You rely on appointments to bring in revenue. But if your staff is still booking appointments over the phone, your business is hemorrhaging vital resources.
Scheduling, rescheduling and confirming appointments waste hours of your receptionist’s day — time that could be spent attending to clients.
Your clients want to book appointments online, and appointment scheduling software makes it possible.
But how does appointment scheduling software work? And does it make sense for your business?
How Phone Scheduling Costs Your Business
The cost of manual appointment booking is high. You risk missed calls and appointments and a tarnished customer experience.
Here’s why you should break away from phone-based appointment scheduling:
- Callers struggle to get through: 62% of calls to businesses aren’t answered, meaning clients have to play the dreaded game of phone tag just to get on your calendar.
- Scheduling over the phone wastes your clients’ time: On average, it takes a patient 8.1 minutes to schedule one office visit over the phone.
- Your customer experience suffers: Waiting on hold or getting a busy signal can frustrate callers. And when staff is tied up on the phone, visitors don’t get the attention they need.
- Consumers prefer a self-service, digital approach: Healthcare consumers have spoken: 77% of patients want to book, change or cancel appointments digitally. Plus, 64% of patients will book appointments using digital tools by the end of this year, Accenture predicts.
What Is Appointment Scheduling Software?
Appointment booking software is a web-based tool that allows clients to self-book, cancel and reschedule appointments.
These tools centralize employee scheduling and appointment management into one digital solution. Beyond managing appointments and staff availability, scheduling software can also send automated appointment reminders to prevent no-shows.
Relying on one central scheduling solution eliminates double bookings and helps streamline operations. With hours back into their work day, your staff will have more time to serve clients and create a stellar experience.
How Appointment Scheduling Software Works
Most teams already manage some aspect of appointment scheduling digitally. Online booking tools put your business calendar online and remove receptionists from the scheduling process. In short, your clients can create, modify or cancel appointments without having to contact you.
From a web portal, you set business hours, the length of services and the days and times your staff is available. When booking online, clients have to schedule within these parameters.
Online booking software syncs with your calendar to give you one view of client appointments, holidays and staff availability.
To promote your online calendar, you can embed code on your website, share a custom URL or integrate with your social profiles.
Who Uses Online Booking Software?
Any business that makes client appointments can benefit from automated scheduling software, including:
- Doctor’s offices
- Salons and spas
- Home services companies
- Real estate companies
- Auto dealers and maintenance departments
- Sales teams that perform product demos
- Organizations that offer tours, such as museums and universities
- Health care organizations
- Financial institutions
Appointment Booking Features
Managing appointments involves more than coordinating dates and times with clientele.
Service-based businesses also deal with clients rescheduling, changes in staff availability and managing follow-ups, which all affect whether clients make their appointment.
Here are the key features available with online appointment scheduling software:
- Calendar integration: Most third-party software can connect with your existing calendar software to coordinate appointments. Or, you can manage staff availability and store hours within the platform itself.
- Automated reminders and follow-ups: Scheduling software can also send appointment reminders and follow-ups via the customer’s preferred contact method — whether that’s an email, phone call or text message. Automated reminders help prevent no-shows without taking up valuable receptionist time.
- Waitlist management: Are your services in high demand? Waitlist options allow you to quickly refill canceled appointments, optimize your schedule and pull in more revenue.
- Rescheduling: Let’s face it — not showing up for an appointment is easier than calling to reschedule. Self-service rescheduling features automate the process and move it online, improving the customer experience while eliminating the dreaded back-and-forth that comes with rescheduling.
- Payment processing: Many digital booking solutions also support payment processing, offloading one extra step for your team.
- Website integration: Add an online booking feature right to your website to divert potential callers to the automated feature. Or, promote a custom URL that directs clients to your online calendar. Some booking tools also integrate with Google Reserve so clients can make appointments from your Google My Business page.
- Support for manual appointment entry: Many times, clients want to schedule follow-up appointments in your office. In-office staff can also enter appointment dates manually.
- Dynamic resource allocation: For larger, service-based organizations that rely on in-home appointments to earn business, dynamic resource allocation is available. These advanced tools use algorithms to automatically assign available resources to appointment slots and optimize scheduling. The software can also calculate arrival times and update customers so they have more accurate appointment times.
Benefits of Appointment Scheduling Software
No one wants to navigate scheduling conflicts over the phone, play phone tag or show up to discover they’ve been double-booked. Yet these occurrences happen daily when managing appointments over the phone.
Here are some compelling benefits that come with taking your appointment booking experience online:
- Improve the customer experience and retention: A frustrating appointment booking process turns off potential clients to your business. Automated scheduling software makes it fast and easy for potential clients to become paying customers.
- Eliminate double-bookings: When relying on staff to manually book, confirm and reschedule appointments, errors are inevitable. Scheduling software guarantees you never have to turn away clients because you’ve double-booked an appointment slot.
- Scale your human resources: When your reception staff is free from manual appointment scheduling, they can be more efficient with their time. Plus, you can hire less full-time staff to answer the phone.
- Fill more appointments slots: Relying on humans to pencil in appointments creates one extra barrier to working with you. Self-service booking software makes scheduling a cinch.
- Increase revenue: Fewer missed appointments means more revenue for your business.
Enhance Your Appointment Scheduling Software With Numa
You’ve implemented online scheduling software. But how can you prevent clients from calling to book appointments?
Numa is an AI answering service that directs callers to text messaging and assists with appointment booking.
Here’s how it works:
- When customers call your business, Numa gives them the option to receive a text message when you don’t answer the phone.
- Once the caller engages, Numa texts the customer and can answer questions about your business or send links to your online calendar so clients can book or cancel appointments.
With Numa working in the background, you can feel confident that callers will get the attention they deserve and your receptionists won’t waste valuable time on the phone.