Prioritizing your Appointments to Have the Most Impact

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Prioritizing your appointments and to-do-lists are key when it comes to productivity and time management. What if you have a calendar full of appointments and meetings? These also need to be prioritized. If you say “yes” to each and every request when you already booked, you end-up spreading yourself too thin. As a result, conflicts will arise and you’ll fall behind on your most important tasks. Eventually this can lead to you burning yourself out.

Before you start booking appointments, take the time to evaluate which appointments take priority over others. When you understand the priority concept, you can prioritize your appointments to have the most impact.

Prioritizing your appointments helps you achieve your goals.

You’re not going to book an appointment just for the sake of booking an appointment. Instead, the appointments that you will help you reach your goals.

Let’s say that you just launched a startup and are looking to attain new prospects or investors. The goals of your appointments could be building relationships, sharing your vision, or metrics like revenue, selling a specific product, or the number of sales calls you make in a day.

While that’s not an extensive list, the first step in prioritizing appointments is to make sure that they align with your goals. If an appointment doesn’t help you reach a specific goal, then they should be delayed, delegated, or deleted.

Gives you the appropriate time to get your work done.

Booking back-to-back appointments may sound great in theory. Unfortunately, this isn’t a smart approach.

Before an appointment we need time to prepare. For instance, if you’re a CPA or tax adviser, then you would want to review your client’s information prior to the appointment. This way you know the financial or tax advice you need to provide your client. As a result, the meeting will be more productive and less time-consuming for both you and your client.

After an appointment, you need time to catch you breath, grab a snack, follow-up with the client, and attend to administrative tasks like returning emails.

By prioritizing your appointments you’ll have a better understanding of what exactly needs to be done before, during, and after the appointment. Besides making appointments more efficient, you’ll know how long the appointment will take. Now you can appropriately schedule your entire day so that everything that needs to get done does.

Saves time, money, and your sanity.

Prioritizing your appointments will save you time. Instead of devoting much of your day to appointments that aren’t productive, you can focus solely on the appointments that help you achieve a goal.

This can also save you money. For example, if you’re not prioritizing tasks then you may schedule too many employees during non-peak hours. As a result, you’re paying your team to basically stand around. Even worse, you may be understaffed during peak hours.

And, most importantly, prioritizing your appointments keeps you sane. As opposed to constantly “winging it” and rushing from appointment to appointment, you can remain calm, cool, and collected. You’ll also have time to decompress and catch your breath.

Prioritizing, prevents conflicts from occurring.

When you don’t prioritize your appointments there’s a greater chance that conflicts will arise.

For instance, because your accepting every request, you may end-up double-booking events. You may also run late to your next appointment, which means your prospect or client is wasting their time waiting for you.

If you’re working with others, these conflicts could be be being over-or-understaffed. Again, this can be costly and keep your customers waiting.

When you prioritize appointments you’re only focusing on the most important appointments. This reduces conflicts because instead of booking too many appointments, you’re only setting the amount of appointments that you can handle in a day.

Helps you prepare for the unexpected.

No matter how prepared you are, you can always be certain that the unexpected will happen.

You or your client may be forced to cancel or reschedule because of a family emergency, inclement weather, or putting out a fire at work.

While you can’t plan for every scenario, you can develop a couple of contingency plans. For instance, if you have a meeting booked with a high-profile client or investor, you could have your co-partner on stand-by just in case you can’t make the meeting. This way the meeting goes on, instead of having to reschedule several months from now.

Places value on your schedule.

Time is without a doubt your most valuable asset. But, if you accept each and every appointment, you’re letting others disrespect your time.

By prioritizing your appointments you’re clearly letting others, as well as yourself, know that your calendar and goals are your top priority.

Again, this allows you enough time to either delay, delegate, or delete non-important invitations.

Forces you to recognize that not appointments are equal.

Not all appointments are equal. As such, you should evaluate the appointments currently in your calendar and determine which ones are more important than others.

For example, a discovery or introductory call with a potential client shouldn’t carry as much weight as an appointment that wraps-up a project with a long-time client. While you shouldn’t completely cancel that introductory call, it should be rescheduled if it interferes with the more important appointment, which is keeping your existing client happy.

