March 2018

How to Dispatch for Profit

In the HVAC and plumbing industry, the dispatcher’s purpose should be to maximize revenue. To achieve this goal, he or she must select the right technician for the service call at the right time.

Time and time again, dispatchers sacrifice revenue to avoid conflict. If businesses are serious about increasing revenue, the order in which calls are received shouldn’t interfere with when and how they are dispatched. With that in mind, note the mistake made in this case study:

dispatch guy

Case Study

On the first scorching day of summer, I was riding with an HVAC technician. We had a full schedule, with more service calls than capacity would allow us to complete in one day.

The dispatch for our second call read like this:

  • Noise issue with a new outdoor heat pump.
  • Recently installed.
  • Warranty call–do not charge.

We arrived at the service call, the HVAC technician thoroughly checked the operation of the system and he found nothing wrong. Why were we running a non-urgent call on the hottest day of the year with no chance of generating revenue?

Yes, we remain loyal to customers and provide aftercare for installed products. However, we could have handled this differently. How? This call should have been scheduled for another day. Prioritize all calls based on two factors in order to maximize revenue:

  1. Prioritize based on the quality of the customer relationship.
  2. Prioritize based on the level of urgency.

The three levels of customer relationship.

  1. Client Relationship: Mutual trust exists at a high level.

The company and the client have completed transactions many times. A strong and trusting relationship has been established over time, where the client likes the company and we love the client. Clients have a profitable account, they don’t complain about price and understand that when extreme weather hits they may have to wait. Clients are the VIPs and service agreement customers should be highlighted in your database, so when they call they can be put to the front of the line.

  1. Customer Relationship: Completed at least one transaction, level of trust is still developing.

The hope is that the relationship will grow into a mutually trusting client relationship. However, it is sometimes clear that the relationship is going nowhere. Complaints may arise about price and customers can be demanding and not reasonable. Never dispatch this call in front of a client relationship. At peak, you may even want to refer this type of customer to the competition. Wouldn’t it be great to be in the position to say: We can only take care of service agreement customers (VIPs) today?

If businesses are serious about increasing revenue, the order in which calls are received shouldn’t interfere with when and how they are dispatched.

  1. Prospects:

With first-time customers, consider seriously how to develop a client relationship. Book the call, but vet the potential for client building. How did they find out about us, Google or referral? A referral from a client (VIP) has potential. Did the prospect from a Google search push back on the service fee? If so, this may indicate a pattern of price sensitivity, so be careful. With a prospect also consider:

  • Where do they live?
  • Are they in a neighborhood with other clients or far outside of our core area?
  • How many HVAC systems do they have? It would also be important to know how many bathrooms they have if it is a plumbing call.

Potential to maximize revenue through client relationships

The urgency of the call should also be considered. If a non-urgent problem is reported, even a VIP can wait in order to pursue better revenue opportunities. If they are not agreeable to waiting in these circumstances, they are not clients.

What is the bottom line? If a VIP client calls at 3:00 PM with a down unit that we know is 15 years old, that should be the next call. Why? We are in business to maximize profits. The customer who complains doesn’t come before the VIP client. None of this is possible unless dispatch selects the right technician for the right service call at the right time. ICM

Roger Daviston is a cognitive behavioral specialist who helps clients achieve and maintain behavioral change. His new book The Service Call Blueprint is available on Watch The Service Call Blueprint webinar online:

See other similar Articles in the Customer Relations Category.