We all know and agree on this, in this technologically enabled world, a scheduling tool could be a very powerful accessory for any business as it eases the process of connecting with the customers directly. Skipping on the gallon of emails usually exchanged, allows the customers and clients to schedule their booking as per their convenience. Be it for the remote working of any company, door-to-door delivery jobs, client meetings for freelancing, or the owner of any kind of service business that works on client bookings, an efficient booking software can work like magic. It actually could keep your business way ahead of time, accelerate your visibility and viability to your customers.
These online scheduling tools put in place an automated process for booking appointments with some really cool features like automated reminder messages and emails, online booking pages, features to organize group or one to one virtual and in-person meetings, federation with other apps or sites, calendar sync, and much more.
Must-Have Features of 2022!
Before investing in online scheduling tools for your business, it's extensively important to delve into the features of the tool. So, when you invest in a tool make sure it has these must-have features on its list.
1. Quick and Simple Calendar scheduling and Calendar sync
Calendar reservation is one of the primal features that ensure that you and your client are always on the same page. By sharing the company’s calendar with clients and informing them of an employees’ availability, it ensures that reservations are nicely coordinated without overlaps, delays, or any last-minute chaos. Based on the calendar the customers conveniently book a time slot that fits both ends.
The option for calendar sync makes the scheduling software even more popular. A one-way calendar sync feature displays a customer’s scheduled appointments with your company in his/her personal calendar. On the other hand, the two-way sync feature enables the customer to receive instant updates regarding rescheduling or cancellation of reserved time slots or appointments. The scheduling processes are quick, simple, and intuitive to avoid human errors and smooth workflow.
2. Intricated availability settings
With these tools, you empower your clients to book a slot at their convenience. Just that? No. With these tools, you also ensure that the working hours of your staff members are respected and adhered to while booking appointments. The availability feature of the online scheduling tools is able to manage complex staff working hours, even beyond the usual office hours. The advanced scheduling feature can deal with the everyday operating pattern of full-time and part-time workers in different shifts. You can have the complete autonomy to extend your availability according to your convenience and also limit it according to your choice. So, the tools ensure that your team can avoid those early mornings and late evening calls without even saying a No to them.
3. 1:1 support and internal communication
A client needs attention, in fact, undivided attention to a client vouches for the classic quality of customer service. Proper communication with clients and customers is very important for every organization. Therefore, scheduling software like Appointo, allows scheduling personalized sessions for phone calls or emails to satisfy customer queries within 24-48 hours. At the same time, the proper flow of words among the staff members ensures error-free function. Especially in remote working, you have to make sure all the employees are on the same page. The super handy employee interaction feature of the online scheduling tools ensures smooth coordination among the employer/owner and the staff members.
4. Automated reminders and notifications
The responsibility does not end with an appointment confirmation. Sometimes, people tend to forget the scheduled appointments booked which often leads to delays or in some cases, a no-show. The online tools should extend advanced features to deal with this issue and to ensure that the appointments scheduled are in fact executed. Automated follow-up reminders or notifications are sent to the clients or customers via emails, phone calls, and text messages, based on the business needs and client preferences. The automated notification feature saves a lot of time and effort by reducing the number of no-shows. The feature also ensures that clients remember to cancel the appointment in case of sudden unavailability so the slot can be utilized elsewhere.
5. Group bookings
Advanced features of the online booking tools should allow group bookings or appointments, where clients can book a shared slot with more than one person in the organization. Group bookings are primarily instrumental in webinars, rituals classes, training, workshops, and so on. The online scheduling apps efficiently manage the group booking program to ensure proper coordination, collaboration, and communication between all the attendees, alongside aligning all the relevant meeting information, payments, and sending reminders.
6. Automate emails with workflows
Lack of standardization and consistency in client interactions is one of the major challenges in establishing stable client relationships. Drafting an effective mail with the right pinch of empathy every time an event relating to appointment booking occurs is near to impossible. Your appointment scheduling tool should automate the entire drip based on action-based conditions and pre-drafted templates. The action-specific emails can be drafted and stored in the tool that eventually gets triggered when a specific action like booking confirmation, cancellation, or rescheduling is executed by your client. The drip scheduling makes the entire process more streamlined by ensuring that there’s no chance for you to skip out on sending an email or sending an ineffective or inappropriate one.
7. Add weekly reviews to calendars
When a customer has to go for recurring or periodic scheduling of appointments, for example, a doctor’s appointment, isn't it cool if your tool has a weekly review feature that allows your customer to fix their periodic meetings in one go? This feature burns off the need to come back every week and book a slot for the same task, same span, and with the same person. It removers the task’s redundancy and also ensures the appointments are not skipped or delayed. Even for business conferences, both virtual and offline, your organization can allow the clients to opt for weekly reviews by signing up with your company’s calendar.
