What Practices Should Look Out For in an Online Booking SystemPosted: January 12, 2023 - By Health Dev
Remember when businesses used to respond to hundreds of customer emails and calls for appointment booking? Fortunately, this has changed over the past few years. Customers have now become accustomed to online booking, whether making online reservations at a restaurant or getting a dentist’s appointment.
An online booking system is a convenient, on-the-go service that customers can use from any device compatible with the internet. They just have to open the appointment booking app, pick a date, and schedule the appointment. The best part? Customers can even reschedule or cancel their appointments via the same platform.
As a practice, you must check a few practices when integrating online booking software into your system. At its core, the purpose of an online booking system is to enhance the customer experience as well as your practice’s efficiency.
Now the question is: What makes a great online booking system? Once you’ve found the right appointment scheduling tool, ensure it has the following seven characteristics.
7 Characteristics of a Great Online Booking System
Integrating an online booking system into your practice is an excellent way to offer convenience to patients. When you execute it the right way, you can also reduce no-shows and make more sales. Here are seven characteristics that make an online booking system ideal for your practice:
Automated Push Notifications to Staff and Clients
Online booking software helps practices maintain direct contact with patients. It sends automated push notifications to your patients whenever they schedule an appointment. The platform also notifies them about any changes to their appointment (rescheduling or canceling). It also reminds them about their upcoming bookings and minimizes the risk of no-shows.
Push notifications help you achieve all these things without texting or calling the patients one by one. Just as someone books an appointment, a push notification with all the details is sent to them automatically. The notifications are also sent to the staff. This way, everyone stays well aware and on the same page.
Ensure your online booking system supports the automated notifications feature. All you have to do is write the email content and configure the situations in which the scheduling software sends it to the patients. Once you set things up, the system will do everything on its own. However, you should prepare different email content for every circumstance so it doesn’t feel too robotic.
Integration With Social Media, CMS, and Website
Many prospective patients search for a brand online before booking an appointment. They check for the latest discounts and promotions on a business’s website and social media accounts to get the best deals.
Thus, integrating an online booking system with your practice’s social media, CMS, and website will convince patients to book appointments through these channels. It’s also a great way to enhance your sales. Not only that, but you can also advertise any newly launched feature or program of your online booking app on social media.
Remember that only some online booking systems offer a social media integration feature. So, focus on this practice when choosing your online booking software.
Customizable Settings and Messages
Every business has different needs. So, they might need different information about their clients when they book an appointment. For example, suppose you’re a service business. You’d want to know customers’ responses to your services and any issues with a specific item. Plus, you’d also need the primary customer contact info.
Having the right information helps your staff decide if they should accept or reject an appointment. Therefore, an online booking system should be flexible with options for booking rules. It should also allow your practice to customize the settings and messages based on their unique needs. This way, they can predetermine the appointment types, processes, and providers a patient can access and schedule.
Central Online Booking Center for Efficient Appointment Responses
One of the primary benefits of an online booking system is that patients don’t have to wait hours to get a response. Similarly, it ensures that businesses don’t have to check, evaluate, and process every inquiry. Instead, everything on the booking software is centralized.
Patients can directly see the available dates, make an appointment, and get a confirmation response within a few minutes. They are also informed of any issues with their booking date.
An online booking center offers a single dashboard to businesses. They can accept, flag, or reschedule appointment requests from there in a few clicks. Moreover, push notifications are sent to patients automatically, so you won’t have to put in too much effort.
Appointment Booking Integrated With Google or Outlook
Many businesses use Gmail and Outlook as digital diaries to record all appointments and patient information. One good thing about an online booking system is that it integrates with Google Calendar and Outlook. Both platforms are external calendars to ensure two-way synchronization between practices and patients.
As a practice, you can have a summary of your capacity and turnover for specific periods at a glance. This helps you organize and better understand your resource planning.
You can also integrate a calendar widget with your management system. Patients can use this widget to request appointments from the booking app or website. It also avoids scheduling conflicts.
Allows Clients to Cancel and Reschedule Themselves
Appointment cancellation and rescheduling have always been a pain for patients and practices. Unfortunately, people often forget about their appointments, resulting in no-shows. To avoid this, you should allow patients to cancel and reschedule appointments themselves.
You can ask your patients to respond to your push emails with a “yes” or “no.” This way, they can confirm, cancel, or reschedule their appointments per their availability. After all, an online appointment booking system is all about offering convenience, comfort, and ease to patients.
