customer service Archives - Appointment - Online Appointment Scheduling Software

4 Complimentary Service Options to Offer Your Customers

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Offer Complimentary Service Options

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time creating the best product or service. After all, you can’t run a business if people don’t want to pay you for what you’re offering. However, you should also be focusing on related services that you can provide to your customer base. These are called complimentary services.

Essentially, you offer an additional service free of charge to your customers to enhance their experience with your business. This can give you an edge over competitors that offer similar products and services as well as increase customer retention.

If you’re not sure where to start when coming up with complimentary services to offer, we have you covered. This guide contains four of the most common and most appreciated complimentary service options your customers are sure to appreciate:

Preferred Service Provider Option

Many customers become loyal because they develop a connection with a particular member of your organization. This could be a stylist who cuts their hair just right or a waiter who knows their favorite dishes by heart. It’s this bond and the trust they build with that person that keeps them coming back.

Knowing that this connection improves customer retention, many businesses allow customers to choose a preferred service provider. It can be an option included in your mobile app when customers book an appointment. Or if your customers make appointments over the phone, simply ask whether they have a preferred provider. Your customers will be assured they’ll have their ideal appointment experience every time, and employees will feel fulfilled every time they are requested.

Complimentary Transportation Service

Some services can take an unpredictable amount of time. For example, taking your car to a local garage for an unknown problem could take minutes or hours to diagnose and repair. Expecting customers to wait for undetermined periods of time can be perceived as being inconsiderate. Instead of testing your customers’ patience, provide a simple transportation service.

Driving a customer home or back to work won’t take much time, and it makes a good impression. Plus it allows your customer to accomplish more with their day rather than waiting idly in a waiting room. Any customer will be grateful to have this option available to them.

Compensation for Mistakes

No matter how hard you work at improving your business, mistakes are inevitable. You can hire the best staff, provide the best training, and have all the best equipment, yet something will still go wrong. That’s just how life is sometimes. What’s most important for your business is learning how to handle mistakes rather than just trying to make them disappear entirely.

Compensating your customers when issues arise lets them know they are your business’s highest priority. Even a small compensation package shows that you’re sorry the mistake occurred and want to make it up to them. Customers will usually understand and be open to giving your business a second chance. Devoting the effort to make it right can do wonders in restoring their goodwill.

Let’s say you operate a hotel, and a guest arrives at check-in time to find that their room isn’t ready. This can be frustrating for weary travelers with lots of heavy bags they want to unpack. You can keep these customers happy by offering them a gift certificate to a local restaurant and treating them to a meal.

This way, your guests can wait for their room to be prepared while enjoying some delicious cuisine on the house rather than wait in the lobby. What could’ve been a problem resulting in a bad review can now turn into a memorable travel experience.

Childcare

Many customers you assist will be busy parents trying to juggle their appointments around work and their children’s activities. Trying to attend an appointment with your kids can be equal parts challenging and exhausting. Lend a hand by offering free childcare to your customers during their time at your business.

For example, a parent might have a doctor’s appointment and can’t leave their young children at home alone while their spouse is at work. If the doctor’s office has a supervised play area, they can attend their appointment without any worries.

Gyms, dental offices, and hospitals can also employ this strategy. Providing childcare will require an extra employee or two and some additional business space. But this complimentary service will help busy parents in your area who might just become new and recurring customers.

These services will likely add to your expenses column. However, they should easily pay for themselves as you become able to serve more customers and provide a better experience to them. Keep an eye on your business metrics after implementing complimentary service options so you can see how they’re impacting your business. Offering even some simple courtesies like these can go a long way toward delighting and keeping your customers!

Image Credit: Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thanks!

4 Customer Complaints About Scheduling Software; And How to Navigate Them

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Customer Complaints About Scheduling Software; And How To Navigate Them

Trying to please every single customer who walks through your doors is next to impossible. There will always be some difficult person to deal with who has lofty expectations that even the largest of corporations can’t fulfill. That said, trying to cater to as many customers as possible allows you to cast a wider net to bring in more business. 

One way to go about this is not by looking at what customers like, but by analyzing their most sincere complaints. Doing so will shine a spotlight directly on the flaws of your business so that you can make meaningful changes to your operations. Add targeted changes to a solid business foundation, and your customer complaints will be few and far between. 

The following is a list of four customer complaints that you might hear specifically regarding scheduling software. To thrive, appointment-based businesses will need to navigate them appropriately.

1. Limited Payment Options 

The world of fintech has been evolving rapidly, and along with it has come a myriad of new payment options that customers have fallen in love with. Consequently, you might hear the occasional customer complain about limited payment options at your place of business. 

For example, enabling digital payments through apps such as PayPal and Venmo will help numerous customers who don’t rely on debit cards — to say nothing of cash — as often. This will especially come in handy for mobile payments where customers might find entering their credit card information a cumbersome process. Even accepting different varieties of credit cards will expand your desktop payment options and avoid excluding certain consumers.

Cryptocurrency is starting to explode, and many people are looking at DeFi networks to make their daily transactions. Including a couple of the major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, isn’t a bad idea. It might even put you ahead of your competition and demonstrate that your business is on the cutting edge. However, don’t worry about accepting payments for the week’s hot new coin, as the hype will be impossible to keep up with. 

2. Questionable Security 

One complaint you never want to hear regards your scheduling software’s security. Data privacy/security is a hot topic nowadays, with customers feeling a stronger desire to protect their data on the internet. Taking care of your customer’s information is absolutely vital for any modern-day business. 

Start by ensuring that all your transactions are secured through SSL encryption. Once you’ve got that protection in place, you can add a note to your scheduling software pages that notify customers of the security steps you’re taking. This will help them feel more comfortable booking appointments and paying for them online. 