Achieves work-life balance.

We all want to achieve work-life balance. It’s only one of the most effective ways to be happy with the life that you have.

Prioritizing appointments can help achieve work-life balance since you’re only blocking out time for your most important appointments. When these appointments, and only these appointments, have been met you can focus on the things that really matter in your life. This includes spending time with your family, friends, hobbies, or side projects.

Tips on prioritizing your appointments.

Of course, prioritizing appointments is easier said than done. Here’s a couple of ways that you can create an effective schedule.

  • Plan your week.

    This may take a couple of hours on a Friday evening or Sunday night, but it will make you week run much smoother. Start by listing all of your tasks and appointments for the week, aka your “A” responsibilities. Next, identify your most important tasks and appointments and schedule them first.

  • Block out time.

    Schedule your priorities first and then, if you have the time, schedule in your “B” appointments and tasks. Don’t forget to include some white space so that there’s flexibility in your schedule.

  • Delete and delegate.

    What about the appointments or tasks that aren’t “A” or “B?” Either scratch them or hand them off to someone else.

  • Use online appointment scheduling software.

    This allows customers and your staff to book their own appointments or schedules. Because you control when you’re available, they can only select open slots. As a result, you eliminate those back-and-forth emails or phone calls. This software also sends out automated confirmations and reminders.

  • What’s the purpose?

    When a client requests an appointment online, don’t be afraid to generate an automated message asking what the purpose of the appointment is. This way you know the purpose of the meeting before committing to it. If it’s not important, and you’re swamped, it can wait until a later date.

  • Start saying “no.”

    If the meeting doesn’t meet a goal, then don’t hesitate in politely rejecting the request.

  • Analyze your appointments.

    Finally, evaluate the time spent on appointments. For example, if an average appointment takes 20-minutes, then you can start blocking out 30-minutes for future appointments — 20 minutes for the meeting and 10 minutes for preparation.

    This gives you a chance to know how many appointments you can realistically book in a day.

How To Make The Best Use of Your Appointment Software

By | Appointment, Business Tips | No Comments
agenda appointment

You may be in healthcare, a business consultant, or run a salon. Maybe you’re in an automotive or a non-profit company. Wherever you are — adding appointments to your calendar is a must. But, this involves more than just adding an appointment to your calendar. You want to learn how to make the best use of your appointment software.

Appointments need to be consistently managed if you want schedule to run smoothly.

Double-booking, cancellations, and rescheduling appointments need to be addressed immediately to avoid conflicts. Additionally, those back-and-forth communications when scheduling an appointment can also be a time-consuming chore.

The good news is the days of managing your appointments 100 percent on your own are long gone. Thanks to appointment software, booking and managing your appointments can now be automated. This means that you have more time to focus on strategy and actually growing your business.

At the same time, to reap these benefits, you need to get the most of your appointment software. This may be tricky if you’ve never used this software before. However, that won’t be a concern if you implement the following advice.

Find the right appointment scheduling software.

First things first, you need to find the right scheduling software that best suits your needs. While this varies from business to business, at the least you want to look for appointment software that comes with the following features:

  • Online booking.

    This allows your clients and customers to book an appointment with you whenever they want. It also eliminates those lengthy phone and email back-and-forths.

  • Self-service.

    On top of being able to book their own appointments, appointment software should also allow customers to cancel or reschedule appointments on their own.

  • Calendar sync.

    Solid appointment software should be able to sync with an existing online calendar, such as Google, Outlook and iCal. This means that when an appointment is booked, it’s automatically added to everyone’s calendar. As a result, no one forget about the appointments.

  • Reminders and wait lists.

    When an appointment is booked, it should automatically send out reminders either via email or SMS. Again, this is another way to prevent no-shows or late arrivals.

  • Reporting.

    By being equipped with extensive reporting capabilities, your software can give you a better understanding of your business. It can also identify trends and who your best customers are.

  • Security.

    If you want to prevent security breaches, which can be costly and time-consuming for you and your customers, make sure that your appointment software takes security precautions, such as SSL encryption.

You may also want to choose a platform that allows you to accept payments online.

