Spotlight on scheduling

This week we are highlighting HMS’s commitment to providing exemplary customer care and today we are spotlighting Laura McGuinness, one of a team of schedulers at HMS. Today, we will be checking in with her as she delivers excellent customer service throughout another busy 24 hours.

8am Laura starts sending today’s jobs out to operatives. Laura arranges appointments via DRS, an intelligent scheduling system she sends out South Liverpool repairs and maintenance jobs. Today, over 300 jobs are in the system for the whole of the City region.

9am Jobs booked on the day must be manually added to an operative’s diary. Sometimes Laura must pick an operative from a different work stream if no one’s free, if an Electrician is needed, an Electrical Testing operative might be sent to the job.

9.30am Another pair of hands is needed at a job. Sometimes operative’s jobs get rearranged on the day due to customer cancellation & their priorities may change after Laura’s call. Today’s jobs include heating, double glazing, staircase repairs, gas servicing & more.

10am An operative calls to put a follow on job on the system, so Laura books the job in for a specific date and time which means the customer can arrange around it. If an operative is delayed, Laura keeps the customer informed & rearranges appointments if needed.

10.30am Each operative’s diary has set times for routine repairs and emergency repairs. The latter must be completed in 2 hours, some can be escalated to within 24 hours depending on urgency. Once a job is reported, the clock is running.

11am Laura has several jobs come in for a Plumber. Laura flags this to her Manager as she can’t get into an operative’s diary. She can ask the operative to work late, but if it’s not possible she’ll go to a different work stream to get the job done.

12.30pm Laura’s back from lunch. A customer calls about an emergency job. Laura checks the system & lets the customer know an Engineer is enroute. Another customer needs a same day appointment, it’s not always possible but Laura checks if she can make it happen.

1pm Laura books in ‘Turn on & test’ jobs. When tenants move in, their gas & electricity is checked. Tenants buying their home have a gas service meter which switches off the boiler if it’s not serviced each year. This needs removing, so Laura books a Gas Scheduler.

2pm Laura says “Sometimes you have to be a bit like Miss Marple and investigate the details on the system, so you can best advise the customer or operative.” When job comes in, the scheduling system shows the best date and time for a repair when an operative is nearby.

2.30pm Operatives ring Laura if they need a part and a new appointment will be given to the customer when the part is delivered and ready to go. A big part of Laura’s job is managing customer expectation.

3pm Operatives have a legal obligation to enter a home. If they have to force entry, Laura must arrange for a Joiner, Housing Officer & Gas Engineer to turn off the gas & lock up. No access properties cause lots of extra work for Laura & the operatives.

4pm A leak is coming into a flat. A Plumber & Joiner may need to force entry. Laura contacts an operative, if they get into the property they will need to confirm this with Laura. All jobs have a cost value so it pays to ensure operatives don’t attend unnecessarily. 4.30pm Laura has a disrepair case. When an operative arrived to fix flags, he uncovered a wasp’s nest. His injuries were severe & required hospital treatment. The job raised 13 separate appointments. The nest will be removed by the Council so Laura can reschedule all the work.

5pm When Laura goes home, she logs back in to take any emergency calls in the night. The team take this in turns, staffing the system 24 hours. Night calls vary in frequency, sometimes there may be 2, sometimes 10.

6pm One night Laura got a call about a leak from an above flat. Unfortunately an elderly tenant had passed away while having a bath. Operatives attended & called the police. They repaired the home going over & above for this emergency call.

7pm Laura says: ‘It’s hard work but we make sure all jobs are covered and our customers have the work completed when they need it. It’s exciting because you don’t know what’s going to come in and that’s the challenge.”