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What is Service Scheduling Software?

Service scheduling is the process that helps streamline service orders to the right personnel at the right time.

Whether you’re scheduling intra-day maintenance or automating scheduling with preventive maintenance and planned installations that may be subject to a service level agreement (SLA), getting service scheduling right is critical to optimizing your field service costs and resources, while delivering seamless field service experiences.

Workforce optimization

Using service scheduling software makes it possible to optimize your workforce resources, sending the right types of requests to the right technician, at the right time. For scheduled maintenance or when an installation is needed, operations managers can determine the schedule in advance.

Intra-day scheduling

Service scheduling streamlines intra-day scheduling when the pre-determined schedule is delayed. For example, service scheduling can help when emergencies, cancellations, transportation complications, or a sick employee necessitate a scheduling change. Even completing a job early could lead to a scheduling change. Service scheduling streamlines these changes, allowing companies to be nimble and deliver seamless field experiences to their customers.

Smart maintenance schedules

Service scheduling can also be leveraged to optimize maintenance schedules as well. Managers can schedule preventive maintenance where there’s more flexibility. Regular and routine maintenance is critical to preventing customer downtime and unexpected equipment failure, so being able to account for this with service scheduling is critical.

Optimal Support

Using service scheduling software helps make it possible to send the right technician, with the appropriate skills and parts, on the most optimized route, at the right time for the customer. Field Service Management (or FSM) software is used to schedule work orders, installations, and other services. Field service software also can provide time-tracking and job scheduling to coordinate requests for services. Service scheduling is part of field service management technology and provides better experiences for companies and customers.
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There are many moving parts in service management, and there are many needs to be met within a company and in its services. Service scheduling is uniquely positioned to address many service needs and to help ensure the smooth movement of many facets of a service. Some of the critical KPIs that service scheduling addresses includes:  
Graphic outlining service scheduling KPIs

First time fix rate

Fixing something the first time a technician engages with a customer, whether in person or remotely, is vital to maintaining a high customer satisfaction score and retaining customers. Research has shown that effective service scheduling can improve the first-time fix rate by enabling technicians to consistently arrive on site with the necessary skills, parts, and equipment to complete the job. By optimizing the scheduling process, companies can reduce the need for multiple visits and improve customer satisfaction.

Speed to resolution

Effective service scheduling can improve speed to resolution by ensuring that the right technician is dispatched to the job, with the right skills and equipment. Research has shown that companies that use automated scheduling tools can reduce the time it takes to resolve customer issues by as much as 50%, freeing up a significant amount of time to accomplish more tasks.

Speed to dispatch

Properly applied, service scheduling can improve the speed to dispatch by optimizing the scheduling process and enabling companies to respond immediately to customer requests. Companies that use automated scheduling tools can reduce the time it takes to dispatch a technician by up to 80%.

Travel costs

Travel costs can be a major expense for field-service companies. By optimizing the scheduling process, businesses can eliminate unnecessary trips and optimize routes to address multiple assignments at once—reducing travel costs by up to 20%. More efficient route planning also helps cut down on company emissions, helping organizations reach their ESG goals.

Technician productivity

Service scheduling can improve technician productivity by up to 25%, optimizing the scheduling process and enabling technicians to complete more jobs in less time. Likewise, effective scheduling places greater focus on job preparation, giving agents advanced notification for tasks that may require additional study or knowledge transfer. And because scheduling optimizes travel time, in-field agents can spend more of their day on the job completing high-impact projects and solving problems—improving their job satisfaction in the process.

Overall, service scheduling provides a way for companies to address service needs and provide high quality and efficient services for customers. These key needs are important when providing services, and service scheduling software is a way for companies to address them and improve these KPIs (key performance indicators).

