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Who Should Schedule? Tech or Office

When it comes to scheduling your customers, many companies take one of two approaches:  letting the technician do it or having a dedicated person in the office schedule for everyone.  Here are some pros and cons of both.

 

Tech Scheduling

Pros

  • Familiarity with their route means they do not have to use other tools when routing, such as a map application or book.
  • Knows how long a typical stop will take to complete and can avoid over-booking themselves.
  • Can set their own pace.

Cons

  • If a customer calls the office needing service, there can be a delay in getting the customer scheduled since it will require communication with the technician.
  • A cancellation in the field would require other tools to find a replacement or to reschedule.

 

Office Scheduling

Pros

  • During busy season the office personnel can easily look at several routes to see who can pick up an emergency customer.
  • Can easily fill gaps in schedules by finding customers on the fly if someone has a scheduling conflict
  • Easily see crossover between routes

 

Cons

  • If not familiar with a particular area, will rely on map tools to schedule efficiently.
  • Not knowing whether a particular customer will take longer than another.

 

Things to Consider

Factors to consider when trying to decide whether to use tech scheduling or office scheduling:

  • How your employees are paid - If your technicians are paid commission based on production, allowing them to schedule will give them greater control over their paychecks.
  • Production quotas - You may find having the office schedule makes it easier to set production goals for all of your techs.
  • Time off - How will you handle scheduling if the person doing scheduling, whether it be the tech or someone in the office, takes a vacation or time off from work?
  • Personnel - Do you have the staff to handle scheduling?  Sometimes, there might not be a person available to do scheduling in the office along with their other duties.
  • Training - Whoever is doing the scheduling will possibly need training to schedule in the most efficient manner.

 

Why Would I Prefer?

Coming from a guy who ran a pest route, I’m a big proponent of having the tech doing the scheduling.  I used to joke that I planned my route based around where I wanted to eat lunch that day.  I preferred having control over my own schedule because I could set my own pace and ensure that my customers were getting the appropriate service that they needed.  I also knew which of my customers were going to take much longer to service (chatty Cathies) and could schedule them in a convenient time of day.

That being said, I recognize the need some may have for letting the office make the schedule.  There were days when I was in the field where I had a cancellation which left a void in my schedule that someone it the office could have easily found a replacement for. 

Some technicians don’t take ownership over their route and would prefer to have another person do the scheduling, which is okay as long as that fits with the goals of your company.

 

Clay Carroll

Technical Support Analyst

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With many scheduling tools, such as Mobile Scheduling, Visual Router, and Bulk Scheduler, 7 Software is able to accommodate whichever method of scheduling works best for your business.