All posts by Gunjan Saini

5 Ways Self-Serve Appointment Scheduling Amplifies Your Business

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Ways Self-Serve Appointment Scheduling Amplifies Your Business

Being hands-on with your customer service strategy is a great idea. However, these days customers love being able to do things on their own. Self-service saves a lot of time for everyone and cuts down on human interactions that many people may wish to avoid if possible. 

While appointment-based businesses usually have a stronger relationship with their customer bases, there are still ways they can implement successful self-service options. Self-service can actually strengthen those relationships even though it may seem like customers are keeping their distance. Online appointment scheduling is a valuable integration that can really amplify your business in the following ways: 

1. It Offers 24/7 Scheduling 

Back in the analog day, appointment setting was very limited. You could only book an appointment over the phone during business hours when a company representative was available. This method of setting appointments was (and is) inconvenient for both parties.

With online appointment software enabled, customers can schedule appointments whenever they want. Someone could be lying in bed at two in the morning and book a dentist appointment. Thanks to your self-serve appointment solution, customers are less restricted when booking appointment slots.

Having the ability to schedule appointments 24/7 will do more than provide your customers with additional flexibility. By providing unlimited opportunities for customers to book appointments, you increase the likelihood that your time slots will get filled. Additionally, you’ll need to take fewer calls, which frees up your employees to tackle other tasks.

2. It Has Auto-Schedule Capabilities 

When you book an appointment after hours, there’s a chance you’ll forget the appointment entirely the next morning. However, you can easily avoid this by using another excellent appointment software feature. Calendar-syncing options are available so customers don’t have to manually add events to their calendars. 

Auto-scheduling helps keep missed appointment rates low. Couple this with appointment reminders, and your conversion rate will hit all-time highs. Online appointment software will do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to helping customers stay true to the commitments they make. 

Do you have loyal customers who make frequent visits to your establishment? Help them set up recurring appointments. If you have a client who always comes in on Monday mornings, automatic booking for those appointments will ensure they always get a time slot without going through the trouble of booking every single one. 

3. It Makes Appointment Scheduling an On-the-Go Affair

Not only can customers make appointments at any time, they can make them from anywhere. As long as customers have a device that is connected to the internet, online appointment software is ready and available. This means customers can book appointments while on the subway, at the gym, or even while at work. 

Online appointment software makes payment easier as well. Customers can choose to make payments online before even arriving at your place of business. This means they don’t have to spend as much time in the lobby. This will come in handy for customers who don’t have a very flexible schedule and might like using their lunch breaks to get quick appointments in. 

Simply having access to everything online is convenient. Customers can make changes to their personal profile, appointment preferences, and even upcoming appointment times on their own. 

4. It Reduces Errors

Let’s face it, humans are imperfect. Even your best employees will make mistakes from time to time. Reducing errors in appointment setting will save you a lot of headaches and keep your customers content.

With self-service, much of the responsibility falls on the customer when booking an appointment. The scheduling software will do the rest. Technology is programmed to keep errors to a minimum. As long as customers are careful about the times they select, everything should run smoothly. 

5. It Promotes Transparency

Along with self-service, increased company transparency is at the top of growing consumer desires. The more transparent you can make your business, the more you can amplify it.

For example, when customers use online appointment software, they can see the exact data settings you have put into place and can even customize them to their preferences. This gives you an opportunity to be upfront with how your company is using data and exactly what information you collect, as well as giving customers options. 

You can also be more transparent about things such as pricing. Calculating appointment costs can be tricky sometimes, especially when customizing services. If customers choose to pay upfront online, they can get a better idea of what your business is charging. 

There are many reasons why self-service will benefit your business in the long run. Besides, online appointment software is helpful in so many other ways that adding self-service is just one of many bonuses you’ll receive. Start implementing this solution today and watch how your relationship with your customer base continues to grow. 

Make Sure Your Appointment Software Doesn’t Lack These 3 Qualities

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Make Sure Your Appointment Software Doesn’t Lack These 3 Qualities

One of the most important appointment metrics you can track is customer retention. For appointment-based businesses especially, returning customers provide a lot of value both to your brand and to your bank account. There are several reasons why your customer retention might fluctuate, and your appointment software may be one of them.

In general, implementing online appointment software into your overall operations is a huge win. Booking and managing appointments is so much easier with a software tool at hand. However, there are some specifics that might make or break your business when a customer comes to evaluate their experience. 

There are many things you can work on vis-a-vis customer experience, but these three appointment software qualities are a good place to start. Any online appointment software is better than none at all, but these three characteristics should be a high priority:

Customization Options 

In a world where fast-food patrons can select from among 165 different kinds of fountain soda, it’s safe to say consumers have come to expect customization. This idea translates — if not in quantity, at least in principle — to other consumer choices. Customers want to be able to choose how to communicate with businesses, how they shop, and even how they book appointments.

Online appointment software opens the door for a host of customization capabilities. You can start by customizing what you want in your appointment software. Display options such as text font and size, in addition to your business logo and color scheme, will make online software fit seamlessly into your website. 

