Optimizing Schedules for Service Providers While Making Your Customers Happy!

Posted at 1:00 am on 06/13/2014 by Dr. Rahul Razdan

Service providers ranging from professions as disparate as pet groomers, cpas, or golf pros have the challenge of optimizing their schedule in the face customer expectations. Part of the difficulty is that various customers value their time very differently. Let’s consider three parties: 

  1. Time Sensitive Customer: A busy business owner or executive who values their time, and are typically willing to pay more for expedited service. 
  2. Price Conscious Customer: Meanwhile, a retiree may well have the luxury of time, but is very sensitive to price. 
  3. Service Provider: Typically, a service provider lives in a world where there is either high demand or no demand. The task of optimal scheduling is very very difficult, and the consequences of getting is wrong are dire. Further, if the service provider is mobile, all the problems of travel are added to this issue. 

Is there a solution? Yes. There is patented research from the University of Florida and implemented in the Ocoos (www.ocoos.com) platform which has indeed solved this problem.

How does it work?

The crux of the solution is that the Service Provider offers two prices for the same service.

  1. One price consists of offering the service at a fixed time/place at he discretion of the customer.
  2. A discounted price is offered for scheduling an appointment where the time/place is confirmed 24-hours earlier at the discretion of the service provider.

The use of this method has the following consequences:

  1. Time Sensitive Customers gets what they want. The schedule/ place they desire, and they are willing to pay more for it.
  2. Price Sensitive Customers get what they want. They are able to tradeoff their flexibility in time for a pricing discount.
  3. Service Providers: Using the flexibility of the price sensitive customers, they are able to load-balance and manage locational flexibility. If the population of time sensitive customers is high, they can raise the delta in pricing between the two. This results in either more money or a shift of some to the Price Sensitive camp.

Overall, the business interactions between the players is much more efficient because it is not limited by one pricing structure.

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