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I am working on developing a simple home cleaning booking mobile application and I've been looking at what's out there:

  • Most of them have a multi-step "wizard" that goes from asking the user for the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, then for extras, then for the address, then the contact information then payment (or similar order).

Although most of them are really neat and well designed, I simply think that most clients simply don't want a 5+ step wizard to book a cleaning (like Amazon's patented one-click-checkout). So I am thinking of shifting this form filling process to the back office of the cleaning company. This is what I am proposing and looking for feedback on:

  • When the user first runs the application it takes the permission to access their location: this way, we can send the approximate location of the user.
  • Once the app. opens up, they are presented with a "Book Now in 1 Step" button, they click it.
  • They are asked to enter their phone number to be contacted for the appointment. And they can select if it's an "Express" service or "Normal"
  • That's it, they click "Book" and the back office receives a notification to contact this client by phone and get their location information and any other information(# of beds, # of baths, etc...) over the phone. We can also send the client an SMS/Push Notification confirming his booking request was sent/received successfully.

I'd like your opinion on the process I am trying to simplify, any and all suggestions welcome.

  • Have you done any research to find out how many clients would prefer to book using a self-service web interface versus how many would prefer to book over the phone? Personally, I'd prefer to just do it all online rather than half online and half on the phone. I'd find that process frustrating, but that's just me. – Matt Obee Jan 21 '15 at 11:18
  • I've only asked people around me who are not really tech or app savvy. They're mostly mothers and always seem so busy. Of course it's not a proper sample size or scientific in any way. Also, let's say you book on the website, but they have to confirm or something of the sort, you're still bound to at least get 1 call from them no? – user1202888 Jan 21 '15 at 11:48
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I'd like your opinion on the process I am trying to simplify, any and all suggestions welcome.

I don't know — because I don't know what the customers are like, what the booking process is like, and what the pricing and business model is.

Things I would be thinking about:

  • Is it actually faster and more convenient? You are, for example, removing control from the customer on when they are making the booking and purchasing decision (from when they use the app — to when somebody calls back at some indeterminate time in the future)

  • Unless the phones are staffed 24/7 you are restricting bookings to happen in office hours

  • You are making the booking process more expensive (the people on the phones cost time and money)

  • You are making the booking process potentially more error prone (a verbal conversation is more susceptible to mis-hearing/speaking than a form).

  • You are making the booking process harder to scale (what happens if there are "peak" ordering times when 20 or 30 orders come in at once. With an in-app form no problem. With a phone system you either have to have lots of people, have to mess around with harder systems to scale up/down the phone staff depending on time, increase wait times for return calls, etc.)

  • With an app I get a price, can book and get a confirmation right now. With a phone call I have a gap where I can change my mind, try somebody else, forget my phone, etc. Would that decrease booking numbers?

  • … and so on…

And I could probably make an equally long list for the other view (easier to make work with dumb/feature phones, more accessible to less technically savvy folk, can integrate more easily with non-app booking process, etc.)

To figure out the right answer you need to understand the business model and the customers ;-)

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