Appointments are inevitable. Whether it’s to get the oil changed in your car or get a cavity looked at, everyone is going to end up with an appointment or two on their calendar. While many services require an appointment, that doesn’t mean people enjoy spending all day in one.
If you’re operating an appointment-based business, it’s vital that you learn to respect your customers’ time. You should have two underlying goals in mind. Your appointments should be efficient, getting customers in and out as quickly as possible. On top of that, your appointments should be effective. The decreased duration shouldn’t come at the price of quality.
So how does one accomplish this feat? A lot will depend on the operations that are specific to your business. However, there are a few universal tips and tricks you can implement to make some improvements. Consider the following:
Appointments don’t necessarily start at your place of business. An appointment begins as soon as a customer starts the booking process. Traditionally, this involves calling a representative and listening to the available options over the phone. There’s a much easier and more efficient way of doing this in 2022.
All you have to do is enable self-scheduling. Put a calendar up on your website that shows which appointment slots are available for the coming weeks. All a prospective client has to do is click on the availability they want and reserve it for themselves.
This helps appointments run more smoothly in two ways. First, the initial booking process takes a lot less time by cutting out the middleman. Second, the middleman doesn’t have to be on the phone so often. They are now free to help move things along at your place of business instead of being tied to a phone line.
Start Check-In Early
The sooner you can get an appointment going, the quicker you can get it completed. Customers don’t want to spend all day at an appointment, and you want to service as many clients as possible. You can speed up the entire process by starting the check-in process early.
Try to accomplish as much as possible before a customer even arrives at your front desk. You can have customers fill out an online questionnaire for information pertinent to an upcoming appointment. Store that information in a customer portal, and check-ins will continue to speed up.
Part of appointment booking can overlap with check-in necessities. You can include some questions in your booking process that can check off some of the boxes required for check-in. Even a single piece of information can help get the ball rolling.
Invest in Employees
You can get a lot of mileage out of your business simply by investing in your employees. In particular, you should consider buying into training programs that can help your workers become more efficient. If your team is running efficiently, so will your appointments.
Training time should always be on your dollar. Provide all of the necessary resources to your employees and compensate them for the time they spend in training. This way they will be able to focus on training properly and apply it to their role immediately.
You should also invest in the mental and emotional wellbeing of your employees. Happy workers tend to work harder. Help them achieve a proper work-life balance and provide adequate working conditions for them. You should see key appointment metrics rise just by doing that alone.
Use Appointment Software
A lot of inefficiencies come from operator errors. A secretary can write down the wrong time for an appointment by accident, or a customer can accidentally book two appointments when they only needed one. While small, these errors can derail an entire day of appointments if left unchecked. You can avoid common mishaps by using appointment software.
Online appointment software takes care of so many factors. This is the type of program that will make self check-ins and self-scheduling not only possible, but simple and easy. Many appointment software programs are also customizable. You can pick the features and layouts that best fit your needs.
When you try online appointment software for the first time, you’ll have a harder time finding a need that isn’t filled. You can set up online payments, send custom reminders, and explore integrations. These tools will have your appointments running more effectively and efficiently than ever.
Ask yourself how you would like an appointment to be run if you were the customer. It could be as simple as wanting online booking. Perhaps businesses that do have online booking have check-in processes that are way too long. Whatever it is that you think works best, those are the aspects you should apply to your own business. Your customers will thank you for it.
Image Credit: Pavel Danilyuk; Pexels; Thanks!