Is there ever such a thing as a good problem?
Yes: but only if there’s a solution!
Let’s see if the following problems in this scenario sound familiar:
Your staff struggle with double data entry, using multiple applications to log customer data and track their diaries. This slows them down to the point where - try as they might - they’re unable to consistently deliver the best customer service, all because they feel the pressure to move to the next task and are unable to give every customer the time and attention they should get.
Of course, this leads to negative customer experiences and means that potential jobs either don’t get booked, or if they do, they’re not booked efficiently, which then means that engineers in the field take a long time to get from Job A to Job B, and so miss out on what could have been Job C!
This can become frustrating for your engineers, and even lead to expensive overtime just so that you’re not missing out on work. What’s more likely, though, is that you will miss opportunities and even lose revenue for your troubles.
At this point, you may realise it’s not necessarily the volume of work that’s the issue, it’s the processes you have in place that lead to:
- Problem #1: Double data entry
- Problem #2: Unintuitive admin processes
- Problem #3: Negative customer journeys
- Problem #4: Frustrating experiences for your engineers
- Problem #5: Loss of income
You might be thinking that if you had the time, you could easily plan out everyone’s diaries and carry out more work with less stress, but that's the thing with bad processes: they will always demand time, and it’s often more time than you can afford.
However, with the right tools, you can not only save time but ensure you’re using it much more efficient to take care of other important tasks, too.
Much like dominos, if the overriding problem goes unresolved, it can all fall down and have a devastating knock-on effect that cascades throughout your entire business. That can be difficult to stop and will lead to the five problems we’ve highlighted above.
So, below, let’s explore what you can do to fix them:
- Getting to the root of the job management problem.
- How do you spot the “good” problem?
- When do you hire more engineers?
- Can you deal with those scheduling problems yourself?
Getting to the root of the job management problem.
An inefficient scheduling strategy is often the root cause of these problems, and, if you’re reading this, you’re likely finding that scheduling jobs have become a constant battle: it’s like there’s never enough hours in the day to get them all booked in!
It is, admittedly, a “good problem” to have, though.
After all, it means your business is popular enough that people want to work with you (yay!), but the issue is that you’re so busy, they can’t work with you (oh…).
Fortunately, that’s where intelligent, automated job scheduling software can come in to help solve the problem and prevent those other issues from crippling your workforce.
Let’s look at it in more detail so you can see more of how job management software, particularly one with automated scheduling, can resolve them.
How do you spot the “good” problem?
True, sometimes, these problems aren’t always easy to spot.
Generally speaking, it can feel really good to keep busy and if you’re booking jobs and making money as a result, you may even wonder what the problem is? I think it’s fair to say though, especially in the UK, that this can come from our tendency to “Keep calm and carry on!” and push ourselves to get the work done.
“Sure it was a busy day,” you might say, “but look at all the work we did!”
The reality, however, is that before long, the positivity bubble could (and likely will) burst. Not to mention that with all that time spent on booking jobs, you may never quite be sure if you can answer nagging questions, like: “How much more work could we have done if Engineer X hadn’t spent 4h driving around?" or, "What if Engineer Y had gone to this job instead so Engineer Z could go here?!”
Whether it comes from your colleagues who eventually burn out, or from those frustrated customers who want to work with you, but can’t (and so decide to turn elsewhere), it will help if you can take the time to develop an awareness of the issues affecting your team and use tools that give answers to such questions, rather than unwittingly let the problems build-up, before they inevitably cascade.
When do you hire more engineers?
One solution you’ve probably considered is to hire more engineers to take on the extra work, but to do that well, you know you’d need to recruit additional admin staff to schedule their work.
The problem here is that this can become a bit of a cycle. And as your hiring, your employment costs mount up and it may start to make you wonder if the extra jobs you’re doing are enough to cover both the engineers and the admins you’ve hired.
The problem is only made worse when it doesn’t seem like your staff are actually working better: they’re just working more, and still suffering from inefficient processes all the same.
As we said, these things have a knack for taking up all of your available time, no matter how many people you’ve got working on them.
Besides, if growth continues and expanding your service area is a primary goal (which is still a good thing!), then constantly hiring new staff to work in the office is only going to be a temporary solution. What your business needs are the tools to help everyone cope with the volume of work, meaning it takes less time and alleviates the pressure they’re currently feeling.
Can you deal with those scheduling problems yourself?
If so, then it’s time to invest in a flexible tool that’s fit for a flexible workforce.
Even if you have a team of 10 engineers working 8am to 5pm, the nature of their work requires them to be flexible during the day, largely due to the demands of travelling from job to job.
On the other hand, you might also have office staff who work fewer hours under flexible working conditions (especially with working from home increasing over the last year or so).
This, of course, means that not everyone is able to be on hand to reschedule diaries, respond to queries, and rearrange appointments.
For those who are, they’re not going to be able to do their jobs efficiently if they don’t have the tools to let them work quickly; not if they want accurate, useful data that will enable them to help your customers and your engineers in the right way.
After all, you want your business to deliver world-class customer journeys, right?
That’s where intelligent scheduling comes in as the solution to your good-to-have problem!
Not only will an intelligent scheduling software tool give your staff the flexibility to arrange jobs in moments, but by relying on real-time data, it gives your team the option to rapidly respond to emergency appointments, reassign jobs, and give everyone the best chance of booking the right engineer, for the right job, every time.
At the same time, they can benefit from rapid and accurate data that lets them work closely to answer customer queries in moments, rather than leave them waiting on hold, or sitting for a callback, where they may end up repeating the cycle over and over again.
Take a look at our infographic here, to see more of what we mean!
📚 How Quickly Can Admin Staff Book a Job?
I’m sure you’d agree that it’s always a great feeling when you can do more with your time; it means less worry waiting around, less frustration, and leads to happy customers.
There's also the likelihood you can achieve a steady income as you more confidently take on extra work but without the extra stress and expenses that otherwise come with it.
If you’d like to see how intelligent scheduling can help your team out, then why not try our Intelligent Scheduling Game? You can play around to get an idea of how the system works, giving you a chance to discover the time-saving benefits that software can bring.
Then, if you're ready to start sending out service reminders, along with a whole host of other automated emails, then our Customer Communication Toolkit can help!