At any point in time, the streets today are brimming with delivery executives sporting bright colored jerseys and zipping through traffic to their next delivery or assignment. All thanks to the mushrooming of service-based and delivery apps in the last decade.
It is hard to imagine getting anything done without these smartphone-based apps. They are the pillar for the new-age economy. And as the world continues to become busier and busier, today’s consumers are spoilt for choice across a broad spectrum of services, right from ordering regular groceries to hiring a plumber.
This new-age economy has seen intense competition to capture the largest slice of the pie. That’s largely because today’s consumers are a lot more tech-savvy, more well-informed, and highly value-conscious. They will not hesitate to choose the service that offers the greatest convenience and value for their money, which makes the competition even more fierce.
Take the home services industry for example, which began to gain popularity right after the e-commerce boom. The market is projected to grow by $4730.31 billion during 2021-2025. Apart from offering the lowest possible rates for their services, players must also ensure that the services being offered are of high quality, and delivered at a time convenient to the consumer. While they might be open to receiving their weekly groceries the next day, it might not cut the mustard if they have a leaky faucet or a broken chair that needs urgent fixing.
Given that the consumer needs to be physically present to receive the service at a certain time period, the room for error for home service companies shrinks considerably as compared to regular delivery and e-commerce apps. This is what makes time slot management systems for ambitious home service companies the make-or-break difference for long-term growth.
What is a time slot management system and why is it important?
A time slot management system allows consumers to book home services at a time slot that is most convenient to them. On the other hand, it allows home service companies the ability to assign service executives and update time slots for both the consumer and service executive in real-time. All this, while factoring in real-world constraints such as the number of tasks service executives already have lined up, the distance between two task locations, the optimal route for said tasks, among others.
Needless to say, time slot management systems are the bedrock for promoting customer satisfaction. Consistently providing services at preferred time slots shows that the company is serious about putting the customer at the heart of their operations. It also promotes savings, by improving the first attempt delivery rate of the services provided. This translates into savings on time, fuel and resources towards revisiting consumers the second time around.
Implementing time slot management practices manually is a less-than-ideal approach, especially for companies looking to scale up rapidly. Manually carrying out these tasks are far less efficient and more resource-intensive. Not to mention they do not provide the same level of visibility over the supply chain as time slot management systems. They provide real-time updates on the status of a task assigned to executives, reducing the back and forth between supervisors and executives.
How do time slot management systems work?
Time slot management systems function as a control center for a variety of functions, right from receiving the slot preferences of a customer to assigning service executives and rescheduling time slots as required.
Locus’ time slot management system works on this basic principle: a time slot for any executive is the total number of service hours of a vehicle in a day divided by the length of a single time slot for consumers. For example, if a vehicle operates for 10 hours (8 am to 6 pm) and a consumer requires a two-hour slot to finish a service, then each executive would be given five slots, starting from 8-10 am, 10-12 pm, and so on till 6 pm.
Teams can configure the slot length and timing, and the slots can be open before any number of days required. Consumers and company executives can interact with the time slot management system through an application programming interface (API) known as Get Slot API. It takes in all the necessary inputs from the app or website and executes three key time slot management functions, namely:
1. Batch plan and creation:
This is an important function. Locus’ time slot management creates batches of various service requests from consumers according to pre-defined criteria such as type of task, whether they are from premium subscribers, location of the task, and so on. It then takes the details of the various service executives and generates optimal route plans for each of these executives.
2. Booking of new slots:
Another key function of time slot management is the assigning of new slots to executives after a batch has been created. The time slot management system takes the requested time slot from customers and displays its availability along with other nearby options in real-time. Based on the consumers’ choices, it then adds and updates the slot in the existing batch plan.
3. Rescheduling of assigned slots:
On receiving the request to change an existing slot from the consumer, Locus’ time slot management system automatically cancels the slot booked earlier and provides a new slot by factoring in real-world constraints.’
Let’s face it: Today’s consumer has more options than ever before, and will switch to the competition in a heartbeat if they feel they are getting a better-priced deal. But what about the convenience factor that customers seek? With the help of time slot management systems, home service companies can offload crucial tasks such as receiving and assigning time slots in real-time to cutting-edge technology solutions.
In the process, they can accrue the benefits of better managed and utilized fleets, lower costs, and improved customer satisfaction. They can also dedicate more of their resources to what they know best: Providing high-quality services at affordable prices.
Since 2015, Locus has been pushing the boundaries of logistics capabilities with state-of-the-art technology solutions. To know how Locus’ extensive set of logistics solutions can do wonders for your company, click here to sign up for a demo.