What is Job Scheduling Software? The Beginner's Guide

November 18, 2021

Workforce scheduling and optimisation are critical elements of any field service company. They ensure that your operations are running smoothly and that you are making the most of your engineers' time.

But, organisations that fail to modernise and adopt technology to maximise their job scheduling efficiency now risk becoming obsolete. With a staggering 89% of customers preferring an 'Uber-like' service for tracking technician arrivals, traditional methods of managing your schedule aren't going to delight your customers and keep them coming back in the future.

Thankfully, the latest job scheduling software eliminates the headaches associated with creating an efficient workflow and automates the entire process, impressing customers and freeing up your back-office staff's time simultaneously.

Read on to learn more about what field service job scheduling software is, why it's important and how it can benefit your business.

What is Job Scheduling Software and Why is it Important?

Workforce scheduling involves planning each field workers' day to manage the workload within your business. However, 25% of companies currently use spreadsheets and manual data entry to create their schedules. The remainder relies on whiteboards and other inefficient, error-prone processes.

Unfortunately, traditional methods of scheduling jobs aren't going to cut it in the modern world. Customers are used to seamless, convenient experiences that spreadsheets, paper-based documents and legacy systems cannot provide.

Picture this: a customer calls your back-office team, asking to make an appointment for Wednesday at 3pm. Your employee makes a note of it and assigns Sasha to the booking in the spreadsheet.

But they don't notice that they've made a typo and put 4pm instead. In the meantime, another team member has received a call for Wednesday at 3pm, and they assign Sasha to it, not realising that she is supposed to be in another location at that time.

On Wednesday, Sasha receives her schedule and begins the day. At 3pm, she attends the booking on her sheet. However, about ten minutes into the job, she receives a call from a back-office team member who wants to know why she didn't show up to an appointment.

After some back and forth, your team finally concludes that there's been a scheduling error. Only problem is, your employees now face the dilemma of either letting one customer down and rescheduling or trying to find an engineer who can visit the customer at the last minute.

Not only is a poorly managed schedule inconvenient for staff and customers alike, but it can be costly and destroy your reputation in the process.

That's where field service job scheduling software and job sheet system comes in.

Using intelligent scheduling technology, you can ensure that you always have the right resources in the right places.

Customers can book and reschedule their appointments directly via an easy-to-use online portal. Your back-office team can then use the customers' booking information to schedule and dispatch workers without needing to worry about the potential for human error.

The intelligent scheduling software is designed to account for traffic information, worker location and skill set, availability, and job constraints, so you know that you're assigning the best person for the job.

The 5 Top Benefits of Using Field Service Job Scheduling Software

Here are the top five benefits your business could experience by adopting field service job scheduling software:

1. Optimised Routes Between Customer Bookings

A large portion of a field engineer's working day is spent on the roads, travelling between customers. In addition to long journeys being extremely pricey, especially since petrol prices in the UK have skyrocketed to an eight-year high, they also take up a large chunk of time that could be better spent attending to customers.

Using traditional job scheduling methods doesn't provide you with the complete visibility you need to plan routes in the most efficient way. If you can't see who's working for you on what day and where, how can you ensure that you're keeping time on the road to a minimum?

Instead, with state-of-the-art job scheduling software, you can use real-time data to assign appropriately skilled workers to jobs, accounting for location, traffic information, job constraints and vehicle type.

The inbuilt intelligent scheduling assistant enables you to optimise the travel distance of hundreds of jobs at the touch of a button, slashing both time and cost of each journey. In fact, you'll be able to see the 'cost to serve' each customer directly on the system so you can factor it into your future budgets.

By optimising each technician's journey, they'll have more time than ever before to attend additional bookings and focus on doing what they do best.

2. Better First-Time Fix Rates

Did you know that companies with a first-time fix rate of over 70% enjoy an 86% customer retention rate? Conversely, those with a rate under 70% only manage to retain 76% of customers, which is a 10% reduction. Consequently, completing jobs the first time is paramount to run a successful business.

Still, businesses continue to risk banking on spreadsheets, paper-based documents and legacy systems to manage their scheduling effectively. Although traditional methods may have worked in the past, customer expectations are constantly becoming more demanding, and people don't want the inconvenience of needing to book more than one appointment.

