11 Jul How to Maximize The Effectiveness of Free Online Scheduling Software
By now you have probably heard that making use of online scheduling software can save you time, money and a lot of missed or forgotten appointment headaches. It can also be a great way to boost your client or customer satisfaction, as numerous studies have shown that the ability to book an appointment online for all kinds of services is a convenience most people love.
Online scheduling software offers a lot, and maybe even more than you think, especially if you take the time to dig a little further into its feature set. Here’s a look at just some ways you can maximize the effectiveness of free online scheduling software to make life easier for you, your staff and your clients.
Free Yourself From Emails and Phone Calls
Not only can making use of email and phone calls be time consuming from both parties involved but it can also be a recipe for disaster.
Far too many of those who rely on providing services for a living have at least one unfortunate story to share about appointment setting gone wrong when using these ‘traditional methods.’
There are the appointments made by phone, in a rush, that are then forgotten until the client shows up at what they believe is their appointed time only to find that no-one knows a thing about it – because you – or a staff member – never wrote it down.
There are also over-zealous email filters that file appointment requests out of sight and prospective new clients never become your customers as they assume you ignored them. Relying on email and phone calls to book appointments is a risky business, but they are risks you don’t have to take if you make use of online scheduling software instead.
Add an Extra Point of Sale
Some online scheduling softwares, even those online scheduling softwares offered free, offer the functionality to accept secure payments as well as to schedule appointments. This means that you can charge deposits when appropriate – a common practice among those who stand to lose a lot of money if an appointment is a no show – or simply use the payment functionality to take care of your clients and manage your business and payments from one place.
Ensure Prices and Cancellation Policies Are Clear From the Start
You want all the appointments you book to go as seamlessly as possible. So do your customers. Customers are always looking for a clear picture of just what they can expect from doing business with a company and they want it quickly.
What they don’t want is to have to make several phone calls to determine pricing, or to find out what the consequences might be if they had to cancel an appointment. By adding all of this information into your online booking system you clarify and speed up the process of appointment setting for your customers while better ensuring that they understand things like your no-show policy up front.
Reduce Frustrating Wait Times
If you expect clients or customers to be on time for their appointments, they expect not to have to deal with excessive wait times when they do. A free online scheduling software can cut down on wait times in a few different ways.
For example, let’s say you run a hair salon. You know that one of your stylists takes a little longer with their appointments than their colleagues. By making use of an online scheduling software that allows for the booking of appointments with several providers within the same business you can add a few minutes extra to the time slots offered for you slower stylist, so that they do not have to rush their great work and their next client does not have to sit fuming in the waiting room.
But we all know there are those times when delays are simply unavoidable. If that’s the case, you need to be sure to let your customers know you’re running behind. The best of the online scheduling softwares available today offer a client notification feature that lets you text or email people to tell them about any changes to their appointment. This helps you both. They can adjust their schedule accordingly and you can work on clearing the backlog with greater peace of mind that you won’t have to deal with angry clients.
Showcase Your Staff
Words are just that, words. A name is just a name. Much of the time when dealing with service businesses clients and customers want to learn more about just who will be cutting their hair, grooming their dog, or even administering their next relaxing massage.
A good online scheduling system will allow you to showcase your staff – and their skills – before clients make their appointment decisions. To make the most of this feature allow your staff to create their own bios, choose their own best work to feature. This will allow their future clients and customers a way to get to know them before that first appointment, and help create a better fit right from the start.
Deal With Emergencies
It’s Monday. ‘Fred’ has a busy morning with clients booked, but he’s still home in bed with a bad case of the flu. In ‘the bad old days’ this would have meant a flurry of frantic phone calls (on your part) and a lot of frustrated customers at your reception desk first thing on a Monday morning (the last thing that anyone needs.)
With free online scheduling software in place you can contact Fred’s clients via text as soon as he calls out, and shift his workload to others with ease. Your Monday morning suddenly looks a lot brighter, and Fred can go back to bed to get better secure in the knowledge that everything at work is OK.
These are just a few ways you can maximize the effectiveness of free online scheduling software for your business, there are many more. Taking the time to discover what they are could be the best thing you’ve done for your business in a long time, and a decision you won’t regret.