Last updated on December 8th, 2022
When starting a business, it can be difficult to know what kind of software you need and for what purposes.
I’ve seen article after article telling business owners they ‘must get this software’ and that ‘this software is essential’ – but the price of paying for all those software adds up.
As a small and growing business, you will probably have to choose between what softwares to get first and which ones to integrate to your company later on.
I’ve had a few questions recently asking about dispatch software, so here is everything I know about dispatch software and how you can evaluate your business to see if it really needs it or not.
What Is Dispatch Software?
First, let’s start out with defining what dispatch software actually is.
Dispatch software is a handy digital tool for businesses in the field service industry.
Field service is when a service is provided to a customer outside of a company’s official grounds or offices. A field service technician is dispatched to the offsite location to provide customers with services.
One example of a field service technician is a plumber, because they must visit your home to fix your plumbing issues.
There are an estimated 20 million field technicians worldwide. The industry is currently facing a workforce shortage with the aging workforce alone causing a 2 million worker shortage, and that’s not considering the impact of COVID19.
To help management field service technicians, businesses use a dispatch software to select their jobs, route them to the correct sites, reassign them, and even track their technicians’ movements.
They offer many benefits but, according to Salesforce, 52% of companies are still using manual methods for handling their field services and technicians.
What this means is that instead of using a dispatch software, 52% of businesses are assigning their technician’s job and reassigning them through tools such as direct email, online calendars, and even whiteboards in the company office. This, clearly, comes with a lot of issues.
What Are The Benefits Of Dispatch Software?
So, less than half of field service businesses use a dispatch software to manage their agents and technicians – but how can a business benefit from using a dispatch software?
One of the most valuable benefits of a dispatch software is its ability to reroute field technicians and reassign emergency jobs.
What this means is that technicians who are already out of office can quickly be assigned emergency jobs so customers can receive faster service in an emergency. This is particularly useful for field technicians such as electricians or plumbers.
50% of fleet managers believe that the ability to reroute technicians in an emergency is the most important factor for a field service business’s success.
A close second in this survey was keeping the fleet updated on schedule changes with 48% of managers agreeing – and dispatch software can also help with this too.
Not all dispatch softwares comes with automated assigning and scheduling, but those that do have proven to be incredibly useful for field service businesses.
According to a 2020 study from the ISE, 75% of field service businesses that used mobility tools (like dispatch software) saw an increase in employee productivity.
This is because communication becomes easier, drivers know where they are headed and when, and energy jobs can be assigned and dealt with no delay.
Most dispatch softwares allows for managers to see where each of their drivers are, and this can be used for many different benefits:
- It can help improve employee productivity (see also, ‘Why is Employee Productivity Important?‘) so drivers are less likely to pull over and take a break on company time,
- It can alert managers when a driver is stuck or in an emergency themselves,
- Gives managers time to contact customers and let them know there is a delay due to traffic or roadworks,
- Highlight unsafe driving practices such as speeding in your fleet.
72% of US fleets use a GPS fleet tracking system, and that number is increasing with each year.
The same study from Verizon Connect also showed the impact of this as 96% of companies agree that using GPS fleet tracking software was beneficial and 32% even saw a positive return on investment within six months of implementation.
So, monitoring your field technicians has its benefits – and a dispatch software can help your company monitor the drivers in your fleet.
Improved Customer Communication
Dispatch softwares allows fleet managers the ability to decide routes and keep track of their drivers. One benefit managers can make from this is the ability to update customers and keep them informed of how close the driver is from their location.
The most obvious example of this is delivery management. If you are delivering a package to a customer through your own driver, then you can use the dispatch software to update the customer of where their package is and even offer them the ability to track their own delivery.
Of course, this benefit relies heavily on the type of dispatch software you sign up to and the features it offers.
This benefit can help improve your customer satisfaction rates in many ways. 91% of customers track their packages, and this can keep customers happy by keeping them informed of where their delivery or service is and when they can expect it to arrive.
A study from the ISE found that businesses saw a rise in customer satisfaction rates when they introduced mobility tools for their business – so dispatch software does have a role with customer communication and satisfaction.
Some dispatch softwares gives you the ability to monitor and transform any data into charts ready for analysis. For example, using dispatch software allows you to monitor delivery times so you can find the most productive employees – and the least productive.
This means that you can have all the charts and data you need for business analysis at your fingertips rather than having to collect and translate the data yourself.
This can lead to better efficiency as you spend more time on other parts of the business that require your attention.
The final benefit I will discuss is the reduction in costs that comes with using dispatch software. Costs are a big concern for businesses with 38% of startups failing because they ran out of cash.
Inflation is currently the biggest worry for 35% of small businesses, so a lot of businesses are looking for ways to cut back on costs. So, how can dispatch software help?
Using dispatch software allows fleet managers to find cost-effective routes that allow drivers to save on fuel, vehicle wear, and hourly wages for drivers.
It also allows the best available technicians to be dispatched to the right jobs so they already have the right tools and resources needed for each job.
All of this leads to lower operating costs – and a larger profit margin for the business.
Does Your Business Need A Dispatch Software?
Whether or not your business could benefit from a dispatch software should now be fairly obvious to you. For online businesses who do not handle the delivery of their products or do not offer any field services – you won’t benefit from a dispatch software.
Dispatch software and systems should be used by businesses (big and small) who literally ‘dispatch’ their employees to jobs.
This can range from technicians such as plumbers or electricians, to care workers, to delivery drivers for product packages or even fast food.
Basically, if your employees need to travel somewhere to deliver on-site services or products, then you should consider getting dispatch software to help you manage and oversee your fleet.
Even small businesses can benefit from a dispatch software as they tend to pay for themselves over time (see also ‘Best Dispatch Software For Small Business‘).
The improvement in efficiency, the accessibility to new informative data, and the improved customer satisfaction rates are all serious benefits you need to consider.
For larger businesses with multiple field technicians, I can’t see how your business can even cope without a software to dispatch and manage your fleet.
Dispatch softwares helps centralized fleet management from one position so fleet managers can oversee all operations – but that can’t be done with whiteboard messages and direct emails.
Managers will have to juggle the assignments in their mind and this can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and mistakes.
As an online business manager and marketer, I don’t often have to deal with dispatch softwares.
I know what they are, how they work, and how they can benefit some businesses – but as most of my business is online only, I don’t have to handle field technicians or even my own product deliveries.
As a result, a lot of online businesses can get away without ever using a dispatch software.
However, for those who do have a fleet or field technicians who need to travel from site to site for your business to function, then I do recommend you implement a dispatch system.
They offer so many benefits that can help your business out, so I think they are essential for those who actually have use for one.