Arrival windows, or "time block" scheduling has obvious benefits. The most notable is that it manages pet owner expectations with regards to arrival time. This is a difficult subject...
Pet owners often want you to show up at the exact time they request. To them, it seems like a reasonable request. I can totally relate. I used to hate waiting for a cable repair person to show up between 8 am and noon. Now, I understand what's involved in logistics.
Managing incoming appointments while trying to route everything efficiently is hard enough. Giving customers the exact time they've requested or keeping the originally approved time is a seemingly impossible task. Scheduling at specific times definitely requires more communication in order to manage customer expectations.
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the downsides to using arrival windows is lack of accountability. Being on time every day builds trust with pet owners. From a manager's point of view, I like to have my hand on the wheel. If someone is running behind, I want an alert. With time blocks that's a difficult situation. When is someone actually considered late? Is it when the arrival window starts? That would make you late for everything except your first appointment. Is it when the time block ends? By then you could be too far behind to catch up. Shit happens, and when it does, I want my software to tell me in time to react appropriately.
Arrival Windows or Specific Times? Why Choose?
Scout's hybrid setting gives you the best of both worlds. Your customers schedule via arrival windows, but managers assign specific start times to the pet sitters. If a sitter is running late, you still get a notification with enough time to react. You also have the freedom to move appointments around, without the need to communicate with the customer every time. You can manage expectations and staff effectively to provide excellent service.
Universal Windows to Empower Your Staff
Do you want to take a more hands-off approach? Universal time blocks are great for companies who give their staff the freedom to make their own routes.
Custom Windows Deliver Next-Level Flexibility
In addition to allowing businesses to set predefined time blocks, Scout also gives businesses the option to use custom time blocks. What does that mean? It means you can set a minimum time block duration, and allow customers to create their own custom time block. This way if a customer is more flexible than your predefined time blocks, they can let you know.
For example, let's say you have a predefined afternoon time block from 12 - 3 pm start time and you've set a 3-hour minimum custom duration. A client might prefer 11am-2pm. That's still a nice window to work with and you can deliver a better service to your customer. On the other hand, what if they are cool with someone stopping by anytime between 12 - 6 pm because they have a cat and time of day isn't important? Your customers can communicate that by requesting a custom time block giving you way many more scheduling options.
This setting basically allows customers to tell you what they want, within reason and gives businesses owners maximum flexibility while delivering a service their customers want.