How to Setup an Automated Dispatch System for Field Services

This article has been reviewed by Billy Stevens for accuracy.

Dispatching — the process of assigning technicians to a job — is an essential function of field service businesses. An ideal dispatching system enables contractors to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity, but this isn’t always possible with manual dispatch. Many contractors opt for an automated dispatch system, which streamlines this core task and weeds out inefficiencies. Discover the benefits of an automated dispatch system and how to implement one for your business.

What Is an Automated Dispatch System?

Whether it’s ensuring the right personnel make it to job sites or packages arrive on time, dispatching is important for any company offering delivery service. These businesses face increasing pressure to streamline delivery operations and enhance the customer experience. This means accelerated delivery times or, for service businesses, response times. It also involves reducing costs to operate more efficiently.

This is where automated dispatching comes in. As the name suggests, it automatically and intelligently coordinates the movement of personnel to enhance productivity with daily workflows. For example, an HVAC or plumbing business may use automated dispatch software to assign different techs to jobs based on their availability, skill level, and the job’s priority. This enables contractors to respond to service requests quickly, often boosting customer satisfaction.

Automated dispatch systems also play an important role in public safety. First responders like emergency medical services (EMS) and fire stations use computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems to check the status of personnel already in the field. This helps them determine if backup is needed to ensure the safety of employees and others at the scene.

How does this translate for other field services? Dispatch system software gives office staff supervision over what’s happening in the field. If a tech requires extra assistance or homeowners have emergency requests, they can quickly dispatch the next available tech with the necessary skills.

Tips for Setting Up an Automated Dispatch System

If there’s one thing you don’t want to get wrong when setting up your automated dispatch system, it’s choosing the wrong software. With the right software, you experience the full benefits of automated dispatching. The following are key features to consider:

Route Planning and Optimization

Automated route planning and optimization is about intelligent dispatching. For example, a fleet manager would use this function to consider the factors that influence the best route, such as customer preferences and delivery windows. It compiles key information for different datasets for more informed decision-making about routes.

For field services, route optimization may involve reviewing data like a tech’s location and capability, plus job priority. Office staff use these insights for more effective route planning.

Centralized and Customized Dispatching

For automated route planning and optimization to be possible, this dispatch center needs complete and real-time visibility of all techs and assignments. This centralizes dispatching so teams can monitor each tech’s progress with their daily workflows.

Adjustments are necessary sometimes. That’s why contractors want a system that enables customization in addition to centralization. It allows them to manually modify routes as changes occur to ensure efficiency with service delivery.

Real-Time Notifications for Customers

Automated notifications help contractors involve customers in their service delivery, boosting their experience. A lot can happen on the road. Service techs can take longer than expected with a project, vehicles can break down, and accidents may cause traffic jams. These factors are often out of a tech’s control, but an automated dispatch system makes up for these issues with real-time updates.

Automated dispatch software is often designed for mobile app compatibility. This way, techs, office staff, and customers stay connected. If a tech has an issue that may cause a service delay, they can notify the office staff. Office staff can immediately send the customer a new estimated arrival time. Or, using the route planning and optimization function, they can send the next available tech. Either way, real-time notifications keep everyone aware of changes and empower contractors to offer fast solutions.

Software Integration for Interoperability

Field service businesses typically have multiple management systems, such as accounting software or a CRM platform. Automated dispatch software that integrates with these existing systems enables greater visibility and control over many aspects of operations. It may also allow you to design custom capabilities.

Designed for Scalability

Having scalable software is crucial for small and residential contractors. Although they may only have a few techs now, they hope to experience growth. Scaling isn’t always feasible through manual dispatch processes, but an automated system grows alongside your business. As your number of techs increases, you can easily integrate into your operations using automated dispatch software.

Benefits of an Automated Dispatch System

Whether to boost last-mile deliveries at a fleet management company or reduce inefficiencies for a service business, an automated dispatch system has uses in many industries. If you’re uncertain about investing in an automated dispatch system, consider the following benefits:

  • More intelligent scheduling
  • Less manual dispatching, meaning fewer opportunities for human error
  • Better communication between key stakeholders, including internal teams and customers
  • Faster response time with fewer service delays for a better customer experience
  • More transparency so office staff and techs in the field can be on the same page

Automated Dispatching with FSM Software from Sera

Do you want to achieve greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability at your field service business? An automated dispatch system goes a long way toward streamlining business operations. While you can seek automated dispatch software, a better solution is all-in-one field service management (FSM) software.

At Sera, we offer FSM software with automated dispatching capabilities for small-to-medium-sized field service businesses like residential plumbing, HVAC, and electrical contractors. Our software features an Automated Admin Portal, which includes a Dynamic Dispatcher. This AI-powered dispatcher creates schedules based on tech capability and availability, as well as job priority. What’s more, our cost-effective and scalable pricing model is based on the number of techs you have in the field and grows as your business grows.

View our demo now to learn more about our field service software.

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