Understanding the different functions of a customer service representative (CSR) and the dispatcher is an important first step to making fewer calls and ultimately increasing revenue.
Customer Service Representative
Every call is answered and booked by the CSR, and then it’s placed in the unassigned column for the dispatcher. Giving the customer a time slot is not necessary and CSRs shouldn’t promise to come the same day.
Read here for a sample CSR script that effectively communicates this message to the customer.
The dispatcher works through unassigned calls, qualifying them based on the level of relationship (client, customer, prospect) and urgency in relation to emergency level. The dispatcher is constantly communicating with customers, creating opportunity based on profit potential.
In many companies, I’ve witnessed no dispatch. Technicians are expected to schedule and dispatch themselves, without information about potential revenue opportunities. Dispatch owns dispatch. Their function is to choose the action plan, which is dynamic and evolves as the day unfolds. Patience, experience and skill are required to identify the high-spending clients, sending the top performing technicians to these jobs.
The first priority for the dispatcher is to transfer the unassigned calls to the assigned column. The second priority is to color code the calls based on the level of emergency. Dispatchers can determine this by calling the customer. This also ensures the customer that we’re working our way to them.
Why do we color code calls with respect to urgency?
Read more here to gain an understanding of the importance of this principle.
Example situations to identify urgency:
Classifying the level of urgency takes common sense and communication with the customer. Customers will tell you how urgent it is if you ask good qualifying questions, for example:
As the day unfolds, the dispatcher is making outbound calls to qualify the earning potential of the customers in the unassigned column.
Remember, it’s a dynamic process that cannot be preplanned.
In order to achieve a schedule that increases revenue, dispatchers don’t have time to book calls, fill out warranty forms, order parts, receive inventory, etc. Allow the dispatcher the time to qualify the relationship status with customers, and use their knowledge of the customer behind the call to organize the most profitable schedule.
A large part of the role also includes communicating with technicians, but never rushing them. A strong relationship based on trust and strong communication is a must between the dispatcher and technician. In The Service Call Blueprint, I set out the importance of receiving feedback from the technician as each call progresses in order to execute his plan effectively. Apps, such as GroupMe, make this easy.
Case study: The CSR and Dispatcher as separate roles.
I was invited to a client’s business to work with the CSR and the dispatcher.
At this company they had the right set up in place: A CSR and Dispatcher focused on their own individual tasks and responsibilities. Usually, this company has six technicians, but when I visited, two of them were out all week.
As the heat of summer rose, the phones were constantly ringing with over 100 calls booked in just two days.
We had a major problem, so I jumped in and helped. Customers who called in on Monday were told it wouldn’t be until the end of the week that we could visit them, but no one was given a time slot.
I worked with the CSR to book calls, which were then entered into the unassigned column ready for the dispatcher to sort through the opportunity calls. The dispatcher never booked calls.
Remember, we are a trusted advisor to a client. Each call was qualified by the dispatcher and then assigned to the appropriate column: client, customer or prospect. Clients waited without frustration. Customers and prospects who were frustrated with the time scale were referred to other companies. We took care of our best clients, and even when they had to wait up to 5 business days, they understood and remained loyal.
Even when inundated with calls, this process allows us to maintain relationships with our best clients and maximize revenue.
Qualify each call and grow revenue with fewer calls.
Technicians must be skilled at executing The Service Call Blueprint to achieve success with fewer calls.