When it comes to job scheduling problems, is there ever such a thing as a good problem?
Yes: but only if there’s a solution!
Let’s see if the following problems in this scenario sound familiar:
Your staff struggle withdouble data entry, using multiple applications to log customer data and track their diaries. This slows them down where—try as they might—they’re unable to consistently deliver the best customer service. That’s because they feel the pressure to move to the next task and are unable to give every customer the time and attention they should get.
Of course, this leads to negative customer experiences and means that potential jobs either don’t get booked, or drag on. This can mean that engineers in the field take a long time to get from Job A to Job B, and so miss out on what could have been Job C!
This can becomefrustrating for your engineers, and even lead to expensive overtime. What’s more likely, though, is that you will miss opportunities and even lose revenue for your troubles.
At this point, you may realise it’s not necessarily the volume of work that’s the issue, it’s the processes you have in place.
This can lead to the following problems:
#1: Double data entry
#2: Unintuitive admin processes
#3: Negative customer journeys
#4: Frustrating experiences for your engineers
#5: Loss of income
You might be thinking that if you had the time, you could easily plan out everyone’s diaries and carry out more work with less stress. But that’s the thing with bad processes: tasks will always take up more time than they should.
However, with the right tools, you can not only save time but ensure you’re using time more efficiently to take care of other important tasks, too.
Much like dominos, if the overriding problem goes unresolved, it can have a devastating cascading effect throughout your entire business. That can be difficult to stop and will lead to the five job scheduling problems we’ve highlighted above.
So, below, let’s explore what you can do to fix them.
Getting to the root of the job management problem.
An inefficient scheduling strategy is often the root cause of these problems. If you’re reading this, you’re likely finding that job scheduling has become a constant battle. It’s like there are never enough hours in the day to get all your jobs booked in!
This is arguably a “good problem” to have, though.
It means your business is popular enough that people want to work with you, but the issue is that you’re held back from making it happen…
Let’s look in more detail at how automated scheduling, in particular, can help.
How do you spot the “good” problem?
True, sometimes, these problems aren’t always easy to spot.
Generally speaking, it can feel really good to keep busy. And if you’re booking jobs and making money as a result, you may even wonder if there is a problem?
“Sure, it was a busy day,” you might say, “but look at all the work we did!”
The reality, however, is that before long, the positivity bubble could (and likely will) burst. Not to mention that with all that time spent on booking jobs, you may never quite be sure if you can answer nagging questions, like: “How much more work could we have done if Engineer X hadn’t spent 4 hours driving around?” or, “What if Engineer Y had gone to this job instead so Engineer Z could go here?!”
It’ll make you wonder about what work might be slipping through your fingers…
Whether it comes from your colleagues who eventually burn out, or from those frustrated customers who want to work with you, but can’t, it will help if you can take the time to develop an awareness of the issues affecting your team. From there, you can make use of tools that help you solve problems before they build up and inevitably cascade.
When do you hire more engineers?
One solution you’ve probably considered is to hire more engineers to take on the extra work. However, to do that well, you know you’d need to recruit additional staff to schedule diaries.
The problem here is that this can become a bit of a cycle. As you hire more, your employment costs mount up. This may lead you to wonder if the extra jobs are worth the effort if you’re just covering recruitment and retention costs.
The problem is only made worse when it doesn’t seem like your staff are actually working better. They’re just working more and still suffering from inefficient processes that make them get more frustrated and exhausted.
As we said, these things have a knack for taking up all of your available time, no matter how many people you’ve got working on them.
Besides, if growth continues and expanding your service area is a primary goal , then constantly hiring new staff to work in the office is only going to be a temporary solution. What your business needs are the tools to help everyone cope with the volume of work. That means it takes less time and alleviates the pressure that staff are currently feeling.
Can you deal with those job scheduling problems yourself?
If so, then it’s time to invest in a flexible tool that’s fit for a flexible workforce.
Even if you have a team of 10 engineers working 8am to 5pm, the nature of their work requires them to be flexible during the day, largely due to the demands of travelling from job to job.
On the other hand, you might also have office staff who work fewer hours under flexible working conditions. That’s especially with working from home increasing over the last year or so.
This, of course, means that not everyone is able to be on hand to reschedule diaries, respond to queries, and rearrange appointments.
For those who are, they’re not going to be able to do their jobs efficiently if they don’t have the right tools. This means they can’t work accurately or find useful data that will enable them to help your customers and your engineers in the best ways.
That’s where intelligent scheduling comes in as the solution to your good-to-have problem!
Not only will an intelligent scheduling software tool give your staff the flexibility to arrange jobs in moments, but by relying on real-time data, it gives your team the option to rapidly respond to emergency appointments. They can also reassign jobs, and give everyone the best chance of booking the right engineer, for the right job, every time.
At the same time, they can benefit from rapid and accurate data. This lets them work closely to answer customer queries in moments. That’s rather than leave them waiting on hold, or sitting for a callback, where they may end up repeating the cycle or simply hang up.
Take a look at our infographic here, to see more of what we mean!
Transform your Customer Communication Strategy:
I’m sure you’d agree that it’s always a great feeling when you can do more with your time. It means less worry waiting around, less frustration, and leads to happy customers.
You can achieve a steady income by confidently taking on extra work, all without the extra stress and expenses that come with it.
If you’d like to see how intelligent scheduling can help your team out, why not try our Intelligent Scheduling Game? You can play around to get an idea of how the system works and discover the time-saving benefits that software brings.
I'm eager to tell compelling stories and share great advice that helps field service businesses to build on their success.