Complete Calendar Integration To Control Availability
Many businesses struggle to be available for patients all the time. The good thing about having an online booking system is that it can cater to patients 24 hours a day. With complete calendar integration, you can enable patients to book appointments anytime, anywhere.
Patients can open their personal calendars on your site, see what slots are available, and book one through the software. This means no back-and-forth calls between the patient and your practice s. The online booking software will do everything online with little to no human intervention.
By managing availability via calendar integration, you can get more high-quality leads. This means fewer no-shows and more profits.
Benefits of Online Booking Software
Integrating online booking software into your system benefits your practice in many ways. It is customizable and efficient and reduces your manual work considerably. Some other benefits include the following:
Integrates With Your Management System
Every practice operates differently, with distinct requirements and management systems. Luckily, efficient online booking software can smoothly integrate with various systems without compromising efficiency.
You can manage and organize your appointments and store relevant patient information. In addition, since the software integrates with third-party apps like Gmail and Outlook, you’ll know that all your data is in a safe place.
Keeps Your Appointments Organized and Centralized
An online booking system is a centralized hub to manage all your practice’s aspects. It records all the crucial patient data, credentials, bookings, reservations, staff, and much more. This means you have all the critical information stored in one platform.
Having everything in one place will also help you keep your appointments organized. You can log in to your system and see a quick breakdown of all your daily appointments. It will also tell you which patients need to pay you and which services have the most appointment requests.
Simply put, a centralized online booking system keeps your appointments organized in one place. You can easily access any data you want with just a few clicks.
Offers Complete and Customizable Visibility For Your Staff
With a centralized online booking system, your staff can have smart and deeper insights into your practice’s aspects.
With complete visibility, your staff can identify any loopholes in your practice’s operations. This way, you’ll better understand how you should move your practice forward while expanding your patient base.
Can Be Placed Directly on Your Website
To meet the requirements of this technology-driven world, every practice needs a dynamic website that supports different software. This includes integration with an online booking system.
If you have such a website, you can easily integrate it with efficient online booking software to let patients place orders while navigating your site. The booking process includes a form with only specific fields. Patients will only have to provide the required information and book an appointment in no time.
Moreover, your website can save this booking information under every client’s name. This way, you can easily access every patient’s details on your website with just a few clicks.
Reduces Manual Work With Automated Appointment Notifications
A practice has to perform many operations daily. An online booking system can help reduce your staff’s workload, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks. With automation, they can finish more work in less time, enhancing your practice’s overall productivity.
The online booking platform:
- Sends appointment notifications to patients
- Caters to online payments
- Updates current offers on your social accounts and websites
- Provides in-depth insights into your practice’s performance
- Lets your business manage bookings, employees, schedules, and more
All these functions are performed in the background without requiring manual intervention. Since there is no human intervention, there is no chance of double bookings or human errors.
The online appointment system also optimizes your practice’s customer service. The automatic reminders keep patients updated about their booking status. This saves significant time otherwise spent on sending manual notifications to every patient.
Ensures Efficient Appointment Scheduling and Cancellation
An online booking system usually works 24/7, allowing potential patients to book an appointment at their convenience. This enables people to efficiently schedule an appointment regardless of their location. They also won’t be tied to your practice’s working hours.
The online booking form is also concise and requires only the necessary patient information. This facilitates easy appointment scheduling and cancellation without requiring customers to keep calling you repeatedly.
All they need to do is get on the web, open your website, and fill out the form for appointment scheduling or cancellation. A few clicks and done!
Where To Find a Reliable Online Booking System
An online booking system brings convenience to both practices and patients. For businesses, the software automates workflow, reduces manual work, and offers clearer visibility to the staff about their performance. It also lets them customize messages and settings according to their needs.
Meanwhile, the software allows patients to schedule appointments irrespective of location and time. For instance, for doctor appointment online booking, they can check the availability on the clinic’s digital calendar. Then, they can pick a date and schedule an appointment. Not only that, but they can also reschedule or cancel their bookings if something urgent arises.
But finding a reliable online booking system that integrates with your system can take time and effort. Of course, you can’t rely on any ordinary software since you’ll be storing critical patient information.
Demandforce is an online booking system that is safe, easy to use, and convenient for both patients and clients. It lets practices integrate a calendar widget on their websites or social media channels. Patients can use these widgets to view availability and request appointments at any time of the day.