Tools to make the most of irrigation scheduling

October 25, 2022 -  By

When it comes to efficient scheduling of irrigation services, there are a lot of factors contractors must keep in mind, says Mike Carden, a product Manager for Real Green Systems by WorkWave.

“Whether it’s an install or repair, startup, weatherization, backflow, tests … things (to ask include) do you have access to the home or garage on that day?” he says. “For installs of new systems, ‘Are the utilities marked?’”

To help irrigation professionals stay on top of these variables, Carden and Amanda Feta, a customer success manager with ServiceTitan, share tips to help boost the productivity of service scheduling.

Maximizing the route

Amanda Feta

Amanda Feta

Route density is the key to an efficient operation. But invariably, something may come up, and a service needs to be rescheduled. Feta says this situation is where scheduling software can provide the customer service representative (CSR) with the most efficient date to add a stop to a route.

“A pitfall is oftentimes the CSR will see an availability on the schedule, and that someone is available, but they’re not paying attention to how far the technician is driving,” she says.

ServiceTitan and Real Green offer the option to re-optimize a route to ensure it is the most efficient.

“You have the ability to route all of those jobs geographically, whether it’s by zones, by technician or however you’d like with the most minimal amount of drive time,” Feta says.

All about communication

Mike Carden

Mike Carden

Many irrigation companies notify homeowners when a technician will be on the property to get the go-ahead to perform services. Carden says when adding or bumping a service, it’s critical to notify the customer of changes or upcoming service calls. This is especially important for installations because a site without utilities marked wastes time.

“Services may get scheduled and bumped off the schedule after they’ve been promised or confirmed, but the customer was not notified,” he says. “Or, all team members do not have a clear line of sight into each proposal or job.”

Scheduling software, Feta says, can also help notify customers of scheduled appointments automatically.

A bonus with scheduling software, Feta says, is it can provide information to the CSR that aids in the scheduling of service, including the skill levels of the technicians available, a history of service calls and also additional customer requests, such as preferring to have the same technician visit every time.

“You never have a mistake of sending the wrong technician to the home,” Feta says.

Real Green and ServiceTitan also pull in customer information while the CSR is on the phone with the client to schedule a service call.

“You’re able to indicate on the account any special needs for that location, (such as) this location is going to require a specific amount of time,” she says. “All of these notes and information are available for the person booking the call while on the call with the homeowner.”

Carden says Real Green also offers a live map to track the location of technicians. Property diagrams and inventory also aid technicians at a job site to locate heads, nozzles or any other part of the irrigation system.

He says tracking the location of technicians also helps the CSR when an emergency call comes in. Real Green shows all technicians in the area on a map.

“We have a dispatch tool that will allow a user to look at stops or trucks that are in the area of this particular service to be dispatched and then push it out to the crew or technician,” he says.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the former editor of Landscape Management magazine.

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