8

Let's say I have a gym class and have scheduled slots for the classes.

Now Customer A booked on Friday at 8pm class. This is the last slot. Now Customer B booked on Friday at 8pm class too. But this slot is full. So the person is on the waitlist (let's say the person opts to do this instead of booking for another schedule).

Come Friday morning, we will send an SMS to Customer A that he has an appointment at 8pm that same day. Something like this:

"Hi Customer A, this is a reminder that you have an appointment at 8pm today [today's date]. Etc. etc. If you want to cancel, CLICK HERE or call us at 8847 8383."

Let's say Customer A decides to cancel and clicks the link which brings him to the app with a confirmation that his appointment has been cancelled.

Now, since Customer A has cancelled, a slot has been freed up and Customer B will now receive an SMS notification. Something like this:

"You are now booked for an appointment at 8pm today [today's date]. Etc. etc. If you want to cancel, CLICK HERE or call us at 8847 8383."

And the whole cycle will go on (in case Customer B cancels too which makes the slot available for the next customer in the waitlist) until a certain cut-off time when no more cancellations are allowed.

My question is, will this process be quite straightforward for the user and admin or is there something here that can be improved? Or are there any red flags that may make the administrative part cumbersome?

  • Sounds good to me. Don't forget to add a possibiliy to remove myself from the waiting list. – virtualnobi Jan 18 '17 at 7:42
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    I would also include something like 3 cancellations with X period will prohibit you from booking another class for X period. So that people don't just book and cancel will-nilly. – DasBeasto Jan 18 '17 at 15:24
9

The system is clear and it certainly will work.

The only thing to note is that customer B might have less probability than initial A to go, because he might have done other plans.

So instead of B being auto-confirmed maybe B should have a period of time to confirm. If he doesn't confirm in that period of time the opportunity passes to C.


Another alternative is once A cancels the place is open again. So everyone in queue B, C, etc. gets notified and the first to confirm gets the place. This is like the former without the time delay.

  • 2
    That's good for user B, but if B never intends to go to the class and there's no problem in enrolling but not showing, B will very likely be lazy and not confirm. This means time will run out for C before the class happens who was actually eager to attend. A quits, B shrugs, C gets depressed and might start a career in crime. – ecc Jan 18 '17 at 9:53
  • @ecc you are right, let me add another alternative – Alvaro Jan 18 '17 at 9:54
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    So i think it's better for B to be insta-enrolled or give it a very short "grace period" where he can enroll before it becomes first-come-first-serve in the "try again" period. – ecc Jan 18 '17 at 9:55
  • It's better to just notify on the waiting list – BlueWizard Jan 21 '17 at 13:31
4

The best solution would be having a button for the customer B to select an option stating "Notify me if a slot is available over cancellation" this helps customer B to book another slot at the same time and wait for any cancellation to occur. And there should be a minimum time to lock the cancellation process say 2-hours helps notify customer B that the slots are not available.

1

The process you have is simple and straightforward. I do not see it will be an issue with the Admin. However, this is presume that those in Queue will be allocated the slot in FIFO order. And how long does it take for the person to response before the slots is given out to the next in line?

Also, one of the thing that potentially could be an issue will be the person in queue took up the slot and decide to cancel also. Does that mean, the slot will be release back to the queue again?

1

The process sounds alright. Though you could run into problems regarding user behavior.

For this process to work the assumption is that everyone who is on the waiting list is eager to jump into the open spot once it becomes available. The closer you get to the appointment however, the higher the chance people on the list already made other plans for that timeslot, forgot they made the appointment, and/or simply don't want to go any longer.

This could lead to the following situations:

  • A high number of cancellations of people who are on the waiting lists.

  • A high number of no-shows because the people on the list don't respond to the text message.

These situations could potentially make the administrative part cumbersome, especially in the second situation. Because many precious gym class slots go to waste.

I'd reckon you should test this and making sure you have a backup plan. For example:

  • Calling the people on the waiting list instead of texting to get an answer
  • Advertising the open slot on social media to attract other gym members.
0

What if Customer B could not attend previously requested time slot? She may want to appoint another time.

In my opinion, it will be a good idea to include a link in the SMS for selecting other available time slots. This way you users don't have to call the phone number (in case they cannot make a call at the moment) and ask the operator to appoint them other time slot.

This results in saved time/resources for the phone operator and convenience to choose other time slots for the user.

  • "What if Customer B has made other plans" > the responsible thing to do would be to leave the queue. – ecc Jan 18 '17 at 10:33

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