Once you’re satisfied with how your online appointment software looks and feels, start providing customization options for your customers. This can be done by enabling a variety of payment methods, such as accepting both debit cards and online payments through apps such as PayPal. The creation of customer profiles and the ability to book appointments through multiple platforms are more options that can be enabled thanks to this technology.

While not explicitly a customization feature per se, online appointment software itself allows customers to book and manage their appointments on their own schedule. Booking an appointment at two in the morning is no problem at all; nor is moving appointments around without the aid of a service representative during business hours. That sort of flexibility will win over many new customers quickly. 

Automated Email or SMS Reminders 

Reminders are a big reason why appointment software is so successful. Automated reminders drastically cut down no-show rates and help to boost customer punctuality. Since they’re automated, there’s no extra work required by you or your team members after such software is implemented. 

Offering both email and text reminders is also important. Your customers will have different needs and preferences, so having an option for reminders will appeal to almost everyone. In some cases, you can even send both for maximum effectiveness. 

Sending any old reminder isn’t enough, though. The way your reminder is composed is also an important factor. When creating appointment reminders, be sure to:

  • Provide accurate information regarding appointment times and services
  • Use a friendly but straightforward tone in your writing 
  • Include relevant calls to action
  • Enable reminder personalization
  • Maintain consistency from reminder to reminder
  • Allow the customer to adjust appointments through a provided link or command

Check these items off of your list, and your appointment reminders will be all the more effective and memorable. You’ll be able to distinguish your appointment system from competitors’ and provide better service to your appointment-setting customers. 

24/7 Calendar Sync Options 

Previously mentioned was the ability for clients to access online appointment software at all hours of the day. That being the case, you will want your appointment software to make real-time updates to any added integrations. The most important of these is the online calendar. 

Syncing up appointments with a personal calendar helps customers remember their commitments and stay true to them. If your appointment software isn’t syncing with their calendars automatically, there’s additional room for error you can definitely do without. 

Be sure that your business calendar is also being updated in real time. If your appointment software integrations work promptly for customers but are delayed for you, you could face last-minute scheduling conflicts. 

There are other integrations you can add to the right appointment software, and you also want response times to be as close to immediate as possible there. For example, customers will really appreciate online payments being processed immediately so they can better track their funds and account balances in real time. 

Appointment software solutions offer other important capabilities — such as lockdown security, extensive reporting, and waitlist management — that might be just as valuable to your business. These features are just a few of many. Whichever appointment software you choose, though, make sure it has the three qualities outlined here. If it does, your business will be sitting pretty.

How to Maximize Your Time With Appointment Software This Holiday Season

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How to Maximize Your Time With Appointment Software This Holiday Season

If there is any time of the year where personal time is most precious, it’s the holiday season. Family events, parties, decorations, and gifts are at the forefront of our minds — but our responsibilities outside the home will never go away. Annual checkups, haircut appointments, dentist visits, and more demand our attention. To maximize the time you have for the fun stuff, using a convenient scheduling platform can help you slot in each necessary appointment when it works best for you. 

Manage Appointment Plans at Your Convenience

The time-saving benefit of this kind of software is beyond doubt — you can book appointments remotely and at the click of a button. There’s no need to spend time making calls or navigating irksome automated phone trees

Better yet, you don’t need to wait for open office hours to schedule an appointment. You can log in whenever the necessity pops into your mind and can even reschedule later on (rules permitting) with ease. This offers peace of mind should an issue arise late at night or at the last minute. You can, for example, promptly set up testing and treatment should a medical condition or illness emerge suddenly. 

Even if you can’t receive immediate attention, anytime scheduling software allows you to easily set a time and date for your concern to be addressed in the future. Your most preferred appointment time might not be available, but blocking off a specific time to deal with the issue can help take the worry off of your mind for the time being. Knowing you’ve taken action will let you focus on ornament making with your kids instead.

Explore All Scheduling Options

When calling into an office to schedule an appointment, you’ll oftentimes be offered only a few time options over the phone. Sometimes, you may only get one. In these (sort of) post-pandemic times, doctor’s offices are commonly booked for weeks and even months into the future. 

To ensure that you’re seeing the whole picture of availability, online booking platforms typically show all schedule slots at once. You can see every possibility and book your appointment accordingly.

This is what can make it so easy to reschedule — free appointment times are updated as cancellations make them available. You can swap yours for another with the click of a button if something comes up or if you see an opening that better suits you. You can also join a waitlist in the event that you want a better time slot or can’t get an appointment otherwise. When one becomes available, it will be reserved for you immediately.

Automate Your Calendar

The ease of task automation means that the time you spend doing prep work each day can instead be spent elsewhere, like with family or friends. Many appointment software solutions feature functionality that can connect your digital calendar to their system to exchange data and change settings accordingly. That means you can book an appointment, and that time slot will automatically be entered into your calendar along with all your other plans. You don’t have to lift a finger.

If you automate notifications as well, you can make it so that your calendar will let you know when your appointment is coming up. If you step away from your computer for any reason, your calendar programs will pop up on your phone to make sure you don’t miss any important appointments. You may be engrossed in shopping for stocking stuffers, but automated appointment reminders will ensure you don’t accidentally forget to show up for your pre-party mani-pedi.