Luckily, thanks to modern job scheduling technology, you can dramatically improve your first-time fix rates and impress customers simultaneously.

Your back-office team can use real-time data to assign skilled resources, equipment and assets such as vehicles directly to a booking. By ensuring that your technicians have the right skills for the job and are armed with the correct gear each time, they are far more likely to complete the project on the same day.

When you use technology to streamline your processes, you can rest assured that everyone on the team can do their jobs effectively and satisfy your customers. Ousting repeat visits will also free up more time for your technicians to complete more visits each day and boost your bottom line further.

3. A More Motivated Team

It's no secret that manual administration processes can be time-consuming. In reality, workers say they spend around two hours every day on admin instead of focusing on more business-critical tasks.

Aside from taking up your team's precious time, arduous, repetitive work can obliterate employee morale and cause productivity to hit an all-time low. The worst part is that when your staff aren't engaged in their work, the margin for error increases exponentially.

As such, you may find that there are more missed appointments, delays and scheduling clashes, which bruises your company's reputation and costs you in the long run.

In contrast, field service job scheduling software is designed to streamline processes and eliminate the repetitive nature of administration work. Your back-office team can schedule and dispatch workers based on their location, availability, vehicle type, and skill set at the touch of a button.

For maximum productivity, you could use a platform that incorporates a CRM. For example, BigChange's complete Job Management Platform enables your team to pull customer information directly into bookings, reducing the room for mistakes. Plus, the system updates live so your team can't inadvertently book your technicians to be in multiple places at once.

With your team needing to spend less time on monotonous tasks, you'll find that their motivation levels will rise, and they'll have more opportunities to work on jobs that directly contribute to business growth.

4. Ability to Mitigate and Respond to Emergencies

Over half (56%) of field service professionals say that their customers are demanding faster response times. Therefore, you must have the means to act rapidly, regardless of the situation.

Let's imagine that a customer's pipe bursts in the only bathroom in their house. They call your back-office team to see if you can send a plumber over as soon as possible. Sadly, your employee cannot get hold of an engineer because they're all busy and aren't answering their phones.

As a result, the employee can't schedule someone to get there soon, and they have to decline the job, meaning the customer goes to your competitor instead.

Fortunately, frustrating scenarios like the above are entirely avoidable with field service job scheduling software such as BigChange. Communication with technicians is straightforward as they all have access to an app that provides them with all the information they need to know in real-time — no more missed calls or text messages.

Additionally, your back-office team can use GPS tracking and live data to see which engineers are nearby. As a result, they can rapidly allocate resources to emergency call-outs and ensure that no bookings are left unattended.

Because your company can respond so speedily to emergency requests, you can mitigate a host of expensive issues and impress your customers, meaning they'll be more inclined to use your services again in the future.

5. Guarantees Compliance

In addition to keeping your customers happy, a large part of running a field service business involves taking measures to protect your workers' health and safety and ensuring that you follow industry regulations.

When you don't have complete visibility over your workers, guaranteeing that you're running your operations compliantly becomes a near-impossible task. Nevertheless, if your business is found to be in breach of specific regulations, you could be hit with severe financial and reputational damage.

The good news is, with a suitable job scheduling software such as BigChange in place, compliance worries can become a thing of the past.

BigChange records all actions in the system for a detailed audit trail, from engineers' time spent on the road to timesheets and jobs completed. Subsequently, you can ensure that your field engineers are working within legal hours and that you've paid them the right amount for the work they've completed.

Additionally, your back-office team can create workflows to assign to each scheduled job. The workflows are mandatory and ensure that the technician has carried out appropriate health and safety measures, such as conducting a risk assessment before starting the project.

Once the work is complete, they can capture photos and signatures from their mobile devices to ensure that the work is compliant and meets industry standards. The system instantly assigns every piece of information your technicians capture to the scheduled job, so you have a complete record to look back on should you need to in the future.

Make the Switch to Intelligent Scheduling with BigChange

BigChange is the complete Job Management Platform that’s helping field service businesses across the UK to win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bringing together customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling, live tracking, field resource management, financial management, business intelligence into one simple to use and easy to integrate platform your business can run on.

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a freedemo today.

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