By Devon Drennan on June 11, 2015
If you own or operate an HVAC business, you know how important dispatching is to your company. You know that a carefully planned schedule means your workers show up to each job site on time, which in turn makes for happy customers. You know carefully mapped out routes can help you save both gas and time.
And you know dispatching for an HVAC service company comes down to communication, to telling your field techs:
A huge question for HVAC companies competing in a crowded marketplace is: How do I streamline my dispatching process? The answer, increasingly, is through mobile apps and automation. Mobile apps can help you communicate all three of the factors listed above faster and more accurately. By shifting some of the responsibility for route planning and communicating with techs in the field onto automated software processes, you can empower your dispatcher to focus on the most important part of his or her job: high-quality, sales-oriented telephone or email interactions with your customers.
What areas of your HVAC operation can benefit from moving to a mobile platform for dispatching?
Just how big is the time window of arrival that you typically give your customers? About four hours (between 8 a.m. and noon, for example) has long been the norm, but many HVAC and other field service businesses are starting to narrow the window, partly in response to increasingly busy schedules of customers, who can’t spend four hours waiting for a tech to show up. Those businesses that can narrow the window have an opportunity to gain an edge over the competition and deliver better customer service. How can you shrink the time window? Use a software-based dispatch platform tied to mobile apps used by your techs in the field. Mobile apps can tell you where your techs are, what they’re doing, how long they’ll be there, and — perhaps most importantly from the customer standpoint — when they’re likely to arrive at the next job.
Mapping for Profit
A mapping application can help you streamline your routes, making sure your techs drive the shortest distance possible, and burn as little gas as possible. The app can do the simple work of lining up routine jobs linearly, leaving your human dispatcher more time to focus on the customer and put out fires.
Parts and Service: Timing It Right
Getting your techs to the job site in an efficient manner is really only half the challenge — they also have to have the right materials when they get there. Coordinating service and parts can get complicated, and is one of the most common bottlenecks in any field service business. A dispatching application can help you align and consolidate your inventory with your service calls to speed up production and prevent delays.
Put Your Data to Work
Even if your dispatching process currently relies on paper forms, phone calls, and text, you are already gathering all sorts of data about your operations — but deploying a system of dispatching mobile apps can have the added effect of giving you control over all that data. You could track whether your techs are meeting expectations for numbers of jobs completed, times needed for certain types of jobs, or travel distances. Having the data digitally means you can track metrics more effectively over time, giving you, in the long run, a clearer picture of how your business is working.
Want to learn more about how a mobile dispatching platform could help you automatically assign routine jobs to the field, and even automatically map and prioritize work based on type and size of jobs, cost, travel time, or field resource skills? Check out Canvas’ Dispatch application and explore our broad selection of HVAC mobile business apps.