Remotely Handle Appointment Prep and Payment

Once your appointment planning is complete, you can take advantage of other features of these programs. In case you need to check in a certain amount of time beforehand, you can once again do this instantly via the scheduling program. You’ll no longer have to arrive early to take care of paperwork, and your appointment can begin much quicker. 

Some appointment software also allows you to take care of paying any fees or copays directly within the program. Whether you want to do so before your appointment or after, you can make sure your payment is in order and prevent delays at the reception desk. You won’t get stuck behind a patient with insurance questions or a salon patron wanting product recommendations when you’re in a rush to get to your daughter’s choral concert.

You only have so much time in the day for holiday preparations. Keeping outside commitments is necessary, but this season is special to you. By using appointment software to schedule your engagements, you’ll be able to tend to both — getting everything done that you need to and doing everything you want to. Squeezing in that gingerbread-making session will be no sweat when you use appointment software to help you maximize your time. 

Don’t Let Your Busy Schedule Overwhelm You: 5 Ways Appointment Software Can Help

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Don’t Let Your Busy Schedule Overwhelm You: 5 Ways Appointment Software Can Help

Sometimes, in our efforts to be productive, we can all too easily overdo things. While it can be good to stay busy, it’s definitely not worth maxing out your schedule to capacity every single day if you’re not handling it well.

Feeling overwhelmed will sap the productivity right out of all your busyness and likely leave you feeling stressed all day. That being the case, it’s highly doubtful you’ll be accomplishing everything you set out to do.

A healthy balance between productivity and time management is much easier to achieve through the intentional use of appointment software. With just one tool, you can stay busy without feeling overwhelmed by your massive to-do list. Listed below are five tips for using online appointment software to help you find the balance that’s best suited to your personality and work style.

1. Learn to delegate.

Learning to delegate can be a difficult process for younger or inexperienced entrepreneurs. After all, your start-up is “your baby.” Passing off your baby to someone else is never easy. Can you trust others to take exceptional care of your start-up the same way you do? Through the savvy use of online appointment software, you can at least point them in the right direction.

At the simplest level, appointment software can at least push those employees with delegated tasks to complete their assignments on time. Appointment bookings can act as agreed-upon time slots for their responsibilities as well as deadlines for their assignments to be completed. As you get more comfortable with deadline-driven task delegation, you’ll cultivate reliable helpers who help bear the burden of your intense daily workload.

2. Go all in on automation.

The greater the number of routine tasks you’re able to automate, the less cumbersome your busy schedule becomes. Automation can even free up your schedule so it’s not as busy as the pace to which you’ve become accustomed. Nowadays, automation doesn’t have to cost a lot, either.

The first thing online appointment software can enable is customer self-service. For example, let’s say you’re a car mechanic. A customer can book an appointment for an oil change without having to call you and distract you from your work. Your schedule stays busy, revenues increase, and you cut out some of the more tedious details.

Another example might be using automation for other aspects of customer relations. Sending appointment reminders, invoices, and feedback surveys can all be done automatically through the use of online appointment software. You won’t have to spend your time on these tasks and can instead choose to get home at a decent hour or finish an extra project before the end of the day.

3. Take regular breaks.

Your schedule can probably use more than just a little breathing room here and there. You’ll actually increase your productivity by taking a break every once in a while. Even if you’re a superstar entrepreneur with a rapidly growing start-up, you have your mental and physical health to prioritize over everything else.

Using online appointment software to schedule breaks ensures that you might actually take them. Otherwise, you might find them all too easy to blow off, filling your schedule to the brim with even more stress-inducing activities. While these might be productive, your excessive activity can lead to burnout — and even physical illness — if allowed to go on for too long.

Another way to make sure you take a break from an overloaded schedule is to make time for personal matters such as family or hobbies. You can — and should —  pepper your schedule with family meals or a trip to the movies. When you prioritize non-work activities, you’re far more likely to relax, refresh, and not feel so uptight throughout your waking hours.

4. Leave yourself some breathing room.

You can maintain a busy schedule while still adding in some wiggle room. In fact, a little bit of breathing room is strongly encouraged, especially if your busy schedule is leading to physical stress and heightened levels of anxiety. If you’re finding it difficult to space out your schedule, try using appointment software to make it happen.

Adding breathing room can be done by adding buffer times between your other commitments. Enforcing a mere 10 minutes in between appointments provides sufficient time to catch your breath, check an email or two, or grab a snack to refuel.

Additionally, enforcing buffer time can save your neck whenever appointments run longer than originally planned. That 10-minute window can help you make sure the following appointment doesn’t start late. (Just make sure you take the following buffer period as a break!)

5. Minimize errors.

Whenever your schedule is packed end-to-end, you aren’t leaving any room for error. One mistake or simple miscommunication can cause a ripple effect. One late arrival disrupts your entire day, leaving you and your tight schedule in shambles. Using online appointment software helps you avoid many of the errors that happen simply due to your mind being scrambled.

Overbooking is a classic example of a common mistake easily solved by using appointment software. Without it, you might accidentally double-book an appointment slot if your too-busy mind causes you to overlook the actual number of available slots. Appointment software uses built-in algorithms to stop overbooking in its tracks and direct customers to available slots.

