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Job Management

Appointment Management: The Easiest Way To Organize Your Schedule

Aside from providing top notch work, your business’ customer service should be your biggest focus. Stellar customer service will put your business far ahead of your competitors, and is far more likely to get you referrals than any other aspect of your business. Be sure to take the time to read through this entire document, even though it’s long, as every bit of information in here will help you to craft an impeccable customer service experience.

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Appointment Scheduling

Keep in mind, the most responsive and reliable contractor usually wins the job. According to Consumer Reports, 72% of callers who reach an automated message will hang up without leaving a message—and often call a competitor.

 

Stop taking every estimate. Instead, start asking pre-qualifying questions when clients call in. Offer the option to schedule several appointments at once so there’s less back-and-forth.

dispatch script template

After you’ve had a call, send the customer a confirmation email of their appointment, and be sure to send this out immediately after the appointment was scheduled. The email should include the date and time of the service, how long it should take, what the customer should expect and how they can prepare, the technician(s) assigned to the job, an estimated price and forms of payment accepted, as well as your cancellation policy.

Appointment Confirmation Template

Appointment Cancellations

Unfortunately, cancellations are inevitable, but there are ways to prevent this from becoming a common issue that negatively impacts your bottom line.

 

Create clear policies around no-shows and last-minute cancellations, otherwise, your clients may reschedule without realizing you’re inconveniencing your company. Make sure that the customer is aware of how cancellations impact your business.

Oftentimes, they don’t realize this cuts into your time and profit. Make it abundantly clear how far in advance customers need to cancel to avoid any costs or no-show fees.

 

A great way to avoid cancellations is to send reminders – one study showed sending email reminders to patients for a doctor’s office decreased no-shows by 35%. You should also make it easy for clients to rebook in reminder emails. If they do need to cancel, ask if they can fit you in later that day so you don’t miss out on income you had planned, or if someone can be sent in their place to monitor the job, like a friend or family member.

appointment cancellation templates

A great way to avoid cancellations is to send reminders – one study showed sending email reminders to patients for a doctor’s office decreased no-shows by 35%.

Ways To Speed Up Appointment Scheduling

Field Service Software

Field Service Software is usually easy to automate, especially if that software is FieldPulse. This helps keep all your information in one place, including jobs and customers, speeds up time-consuming, repetitive tasks, and if you want to take it a step further, you can even set up automatic triggers to send out texts and emails automatically.

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Virtual Assistants

Hiring a virtual receptionist to answer your calls and take notes is a great investment, as it’s a real person who will capture the caller’s contact information, answer questions, and give them a great experience versus utilizing a bot for these functions. Virtual assistants are friendly, professional, and warm, and help to eliminate distractions so you can give customers your full attention. They’re also a cheaper alternative to hiring office staff. Ruby Receptionists is one of the best options with US-based support.

Integrated Phone System

With a shared business line through services like Engage, you can centralize all your customer communications. This way, if one person is busy with a customer and can’t answer the phone or a customer is frustrated and someone needs to defuse the situation, someone else on your team can jump in. This allows you to keep an eye on all customer communications, and make sure customers are being handled according to your standards and gives you a good sense of call volume. Platforms like Engage can integrate into your CRM software, so you can save even more time.

Voicemail

Most customers won’t leave a voicemail but it’s still important to have a good one. In your voicemail message, you can emphasize the speed at which you’ll reply, or give the customer an alternative way to get started like going to your website for a booking link. Below, we’ve included voicemail templates you can use both for your voicemail message and leaving a voicemail.

voicemail templates

Reminders

Booking/Appointment Confirmations

It’s very important that you send your customers reminders when it comes to appointments, because it reduces the risk that the customer will cancel or reschedule the appointment. Plus, as an added bonus it makes you look more professional. This also helps to set expectations from the get go, that way you can avoid making your customer feel like they have to sit around all day waiting for you to show up. As a general policy, you should send your customers the following reminders.

service reminder templates

1 Week Before

If the appointment was made more than a month ago, it’s a good idea to remind your customer so the appointment stays top of mind. That way they won’t accidentally schedule something for that day and will also lower your chances of their rescheduling.

24-48 Hours Before the Scheduled Appointment

It’s a great policy to reach out to your customer 24-48 hours before the actual appointment, just in case the customer hasn’t marked the date on their calendar. In an email – you can tell them how to prepare for the visit, like putting pets up.

Morning Of

The morning of, be sure to update your customer with expected arrival time and whether or not it has changed. If possible, always send a SMS/text message reminder, which has a 98% open rate.

