5 Tips for More Efficient Scheduling That Boosts Your Bottom Line
Increasing profitability sounds simple. It’s just a matter of raising revenue or cutting cost—or ideally both. As it turns out, accomplishing either is an impressive feat, often the farthest thing from simple.
Technology as a cost-cutting tool
In the drive for profitability, cutting costs has the benefit of being entirely within your control. Topping the list of cost-cutting projects for businesses of all sizes is back office efficiency. Gains there have a ripple effect across the organization, lowering costs and solving problems you may not have considered before.
Harvard Business Review reported that most administrative departments (particularly those with more than 20 employees) use as much as 20% of their budgets to supervise and coordinate their own activities. In particular, companies with a field service component often think of scheduling as a time and cost sink because it typically takes a great deal of labor and puts a strain on resources.
The good news is that scheduling technology can upend that equation and give you powerful tools that make your company more efficient and more profitable. Here are five tips for using scheduling technology to increase efficiency and boost your bottom line:
1. Stop using inefficient manual processes
Humans are good at some things and robots are better at others. The smart organizations today are sorting out which is which. Automation can eliminate bottle necks for time-consuming, repetitive tasks like trying to fill out the weekly schedule on paper or in an Excel spreadsheet. Too often, things get forgotten, schedules change, workers trade shifts, and redoing the schedule slows down the entire operation. There is no way to maximize resource utility that way. Each miscommunication or error comes with an equivalent dollar amount.
There’s no reason that has to happen. Market leaders in every industry are going digital and mobile, dropping their expenses and leaping ahead of the competition. Automate whatever you can in the back office to proactively avoid errors as much as possible and speed up your essential functions.
Download How To Master the Field Service Evolution to learn more about how automation and intelligent scheduling helps companies scale and prepare for long-term growth.
2. Execute professional scheduling and dispatching
Another key characteristic of business in the 21st century is that small companies are finally getting the chance to deploy many of the same labor-saving technologies as large enterprises. Mobile devices, the cloud and distributed computing have dramatically lowered costs and made businesses more agile.
Consider the process of dispatching field workers. First they must be scheduled, with finely detailed inputs on availability, skills, certification dates, customer preferences, etc. If this isn’t done correctly from the start, everything following it will be a costly waste of time and money. It’s necessary to improve your company’s ability to handle multiple jobs simultaneously, yet still be absolutely certain that you are sending the right person to the right job at the right time with the right skill set. Picture sending a contracted field worker in San Francisco to a job in LA which is 8 hours away. This, and mistakes like it, happen every day.
Following Rule No. 1 above, back-office automation of scheduling and dispatching functions is inexpensive and available to businesses of all sizes—and there’s no doubt you will see a direct impact on your bottom line.
By using a mobile platform like Skedulo, you can streamline the scheduling and dispatching process your mobile workers depend on with enterprise-grade performance levels. Not only will you see a reduction in scheduling costs, you will boost revenue by making it possible for your workers to handle more appointments. They will see real-time updates to their schedules, right on their mobile devices, so there is no confusion. By having a single platform that everyone uses, you can see if you are utilizing your mobile workforce to maximum efficiency and getting real time visibility into worker availability.
3. Join the mobile revolution
If your company operates a field organization of any size and you schedule people to perform services away from the office, you must stay in communication with them. Today’s smartphone and tablet technology enables organizations to communicate with their mobile workforce instantly, anywhere in the world.
With a mobile app, your field workers can easily accept or deny job requests, start and complete jobs, see job descriptions, collect customer signatures and take pics on the job, among other valuable tasks unique to your organization. Say goodbye to days of collecting that info on paper with clip boards, then having to manually enter that into the system when the worker returns. It can all happen in an instant when they use Skedulo.
If you aren’t leveraging smartphones that send data directly to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and back office, then competitors will pass you by. You could be increasing your operational efficiency, cutting back on wastes of time and money in data transfers. Take advantage of a technology that enables the back office and mobile workers to communicate from anywhere and make everyone’s life much easier.
4. Satisfy more customers—and satisfy customers more
Customer experience is the new battleground. A new study on the future of B2B found that “customer experience” will be first—more important that price or product—as the key differentiator among brands by 2020. Already 86% of buyers say that they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. If you are sending the wrong worker to a customer or they don’t have the information they need when they arrive, customers will look elsewhere.
Brand reputation is easily damaged and difficult to recover. Especially in industries like healthcare, customer experience is mission critical. By sending the wrong healthcare professional to the patient, or the right worker with expired credentials, you will expose your organization to unnecessary risks. We’ve all had the experience of being stuck waiting for a telecommunication worker to arrive in a 3-hour window and not being able to get any information back and forth. That kind of customer experience deserves to be left behind in the past century.
Your new solution should ensure customers have great experience and share how they feel with their friends. Say NO to time windows. Skedulo gives you to power to estimate more precisely when the customer when the worker will arrive, optimize their routing as new jobs come online, pass on important updates to the worker in the field before they arrive, be absolutely sure the right person is scheduled for each job, and prioritize the customer experience. The customer should never have to explain everything all over again when the worker arrives at their door. That alone can put you miles ahead of the competition.
5. Act on your most influential metrics
Data-driven companies are earning 20-30% more than their peers, in research by the Boston Consulting Group. To make a dramatic impact to your bottom line, you will have to constantly stay on top of your data and keep operations in pristine shape. That’s virtually impossible without a solution that enables you to track performance in every corner of your business down and intelligently transform that data into actionable reporting. Key areas of interest should include factors such as worker utilization rates and time spent per job. Get the data you need and make sure you have the capability of using the data to make better decisions.
Implement best practices with Skedulo’s intelligent scheduling platform
Skedulo is the key to activating all five of these best practices for profitability enhancement. Now your business can deploy a single mobile platform for hassle-free mobile workforce scheduling and communication, built for the field and loved by the entire team. Efficient and affordable solutions for mobile workforce scheduling helps you jettison resource-intensive manual processes and recalibrate yourself to the new speed of business.
Streamline the back office, give your field workers the lifeline they need, and set a new benchmark for excellence in customer experience. Skedulo simplifies the profitability puzzle.
Contact us to start scheduling better today!