So many lawns, so little time.
As a lawn care professional, traveling quickly from location to location is a crucial part of the job for you and your team. After all, you don’t want to spend your days in your vehicle driving around the city. Instead, you want your team on the ground, mowing lawns, and performing other services for customers.
Dispatching involves coordinating your team’s movement throughout the day. Although it can seem complicated, it’s relatively simple in practice. Here’s a closer look at how to be a successful dispatcher to increase cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
1. Hire the Right People
Successful dispatching is about more than coordinating logistics. Not just anyone will thrive in this role. In most cases, your company’s dispatcher likely won’t be a lawn care professional. What makes a good dispatcher? Look for someone with the following traits:
- Effective and clear communication skills
- An understanding of the city/service area
- A friendly, positive attitude
- An ability to multitask all day long
While your dispatcher doesn’t need lawn care experience, they do need a solid familiarity with all of the products and services your company offers.
2. Front-Load Your Workday
As a general rule, you’ll want to practice a technique called “front-loading.” It involves scheduling as much as possible early in the morning. Typically, these early-morning jobs are routine calls for standard services.
Ideally, front-loading allows you to keep your afternoons relatively free. Use this open schedule to address any emergency jobs that come your way. Customers love any service company with the ability to provide same-day service!
3. Practice Triage Scheduling
Triaging is a common practice used in hospital emergency rooms. The basic idea is simple: People with serious needs take precedence over those with milder issues.
The same principle applies when prioritizing your lawn care customers. A significant factor in successful lawn care dispatching is the ability to effectively determine what customers need service right away, and what calls can be scheduled later in the week or month.
4. Keep Drivers Local
You want your team working on lawns, not sitting in vehicles. Time spent driving is money spent on gas and wages. Use truck dispatching tips to keep your team in the field.
Generally, keep your drivers as local as possible. Use a zoning strategy. For example, send one team of employees to handle all the calls on the north side of the area, send another to the west side, etc.
Probably the biggest potential hiccup here is the need for specialized techs. You might have one or two employees with highly specialized knowledge or skills. While there isn’t always a great solution – specialized emergencies will happen – you can help prevent problems by expanding the experience level of your team.
5. Keep Customers Informed
Generally speaking, customers won’t like it if you’re late for an appointment. But they’ll absolutely hate it if you don’t keep them informed. One of the best ways for how to be a better dispatcher is always to keep the customer in the loop.
If your team is running late, let the customer know right away. You might be surprised how forgiving many people are as long as they feel informed.
Also, try never to say no. Of course, you can’t accommodate every customer request. However, try not to refuse anything outright. Offer alternative scheduling options and service plans. For example, say something like, “I’m sorry, we can’t provide service to your location on Tuesday, but we have availability on Wednesday and Thursday.”
6. Use Dispatch & Service Scheduling Software
Not even ten years ago, the dispatcher had to track drivers throughout the day with nothing more than a phone and a physical map – and sometimes even less. However, today technology plays a vital role in managing service calls.
You’ll want accountability and service software, like Real Green Lite. It’s designed specifically for the back-office and field workers at service companies with a variety of useful features, including order management, scheduling, dispatching, billing/invoicing, and more.
Not only will you have a thorough understanding of where your team is traveling, but your employees can focus on lawn care instead of communicating with you. Plus, the software is flexible, customizable, and easy-to-use, even if you don’t have any previous experience with lawn & landscaping dispatch programs.
Learning how to be a better dispatcher is easy with the right attitude and the right tools. Follow the simple and effective dispatcher tips above to improve your team’s efficiency and ability to deliver outstanding service today.