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Written by Graydon   
Wednesday, 29 November 2006
When was the last time you tried to get a service person out to the house?  And when you scheduled it, were you given that disgraceful 4 hour block of time that they should show up at?  Or better yet, you are like me and have been put on a "when available" list... which means they may or may not get there sometime between 8am and 6pm.
If you are like me, you are sick and tired of this crap.  I thought that there was a glimmer of hope when the cable company and others starting asking for a phone number that they could call ~30 minutes prior to arrival... and then I experienced the 30 minute notice actually varied from 5 minutes to 2 hours (with the 2 hour mark being way off).
Honestly, if you can't schedule your stuff better... then you just suck.
So, what's an aspiring entrepreneur to do?  Help them not suck.
Start with visible schedule.  Let me go online and see who's been assigned to my issue and when they are scheduled to be here.
Next, have that schedule updated live based upon the service techs confirmation of previous items completed.  Most techs have to call in at the start / end of a job... that could be fed to a system that adjusts the appointments later in the day.  If one job gets done faster, we all move up and if slower, all move back. 
You'll also need to mine data constantly.  How long something took for a type of job in a type of house in a type of situation in a particular neighborhood at a particular time and compare historical data to a techs estimated time after initial assesment and then mine it all over again.  There's always "issues" but if you are tracking them you'll be better prepared for them.
Then, recognize and reward techs not for speed but for accuracy.  Make sure they commit the time needed to get a job done correctly and satisfy the customer.  It will increase your ability to schedule the end customer accurately and ultimately reduce the amount of time they spend "waiting for the tech guy to show up".
Finally, provide a multi-point notification system.  When the customer says he needs 15, 30 or 45 minutes notice, then give it to them in the form they want... email notice to work or recorded message to a phone or multiple emails or phones... as well as the live schedule online.  Then, to top it all off, make the online schedule mobile friendly so they can check from the cell phone.
There's no point in the cable company doing this along with the plumbers and other maintenance people all ending up with seperate systems... Create a company that manages this for everybody so that the customer only has to go to one place, enter in a ticket number and get the information and options they need.
And please hurry... I've got an open 10 hour call for tomorrow.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 November 2006 )
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