7 Tips for Scheduling Service Calls
Imagine if all of your engineers were able to comfortably manage one more call each day – think what impact this could have on productivity and profit!
And what if we told you that this is perfectly feasible simply by improving your scheduling? It’s all about optimising your engineers’ time out in the field and this relies on efficient and effective scheduling of calls.
It sounds simple, but there’s a lot more to scheduling than meets the eye. Optimal scheduling requires a great deal of planning and expertise. It’s a challenging task where a whole host of service requirements need careful consideration. The good news – there are no great secrets to scheduling. But there is an art to it. Our 7 top tips will help you to improve workflow and show you how to schedule service calls like a pro:
Alternatively, visit our job scheduling software page directly to find out how Joblogic can provide you with 100% visibility of your team’s workload and upcoming service calls.
1. Evaluate Capacity and Understand Skillsets
It’s important to understand the skills and availability of your team prior to scheduling service calls. You can’t do a good job of scheduling if you don’t have a clear picture of the resources you have.
Most field service management businesses offer a variety of services and hire people with different skillsets. Typically, employees include:
- Full-time field staff
- Part-time engineers
- Sales specialists
Employees in charge of scheduling should have sufficient training to understand the mobile workforce and their roles. This will help them to assign work orders and dispatch engineers in the most effective way. More complex jobs will, for example, need specialist skills. Effective training can also be optimised by pairing trainees with experienced engineers on specific jobs. Schedulers must have some insight into training needs to ensure this happens.
2. Plan Schedules Ahead
Well-organised schedules provide your team with a detailed workload over a month in advance. This not only gives your engineers important insight into future jobs, but also helps to prevent tasks being missed, minimises scheduling conflicts and ensures staff holidays are taken into account.
You may think advanced planning in this way is a waste of time – especially if some of the jobs will be rescheduled anyway. But mapping out future jobs helps with inventory and ensures no one is booked for a job they aren’t qualified for. Consider auditing past months to enable more accurate planning of future schedules. Always set a bare minimum baseline for the maintenance staff you will need. To make things run smoother, you might want to consider job calendar software to eliminate any errors going forward and ensure all jobs are scheduled appropriately.
3. Sort Incoming Service Calls
Optimising schedules isn’t just about making sure maintenance teams stay busy. It also supports staff to work as efficiently as possible. Appropriately matching engineers out in the field with jobs according to the location they are in will cut down fuel costs and travel time.
Jobs should be scheduled to engineers based on their trade and location. Then, any unallocated jobs can be assigned to the nearest available engineer. Some software scheduling packages, such as Joblogic’s, offer integrated GPS tracking, so it can also determine the best route for engineers in real-time. This is invaluable in ensuring engineers are never late to work appointments, and it saves valuable fuel costs by limiting the miles engineers have to travel.
4. Favour the Mornings in Your Advanced Service Scheduling
If your business offers emergency services, it’s vital that you have the required resources available to respond quickly to customers’ urgent issues. Many businesses manage this by aiming to schedule all known appointments in the mornings to free up afternoons for emergency appointments.
This method of scheduling may not be possible for some businesses. But for those that aim to dispatch for profit this can help to greatly increase the number of jobs completed on a daily basis.
5. Listen to Your Engineers and Schedulers
A vital part of providing an effective and reliable service is retaining talent. Having to deal with a high volume of engineers who may have other commitments makes field service scheduling tricky. To keep your workforce happy and provide effective management, it’s vital you ensure that your work policies are consistent and fair to all of your employees. If your current method of service job scheduling often leaves both employees and customers frustrated, now would be a good time to reconsider your scheduling operation.
Promoting a positive work culture requires adaptable management. It is important to be aware of your employees’ attitudes and feelings and respond appropriately. Firstly, employees who know they are heard are more engaged and productive. Secondly, you can learn a lot about how to improve workflow from those on the ground. A positive listening culture will ensure you maintain loyalty and improve engagement and efficiency.
6. Choose the Right Field Service Management Software
Scheduling software will make your job far easier, as whiteboards, spreadsheets and job sheets in Word will become a thing of the past. A good field management software will always include a decent scheduling feature, as well as contact management, sales marketing and customer support, so you don’t need a separate system to schedule calls. There are a few basic things to consider when choosing such software. Ultimately, you want the scheduling element of your CRM or field management software to ensure a productive daily schedule for your team.
Find one where you are able to create a job, choose a customer and assign it to an engineer in just a couple of clicks. Service call booking software should be easy for users to understand and navigate. This gives your field service schedulers the confidence to dispatch work quickly, increasing the productivity of your engineers. Other important features should include the ability to:
- Schedule jobs as either one-off visits or as recurring contracts
- Organise multiple visits for multiple clients simultaneously
- View calendars with job filters and colour coding
- Order your jobs by status, such as ‘unscheduled’, ‘overdue’, ‘upcoming’ or ‘completed’
7. Use an Engineering Scheduling Calendar
Scheduling software like Joblogic includes a user-friendly engineer scheduling calendar. This enables schedulers to view the calendar by day, by week, or several months in advance. Dispatchers can categorise and add notes to scheduled jobs, as well as view an engineer’s location in real-time. Being able to view this information in an instant on one user-friendly dashboard enables the scheduler to plan the most efficient routes for engineers and match the most suitable engineer to specific tasks. Joblogic is a scheduler’s dream.
To learn more about Joblogic and how to schedule service calls with our software, book a free demo with us today. Our specialised team of trainers will be happy to guide you through our job management software and illustrate how it can enhance your business.