It’s a simple way to keep cash flowing into your business. Also look for the ability to customize your calendar and booking site, like being able to add your logo and color scheme. And, if you have multiple locations, employees, and services, you’ll definitely need an appointment solution that can manage all of these.

One final consideration is price. If you’re already using an all-in-one CRM or calendar tool, an appointment scheduling feature may already be included. If not, there are more than enough free or reasonably priced appointment software options. It really depends on how many bookings you’re allowed to make each month.

Take your new appointment software for a test drive.

So, you found the right appointment software for your business? Now it’s time to start putting it to work.

But, before you get too far, test the software out. You want to make sure that you and your team know how to properly use it so that you avoid any problems.

The good news is that most appointment software is pretty straightforward.

In most cases your online calendar has a unique link. This means that it can be shared through email or an embedded link that you can place onto your website. When someone wants to book an appointment with you they view your availability and select a slot that works for them. The appointment is then automatically added to your calendar.

Most platforms also give you the option of sending your prospects or customers a confirmation email, as well as reminders.

Some platforms even allow you to automatically send specific instructions for your business. For example, if you were in the healthcare industry, you could remind clients to bring their insurance cards and what steps to take before their visit.

Each appointment software has different features, take the time to test out how these features work. You may even discover additional features that you weren’t even aware about!

Get clients to use online scheduling.

Now that you’ve tried out the software and have it set up, you now want to let your prospects and existing customers know that offer online appointment scheduling.

There’s a variety of ways that you can encourage your audience to start booking appointments online, such as:

  • Placing your appointment link prominently throughout your website.
  • Including the unique scheduling link on your social channels, email signature, business cards, and receipts.
  • Telling your audience that they can book appointments online. This could be in your “off-hours” voicemail, when they’re in your waiting room, or when they’re leaving and paying for the services you just provided them.
  • Sending out targeted emails. You could launch an email campaign where you email your most loyal customers informing them that you accept online appointments.
  • Offering a rewards program. You can also offer an incentive to prospects and existing customers. For example, you could offer returning customers a discount or gift card towards a future service.

Sync your calendars.

As mentioned above, most appointment software will sync with your existing calendar. Even if the software provides it’s own calendar, you still want to make sure that it syncs with the calendar that you use on a daily basis. This way when you wake-up in the morning you can see what your schedule looks like and plan accordingly.

What’s more, your online calendar will send out email or text reminders when you have an upcoming appointment.

Use automated reminders and notifications.

Speaking of reminders and notifications, most appointment software give you the option to send out automated reminders at your own discretion. You could set it up so that the prospect or customer, and yourself, receives a reminder whenever you prefer — like a day or hour before the appointment. This reduces no-shows and late arrivals.

You can even set-up syncing where everyone receives updates in real-time.

Let’s say that the client is running late or has to cancel. They can go online and either cancel or reschedule the appointment. As soon as they do this you’ll receive a notification that informs you of the change.

Also, you may want to set up automated follow-ups. This could be asking the customers to leave feedback, thanking them for their time, or reminding them to schedule a future appointment. If you had a meeting with a client or your team, you may even be able to send them notes from the meeting and what actions must be taken next.

Require prepayments.

No-shows to meeting aren’t just frustrating — they can also harm your business. This is particularly true if you’re in the service industry. For instance, if you run a spa and a client doesn’t show-up for their appointment, you’re not bringing in cash into the business. And, for the next hour or so, you have nothing to do.

However, if you require prepayments you can reduce no-shows. After all, if a client has already paid you in advance, they’ll be less likely to skip the appointment.

Even if you don’t require a full payment in advance, at least ask for a deposit. This can help cover things like the cost of supplies or your time. You still may not be making as much as you would if they followed through with the appointment, but it’s better than nothing.

25 Ways to Be Happy With the Life You Have

By | Appointment, Business Tips, Knowledge Base, Maintenance, Scheduling | One Comment
Happy With the Life You Have

Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

The problem is that our brains just aren’t wired this way. Instead, our brains are more concerned with surviving. Even worse, we get preoccupied by what-is, like “If I made more money I could be happier.” As a result, being content and happy with the life you have becomes elusive. Read More

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