Your dispatcher plays an important role in your air conditioning service business. As the logistical lead for your operations, they ensure that you have efficient service, organize technician schedules, problem solve, and are often the glue that holds your company together. Because they have so much interaction with your staff and your customers, they can often become the face of your company.
Being a great dispatcher requires high level communication and organization skills, critical thinking ability, and a friendly personality. Here are some thoughts for helping your dispatcher keep things running smoothly and how an answering service can play an important role in supporting your dispatcher.
What does a HVAC dispatcher do?
Typical dispatchers address problems, questions and prioritize service requests so that work is performed in an efficient and orderly manner. They are also responsible for providing logistical support to technicians and communicating with both fellow employees and customers.
They can perform their work through different approaches, most of which are now digital interfaces using cloud-based software.
This professional must have in-depth knowledge of your home services business offerings as well as knowledge of your service area to balance meeting the needs of the customer to the technician at the same time.
However, the main duty of the HVAC dispatcher is to keep the trains running on time and fulfill your promise of excellent customer service by managing their expectations.
Because of their high importance and customer facing role, it can be difficult to know where to begin supporting them with an answering service.
What makes a good HVAC dispatcher?
1. Both a good HVAC dispatcher and your answering service dispatcher should share the following traits:
- High level of customer service skills
- Strong Communicator
- Your company values are aligned
- Treat your customers with the same urgency and concern that you do.
2. They understand your scheduling software.
Business management and scheduling software for HVAC companies has become the standard for operations. Whether you use Service Titan, FieldEdge, or another software, keeping up to date with best use practices and having a thorough working knowledge of the software is a must for any dispatcher.
No answering service will be as proficient working with field service software as your staff will be, especially your dispatcher. In order to take some of the work off of your dispatcher’s plate, it needs to be performed well.3. They treat your customers how youwould
Your HVAC answering service or HVAC call center should understand the importance of every call to your business. Your reputation rests on great representation from someone who has a smile in their voice, empathy for your caller, and urgency in their work. Don’t settle for anything less.
How can you help your HVAC dispatchers?
1. Communicate with your dispatchers about your answering service’s protocol
Make sure your in-house call center team and dispatcher understand how you will be using If you are using an answering service to support them. Cascade call flows, protocol documents, and any information your outsourced call center has provided. The more your in house team and outsourced team is on the same page, the smoother it will be for everyone.2. Free up some of their administrative tasks
Managing the calls that your dispatcher receives keeps them focused on their highest value work. This is exactly why outsourcing some or all of your HVAC calls to a call center can help your dispatcher. Scheduling, answering frequently asked questions, and non-service related calls are all calls that can be routed around a dispatcher to allow them to focus first on the logistics of their dispatch board, work histories, and efficient scheduling while not missing service calls.
These calls can be routed either to another in-house agent or to an answering service. It is important that you choose an answering service who has experience working with HVAC companies. You also want them to share your core values and make an impression on your callers that is consistent with how your employees present themselves.
This will allow your outsourced answering service to best assist your callers, scheduling needs, FAQs, or any administrative calls that your business receives.3. Give dispatchers training in interpersonal communicationskills
Communications will not always go according to plan. When time tables are tight, customers are frustrated about their HVAC, plumbing, or electrical issue tensions can be high. Remind them why you are there- to support your customers in their time of need- and refocus the conversation on your service standards and core values.
Here are some interpersonal training skills that we have found beneficial for our agents and managers:
- conflict resolution
- team problem solving
- active listening
Offering coaching in these areas to sort out issues between dispatchers and technicians can build smart communicators in your business and a healthy, well-oiled team.4. Sit down with your dispatchers and a different technician eachmonth
Your dispatchers and technicians are on the front line of your HVAC business. Setting aside 30 minutes once a month is not too much to ask in order to keep up with what is working and what can be improved. Are they having any issues communicating? Can anything be streamlined? Buy them lunch and listen to what they are worried about and what ideas they have to improve operations. They will feel heard, valued, and just might offer a suggestion that improves your business and makes their job more enjoyable.
5. Generate data with reporting and measurement
Call reporting about time of day, zipcode, route efficiency, recalls, or service types can give insight into your jobs and help to build new strategies for improvement. Feedback from your technicians, cost and service metrics can help your dispatchers and operations improve.
Measurement goes beyond the KPIs, though. Do your dispatchers have a measurable which is not KPI based that they can shoot for during the day? Work with them to find a meaningful way to know if they are being successful while they work.
Your dispatchers are critical to keeping your HVAC business running its best. We hope these tips have given you some ways to help your HVAC dispatcher. We would love to hear from you can about your tips to help them to be successful!