Service with a smile Develop a service business with online scheduling

Posted by tom klein May 18, 2007

All of your company’s smarts are locked up in the brains of your employees. But most of the time those brains are locked up far away from customers.

With online scheduling, you can give your customers access to your employees to create an instant service business – and high-margin service revenue. Apple has recently unveiled its One to One program that unlocks the intelligence of its legions of retail employees. Customers use a simple online scheduling tool to create an appointment for personal training with store employees.

Not just retailers can turn smarts into service revenue. Manufacturers should consider opening up R&D, operations, or any area of expertise to customers. Remember, even IBM is now a service company.

While the technology might seem simple, there are few web solutions available - a good reason for building your own. The challenge is the combination of both customer visibility (what's available) and scheduling employees to deliver the services. Depending on the scale of your company and your offering, you can probably manage a test with existing calendaring tools (MS Outlook or online calendars like Google Calendar).

By creating a disciplined, yet self-service model for post-purchase service, you can improve your brand experience for very low cost. Also, by charging for the service, you will help communicate the value of the service you do provide. Finally, it's one more benefit to help close the deal in the first place.

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