Yes, you can stay busy and productive without giving yourself a problem with high blood pressure. You’ll notice a huge difference in stress levels when you start using appointment software to enhance your schedule and get more done with less effort.

7 Ways Online Appointment Software Can Benefit Small Businesses This Year

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7 Ways Online Appointment Software Can Benefit Small Businesses This Year

Appointment-based businesses working on a smaller scale might not see the benefits of online appointment setting right away. After all, a single hairstylist doesn’t see as many clients each day as a fully staffed hair salon. Yet the truth is that a small business can get just as much value out of online appointment software as its larger competitors, if not more so. 

This article will outline seven of the most tangible and immediate benefits of online appointment software for small businesses. Each one can specifically help your startup to grow and flourish in 2021 and beyond:

1. It Snags More Customers

The biggest thing small businesses require is new customers! Startups need all the support they can get, especially as they work to make the kind of name for themselves that will keep retention rates high. Online appointment software will not only bring in new customers, but encourage them to stick around for the long haul. 

Online appointment booking is so easy for new customers to use — they don’t have to get on the phone and talk to a stranger. Such a simple and efficient booking method is sure to pique the interest of numerous prospects. Win them over with a stellar appointment experience, and they’ll be booking a return appointment the minute they walk out the door. 

2. It Speeds Up the Appointment Process

There are a number of variables that can slow the appointment process down. Long wait times can be especially bothersome for both customers and your employees trying to keep a consistent schedule. By enabling online appointment booking, much of the process is sped up, keeping everybody happy. 

For example, employees are no longer distracted by as many phone calls that can pull them away from in-house customers. Online appointment software also eliminates a lot of manual work, such as inputting customer information or selecting appointment slots manually.

3. It Enables Quicker Payments

Few things are as worrisome for small businesses as outstanding payments. While most transactions will be conducted in person, some organizations — such as a doctor’s office — will rely on invoices sent after calculating insurance coverage.

Where third parties aren’t an issue, though, online appointment software can facilitate the payment process. When customers book their appointments online, they can also make advance payments simultaneously. Even if they settle up after service is rendered, online payment methods such as PayPal will encourage timelier payment. And that means small businesses can balance their checkbooks more quickly. 

4. It Reduces Booking Mistakes

Booking errors are inconvenient at best and can lose you customers at worst. Incorrectly inputting appointment times, overbooking appointments, or even forgetting an appointment entirely is a bad look for your organization. Using online appointment software helps to reduce human error that leads to these mistakes. 

Since online software will track appointments for you, overbooking is nonexistent, and accuracy is practically ensured. After all, clients are signing up for your available slots themselves. All you need to do is briefly review your upcoming schedule, and you’re good to go. 

5. It Lowers No-Show Rates

No-shows are an appointment-based business’s worst nightmare. The healthcare industry alone loses billions of dollars annually due to no-shows. These inconveniences take away valuable time slots from other patrons who would be happy to show up, and they waste a good portion of your day. The only party who loses money from a no-show is the business, unless there are well-advertised no-show fees involved.

Using online appointment software, you can slash your no-show rate by sending direct and effective notifications prior to the appointment. Consumers aren’t as likely to answer reminder phone calls, but they are typically quick to check a notification on their smartphone. A good notification system will at least remind them to reschedule an appointment they can no longer make. 

6. It Provides Quality Data

As a small business owner, you should never underestimate the power of data. Any information you can collect will prove to be invaluable to your business when implemented into your strategy. Since online appointment software tracks everything about your customer’s interaction with your business, you can start gathering and analyzing data immediately. 

Data will offer you lots of valuable insights you can use to grow your business. You’ll be able to spot common demographics to target with marketing campaigns as well as which appointment slots are most popular. This concrete information will allow you to make informed decisions to improve your business for present and future customers.

7. It Increases Availability

When booking appointments the old-fashioned way, prospective customers have to call in to their business of choice and inquire about availability. This process can take a long time, especially if they’re put on hold. Other customers simply want to minimize interaction as much as possible and will avoid making such phone calls.

By enabling online booking, customers no longer have to call in to check availability and book an appointment. Online servers are also open 24/7, meaning appointments can be booked long after your business has closed its doors for the day. This allows customers to make appointments anytime, helping you to fill your schedule even more and increase your revenue. 

Loving what you’re reading? You need to see it for yourself. Get started on implementing online appointment software now, and you can expect great things for your small business. 

6 Appointment Software Trends Businesses Can Implement Before 2022

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6 Appointment Software Trends Businesses Can Implement Before 2022

The world of business never stops moving forward. Innovation is required to remain competitive, whether that’s by forging your own path or latching onto popular trends, like appointment software, for example. 

Appointment-based businesses have a lot of trends they can look at leading as we move into 2022. The sooner you integrate these trends into your own business, the better you’ll be able to keep up with the competition. 

To help prevent you from falling behind, here are six of the top trends appointment-based businesses should implement before the next year:

1. Expanded Online Payment Options

One of the best features online appointment software offers is a quick and easy payment method. Customers and clients can streamline their appointment experience by paying in advance or after an in-person or virtual visit. 

