Calendar scheduling software: 5 mistakes to avoidPosted: August 10, 2021 - By Elizabeth Velez
Technology continues to facilitate faster and more efficient communication between small businesses and their clients. One of the most viable features a business should get started with is a calendar scheduling software.
A calendar scheduling software is an app, widget, or platform that manages your appointment bookings in real time, giving your clients online access to your schedule even when your business is closed for the day.
The first thing that may come to mind is pricing and your marketing budget. However, cloud based booking apps pay for themselves as they:
- Increase staff productivity by streamlining appointment scheduling.
- Boost the amount of appointments you receive by expanding online booking to social media.
- Offer an integration with your business’s management system to ensure accuracy.
It’s important to remember that with all scheduling tools, if you don’t use the service to its fullest potential, your bottom line could be negatively impacted. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when offering a scheduling app to clients.
#1 You still book majority of your appointments over the phone vs. the web scheduler
According to Forbes.com, most employees spend 28% of their time dealing with unwanted interruptions. For front desk employees, manually booking appointments is an unwanted interruption when they need to accept payments, greet clients and help get their services started.
There are several ways you can optimize the use of your appointment scheduling software. First, adding the scheduling feature to your website by embedding the easy to use online booking widget. You can add this to any page on your site so clients don’t have to search or wait to make an appointment. Second, send an email announcing appointment scheduling can be done online and be sure to include the benefits for your clients. You can use the selling points below.
- Make an appointment in between a work meeting or after business hours
- Get a full view of calendar availability by date, services, and providers or technicians
- Receive an email confirmation as a reminder to add the appointment to their Google Calendar
- No credit card necessary
Finally, if possible, screen phone calls with a recording that reminds clients they can handle their appointment scheduling online. This could increase web bookings which will save time for both your employees and your clients.
#2 You didn’t add buffer time in between appointments when setting up the scheduling app
When setting up your appointment scheduling software, you need to consider the time for several scheduling variables. It’s not just about the time each booking will take. It’s also about the time it takes your employees to get back on track from the end of one service to the start of the next service, as well as if the appointment goes over the allotted time.
The average patient wait time in the United States was 18 minutes and 13 seconds, according to a 2018 Vitals study. If you’re not accounting for ‘buffer time’ in between appointment bookings, your business could suffer even longer wait times and leave customers unhappy.
To avoid unnecessary waiting periods, create time blocks after each appointment in your calendar that customers cannot book. If you manage your availability by taking into account the entire appointment process, you will get the most out of your software and learn:
- A realistic amount of appointments you can manage in one month.
- If certain services need longer or shorter booking time.
- If the appointment process needs to be optimized.
- When you need to send email reminders to get more appointment bookings before the month ends.
#3 You haven’t utilized the custom booking options in your appointment scheduling software
Appointment scheduling software allows you to customize your booking options so the scheduling experience is streamlined for both your business and your customers. One of the best features to use is offering the ability to schedule appointments in advance. Often times customers are trying to book their appointment beyond the 30 day window. The further advance customers can schedule their booking, the less likely they are to call your office for scheduling. This is easy to use because the online calendar scheduling system has a real time integration with your management system.
Another one of the important tools in a scheduling software is showing the availability of your service providers. This empowers customers to find a free appointment time on their preferred technician’s calendar. Customization like this increases customer loyalty and satisfaction, and decreases the chance of them scheduling their appointment booking over the phone.
The next best way to use your appointment scheduling software is adding a booking option to popular social media sites like Yelp and Google. This scheduling expansion benefits your business because the more areas online you offer appointment scheduling, the greater your chance in increasing your monthly appointments.
One of the first things potential customers do when they are in need of a service is search the web for a provider near them. In fact, 97% of consumers go online to find and research products and services. If your business has reviews on Google, this potential customer would be able to learn about customer experiences, see your location and office hours, and click ‘Book Online’ before they even visit your website! Once they click there, they’ll have a view of your calendar, services, free scheduling times, availability of your service providers, and more.
#4 You haven’t analyzed your appointment scheduling data
Earlier in this blog we discussed what business insights you could gather when analyzing the number of appointment bookings in a given month. In addition to those insights, the best appointment scheduling apps also offer the following data:
- Most popular booking sources and types
These insights let you know where you can potentially find new customers. If your Google or WebMD listing is the top scheduling source, make sure your business information and hours are updated.
- The type of customers using online appointment scheduling
This data highlights how many customers who use the scheduler app are new vs returning. If most of them are new, it’s important to continue to remind your current customers via email about booking online.
- The total number of appointments booked
As mentioned earlier in this post, this data will give you insights on whether or not you need to send an email to customers so your business can reach it’s monthly appointment goal. Adding a link in the email that takes them to the scheduler will optimize this strategy.
#5 You’re using a scheduling app that isn’t robust enough for your business
A robust scheduling software is one that has a seamless integration with your management system. With this integration, you’re offered a calendar sync with your scheduling app, one of the many real time features that makes appointment management easier for everyone.
With the Online Booking tools from Demandforce, your employees will even receive a notification via email each time an appointment is made through the scheduling software so they are still in-the-know. Speak to a Demandforce representative to add a scheduling software to your process today.