Where’s the repairman? There’s an app for that … almost.

Taxi Magic, an app that syncs with cab dispatchers’ GPS units and lets users book a cab, track its progress as it crosses town for them, and pay for the ride through their phone, is up and running in several cities, primarily here in the San Francisco Bay Area. And that got us thinking.

It’s a cool idea that would seem to lend itself well to a number of field service applications. Many field service operations have internal software that lets dispatchers, managers, or field techs know where everyone is. But why not let the customer in on that knowledge, too?

Think about the frustration customers have about waiting for the cable guy to show up, or a repairman. With this sort of app at their fingertips, they’d be able to know exactly where their cable guy was, and when they could expect him to show up.

And even just knowing where the cable guy is goes a long way — in fact, many installers will text a customer to let them know they’re on the way. But the idea of an app to schedule, track, and pay for a service could be really powerful, especially for companies that customers turn to at least somewhat frequently, like the gas or cable company.

Just some food for thought.

Per Tech Hive:

  • “Taxi Magic also receives certain information from its own system, such as the user’s pickup location, pickup time, and how the ride will be paid for. From the dispatch system, the app receives information on the location of the vehicle, whether the meter is turned on or off (which lets the system know if the driver decided to pick up another person), and whether payment for the completed ride has been received. “While several apps and online services exist for checking on public-transportation arrival times, RideCharge CEO [Tom] DePasquale says that Taxi Magic is one of the first true online services for ordering personal ground transportation. “You can order some Amtrak tickets on the Internet,” DePasquale tells TechHive, “But for cabs… you still call a dispatcher, and give them your address. And then, when you hang up, you just kind of hope that your cab comes.”

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.