Most companies that have online payment systems accept debit and credit cards. However, other payment methods are growing in popularity with users, including several online payment apps and alternatives. This includes payment apps such as PayPal and Venmo, as well as spending cryptocurrencies through their associated wallets. 

Cryptocurrency as a whole is a trend you can jump on. Many small businesses were able to boost their sales for a short time by accepting the latest trending coin. They easily made waves across the internet, with excited consumers looking to make a commemorative purchase. 

2. Increased Personalization

Consumers have a growing desire to have their experience and interactions with companies be as personal as possible. Personalization makes customers feel like a business cares about and meets their needs to the fullest. Even small amounts of personalization in your appointment software can make a huge difference. 

Start with something small, like making it possible to change color schemes and font sizes within your booking pages. Not only will this better fit individual preferences, certain settings will even help your company fulfill certain ADA requirements

Another easy form of personalization for appointment software is reminder settings. Customers will want to receive reminders at different times, whether it’s a week prior to or the morning of their appointment. Options can also include how the reminder is set, such as through a text message, email, or through your company app. 

3. Mobile Optimization

As a consumer, you’re probably aware of how common it is to use your mobile device when researching brands, making purchases, and booking appointments. However, many companies have yet to optimize their online appointment systems for mobile devices. This is a trend that businesses must capitalize on now in order to succeed in 2022. 

One way to ensure a great mobile experience is to develop an app. Most large-scale brands have done this already. But smaller appointment-based businesses might not have jumped on board this trend quite yet. Even if you’re just operating a local mechanic shop, a mobile app can provide an improved experience to your customer base. 

4. Integrations Galore

There are hundreds of useful apps in circulation today, each with a specific function and dedicated user base. Being able to integrate these apps and programs into your online appointment system will win over a lot of new customers. 

For example, customers might find it easier to log into appointment software by linking their Google or social media accounts. This functionality can also carry over into integrated online calendars for more effective appointment reminders. 

Your business will love using integrations as well. For example, you can use Salesforce for better financial tracking or ETLrobot to store and organize data for future use. Online appointment software will be the hub for all of your important applications, streamlining their interactions with one another. 

5. Greater Focus on Data

Speaking of data, every year its value grows higher and higher. Businesses can make more calculated — and therefore effective — decisions by looking at data as a reference point. This almost always wins out over-educated guesses. 

Appointment-based businesses generate lots of data every day. By looking at past appointments, you can determine what demographics you should target with your marketing. You can also figure out how likely a customer is to make a return appointment. This knowledge should directly impact your strategy and decision-making, building a springboard for your business to enter 2022. 

Despite the well-known value of data analytics, fewer than two-thirds of businesses are currently using them to their advantage. You can easily overtake that final third of companies by placing an emphasis on data within your own organization. 

6. Going Virtual

The use of virtual appointments grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in medical settings. This enabled doctors to continue consulting with their patients when we had few defenses against the virus. Even though most pandemic lockdowns have been lifted, virtual appointments are expected to remain commonplace in various sectors of the medical field.

Some industries are simply unable to have virtual appointments. A hairdresser isn’t able to style your hair over a Zoom call, for example. However, there are other appointment-based businesses that will certainly benefit from enabling this feature.

Alongside physicians, dentists may be able to hold quick digital consultations with patients instead of having them visit the office. This could provide an opportunity to ask some follow-up questions remotely and save both parties a lot of time. 

If you can’t be a trendsetter, at least recognize which trends can guide you to long-term success. Now and into the future, the appointment software trends listed above will help you find your footing in the business world and create a better experience for all the customers you serve. 

5 Needs Appointment Software Can Meet for Your Business

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5 Needs Appointment Software Can Meet for Your Business

Every business has needs. Even though specific brands and industries will differ in a lot of ways, many needs are universal. Though some companies may try to disrupt the status quo, at the end of the day, your business will probably need to fulfill these needs to stay afloat. 

Business owners are always looking for the best solutions to keep their entrepreneurial dreams alive and serve as many customers as possible. When it comes to meeting business needs, few tools are as versatile as online appointment software

While a single program might seem one-dimensional at first glance, it can actually fill a number of roles in your business. Here are just five common business needs you can knock out by implementing appointment software into your business model:

1. Timely Supply Delivery

Even appointment-based businesses require materials to run. A dentist’s office will need periodic deliveries of fluoride rinse; a hair salon will have to re-up its shampoo supplies. This means working with suppliers to manage shipments that are both timely and cost-effective.

With appointment software, you can schedule shipments more accurately. You’ll be able to minimize the risk of materials coming in late and interrupting service to your customers. 

On the other end is gauging demand for various products. By tracking the different kinds of appointments (cleanings vs. extractions, haircuts vs. colorings), you’ll be better able to anticipate which supplies you’ll need to have delivered and when. Appointment software will help you fine-tune your process so that there are no kinks in the system. 

2. Social Media Strategy

What’s the easiest way to connect with customers? Those same social media sites probably fill up a lot of your break time. Social media platforms are free to use and can help businesses reach thousands of new and existing customers creatively in real-time. 

