Deploying multiple agents in the field at once, juggling work orders, while trying to keep up with the constantly shifting needs of customers, makes managing a business within a field service industry a difficult prospect. This is particularly true when it comes to scheduling. Given that it all depends upon a proper schedule, field service dispatchers often find themselves struggling to ensure that everything and everyone is in the right location at the right time. And, when schedules fall through, the battle for customer satisfaction is already lost.; But how can field service industries avoid this outcome? The answer lies in improving field technologies.

What is Workforce Field Scheduling?

Workforce field scheduling describes an emerging field of technology focused on promoting seamless, coordinated, real-time scheduling for field service companies. Specifically, this technology is used to assist field service dispatchers, by automating and enhancing certain tasks. This allows agents to quickly respond to unexpected situations, while also maintaining a reliable calendar that customers can depend upon. In short, workforce field scheduling technology gives dispatchers the ability to coordinate and direct a large number of agents at once, thus increasing customer satisfaction across the board. Of course, to really understand how this technology can help improve your field service effectiveness, you first need to understand its capabilities.

Capabilities of Workforce Field Scheduling

Although digital scheduling programs have been used by field service industries for decades, the scheduling technologies of yesteryear suffered from certain limitations. Many of these programs acted like little more than digital calendars on which appointments could be recorded, therefore attempting to coordinate a deployed workforce would have been an inconceivable task. Workforce scheduling as we now understand it really first became possible with the introduction of the cloud.

Cloud technologyuses remote data storage and wireless communication to allow users to improve collaboration between dispatchers, field agents, and any other necessary parties. The best workforce field scheduling tools take advantage of these capabilities via these valuable features:

Mobile Design for Complete Functionality in the field
In the modern business world, either you recognize that your employees are using mobile devices to help accomplish their work, or you keep lying to yourself. The comfort and convenience of mobile technology allows workers to access computer technology that was once restricted to desktop use. But while mobile smart technology can be advantageous for most businesses, it is an absolute game-changer for field service organizations, enabling them to have the full functionality of an office system, no matter where they may be. Unfortunately for many field agents, 50% of field service businesses have yet to make their support documents and knowledge bases mobile friendly.

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Real-Time Updating for Superior Collaboration
When a workforce field scheduling tool is maintained in the cloud, users are able to access schedules from anywhere, and on any platform. But beyond the convenience of accessibility, this provides a second advantage. When every user is remotely-accessing the same data, then any changes made to that data are instantly visible. So, as schedules change, higher-priority assignments are issued, or unexpected events occur, every agent will have an up-to-the-minute calendar keeping them on track.

Enhanced System Integration for Unrivaled Compatibility
Real time scheduling systems integrate with CRMs and mobile workforce systems to allow for real-time updates and changes dynamically applied with cloud technology. Put more simply, workforce field scheduling is capable of working hand-in-hand with established company systems and processes. So, any changes made in a separate system will also be noted and updated in the scheduling software, and vise versa. Many scheduling tools can likewise be integrated with 3rd-party apps to further improve performance.

Up-to-the-Minute Tracking for Complete Transparency
For dispatchers and business leaders, workforce field scheduling allows for advanced tracking of assignments and agents, with real-time updates notifying authorized users when specific jobs are completed. Tracking may also be used to allow customers to ‘see’ where agents are at a given time, for more accurate ETAs (a service which 89% of customers are in favor of). These capabilities allow for closer analysis of agent performance.

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How Workforce Field Scheduling Benefits Business

Taken together, these capabilities provide unparalleled advantages for any field service business. Workforce field scheduling tools that are designed for full functionality on mobile devices effectively untether agents, giving them better resources in the field where customer satisfaction matters most. Real-time scheduling updates eliminate down-time associated with scheduling errors, and enable agents to quickly move from one assignment to another, increasing productivity. Integration with 3rd-party apps means a more customizable tool, with capabilities not limited by the intentions of the providers. The list goes on. However, every benefit offered by workforce field scheduling can be placed under the umbrella of at least one of three main advantages:

  1. Saves money
  2. Saves time
  3. Enhances customer experience

If your business can find a workforce field scheduling service that fulfills this criteria, then you’ll be able to enjoy the success that comes from providing an efficient, customer-focused field service. Of course, finding a workforce field scheduling tool that integrates with your existing systems and does everything else that you need it to can be a daunting prospect. On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be; consider a workforce field scheduling solution from Salesforce.

Field Service Scheduling with Salesforce

Salesforce is known throughout the business community as the leader in modern CRM solutions, and if there is any aspect of business that depends maintaining positive customer relationships, it’s field service. As such, Salesforce has developed Field Service Lightning, a hyper-connected field service solution. This tool focuses on integration, compatibility, optimization, and on-demand data, so that every user has access to the data they need, in order to provide an exceptional customer experience. As far as scheduling is concerned, Field Service Lightning is the best on the market, thanks to Smart Scheduling. Which allows users to book service appointments, automatically assigning appointments to the right technician based on availability, skill, location, and any other important factors—all in real time.

According to analysis firm IDC, mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters (72.3%) of the total U.S. workforce by 2020. With so many agents in the field, workforce scheduling is becoming more important than ever before. Your customers want a field service experience that they can be excited about, and that means total connectivity, knowledgeable and effective agents, and a scheduling solution that provides fast, efficient service. After all, managing a field service business can be difficult, but with the right workforce field scheduling solution, it doesn’t have to be.

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