Service scheduling is about having the right person at the right time. But to do that, managers need to take these key factors into consideration:

  • Shifts
    Ensuring that the right personnel are performing services is a key factor of efficient scheduling. Managers will need to manage shifts to have the right personnel present for services and on shift when they are needed. If an emergency occurs, managers need to be able to find personnel who are able to cover a shift as well.
  • Skills, using skills matrices
    Managing skill sets is important for service scheduling. The technicians with the right skills need to be onsite or remotely troubleshooting an issue at the right times. Skill matrices are a powerful tool to help manage skills. Skill matrices track which technicians can perform certain tasks or operate certain tools, so managers can efficiently determine the right person for the task.
  • Service windows
    Service scheduling involves utilizing service windows. For example, when scheduling preventative maintenance, managers may have a 10-day service window to work with. But with an emergency breakdown or service complication, managers may have a much shorter service window. The length of these service windows is an important consideration for service scheduling.
  • Territory management
    Where services take place and how to reach all areas of service territory is another factor that service managers need to consider. To fully utilize service scheduling, it is important to manage the territory efficiently and ensure that the right people are in the right place at the right time.
  • Team training
    Technicians and other personnel may have varying levels of training on certain operations or with certain tools. Scheduling managers will also need to consider levels of training to ensure the right people are performing services they are highly trained for.
  • Route optimization
    The route service technicians take can improve or decrease the efficiency of transportation. Managers need to consider optimizing routes to reduce travel costs and improve speed of resolution.
  • Primary technician
    Managers will need to consider who the primary technicians are for each service. They may want a particular person as the primary technician because they understand the equipment, or they have special permission and security allowances that make the job feasible. Once primary technicians are chosen, managers will also need to consider secondary technicians who will support the primary technician.
  • Appointment prioritization
    Effective field service scheduling helps companies prioritize customer appointments and ensure that they meet customer SLAs. By analyzing factors such as customer value, urgency, and proximity, companies can prioritize appointments and ensure that they allocate the appropriate resources to each customer, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. With the help of field service scheduling, companies can optimize their operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency while delivering exceptional customer service.
Ultimately, these considerations and service scheduling are part of workforce optimization.

Workforce optimization is a powerful way to improve productivity and engagement. An optimized workforce better anticipates demand. ServiceNow provides FSM tools for service scheduling with the goal of workforce optimization to improve companies’ efficiency and productivity. ServiceNow provides workforce optimization and service scheduling in three ways:

Defining the available team(s)

Ensuring the right field technicians or resources are available for jobs is the first step in service scheduling. ServiceNow provides a powerful scheduling tool that defines scheduling based on team availability. ServiceNow makes it easy to define schedules and breaks and adjust them. With ServiceNow, the right people are available, and shifts are balanced.

Managing skills across a complex workforce

Technicians with the right skills need to be available and assigned to the right jobs. ServiceNow provides skills matrices that help managers visualize what skills a team has and where skill gaps might be. Managing skills in skill matrices is simple with ServiceNow. Horizontally, managers can view an individual technician and every skill they have. Vertically, managers can view a particular skill and every technician who is certified. For example, a manager may need a technician who is CPR certified. They can easily use the vertical view to see that of the twelve members of their team, only one is certified. Now that manager can appropriately schedule the right technician and take steps to manage the talent pool by upskilling the team during bench time.

Identifying gaps and opportunities

By being able to see and utilize skill matrices, managers can use ServiceNow to identify gaps in skills and opportunities for coaching and increased training. Managers will be empowered to enroll technicians in appropriate training programs to increase skills and improve the team. For the previous example, that manager may enroll more technicians in a CPR certification program to improve scheduling and have more technicians available for certain services.

In addition to workforce optimization, ServiceNow Field Service Management helps managers mine processes to define weaknesses or bottlenecks, utilizing Process Optimization. ServiceNow Process Optimization provides real-time insights into the performance of field service operations, enabling companies to identify areas for improvement and optimize their processes with automated dispatch, intelligent scheduling, and optimized routing. This solution enables companies to streamline their field service management processes and improve operational efficiency for faster response times, higher first-time fix rates, and improved customer satisfaction. ServiceNow makes it all possible.

With workforce and process optimization, ServiceNow is the answer to optimizing your approach to service scheduling software. If you are ready to see ServiceNow in action, schedule a demo today!

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