Hello, I am reaching out to the masses for some guidance. My organization is a small but growing organization. We have 9 Service technicians, 2 repair technicians, and 4 install crews (2 people for each crew, totaling 8 individuals). We only perform HVAC services for residential and commercial facilities. My company wants to implement a hopper (1 call at a time) for our service technicians type of system.
Our current way of dispatching is the following: The dispatcher receives a call requesting an appointment, the dispatcher looks at the board and sees what we have available, and provides the customer with a 3-hour arrival time window. The customer will receive a 20-30 min heads up prior to the technician's arrival.
The Hopper Idea: The dispatcher receives a call from a customer wanting service. The dispatcher lets the customer know the only appointment we can guarantee is the first appointment of any day. If the customer calls in and would like a same-day appointment and we have a possible opening, we will let them know we can get them in that day, but we cannot provide a time frame. Once the technician completes a job, we will look at the calls sitting in the hooper and move them down to whichever technician becomes available, ensuring the call meshes well with the technician's skill level and personality. We will give the customer a 30 minutes heads-up before the tech arrives. We cannot guarantee that this appointment will be in the morning or afternoon. We will let them know we will call before to verify the customer is home to receive the technician.
Our company is looking to move to this dispatching without any training. They are going off what other companies in the area are doing. Some of these companies are significantly larger than us and have adequate manning to assist in this form of dispatching.
I am asking for help and guidance if your organization utilizes the hopper method or something similar. I want to help our dispatchers and myself understand this method. If so, please reach out!
How many dispatchers do you have? I love this- you could also ask customers if they prefer morning or afternoon and put a tag on the job to let dispatch know preference. Make sure you aren't just assigning jobs to techs based on skill and when the job came in but also priority! Dispatch for profits!