Dispatching, the necessary management of the valuable incoming call. The phone is either ringing off the hook or during the slow times we are practically on our knees by the phone jack begging it to make a sound. We need to get our technicians out of the shop and into our perfectly wrapped service trucks to keep circulating profit. There’s no question that we need our phones to ring, but sometimes we wish we could do business without them. Since the dawn of the service age, dispatching has taken on many forms in hopes of bringing in profit and clearing the board so the dispatcher goes home happy. Most companies tend to do dispatching the following ways:
- Maintenance agreement/club members get priority on all service calls – If they’ve signed an agreement, should they get a promise from their service company of same day service?
- First Come First Serve – Sounds fair but far from profitable. You could be telling the most profitable calls, “You just have to wait.” If I know one thing for sure, money doesn’t wait. Money will go somewhere else.
- Block Scheduling – This can be effective to clear a board, but causes chaos when running behind.
- Giving all the power to your Dispatcher – If you were to ask your dispatcher, “What’s the main goal of your job?” Their answer would be, “To clear the board!” A statement like that is about as profitable as someone paying $100,000 in tuition to go to Harvard and saying their main goal is to graduate! A college students main goal should be to get a job. And your dispatchers main goal and job should be to make the company profitable.
These ways are not necessarily wrong, but are not always right either. Have you ever wondered how much power your dispatcher really has? The various ways have proved for some companies to be the most suitable, but is there a better way? A form of dispatching that puts the man on the money from the start. I suggest that instead of picking from the above 1, 2, 3 of dispatching formulas, you simply start with this…asking the right questions from the get go. Determine from the beginning of the call what priority is. Does this work every single time? No. But when we fail to do some preliminary investigating, we fail to diagnose whether there’s money to be spent and priority service to be given. Start by asking the following questions.
- Do they live in your priority neighborhoods?
- How many systems does their home or business have?
- How old are their systems?
- Is the home 20 years or older?
- Are they a referral from one of your priority customers?
Most contractors equip their dispatchers and CSR’s to handle objections and questions that may come their way, but are we arming them with the right questions to ask? Are we taking control of the call or allowing the customer to call the shots in regards to our time and our money? Ask those power questions, change the game from the first ring.