On My Way

Send your customers a notification to let them know you’re on your way to them, after you’ve left your last job. Be sure to include your ETA to avoid the common customer pain point of long appointment windows. Some apps, like FieldPulse, will even let you send customers a link to track your location.

on my way text templates

Follow-Ups

Appointment Follow-Up (a.k.a Services Performed Summary)

After each appointment, you’ll want to send a follow up message to your customers with a summary of the services performed and a copy of the invoice. If you have FieldPulse, you can even include a link to accept payments or link customers to their self-service customer portal so they can view all the work performed, check payments, and even book new appointments.

 

In this email, you can also include a job satisfaction survey, and reviews or referral requests or send these requests out separately. This is optional – but attaching before and after photos of the job and work completed is an excellent policy. Be sure to also attach paperwork like warranty information, and how to maintain the system.

Job Satisfaction Survey

When it comes to getting feedback from your customers, there are several ways you can go about doing it. We’d recommend that you start by creating a job satisfaction survey. While building a job satisfaction survey may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually quite easy to do. Here’s a few examples of some of the questions you should be asking:

 

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your overall experience with [company name]
  • Were you satisfied with your service technicians performance and timeliness?
  • Do you feel that the issue you hired us for has been resolved?
  • Did you feel that the appointment booking process was simple and easy to navigate?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with our customer service?
  • Is there any part of your service experience that you feel could be improved?
  • Would you recommend our services to a friend or family member?

Reviews

When it comes to reviews, Google reviews are by far the most important. Past that, you’ll want reviews on platforms that generate the most leads for you like Yelp, Angi, etc. Don’t be afraid to remind your customers to leave a review, because the likelihood is that if you don’t remind them, they won’t go out of their way to do it. Space out your reviews, because otherwise platforms will see them as spam – which is why it’s best to ask immediately after a job instead of sending a mass request to customers.

Review Request Template

Referrals

If you’re feeling gumptious, you can set up a referral program that rewards customers for referring friends and family to your business. This can be easily done through a referral code. With a field service management app like FieldPulse, you can make note of who referred the customer on their profile, and link to the referral program document.

referral request template

Helpful tools

Google Forms/TypeForm

Google Forms and TypeForm are a great way to create and collect customer feedback. TypeForm has a number of pre-made templates to get customer feedback, including everything from satisfaction to marketing surveys. Google Forms is free while TypeForm offers a free plan that should fit your needs:

GiftBit/ Tremendous

This service lets you buy, send, and track rewards in the form of gift cards, giftcards, and money to customers. Tremendous is branded with your company logo, while GiftBit lets customers pick from rewards. You can even automate the process if you include a link at the end of your survey.

It’s not always easy to get a link to your google business page, but this tool can help pull up a link so customers are taken straight to a form to fill out.

FieldPulse is one of the easiest ways to consolidate your customer communications. With FieldPulse, you can give your customers the power to view all of their jobs, estimates, invoices and payments as well as make work requests, check appointment details, and make payments directly from the client portal. You can also automate the time-consuming parts of your day with email and SMS templates, for situations like reminding customers to approve estimates, pay invoices, and even schedule their next service.

 

Easily set up custom triggers that send communications when job records are created, job status is updated, prior to a job’s start date/time, when invoice status is updated to ‘paid’, or when a payment record is created which can be automatically sent, prompts confirmation prior to sending, schedules based on timing or with confirmation. On top of all that, you’re also able to see when your emails were delivered, as well as the time and date on which they’re opened.

NiceJob integrates with the FieldPulse app and can help automate your review process. This app will also help you build your search engine rankings, and is especially helpful for websites like google where reviews can make or break your ranking and how many sales you get. With NiceJob, you can send review reminders, automatically share reviews on social media, craft social posts that generate 3x more engagement than the average review, and more!

Response Guidelines

Contacting Customers

When it comes to contacting your customers, keep the conversation short and to the point. Texts will most likely be read, but it’s best to use email for more detailed communications. Any conflicts should be handled over the phone when possible – if talking to customer through email or text, always ask if you can call

Placing Clients on Hold

If possible, never put your clients on hold. This is easily avoidable, and your customers will thank you. If it’s absolutely necessary to put them on hold, always ask if you can put them on hold, give them a clear time they’ll have to wait, or ask if you can call them back. Reinforce to them that you want to make sure they have your full attention and make your client feel important.

Voicemail

Keep in mind that if you leave your customer a voicemail, there’s an 80% chance it won’t be listened to. But, if it’s absolutely necessary to leave them a voicemail, be sure to include your name, your company’s name, the purpose of the call, and your phone number. For bonus points, follow up with a text message or email letting them know you called.

 

You’re well on your way to craft an impeccable customer communication experience. We won’t deny it, setting up everything is a lot of work. However, the time you invest upfront in this process will pay off tenfold in the long run of your business. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect on your first go. As you continue to use the system, you’ll begin to identify weaknesses that can be addressed, factors that should be further emphasized, or new methods to implement.

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