Uber has transformed a number of industries and shifted behaviors, including how comfortable millions of people are now with scheduling a service and expecting an instant response. Understanding this, Skedulo, a mobile workforce scheduling and management company, has introduced Skedulo Lens, a framework of APIs and software development kits to enable its field service clients to offer similarly friction-free scheduling.
It's a solution applicable to a variety of industries and functions, from automotive and HVAC repair services to government auditing and inspections to home visits for health care workers or house cleaners.
The software development kits (SDKs) let a customer book an appointment from a company's mobile app or Web page via a clean, straightforward interface. The Skedulo site says it enables its customers to offer their customers an "Uber-like experience." Customers can also receive text-based alerts that an appointment is coming up soon or alerts about changes.
"Uber has become the de facto example for how end-user experience and simplicity have solved a very complex problem and given customers the ultimate control," Skedulo CEO and co-founder Matt Fairhurst told eWEEK.
"Skedulo first saw similar benefits for back-office and field workers by focusing on simple user experiences that are a joy to use and the efficiencies and adoption found in quality application design," he continued. "We built this product with the mindset: What would it mean for a field worker to wake up every morning excited to open up and start using Skedulo, in the same way that they open Instagram, Facebook and Twitter?"
With the new capabilities from the SDK, a customer can choose what time a technician will arrive, same-day service, weekend appointments and guaranteed one-hour service windows. Fairhurst says that in the past such simplicity wasn't possible, due to "logistical limitations."
"Field service is complex, and there are quite a few companies that have been tackling traditional field service for a long time," Fairhurst said. "As a modern application that's grown up with the on-demand economy exploding around us, we've started to do what a lot of these traditional applications and our competitors can't, and extended robust scheduling, automation and worker mobility with technologies like Lens from the start and focused on combining on-demand and self-service principles with practical back- and front-office business operations."
An early client is Rocket Fiber, a Detroit-based Gigabit Internet service provider. Rather than tell a customer that a technician will be over to install fiber during some 4- or 6-hour window, Rocket Fiber has been using Skedulo Lens to give customers the ability to choose appointment times themselves based on real-time views of technicians' availability and transparency into the processes they need to perform from arrival to completion.
Once an appointment is created via Lens, Skedulo's back end takes over and automatically dispatches the job. Skedulo software is also built to integrate seamlessly with Salesforce.com, so all customer data and requests are captured and the best possible customer care and follow-ups can be provided.
To return to the idea of offering customers an Uber-like experience, Fairhurst says it doesn't stop there.
"When our field workers start the process of traveling to a job site, they can opt to navigate using whatever mapping app is installed on their device, but they can even choose to request an Uber or Lyft car to get them to the appointment on time," said Fairhurst. "This convergence of on-demand technologies is pretty game-changing."