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Common mobile workforce scheduling challenges that service businesses face and tips on how to avoid them.

Common Mobile Workforce Scheduling Challenges

Streamlining the mobile workforce scheduling process can be tricky. Failure to recognize the unique challenges of managing a mobile workforce can lead to issues for both your staff and your customers. But, when done correctly, mobile workforce scheduling increases workforce productivity, improves communications between mobile service providers and administrative staff, and can even increase sales. ‍

Common Mobile Workforce Scheduling Challenges

1. Lack of schedule visibility

It’s hard to know how to schedule employees if you don’t have a clear idea of what each individual provider’s availability looks like. A lack of visibility around provider availability could be due to manual spreadsheets being used or inadequate scheduling tools not designed to handle the complexities of businesses providing on-location, virtual, and mobile services.

Poor work schedule visibility means the team can’t react swiftly to unplanned scenarios, such as a provider calling in sick. Without an easy way to view providers’ availabilities, finding a replacement can be difficult and potentially lead to a no-show and a disappointed customer.

Having a clear overview of your mobile workers schedules is important for understanding when and where they’re available so you can make adjustments accordingly to keep customers happy!

2. Poor Communication between mobile workers and admins

Another challenge that can impact mobile workforce scheduling is ineffective communication between mobile workers and administrative staff.

There are so many ways to communicate with employees that if an official communication protocol hasn’t been established, alerts around delays, availability changes, unplanned sick days, or travel zone changes could easily get missed. 

The last thing you want is a customer not receiving a service because a provider couldn’t make it and the admin team wasn’t able to provide a replacement because they never got the message to begin with!

Access to real-time communication tools and a clear, gold-standard method of messaging will help prevent frustration and reduce mobile workforce scheduling fiascos that result in dissatisfied customers.  

3. Ineffective service matching

Without an easy way to view providers’ skills and certifications, businesses are at risk of assigning a booking to a mobile worker who’s not trained for the job. If you offer online booking and don’t have a way to communicate provider skillsets, they might book someone who isn’t right for the job. This can lead to a poor customer service experience and burnout from workers constantly being forced to scramble and provide services they’re not properly certified for.

One way to avoid this is to use a sales and scheduling software that allows providers to log and display skills and qualifications. On the MarketBox platform, each service provider is given a profile that is displayed to customers in the booking flow. Here, they can list skills and certifications, (and optionally display customer ratings), so customers can make informed choices about who to book.

The software also takes things a step further, and filters providers by skills, location, and availability, so customers booking online only see a list of providers who are suitable for their needs. 

4. Hindered productivity due to manual processes

Manually entering and updating availability takes administrative time away from customer service and other tasks. It’s hard to be efficient when the only way to track down an appropriately certified provider for a service means scouring through spreadsheets. Not to mention it can lead to inaccuracies like provider-customer matching, scheduling and travel zone availability.

Redirect your time towards tasks that move your business forward, and leverage a scheduling software that allows providers to update their own availability, skills and certifications, and gives administrators access to all mobile worker’s schedules. Many even link to online booking calendars that automatically update a provider’s schedule and availability once a booking has been made. 

5. Lost sales due to mobile worker unavailability

One of the most common mobile workforce scheduling challenges involves lost revenue occurring due to provider unavailability and no new worker being assigned to the job. Unfortunately for service businesses, the negative implications go far beyond simply losing out on a sale. 

Instances like this, especially if a customer is left waiting for the provider to turn up, can seriously impact credibility and cause customers to move to a more reliable competitor, or leave a negative review that then turns off other potential clients. 

Scheduling tools that utilize secondary provider matching, like MarketBox, ensure this never happen. If the requested provider can’t make the appointment, the request is sent out to up to 10 other providers with the relevant skills to perform the service. If none of these secondary providers accept the request, the client is notified well in advance of the appointment and a refund is issued.  

Quick tips for how to best schedule mobile employees

  • Have your mobile workers set their own availabilities
  • Allow your mobile workers create individual travel zones
  • Give your mobile workers the option to accept or decline booking requests
  • Send automatic appointment reminders and schedule updates
  • Encourage customers to book appointments themselves using online booking software with real-time availability 

Conclusion

The best way to avoid the pitfalls of mobile workforce scheduling is by leveraging a tool that streamlines the process. A great scheduling platform will eliminate the need for manual processes and even boost sales and operational efficiency. Platforms like MarketBox integrate online booking and scheduling together so once customers book, the relevant provider's schedule is automatically update. Optional features give mobile service providers the ability to set their own availability, while still giving administrative staff access to their schedules, travel zones, and qualifications for ultimate control.

Interested to learn more? Book an introductory demo with MarketBox today and start scheduling your mobile workforce with ease.

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