You likely spend a good part of your day setting up appointments—regardless of the type of business you run. Business owners and managers often complain about how much time they waste on penciling their open slots, running to the phone, and checking email.
But managing appointments doesn’t have to be that stressful. Here are a few ways you can make the whole process less complicated, increase client appointments, and save time.
Offer Online Booking
Grabbing the attention of prospects and getting them to book an appointment should be the hard part—not the appointment scheduling process itself. By using a software solution to schedule appointments, you will make it easy for people to say “yes.”
When it comes to online booking solutions, there are many options on the market. Each is designed to help you avoid endless back-and-forth emails. For instance, some of the features Easy!Appointments offers include:
- Appointment and customer management: This allows you to easily handle customer information and their booking history.
- Business workflow and booking rules: You can use this feature to set the time when customers can book appointments and how far in advance they can go. It also lets customers cancel or modify appointments within certain time periods.
- Email notifications: Get a notification for every change on the schedule.
- Google Calendar sync: You can synchronize the scheduler with Google Calendar.
Remind Your Clients About Their Appointments
Simply reminding your clients that they have an upcoming appointment is often the most effective strategy for increasing appointments. You can expect a lot of forgotten and missed office visits if you rely on busy clients to remember their appointments automatically.
No matter how organized your clients are, they will appreciate a quick reminder sent a couple of days in advance. The ideal timeframe for giving your clients a quick call or sending them a text is 24 to 72 hours before the appointment.
This will give them enough time to reschedule if necessary, but it is also close enough to serve as a reminder. To save time, you can automate this process.
Improve Your Client Experience
Speaking of automatization, it’s a great way to enhance the overall client experience. The key is to use automatization to improve communication with your prospects.
People appreciate service providers that are easy to do business with. And, to make it easy for your clients to do business with you, you need to deliver on what they expect.
Today, most of us expect to get answers right away, and most of us prefer to communicate with companies via text messaging. This is something that’s tough to deliver while you’re in the office, let alone outside business hours.
You can help your clients get information about your services and their appointments, at their convenience, by employing an AI customer service chatbot.
Instead of directing your clients to a 5000-word long FAQ page, a customer service chatbot can directly answer clients’ questions about your services, procedures, cancellation policies, etc., outside of office hours. An AI chatbot can build the case for an appointment when you are not available to do so.
Book Follow-Up Appointments Straight Away
When it comes to clients that need follow-up appointments, such as those in the healthcare industry, encourage them to book the next appointment during the current one. This way, they will realize that they need to prioritize your services.
Let’s say you’re a dentist and a patient came to have their teeth cleaned. You can use the opportunity to remind them why it is important to undergo professional dental cleaning every three months and offer them a chance to schedule the next appointment right away.
Encouraged by the steps they are currently taking to maintain their oral health, they will be more likely to take you up on that offer. And, since they’ve made that commitment in person, they will feel more obliged to stick to it.
But don’t let too much time elapse between the two appointments. If you do, they can easily forget that your services should be a priority for them. Until your next appointment, you can write them follow-up emails that include new information or important questions.
Incentivize Clients to Show up on Time
You can incentivize clients by rewarding them for respecting your time. When someone shows up for an appointment on time, you can give them a raffle ticket. Each month, you can draw one ticket, and reward the winner with AirPods.
Another option is to hand out loyalty cards and stamp them each time the client shows up for an appointment. After they collect five stamps, you can give them a discount or another reward.
But you don’t necessarily have to offer prizes. Greeting clients with “thank you for being so reliable” and sending them personalized messages after the appointment can really go a long way. Show your customers that you appreciate the fact that they value their commitments.
Jennifer Wilson is a writer at Qeedle.com She knows business processes and operations management inside out. As she understands all the challenges of running a small business firsthand, it’s her mission to tackle the topics that are most relevant to entrepreneurs and offer viable solutions.