduling and dispatch processes are optimized. By making the right field service representative available at the right time for the right job, scheduling managers assure that the team is working to their full potential. There is less chaos in the process and everyone is accountable to their role.
Field visit is costly because of travel involved. Scheduling and dispatch process optimization removes the gaps from the processes. As a result, scheduling managers get the ability to validate the specialization of the field service representation and then assign them a task.
During each visit, scheduling managers ensure that field service representatives give proper time and attention to resolve the issue and then successfully move towards the next location, which is in close proximity to the previous location.
3. Boost in team morale and motivation
Optimizing scheduling and dispatch processes means that no field service representative is overutilized or underutilized. Issues such as unplanned absences are dealt with more maturity and since such incidents are included while schedule planning, scheduling managers ensure that priority tasks are completed on time and with highest quality standards. Overall it reduces the burden on the team caused by sudden changes in the shift.
4. Greater customer satisfaction
As scheduling and dispatch process is the key PoC between field service management company and the client, it helps in establishing better relations with each other. After all, what could be more effective in building customer relations than a presentable and expert field service representative reaching on time to resolve the issue? Optimized scheduling processes means zero chances of error—a result of excellent planning and high visibility.
Tools for Scheduling and Dispatch Process Optimization
According to a field service study, 50% FSOs still uses manual methods for scheduling and dispatch processes. While it is much easier to manage a small team on a spreadsheet, chances of errors and conflicts remain. Each of these errors are costly for business with respect to poor customer experience and lower team productivity.
Considering the effects of poor scheduling processes, many organizations, especially with large operations have switched to digital tools such as field service scheduling software. Although such tools cover a wide aspect of field service operations, there are many standalone scheduling and dispatch management tools available which are lower in cost yet have powerful to improve team efficiency.