One of the keys to success in the service industry is managing your customer’s expectations and ensuring they stay well-informed of the status of all appointments you make with them. In the past, it was necessary for your staff to notify customers of changes to their appointments, be it when the job is initially scheduled, when the technician is en route, or if the appointment needs to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances. Typically, office personnel will take charge of this task, but what if there was a more streamlined and efficient way to communicate these status changes to your valued customers, keeping them informed and freeing up your staff for other tasks? With ESC, there is!
In ESC you have the ability to automatically email your customers every time the status of their dispatch changes. A different email can be configured for each status code, so you can send the customer an email when the call is first assigned reminding them of the date and time or their appointment; another can be sent when the technician is en route to the job site; and a follow up email can be sent after the dispatch has been completed thanking them for choosing your company, asking them to rate your performance, and providing them with a coupon for their next service.
This will work seamlessly with your existing company data provided that you have the following items installed and configured:
- ESC Connections Server must be installed and configured to connect to your database. If you have been using any mobile clients, Front Office, SageQuest or the American Home Shield integration this is already properly configured.
- Your SMTP information for emailing must be configured in Company → System Setup → Email. This should already be set if you are emailing invoices, purchase orders or dispatches to your technicians now.
- Your email address and display name must be configured in Company → System Setup → Email → Addresses. These are new fields that you will have to add.
Once those are set, this article will walk you through configuring the email that will be sent to the customer when the dispatch is put into the Traveling status.
Before you can start emailing notifications to your customers, you will need to edit your status codes. To do this, go to Dispatch → Enter Status Codes and double-click the Traveling status. Click on the Notification tab and enter a Subject for the email; such as, “We are on our way!” Now click into the body of the email and enter the information you want the customer to see. You can use the Insert button (highlighted in red) to insert merge codes into your email. These merge codes will automatically pull information; such as, Employee Name,Employee Photo, Promised Date and Promised Time from the dispatch when the status is changed. Insert the Employee Name somewhere in the body and click OK to save your changes.
The next step in the process is to verify the customer has an email address on the Qualification screen. This should occur every time a customer calls to schedule a dispatch. If the customer does not have an email address, or has several and you want to make sure it is going to the correct one, click Activities → Edit Customer Information. On the resulting screen enter the email address and set the Email Tasks field to General or All and make sure the Receives Email Notifications box is checked before saving it.
Congratulations! Now whenever you create a dispatch for this customer and change the status to traveling they will get the email you designed, along with the name of the tech that has been assigned to the dispatch. If you want to make this really cool, add a picture of your technician to the email. You can add a default picture for each employee using the Dispatch → Enter Technicians screen.
Now take this knowledge and go wild! Create a follow up email that is sent when the status is complete or an email that is sent when a service agreement dispatch is scheduled. The sky is the limit!
Written by Jonathan Forbes
Featured in October 2011 Newsletter