Whether it's an organization, a business, or a workshop, if it is managed by a human, errors are unavoidable. Being human is to err. It is usually the most common and mundane mistake which sometimes is the cause of irritation or even mistrust amongst the customers or employees within the organization. One of the most common problems faced by an organization - even neglected - is scheduling conflicts.
Scheduling conflicts can occur within the clients when a client is double-booked for a service or a meeting or within employees. It can even occur due to a misunderstanding of timings between any two parties while scheduling a meeting. Within an organization too, an employee, if scheduled with a meeting or a service, may not be able to attend the same, sometimes even at the last minute. Therefore, it is imperative that these problems be addressed and streamlined in an organization, to avoid scheduling conflicts with their clients and within the organization. But how? Let's find out!
- Centralized booking process: A process within the organization can go a long way. A timing procedure and rules must be set across within the organization for everyone to follow. For example, last-minute cancellations or revisions can be discouraged with the help of penalties to deter employees as well as customers from doing so. Disallowing employees for last-minute cancellation in a meeting or for a service with a client with a strict rule helps maintain consistency and build customer loyalty. In case of an emergency, it is the employee's responsibility to make sure that they have a backup or a substitute ready beforehand, which will ensure business continuity. In the same manner, a customer can be charged extra as a penalty for the inconvenience or simply asked to reschedule the appointment in order to discourage similar recurrent behavior.
- Empathetic behavior: It is our business not to mix our feelings with scheduling conflicts. Even after immense planning and software, it is not possible to keep an impeccable calendar. Therefore, during emergencies and errors, it is important to keep the emotions of the aggrieved party at bay. For example, if the customer is mistakenly double-booked, or a part of a misunderstanding, the customer can be offered a complimentary product along with an apology to reduce dissatisfaction and ensure their loyalty. If there is an error within an organization, the manager must understand the situation, and keep the conflicts in check, while being empathetic towards the person at the same time. An apology goes a long way. For example, some pizza parlors offer a 30-minute pizza delivery promise or a free order. However, there are several interactive social media platforms like Quora or Reddit, which suggest that they prefer paying for their pizza even if they are late in delivering their pizza. This is an excellent example of scheduling conflict and empathy. Since the brand, through their intent, has conveyed to their customers that they value their customer's time the customers also reciprocate.
- Automated scheduling platform: A centralized automated scheduling platform can help manage the timings of internal organization meetings as well as appointments with customers. Appointo's software ensures that all scheduled meetings are in a shared place, it also sends automatic reminders, enables easy re-scheduling, and more. A software can help streamline appointments and eliminate any human error. This can especially do away with any misunderstandings among the parties, regarding timings or duration. In this ever-changing world of virtual meetings and online appointments, misunderstandings can really lead to a wastage of time and resources and cause mistrust. An automated appointment scheduling software can help a person while re-scheduling at the last minute, or if an employee is looking for a replacement for their absenteeism. It also eliminates unnecessary long and complex communication trails between colleagues or customers.
- Slack time: Another tip that may be useful for avoiding scheduling conflicts is adding slack time between appointments or meetings. For example, there are sometimes days when an organization or a department might have to deal with back-to-back meetings, saving no room for inaccuracies or unforeseeable circumstances. When scheduling meetings without slack, one cannot predict any technical error or increment of the duration of the meetings. In such a case, the other meeting usually needs to be re-scheduled at a short notice causing a domino effect of issues. However, some slack time before and after the meeting can help avoid these situations. Since re-scheduling with clients and team members based on their shared availability is usually a difficult task to accomplish, a simple addition of buffer time in all scheduled events/meetings can help manage appointments much more efficiently.
- Centralized work schedule: An organization can opt to work on a centralized work schedule. A centralized work system is built by adding the entire team to an automated software system that collects and showcases appointment information on a central dashboard. All the teams within every department list their appointments in one place which can lead to better scheduling visibility and management. This ensures that all the teams and departments know which team is occupied in a meeting and their availability. With a centralized work schedule maintained in software and integrated with the team's calendars, it is possible for the business to collect, observe, analyze, data to identify patterns that can be leveraged to improve overall efficiency.
Appointment scheduling may not be a mission-critical activity, but since it is a daily recurring one, it is easier to automate ad streamline the same. Appointo's customers have not only gained from Appointo's robust scheduling management features but also uncomplicated their customer's appointment scheduling tasks. Do scheduling conflicts give you frequent nightmares? Give Appointo a try!
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