8. Ask custom questions before booking appointments
The scheduling tools need to have a feature that asks customers a few answers while confirming their booking to understand their expectations and the context of the meeting. The scheduling apps capture all the information required during the course of booking so that the appointment can be redirected to the right person, in the right department of the organization. It ensures an effective session for clients by reducing the context-related questions during the interaction and saving some time. The software is also capable of detecting the location of the customers and their interests to ensure an appropriate booking schedule. For instance, if a customer is on the product page of your company then by following the browsing pattern booking tools can ask relevant questions to the customers to ease the process, thereby increasing the conversion rate.
9. Reporting and analytics
Getting detailed insights and reports and metrics of booking mannerisms is essential to derive data-driven decisions in the service-based business. Incorporating Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics and UTM tracking on your booking sites can help you track the customers’ behavior. The live dashboard of the scheduling tool should provide updated information of weeks’ or months’ appointments and bookings. These tools will uphold the entire discernment on
- Number of sent messages
- Number of unread messages
- Number of people who visited the page
- Number of confirmed/canceled/rescheduled bookings
- Records of omnichannel activities
and so on.
Just like sending reminder messages to the clients, the scheduling software also sends notifications for booking confirmation, client meetings or internal meetings, etc. You can also customize the features to set a limit on the staff’s access to use and edit the schedules. Thus the reporting feature of scheduling tools helps to gain ROI while eliminating no-shows.
10. Add booking widgets to your website page
As cited by GetApp’s research, more than 70% of consumers prefer to go for an appointment online, while 31% of the customers would be more likely to opt for a new service provider if they offered an online booking facility.
Both, the booking page and the widgets make it more likely for people to make a booking with you by enhancing the ease and speed of bookings for customers.
Why not? If you were trying to book an appointment over the phone and were made to wait on hold for ages, would you not hang up and go elsewhere? The smoother the experience of booking is the better are your chances of cracking the deal. This is why widgets in websites are way more effective than sending your visitors to another page to place a booking.
So, wondering: ‘How am I going to incorporate this into my business’s website?’ Well, opt for a tool that has a booking widget feature to make this super easy.
You can easily choose from a range of widgets, such as HTML code, free WordPress plugin, Weebly App, and so on. Your web page can even be incorporated with ‘Book Now’ buttons. You can also add the option to your email signature or even link the booking page to the business account on Facebook, along with other social media profiles.
11. Video conferencing integrations
Another key part of online scheduling tools is digital meetings. In these trying times, so many businesses have shifted to virtual appointments to keep going; with everything from dog training to doctors’ appointments now being offered online.
Therefore, with the opportunity to directly merge with popular video conferencing tools, the tool should make it simpler to orchestrate your bookings and meeting links. Those days have become history when you would have to carry the entire record-keeping process manually. Gone are the days when clients would complain of no-show issues, as the software automates the entire process of recording, reminding, and sending the meeting links on Zoom or other platforms.
Sometimes it really is the small things that make a mark on the quality of customer service and make a very vivid difference. Simply by being able to automatically send out your online meeting links when a customer books, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of additional work and skipping out on a fair share of human errors.
12. Integration with other tools
When a customer books on an online scheduling app it simplifies the scheduling process so you can get more bookings in less time. But an online appointment scheduling tool needs to do more than that. It should be able to interact with some of the other tools that your business uses.
Your scheduling app should be capable of integrating with the payment processor and your CRM software. You can combine the payment tool with your booking system so that customers can make payments easily and also reduce no-shows. The scheduling tool should also amalgamate with the CRM system to keep track of all the contacts as well as appointments.
Moving beyond CRM, for companies to benefit from unified customer views, appointment scheduling software sync to software such as Whatsapp, Zoom, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Notion, Messaging apps, etc. After all, it is this 360-degree view that stimulates digital enhancements and empowers customer-centric initiatives.
With the whole world marching towards technological advancements, the time has come for business owners to switch their procedures to online scheduling platforms. These scheduling tools have demonstrated efficiency in enhancing business flexibility, streamlining the customer experience, and reducing no-show issues. Thus, it's needless to mention that the automated service providers have brought a game-changing twist that has caused businesses of all sizes to flourish, with boosted revenue and saving a lot of time and human indulgence.
What are you waiting for? Pack your scheduling calendar with appointments and Get Set Go!!!
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