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Companies, such as telecom service providers, cable operators, and utilities often have large field service teams. These go out to job sites or customer homes to complete necessary service and repairs.

Historically, field service units have been a giant source of waste and cost for many businesses. In addition, waiting at home for appointments is also costly to the economy on a large scale. In a single year, the cost of time spent waiting for appointments at home was $37.7 billion dollars, with the average wait for an in-home appointment topping out at four and a half hours. Clearly, businesses can do more to cut their own costs and improve customer service by improving appointment timing.

The good news: today’s advanced automation capabilities give companies better ability to manage highly-variable field dispatch functions with precision.

Many organizations with large field service operations have taken the first step of implementing appointment reminder capabilities. Some of the most advanced appointment reminder solutions offer multichannel customer outreach via phone, text, and email to remind customers of an upcoming visit by a field service technician.

For even greater results, companies need advanced pre-dispatch confirmation and cancellation solutions. These powerful technologies can provide up-to-the-minute customer appointment statuses for real-time schedule adjustments that can prevent costly no-show and no-access appointments. Pre-dispatch confirm and cancel technologies can offer breakthrough performance, trim 100 to 1000s dispatch routes a day and radically cut costs.

  • Are you a service provider with a large-scale dispatch operation?
  • Do you know how much wasted dispatches cost you and how much you can save with improved technologies?

Read on to learn more and join the discussion in the space below.

Field Service is Often a Company’s Weakest Link

Field service is a major expense for many companies. If the function is mismanaged, diminished customer satisfaction and increased costs are common results.

There are several reasons why field dispatch may be company’s weakest link:

  • Decentralization – Field service divisions may operate a distinct business in their local geography, with limited input and oversight from headquarters. Consequently, field service departments may not have access to the latest company best practices. In addition, companies may find it difficult to collect and analyze data on field service teams’ performance, thus limiting ability to recommend improvements.
  • Increasing Workloads – As companies have answered customers’ demands for broader offerings and more personalized service, they have increased the workload for field service teams. Many field service units face pressures to do more without adding to their headcount.
  • Resistance to Change – Some companies’ field service teams may be skeptical of process improvements or new technologies originating at a corporate office. In some cases, the complexity of new technology may be a barrier for some workers, who may need to overcome skill gaps to adopt new technologies.

A Mindset Shift: From Independence to Service

Another reason that field service divisions may be inefficient is that they have traditionally been very autonomous. Many field service workers are attracted to their roles because they provide more freedom of movement than a desk job. Field service workers may have the perception that they can manage their own daily schedules, as long as they meet a minimum quota of appointments, repairs, or other activities.

In fact, one study of field technicians revealed that 92 percent claimed that independence was the best aspect of their position. However, in that same survey, 91 percent of surveyed field technicians said that they supported the goal of improving customer service. For companies to achieve measurable customer service improvements, they will need to shift the mindsets of their field service forces to help them accept limitations on their personal autonomy and to channel their focus in to providing better service to customers.

A Huge Cost Burden

Sending a technician out to a site can be very expensive. General estimates suggest that a single truck roll can cost from $200 to $2,000 – with variations by industry and type of business. Every time a company dispatches a technician to a site where he or she cannot gain access to required areas to perform their required work is an unnecessary expense.

Wasted or duplicate truck rolls can add up quickly across large-scale field service operations and do damage to a company’s bottom line.

Optimizing Field Service with Pre-Dispatch Confirmation and Cancellation Technologies

Today’s service providers have opportunities to instill dramatic field dispatch improvements. These organizations must go beyond generic appointment reminder capabilities, which may place a single phone call the day before a scheduled field service visit. Implementing robust pre-dispatch cancellation and confirmation technologies is a key to precise dispatch accuracy, lower costs, and happier customers.

Modern appointment reminder technologies may have built-in confirm, cancel, and transfer functions. However, even with  upgraded appointment reminder functionalities, companies often only achieve 60% dispatch accuracy. That translates to 40% of avoidable wasted truck rolls and thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs.

Advanced pre-dispatch cancellation and confirmation technologies go beyond a single reminder call to provide multiple strategies to reach customer before a truck roll. They offer flexibility to contact customers across multiple channels and can dynamically adjust the timing and sequence of communications to gain accurate appointment statuses from customers. In addition, powerful confirm and cancel solutions can adapt messages based on individual customer profiles to factor in their current confirmation status and any history of missed appointments.

The best solutions take pre-dispatch confirm and cancel processes even further by integrating with workforce management solutions. That way, field service operations can achieve dynamic dispatch adjustments using up-to-the-minute customer appointment statuses to get the right technician to the right location at the right time.

Getting it Right with Sky Creek

At SkyCreek, we have 20+ of exclusive focus in innovating customer contact technologies to improve front-line customer service. Our solutions are in place at some of the largest companies in North America.

We manage more than 1.5 million dispatches each month for major North American service providers with national-footprint field service operations.

With our pre-dispatch confirmation and cancel technologies, many service companies can eliminate a minimum of 100 routes per day from their field service operations. We have delivered proven results for companies, including:

  • Helping one service provider eliminate 1,000 routes per day at a regional level and tens of thousands at a national level
  • Empowering an electric and gas utility to achieve a 20X return on can’t get in (CGI) field service access situations while maintaining a 93% customer contact rate

Our pre-dispatch cancellation and confirmation technologies go far beyond out-of-the-box solutions to offer fully-customizable solutions that can adapt to every businesses’ unique needs.

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    Engage with Us

    We are always grateful to learn from the real-world experiences of field service experts:

  • What do you see as the biggest challenges in optimizing field dispatch operations?
  • Have you seen customer loyalty benefits from improving field service functions?

Share your thoughts with us in the space below. We look forward to hearing from you.