Finding success through social media requires consistency. Using appointment software, set up a content calendar that prompts you and your team to create and post content on a consistent basis. By posting actively, you will have more data to use for improving your social media strategy over time. 

Besides keeping a social media calendar, use your appointment scheduling tool to make time for social media audits and game planning. Put that data to use and regularly make adjustments to your content so that you’re always heading in the direction you want with social media. 

3. Scheduling and Employee Management

Every employee has an obligation to come to work on their assigned days. In that sense, they’re maintaining an appointment scheduled with your business. Using appointment software will help both sides stay accountable to their time commitments. 

Employee scheduling mishaps can be a nightmare if you depend on team members to arrive punctually every day. Some creative roles can be more flexible, even working from home without direct supervision, but customer-facing roles don’t have that luxury. Appointment software will help keep everyone on time so your customers aren’t kept waiting. 

Managers benefit from using appointment software by being able to better connect with employees. If an employee needs to speak with their manager about a certain issue, they can check their availability via the appointment software. This ensures that communication always happens at a good time and as soon as possible. 

4. Customer Acquisition

For businesses, customer acquisition is an endless battle. Every business has some level of turnover rate, and that must be combated by introducing new consumers to the brand. 

How does appointment software help with customer acquisition? For starters, it’s a user-friendly tool that works in conjunction with your website to bring customers to your physical location. Accessibility to appointment-booking online is a huge selling point for many customers who want to make the appointment process as painless as possible. 

Online appointment software also provides your target audience with the perfect call to action. A link to your scheduling platform can be placed in social media posts, blog entries, and even email advertisements. You can expect a healthy click-through rate for this CTA thanks to the ease and convenience of online appointment scheduling. 

5. Customer Retention

You’re selling your business short if you don’t prioritize customer retention just as much as you do an acquisition. Gaining new customers is certainly important, but it’s more expensive and time-consuming for businesses. By focusing on retaining existing customers, you’ll keep revenue high by reducing turnover. 

Online appointment software makes it easy for customers to keep coming back for more. Booking an appointment online can be done in a few clicks, eliminating the need for phone calls or walk-ins. Keep improving your user experience, and you’ll be able to cater to your customers’ every need. 

Appointment software also opens up a new world of retention-focused communication. You can use appointment reminders and notifications to help customers arrive on time and urge them to make return appointments. 

If you’re encountering some problems with your business, ask yourself how online appointment software can help. You’ll be surprised to see just how multifaceted this tool can be and how many holes it can fill. 

5 Strategies for Keeping Your Team on the Same Page

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5 Strategies for Keeping Your Team on the Same Page

Every manager wants their team to run like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, good intentions often fall short. In an effort to keep teams informed and connected, calendars can get overloaded with meetings, and employees can get more confused than when they started.

To get and keep your team on the same page, you need a better approach. This guide will outline five different strategies that you can use in any combination to take your leadership to the next level. A coordinated team, after all, is much easier and enjoyable to manage.

1. Up Your Meeting Game

A survey of employees in the UK showed that respondents considered 37% of meetings to be pointless and unnecessary. That’s over a third of meeting time that’s going to waste! Changing your approach to meetings will make better use of your time in the conference room while making sure your team is always in sync.

Start by outlining your meetings thoroughly before even adding them to your team calendar. Each meeting should have a specific purpose or goal in mind. Holding a meeting just to have a meeting is a pointless endeavor.

Next, make sure you show up to the meeting prepared with everything you could possibly need. With an adequate game plan, you can ensure that meetings don’t run too long or go off topic. You can get straight to the point and focus on getting your team on the same page before dispersing once again. 

2. Keep the Conversation Going

Even while you’re tuning up your meetings, you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively. The best way to keep your team connected and informed is to keep the conversation going long after a formal meeting has concluded. Discussion should be happening every day, whether it’s a clarifying question or checking in on the progress of a weekly assignment.

Numerous companies faced communication crises during the Covid-19 pandemic. Trying to keep remote teams pulling in the same direction was more difficult than it was in an office setting. This led to a large increase in the use of communications software such as Zoom and Slack.

One tool that you should look into for your team, regardless of its composition, is project management software. With a tool like this, project-related communications are visible to everyone on the team, and automatic task notifications keep interested parties in the know. This works great for remote teams, office-centric companies, and every organization in between. 

3. List Out Project Details

Another great use of project management software is the ability to break out key project details. Outlining your projects in such a way helps inform teams of all the important steps of a project, even if they’re only responsible for a few of them. 

There are different ways to list out project details, usually depending on the type of software you use. Let’s use ClickUp as an example. Within this program, you can create an assignment complete with a description, due date, and assignees. In addition, you can add a checklist of items that must be completed in order for the assignment to be finished. Last but not least, you can view a complete history of all the changes that have been made to the project and who initiated them. 

4. Share Schedules

An essential aspect of staying on the same page is coordinating time and individual schedules. What happens when a project is in crisis and team members cannot contact the team leader? Such situations can be avoided or at least mitigated by sharing schedules with one another. 

