Not only does the Service Request center make the dispatcher more effective with customers, there also is room for notes that technicians can add and use. Check out the info about the head librarian in this screen shot - she’s a talker.

SEATTLE - In the spirit of doing more with less, Dexter + Chaney has introduced a new Service Request center in its Spectrum® Construction Software that provides, on a single screen, access to all of the information required to handle a customer’s service request. A dispatcher can use the information on the screen to create a new work order within seconds.

According to Brad Mathews, vice president of marketing, “We’re making the dispatcher really more effective at their job - faster and more accurate. The latest information is readily available in the system.” The dispatcher becomes truly knowledgeable and confident about the customer’s systems, and doesn’t need to “ask someone else” for basic information.

Say, for instance, that a customer calls in and asks what was done the last time the contractor came in. “Bingo, the information is right there,” said Mathews. “It also has a list of equipment. It allows them to really have a grounding in what they have done for this customer,” both the equipment and who worked there last. “The dispatcher sounds really intimately familiar with the customer.”

There are a lot of little subtleties, he continued, such as the integration of the technology. “All the info is in one system,” he said, combining billing and other data. “It all goes right into the billing process.” The automatic data transfer is truly seamless, he said. “There’s one program and one database.”

Documents combined within it can include signed service agreements or handwritten notes, which can all be scanned into the system and become easier to find - or harder to lose. “Any paperwork, like a list of equipment, can all be scanned in,” Mathews said. Any kind of file (pdf, jpgs, Word) also can be attached.

Notes from the field technicians, such as filter change recommendations or other work, are included. Then they can be followed up on or referred to later.

“These days, when people are working harder than ever to keep the customers they have and provide new ones, improving customer service is a huge thing,” said Mathews. “We’re all trying to do more with less these days. If we can provide great customer service and do it faster, there’s no downside there. More service calls are handled effectively by the same staff.”

Things are much better from the standpoint of the infrastructure, he said. “You can use an inexpensive laptop with a modem card and you’re connected to the Internet. That technician can log into Spectrum, and they can see their schedule and the next work order. They can enter their notes electronically, and it becomes a permanent part of that customer’s work order.

“You still have a paper trail in place, but nobody has to read handwriting or scan anything.”

New techs going to the site can look at what’s been going on. They can see what the customer has asked in the past. “We really tie the service technician in.”

The paperwork hassle in the field is big, he said. “Getting people their work orders, getting work invoiced, is very big.” The program ties it into e-mail and the Web in a real, simple way. “If you get e-mails from customers, they can be dragged to the service request screen,” Mathews said. “Knowing the e-mail address, it creates a service request instantly. We have statuses built into the service request, and you can put a priority on it. The person receiving it understands that priority. You set that up in Spectrum the way you want to set that up.”

When a call comes in, he explained, the dispatcher can view all of the critical information to handle the call on one screen. This includes a list of all the equipment on site, the history of work performed, service contracts in force, the customer’s credit status, and open purchase orders. The dispatcher can create a new work order with a minimum number of keystrokes, typically within 20 to 45 seconds, the company said.

John Chaney, the company’s cofounder and president, explained that the service management portion is completely integrated with all other areas of the system. “All data about the service call - from the time the request is made through its completion - is entirely integrated,” he said. “That includes purchase orders, inventory, payroll, billing, and new construction. There’s no export or import of information between modules in Spectrum.”

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Publication date:02/08/2010