Three ways to build customer portals

The suggest functionality we introduced in v 2.0 of our OnRoute optimization API offers several opportunities to integrate new features quickly in any field service or last-mile delivery application and improve customer service. A popular and probably the quickest to integrate option is to use this form of live scheduling in a customer portal.

Christophe Van Huele

A great way to offer stellar customer service is to offer customers the opportunity to interact with a company at their convenience. That is the reasoning behind many customer portals that offer all kinds of information to the user, and by adding a smart chatbot you can make this process feel more personal. The problem is however that in reality, it is still a one-way stream. The company offers information to the customer, all be it in a way that feels interactive. Unfortunately, that way of working is also often considered a technological way of saying to the customer: go figure it out yourself. And that is because traditional customer portals, even with smart ChatGPT-like chatbots don’t solve problems, they merely make information available.

What if your customer could schedule a visit to their site (home, office, …) fully automatically, without manual intervention? That can only work if there is a smart filter between the customer and the internal work schedule at the company. A smart filter that shows only those moments in time that optimally fit in the teams’ routing. That’s exactly what the suggest functionality allows for.

Suggest Feature: Concept

How to build a smart customer portal.

In order to get your creative juices flowing we have designed three possible ways to build live scheduling into your customer portal, ranging from really easy, over a chatbot that can actually do something to a fancy calendar integration. All three of them follow the same process:

  • The starting point of each of these three solutions is that the customer logs onto a website (a customer portal) where some basic information is already known. Think of the product or service they use and their location.
  • Next, you will have to give the customer the opportunity to give some information about their service request so you can feed the solver with the necessary information. This could be very simple like: what service do you want where? Or you can add extra possibilities, e.g. to indicate what days of the week work best for them, or even what time of day.
  • With the information from the previous steps, the API can be triggered to find a number (typically 5) of ideal moments in the company schedule to fit a visit to this customer. Behind the scenes, the API will feed your portal with the options and how good each one fits the company schedule.
  • Next, the portal presents those options. You have the possibility to push the most optimal solution, e.g. by showing only a selection, use a specific sequence or somehow indicate the most ecological solution. If the customers find a moment that fits their agenda, they select that option. If not, they can request another set of appointment dates.
  • Once a moment is selected it is added to the schedule in the background, and the customer gets the opportunity to add it to their agenda.

Now let’s explore the three options one by one.

One form to rule them all

In this simple form-based version there is a form to collect the necessary information. The solutions are presented in a list in chronological order, or the most optimal solution first. In this example we have added a little leaf to indicate the most ecological solution.

Suggest Feature: One form to rule them all


  • Easy to implement
  • Straightforward design that can fit any existing customer portal
  • Lot’s of liberty to experiment with different ways to push the ideal solution


  • No room for more interaction with the customer
  • Doesn’t look very fancy

Chat with a really smart engine

This version combines the intuitive interface of a chat session with the power of intelligent scheduling. Both the input form and the output with solutions are presented in the chat, which leaves a lot of flexibility to add and remove extra elements over time. This way you can tweak the process based on analytics and customer feedback. Here too extra information can be given to motivate people to go for the most optimal solution. You could even ask for extra confirmation if a customer choose a less favourable moment.

Suggest Feature: Chat with a really smart engine


  • Endless flexibility
  • Familiar interface for the customer


  • Need for a chat interface
  • Need for additional intelligence to deal with customer interactions that go outside what is standard

Calendar with built-in optimization

Here we go for a fancy calendar look which makes for a very user-friendly way of interacting with customers. Feasible dates are indicated in a familiar format and hours can presented in a creative way.

Suggest feature: Calendar


  • Highly familiar interface
  • Fancy look


  • More complex to build
  • Requires more creativity to push people towards preferred moments

Are you ready to start offering stellar customer service and at the same time balance operational efficiency? Start integrating live scheduling in your solution with the Solvice Suggest Feature.

Start Live Scheduling Today

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