Now, let it be said that there’s such a thing as sharing too much information. Unless you have a great relationship with your team, they don’t need to know about your date night or your plans to go disc golfing over lunch. What’s more important is establishing the times where you’re available and unavailable and letting teammates know when and how you can be reached.

Online calendars are nifty tools for ironing out those details. You can create a custom scheduling link that can be embedded into a website or posted in your company database. With a simple click, team members and even clients can see whether you have any openings for a meeting or phone call without disturbing you. 

5. Embrace Transparency

Transparency does a lot of good for your company. Not only will it keep employees happy and boost their morale, but it will also develop a culture and atmosphere where collaboration can thrive. It’s so much easier to keep your team in the loop when transparency is a high priority.

Think of transparency as the willingness to freely share information from the top to the bottom of your organization. As the leader, it’s up to you to set the example that others will follow.

You can do this by clearly setting expectations, checking in with individual team members, and being honest about how you’re spending your time. Secrets that don’t pertain to birthday parties or Christmas bonuses tend to tear a company down rather than build it up. 

No business can thrive when its right hand doesn’t know what its left hand is doing. But with the right combination of communication, tech-enabled organization, and transparency, your team members will be able to pull together and achieve your organization’s goals.

5 Tech Solutions to Help Your Hybrid Team Work Together More Smoothly

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Tech Solutions to Help Your Hybrid Team Work Together More Smoothly

Working from home has kept individuals and families safe from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At the same time, it allowed employees to make an income and contribute to the companies they work for. Home offices were set up in record time, and we discovered a whole new meaning to the term “business casual.” 

Since then, numerous workers have decided to continue working remotely at least some of the time. Shelter-at-home orders caused many to come to an important realization. Being closer to family, having more flexibility, and leaving their morning commute behind made them happier and more productive. According to McKinsey, more than 50% of employees would prefer to work from home three or more days per week. 

Demand for solutions that allow teams to collaborate across long distances in real time was high, and tech companies were happy to provide them. Now there are hundreds of team collaboration tools that span multiple uses and purposes. For those in leadership positions, learning how to leverage productivity software can make every workday more efficient than the last. 

In this article, we’ll talk about managing hybrid teams and what tech solutions are available to make every project run more smoothly. 

Managing Hybrid Teams in 2021

The pandemic undoubtedly forced companies to experiment with new ways of operating. Bosses got used to not seeing their subordinates at their desks, and employees became increasingly accustomed to working from home. 

When pandemic restrictions began to lift, it brought further change. The transition back to the workplace from all-remote work gave birth to an in-office and remote work experience. Leaders were faced with organizing hybrid teams with no definitive guidance to direct them. 

Feeling their way toward the optimal hybrid workplace, managers have had to balance the requirements of two groups of employees. Fortunately, there are many tech solutions that make collaboration across hybrid teams both effective and efficient. 

Hybrid Tech Solutions

Hybrid teams need specialized tools that cater to both in-office and remote team members’ needs without compromising productivity. Here are some of the ways that technology can help leaders manage their hybrid teams:

1. Team Communication

Effective communication is key to a successful hybrid working environment. Instant messaging platforms allow teams to communicate in real time. Questions can get answered in an instant, preventing project bottlenecks from arising. When team brainstorming is required, video conferencing tools enable both remote and in-office workers to participate equally. 

Popular apps like Slack and Zoom also offer integrations, making them easy to use in conjunction with your other collaboration tools. Other examples of team communication tools include Flowdock for messaging and file sharing and GoToMeeting for video conferencing.

2. Scheduling

Working remotely has some perks, but it’s easy to lose track of time and blur the lines between work and home. Keeping everyone organized and in step although working in separate spaces can be quite tricky. 

That’s where appointment scheduling software can come in handy, while also helping remote workers instill more structure in their workdays. Scheduling tools like Google Calendar, Calendar.com, and Appointment.com all provide digital calendars that sync across several devices, allowing teams to plan together. 

3. Project Management

Managing projects and tasks when your team members are separated by distance is no mean feat. Project management tools help leaders coordinate, monitor progress, and keep track of objectives no matter where team members are located. Managers can clearly communicate action items by incorporating tools such as Asana, Monday.com, ProofHub, and Trello into their hybrid workflows. 

4. Task Collaboration

Employees are often required to work together to complete certain tasks and create the best outcomes. Collaboration tools allow multiple people to create together. Tools like CodingTeam that encourage visibility are perfect for collective code building. 

Services such as Google Docs and Quip enable both in-office and remote employees to edit spreadsheets and documents in real time. They also allow you to transfer and share files with vendors or clients outside the hybrid office.

5. Team Learning

Collaborative learning solutions help teams overcome obstacles by ensuring that everyone is up-to-date on the latest policies, practices, and procedures. Additionally, platforms like Gong allow teams to leverage best practices from high-achieving performers so that everyone can increase their productivity and overall success. 

Transparency and teamwork are imperative in a hybrid workspace. Collaborative learning platforms help managers consistently enforce new policies and employees learn new processes, keeping everyone on the same page.

Conclusion

The pandemic caused a dramatic shift in how we do almost everything, including the way that we work. We learned that productivity is possible outside of the office. We also learned how much we crave human connection. Lucky for us, the increase in collaboration tools means it has never been easier for employees to work together, separately. 

