From chiropractors to pest control services, there are many businesses that depend on appointment scheduling as part of their business models.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options for how appointments can be scheduled including phone apps, office productivity software, CRM solutions and online scheduling solutions.
When selecting a solution that’s right for your business there are a lot of things to consider because the solution you choose will be an integral part of your day-to-day operations. It’s important to think about your long-term goals, usability, accessibility and other factors.
Also, do you expect your customers to utilize and interact with your scheduling solution? Are they going to be requesting to book appointments through your website or will the calendaring system send them updates, reminders and other notifications? If so, a very important consideration is how the system interfaces with your customers.
Are customers interacting directly with the calendar? If so, it’s extremely important that the system is intuitive and simple. While you have time to train your staff how to use the scheduling system, you don’t have this liberty with your customers. If the system isn’t easy to learn and use – you can expect it will frustrate existing and potential customers which ultimately can lead to a loss of business. Here are a few things to consider when choosing an appointment scheduling solution:
- Does the system send alerts or reminders to your customers? Reminders can be a great feature when used properly. However, if your appointment system sends obnoxious, repetitive or unnecessary alerts or appointment reminders, your customers will be annoyed. Be sure to test the way your system is configured so that your clients are getting alerts that are useful and timely, but not obnoxious. Also, make sure that the system does in fact send alerts if it says it does – some clients might opt to not add a scheduled appointment to their calendar because they trust that your appointment software will send them a reminder.
- Use a solution that interfaces with as many of the common calendaring systems as possible. If a customer wants to add the appointment they just set with your business to his or her calendar then it needs to be a simple task. Make sure you find a system that will allow your clients to simply add their appointments to their calendars by ensuring that your solution exports to the major calendar and office productivity solutions like Gmail, Apple Calendar, Outlook, Office 360, etc.
- Additionally, avoid any appointment software that only runs on one computer and isn’t accessible via the internet. If the software can only run when you’re in your office and cannot be accessed online, then you or an employee must be in the office for your calendar to be accessed. This archaic configuration also limits your ability to outsource your scheduling to an answering service or contact center since, again, there is no way for anyone who is not in your office to access your schedule.
Appointment scheduling can be tedious and time consuming for your staff, but it should never be cumbersome for your potential or existing customers. Make sure your business utilizes a scheduling solution that works well, not only for your employees, but also your customers.