It is a typical working day. James, an irrigation service worker, has a work order for 11:00 am. He travels to the customer’s location on time. While doing his job at 11:30 am, the back-office team calls James and tells him he had another irrigation service at 12:00 pm.
The new location is miles away, and he has to travel for at least half an hour to get there.
James has to complete eight services a day. His schedules are already tight.
But, such spur-of-the-moment scheduling is frustrating for him and forces him to work overtime—not to mention the delays because of traffic.
The customer for another work order keeps calling the back office — asking when the irrigation service worker will arrive.
No dispatcher can completely plan the day’s service needs. But in this case, we see everyone being inconvenienced, employees, customers, and dispatchers alike.
The dispatcher understood that scheduling without the right tools is a time-consuming process prone to errors, and it does not meet their customers’ expectations.
If you find yourself making mistakes when manually scheduling jobs, then it is time to optimize your scheduling process.
Before we jump into how the field service management software can optimize scheduling, we need to understand how it harms your scheduling efficiency and ability to grow as a business.
How poor scheduling impacts your business
Without the right worker assigned for the right job, at the right time, scheduling and dispatching would not run smoothly. Poor scheduling can cause chaos that can impact your business’ bottom line.
The impact of poor scheduling can be far-reaching. It is often overlooked. In this section will explore how poor scheduling impacts your irrigation service business.
Delay in service delivery
Without an appropriate tool to handle scheduling, managing a large workforce properly is complicated. You need to take into account things such as skillset, availability, and the location of your workers to avoid risking costly mistakes like assigning the wrong technician to a job.
Missed appointments and double-booked jobs can cause delays in service and lead to poor customer experiences. Customers forced to wait on appointments will seek out your competitors for more reliable and timely service. Loss of customers—and your reputation—can quickly snowball, causing serious harm to your business’ revenue.
A workers’ day can get hectic when they are assigned two jobs with overlapping time slots. When a worker is assigned to work on two different jobs too close together, they don’t have enough time to complete either task without being forced to rush. Such practices will invariably lead to lower-quality work and increase the chances of having dissatisfied customers.
Your field service team needs to juggle between different customers’ locations. It may cause confusion and frustration among field service technicians. They would need more time to finish tasks efficiently as they are already worried about lack of time. On top of that, technicians not showing up on time can make customers frustrated and unhappy —creating a bad impression of your service.
Poor scheduling can have a detrimental effect on the bottom line of your irrigation service company. Inefficient scheduling leads to workers traveling long distances and working more hours than necessary in order to meet customer demands and catch up on missed calls. Longer travel times mean higher fuel costs and the extra cost of paying workers for overtime.
Poor scheduling has a real economic impact on your company. Employees sent to the wrong location waste additional time and resources. Excessive overtime increases labor costs, further impacting profitability. All of this adds up to an increase in overall field service costs, which can strain a business’ revenue.
Poor customer service
Poor scheduling causes customer dissatisfaction. Customers will be dissatisfied if their appointment time has been changed—forcing them to wait longer than expected. If this happens more than once, their frustration is only compounded, and their inconvenience will be reflected in how they talk about you.
Missed appointments and long ETAs leave customers with a bad taste in their mouths and a negative impression of your business. Customers who with negative experiences leave negative reviews, damaging your reputation. Losing them to a competitor offering a better experience happens next.
And why would they stay? If they can get a more reliable and timely service from another company, it will impact your revenue.
How Field Service Management Software Can Help with Assisted Scheduling to Improve Efficiency
The real challenge is how much time is saved and how efficiently these scheduling and dispatching processes can be improved. Field service management software provides a solution by assisting dispatchers in simplifying and optimizing the scheduling process. Your dispatchers can use the scheduling module to create work orders by simply converting service requests from any source.
You may have limited dispatchers, but with an automated scheduling process, your business can find the worker with the right skill set to schedule the service call. With field service management software, dispatchers can use automated time slot booking based on criteria such as worker’s skills, location proximity, and availability.
With accurate GPS-enabled real-time information, dispatchers can find the most efficient route to the work site and assign it along with the job. Through route optimization, workers can start working on jobs that are on the same route. Based on the customer’s priority, dispatchers can easily book an appointment that will allow a worker to arrive at the customer’s location on time.
Dispatchers can make better use of resources by using scheduling and dispacing functions and assigning the right workers to the correct jobs. Workers can get access to their schedules in advance through their mobile app itself.
They can prepare themselves for the job with the necessary tools and equipment to deliver a superior customer experience. Also, they can adjust their each job working schedule with slack time and traffic wait times.
Customers may cancel their jobs by calling the back office. The cancellation can disrupt planned workflow and cause confusion among dispatchers. The field service dispatcher needs to adjust the schedules, reassign resources, or allocate time for other jobs.
With field service management software, assigned workers can be pulled from canceled jobs and reassigned to work on another job. Workers scheduled for one job can be reassigned, allowing a more experienced tech to run it in their place.
What to look for in an irrigation management software
When looking for field service management software, there may be plenty of solutions available to help optimize your business operations. But, as an irrigation service provider, you may have unique business needs. Here are the features you should look for in your irrigation management company’s field service management software.
Automated irrigation scheduling
Scheduling and dispatching jobs to workers is a key part of the process. A good field service management software should be able to schedule jobs based on a customer’s priority and the current availability of workers. The software solution that you adopt should be able to automatically assign jobs appropriately and dispatch workers in a way that makes sense.
With geo-location dispatchers using your field service management software, you should be able to assign technicians to each customer’s work order based on proximity. With this assisted scheduling process, dispatchers don’t need to worry about time-consuming and inaccurate job assignments.
Real-time visibility over-irrigation service workers
You can get real-time visibility over workers when considering field service management software. With that, your business can precisely view and manage workers’ jobs in real-time.
It can speed up the response time for ad-hoc service requests and help strengthen your reputation with customers. Accurate and timely service completion improves customer satisfaction and allows field service managers to analyze workers’ performance.
Estimate and invoice management
With comprehensive field service management software, you will be able to send accurate estimates instantly and convert them into invoices for your customers when requested. Look for field service management software that digitizes the entire estimate and invoicing process.
Field service management software should also be able to integrate with your accounting systems, allowing you to quickly access and sync data in both systems. Also, it should have multiple payment options, such as consumer financing options, to make payments easier for customers.
Mobile field service app
Having a mobile field service app for irrigation workers makes their life better. They can punch in and out with a remote timesheet while at the customer’s location. They can easily view customer details, send invoice links, and accept payment links, all with a mobile app.
It should also be GPS-enabled, so the back-office team and customers can stay in the loop with real-time location updates. Being able to save job-related notes and associate them appropriately for future reference is another useful feature.
Having flexible field service management software with integrations can be a huge advantage to your business operations. Your business’ various systems must connect to avoid data redundancy and manual efforts.
A flexible field service management software package should be able to integrate with all your business and productivity applications to make all data available on the same page. Look for customizable field service management software that is flexible enough to integrate with all your systems for more optimized efficiency and accuracy.
Scheduling jobs may seem tiresome, but it is necessary if revenue is to be maintained or improved. Delays in service and overlaps in scheduling will lead to poor customer satisfaction and hurt the reputation of your business. The key to efficient dispatching is providing the right tools for the job. With customizable and flexible field service management software like Zuper, dispatchers can easily manage service requests, schedule jobs, and assign irrigation service workers.
Leverage the field service management technology to optimize and streamline the scheduling process and unlock new business opportunities. Book a personalized demo and see how Zuper is the perfect field service management for your irrigation management business