In these unprecedented times, it is likely that hybrid offices are here to stay. Some employees prefer to work from home, while others thrive in the office. Still others enjoy the flexibility of being able to do both. Fortunately, these tech tools can help you work out the kinks as you navigate the new normal in the workplace. 

5 Practical Tips for Keeping Your Team Organized

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5 Practical Tips for Keeping Your Team Organized

Your business might be made up of an organized, established, everyday team, or you might be assembling a project-oriented team to address a specific issue. Whatever the case, we all know that throwing people together on a team can produce mixed results. Productivity and effectiveness can vary widely based on skills, experience, personality, or simply placing the wrong person in the driver’s seat.

Whether your team is permanent or temporary, there are some basic, commonsense principles to apply. The way you handle team expectations can make or break any initiative.

Here are five tips you can use or modify to suit specific team needs.

1. Pick your communication tools carefully and use them effectively.

Nowadays, there are a number of communication tools designed to help teams share issues and progress. Effective and timely communication often makes the difference between project completion and seemingly endless delays. If you’re not currently using something to facilitate communication within teams, you might consider looking for a solution that works well in your particular context. Here are some options:

  • Trello allows users to create “cards” that help organize a list of tasks to be completed. Each card may include a checklist to indicate progress. All of your team members have the ability to edit a card, which makes for easier collaboration.
  • Asana limits the number of team members to 15. It features user-friendly “like” and “thumbs up” functions. The ability to view the popularity of an entry at a glance can bring enhanced clarity for decision-making. It can also cut down dramatically on the need for meetings.
  • Slack functions as a chat room for teams. Team members can get quick responses from colleagues even when they are scattered across the globe. Businesses that implement Slack tend to notice a sharp drop-off in the need to send and receive emails.
  • Basecamp syncs to Google Drive and Google Calendar and offers a cloud-based solution that tracks both productivity and time spent on specific projects. Companies that bill based on staff time tend to use Basecamp to evaluate ROI by project, customer, and assigned staff.
  • Teamwork Projects works best by breaking down large tasks into bite-size chunks and assigning them out to individuals. Each subtask can be given specific milestones and deadlines.

2. Use a team calendar for organized project reporting.

Your team members are routinely walking around with more computing horsepower in their pocket than was necessary to put Apollo 11 on the moon. You should only leverage smartphone apps to keep team members on task without being intrusive. While these devices make it possible for your team members to work constantly, you also want to avoid burning them out.

Step one is to create a project calendar on a platform that provides easy access to all staff. Many apps offer a granular approach to permission setting such that various team members can merely comment while others can make deadline edits. When setting up your team calendar, make sure you select a resource that allows you to evaluate progress regularly.

3. Assign specific tasks to specific individuals.

The importance of giving team members both responsibility and ownership can hardly be overstated. When these are lacking, confusion reigns and employees are encouraged to play a perpetual game of Pass the Buck.

Making sure an individual knows and accepts responsibility for the completion of a specific task is an art. If you are too “soft” or otherwise unclear, this can serve as an invitation to not take deadlines and milestones seriously. Should you veer into the opposite ditch and become overly authoritarian, you stifle employees’ willingness to be creative.

If you notice specific tasks that are falling behind schedule, reach out to the responsible team member privately. It may be necessary to reassign that individual, but they will appreciate your not shaming them in a team meeting. Another benefit is that you will learn things in a one-on-one conversation that you will never hear in a group setting.

4. Make team responsibilities organized and abundantly clear.

Be clear on roles and responsibilities. If team members must come to you or another manager to address every problem that arises, you can expect the team to get bogged down in frequent delays. Head off this common issue by designating a team leader to handle team problems. Each task should have one identified person responsible for reporting back.

Resist micromanagement. Give team members the authority to create subchannels using your communications tool. Encourage efficiency by allowing people to communicate only with the people affected by a specific issue. Allowing subchannel chatter encourages people to take greater ownership and frees you from managing the minutiae of every task.

Establishing responsibilities in this manner will make your team more efficient, as people can keep working without stopping to ask permission for every move they make. Clarify which types of issues require your approval. The rest of the time, your team can take primary responsibility for the details.

5. Hold only necessary meetings and require actionable agendas.

Keep organized team meetings few and short. Experiment with allowing meetings to last no longer than 15 minutes. After all, the purpose of meetings is to decide upon a course of action. Far too many discussions end up devolving into purposeless chatter. Make it clear that each team member should leave every meeting with action items.

As many meetings now occur remotely, inform team members that being on time and well prepared are still requirements. Urge your meeting moderator to avoid statements such as, “We still have 10 minutes left. Is there anything else?” Such questions imply that the purpose of the meeting is to use up the time rather than create a to-do list.

Once you draw up the action items, dismiss everyone. Results-oriented discussions help make meetings painless.

Keep in mind that “Your mileage may vary.”

Every business is unique. Even upper-level franchise managers will tell you that “identical” locations can vary greatly from another simply due to issues of geography, culture, population, and climate. The organizational principles listed above may or may not work flawlessly in your setting, so feel free to experiment with the practices that draw the best response from your team.

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