Last-minute cancellations are a nature of the beast for field service management organizations. No one likes them or looks forward to them happening. The reality is they do, and businesses must learn to operate around them. These cancellations range from the day of to just minutes before the appointment. But regardless of the lead time, they sting and can be a drain on a company’s operations. While there are no ways to avoid last-minute cancellations completely, there are some actions a field service company can take. Here are three simple steps you can try to improve operations and keep the business running smoothly.
One of the most effective ways to prevent those pesky last-minute cancellations is to create a plainly worded policy. Giving it to customers upon confirmation of an appointment. It’s imperative that this policy have a few stipulations spelled out in clear language.
First, make sure you’re giving customers the window in which it’s acceptable to cancel. For many businesses in the industry, 24 to 48 hours of notice is sufficient. Next, you’ll need to determine the penalty for a late cancellation. Some businesses will use the cost of a basic service call, while others opt for a more nominal fee of around $25. Lastly, customers should acknowledge the policy and sign it so that both parties are on the same page and aware of their responsibilities.
Between work, family, and social obligations, it’s to be expected that customers will forget about an appointment every now and then. But that doesn’t mean field service management companies can’t help with a steady stream of reminders. Software platforms that harness the power of text messaging and/or email make this a seamless and automated practice for the business.
Once the customer opts into communications, the business can send a text or email reminders at regular intervals, like two weeks, one week, and 24 hours prior to the appointment. Of course, good old-fashioned phone calls can do the trick as well.
Generally speaking, customers don’t just cancel an appointment because they have a change of heart. Most customers cancel because of a sudden conflict that no longer allows them to be home for the appointment. In the days of paper-based methods, this often meant flipping through sheets of paper to try and reschedule the appointment, while also experiencing a loss in productivity since the technician no longer had an appointment on the books. Fortunately, field service management software has completely revolutionized this scenario thanks to dynamic scheduling, routing, and dispatching. The most robust versions of these solutions have embedded modules designed exclusively for this purpose.
Field service management software empowers staff with ubiquitous access, so everyone from customer service to dispatch teams can see and schedule appointments in real-time based on geographic location—a particularly valuable benefit in the event of customers who suddenly need to reschedule for a later time or another day. In the event a job is canceled, technicians receive an immediate notification with instructions for what job to move on to next.
EnSight+ offers companies like yours a variety of benefits as a field service management software solution. Our software has embedded modules that include work order management and scheduling, routing, and dispatch. With us, your company can maximize the efficiency of its remote workforce and minimize the risk of last-minute cancellations thanks to dynamic scheduling. Interested in seeing the software in action? Book your demo today.
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