When Scheduling Service Calls Are Hit Or Miss
We have seen the ads. A service company promises to be there within a certain time limit or so much is taken off the bill. It is a good incentive, especially for the customer who needs immediate service. I am guessing that is a scheduled time. No one can anticipate that a service person would be available at the customer's beckoning call. Some companies narrow it down to mornings or afternoons. Some go further by scheduling within a time frame of an exact hour or two. "We can have a tech out there between 2 pm and 4 pm." But when the schedule is full for the day, there's always a technician who needs a part, or the job is going to take longer than expected. This throws off the remaining schedule for this technician unless another one finishes their service call earlier. But, by putting this tech in that time slot going to mess up the remaining schedule for the day? Then there is always the proverbial, "I only want Joe to service my system." and " I took off work to be here." All this is happening while you try to keep your field personnel scheduled in the same area as much as possible. If you total all your calls for a month, how many calls do you think your field personnel arrived in the time frame they were scheduled for? If you say 95% or less, you are not maximizing your workforce potential. In other words, some calls or projects are being pushed into the next day or rescheduled for a later date. Scheduling can be chaotic at times. I've seen many companies try and combat this problem by sending out a "diagnostic" technician with a follow-up technician to complete the call. This worked until the customers start to get frustrated with having to wait until the second tech showed up to finish the job. What if the first technician misdiagnosed the problem? I never believed in having two technicians working on the same service call. Even on call backs, I like the same technician to try and fix the problem instead of someone else going behind them. We all make mistakes. We can only learn by correcting them. So, what can service companies do to get the maximum time out of each of their field personnel? There are some successful programs, but each has to be tailored to your business. What might work for others might not work for your organization. For example, I've seen companies "float" apprentices. This means that they use under-experienced field personnel to assist in completing a project on time. It could be getting the tech a part or helping with major repairs. They are used to finish a project, so the technician can get to their next call on time. Another example is ranking technicians on their experience. This means that they are only scheduled for projects that they are competent in repairing or installing. These a just a few examples, but the one thing they all have in common? They all have service management software installed on their computers. The programs can take the stress out of scheduling, dispatching, invoicing and much more. If your service company is growing, or even if it is time to get out from behind using old methods; upgrade your computers to start using service management programs. However you run your service company, there are field management programs that can be tailored to your business model.