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Service dispatch is one of the core functions of a field service business. It involves scheduling of field service jobs and coordination between managers and their staff in the field.
Jump to the following sections for a quick look:
Service dispatch software is a platform that helps field service businesses assign field staff to jobs, provide them with navigation assistance, and share task lists to be carried out while on site. It also helps field service managers track and manage assets such as equipment and spare parts.
To select the right dispatch solution for your field service business, you must first understand the types of service dispatch software offered. Here, we are looking at the two most common types of dispatch management solutions:
Stand-alone service dispatch software: This software lets you assign tasks to field service workers and provide them with a list of on-site tasks. If you only need a solution for field staff scheduling and coordination needs, you should consider this type of tool.
Combined work order management and dispatch management suites: In addition to field staff scheduling, these software suites let you create and manage work orders based on customer requests. If your business handles a lot of customer requests, you should focus your search on this type of service dispatch software.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Will a best-of-breed service dispatch software suffice for the number of employees and customer requests I need to accommodate?
After you’ve decided which type of service dispatch software will best fit your business needs, the next step is to choose the right deployment option. Here are the deployment options available in service dispatch software:
Cloud-based deployment: This option lets you access the software using a web browser or a native mobile app. Cloud-based solutions follow subscription pricing and charge on a per-month or per-user per-month pricing plan.
On-premise deployment: On-premise solutions are hosted on in-house servers and are accessible from the office network. On-premise solutions typically incur a one-time investment and charge on a per-user license basis. Users must also pay for software upgrades (e.g., new feature releases).
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product offer a mobile app that field staff can use on the job site?
To see the best results, it’s essential that you choose a solution with features that meet your specific needs. In this section, we’ll take a look at the common service dispatch software features that you should look for when selecting service dispatch software:
Staff scheduling. Lets you assign field staff to customer jobs based on their availability and skill set. Field staff can also access their service requests and get notifications about changes in their schedule.
Job scheduling in Field Force Tracker
Mobile access. Lets your field service staff access customer requests and a list of tasks that need to be handled at the job site. Since field service staff are the primary users of this software, this is a must-have feature in service dispatch software.
Menu of features offered in UpKeep's mobile app
Job tracking. Provides field service managers with real-time statuses of completed, in-progress, and pending jobs. It also helps managers update schedules to account for emergencies, urgent request, and employee time off.
Invoicing in ServiceM8
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product include features relevant to my dispatching needs?
*Note: The applications shown here are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations.
To make the best use of a service dispatch management solution, select a product that integrates with the other apps you’re already using. Integration enables real-time data flow between applications, eliminating manual data transfer.
Following are some integrations you should look for when selecting a service dispatch solution:
Work order management software. Allows you to manage scheduling directly from within your work order software. It also allows you to update work orders in real time as soon as a technician completes the service request.
Payment processing software. Enables you to collect payments and email invoices at the job site itself. Some common payment integrations are Stripe and PayPal.
Call center management solutions. Allows you to create a service dispatch task as soon as an agent receives a customer request via phone or email. You should look for this integration if your field service business uses call center software for managing customer requests.
Accounting software. Updates accounts payable and receivable entries as soon as a business transaction is complete.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your product integrate with the software solutions used in my business?
Once you understand the common features and most useful integrations, the next step is to learn about any advanced features offered.
Assess the relevance of these features to your business and then select service dispatch software that includes those that are most relevant. For instance, if your business carries out email campaigns, look for a tool with customer management features that will help you personalize campaigns using customer data and interaction histories.
Here are some of the advanced features that you should consider while selecting a service dispatch solution:
Customer management. Record and save customer details such as name, contact info, and location. Use this information to autofill fields in customer request forms, documents, and invoices.
GPS tracking. Track real-time location of field service staff and provide them with navigation assistance to find customer locations.
Billing and invoicing. Generate paper or online bills and invoices as soon as a transaction is complete.
Service history tracking. Track the service history and activity of each customer and field service agent.
Reporting. Prepare reports on different service parameters. Examples include average time-to-reach and first-time fix rate reports.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: How many of the advanced features relevant to my business does your product include?