The next step is making certain that all other customer data is locked up tight. Names, addresses, and any other personal information you might record should only be accessed by those with a need for that information. And your stored data should be safeguarded by firewalls, password protection, and any other cyber protections you might need to keep it out of dubious hands. 

3. No Rewards or Benefits 

If your business were an ice cream sundae, a rewards program would be the cherry on top. Some customers really like cherries, though, and they may get disgruntled if there’s not one in sight. While a rewards program isn’t essential to managing a good appointment-based business, it certainly makes the experience all the more delicious.

Dig in a little deeper, and you’ll see just how much value you can get out of an incentives program. Customers who book multiple appointments will be rewarded, which will increase your retention rates and help you to fill more appointment slots. Customers who receive benefits from rewards programs will also feel more valued and appreciated, another step in the right direction toward customer retention. 

The easiest way to implement a loyalty program is to reward customers who book multiple appointments. For example, a customer might get their tenth appointment for free after their first nine visits, or they might receive a free add-on service when they reach that threshold. Other small benefits will become hits as well, such as offering a discount to first-time visitors or customers who refer you to their friends. 

4. Restricted Platform Availability

Making scheduling software available on your customers’ desktops is a good start, but it won’t be a long-term solution. In fact, most consumers these days are making purchases and booking appointments on their phones. If your scheduling software cannot be accessed via mobile phone, you’re bound to hear several complaints.

Happily, you don’t need to develop an app to make this possible. All you need to do is ensure your web pages, specifically those pertaining to appointment setting, are as optimized for mobile as they are for the desktop. Only a few alterations need to occur, but the extra effort will mean your customers can book appointments just as easily on their smartphone as they would on any other device. 

Any appointment scheduling software worth its salt should be able to address these concerns and many more. When you treat consumer complaints as an opportunity to improve, your business can provide a better appointment experience to every customer. 

Troubleshooting Automated Appointment System Complaints

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Troubleshooting Automated Appointment System Complaints

The benefits of automated appointment software are undeniable. Unfortunately, implementing a new system often comes with some bumps in the road. Setting up and then forgetting your new software may end up driving away customers.

If complaints arise, don’t just resort to tossing out coupons as a way to appease customers. Instead, develop a troubleshooting system that uncovers the root of the problem and leads you to solutions. 

Troubleshooting can be a frustrating and arduous process. Here’s how to make yours as painless and efficient as possible in order to help every one of your customers.

Identify the Problem’s Source

The first step is to determine if the complaint stems from an operator error or a system error. Operator errors can often be resolved with some top-notch customer service. System errors, on the other hand, require a bit more information and a hands-on approach.

How can you tell if the problem is a user error or an actual problem with your system? Start by focusing on the language. For example, a complaint might be “couldn’t fill out customer information lines.” At first blush, this might sound like an operator error. But if your form’s lines are too short to accommodate a longer surname, or the “Submit” button didn’t do anything, that’s a system fix that needs to be addressed. 

Don’t forget that some complaints may come from a system error that only occurs on the customer’s end. Someone loading your website with a computer from the ’90s may get a system error because of the outdated equipment. 

Improve the Resources for Customers

Even if your digging has unveiled an operator error, don’t blame the customer for their mistake. Instead, think of how to prevent future customers from experiencing the same confusion. 

For example, maybe a common customer complaint is that the instructions aren’t clear on your automated appointment system. Visitors get lost trying to follow steps and end up leaving in frustration. What can you do to improve their experience?

Perhaps a short video walking customers through your online appointment software will do the trick. Struggling customers can follow along with video instructions to make their first experience using new software a seamless one. 

Take Your System on a Test Drive

When was the last time you tested your online appointment software? The occasional test run will show you firsthand if there’s an obvious problem that customers are running into. You might even find that you fall victim to the same user error as everyone else.

Log on to your website as a guest. Better yet, get a friend or family member who’s less familiar with your system to go through the site. Does the functionality problem the customer mentioned happen to your friend? Or was it a one-time deal? 

If everything seems to be going smoothly, you should still adjust your approach and try a couple more times. You need to discover whether you can recreate the circumstances behind the system complaint. 

A good mechanic will do the same thing when you take your car in for a repair. They’ll take a test drive to recreate the noise you described when you dropped off the car. If you experience the same error as your customer, you’ll validate their complaint. It will also give you a better idea of what needs to be fixed. 

Look for Response Trends

You’ll get more insights from looking at response trends than fixating on individual complaints. Individual complaints may lead to band-aid fixes. Overall trends can help you find permanent solutions. 

Data is your best friend when you’re compiling and analyzing customer complaints. It allows you to connect the dots between isolated incidents. Once you find a pattern, you’ll have a better idea of where to focus your attention. Maybe you can even find the source from which all complaints stemmed. 

For example, you may find that a number of complaints boil down to poor loading speeds on your website. This could be a helpful discovery. It may be that your website has been struggling to process the load of your new online appointment system. With that info, you’ll be able to get the problem fixed in no time.

Look Into Your Back End

There’s a lot under the surface of your online appointment system. Unfortunately, understanding it all may be a little out of your wheelhouse. That’s especially true if you’re an entrepreneur outsourcing labor for your website. The good news is that your website developers should be able to do the heavy lifting for you. 

Get on a call with your vendor and discuss the nature of the complaint with them. They should be able to figure out what’s causing the customer’s problem and find a backend solution. In this scenario, you’re the intermediary between the customer and the techies who have the fix. 

Follow Up With Customers

When you’ve settled on a solution, follow up on its implementation. There’s no point troubleshooting complaints if you’re not planning to fix them. 

Following up with customers can accomplish a lot. For one, it shows them that you genuinely care about their experience with your company. It might even save you from losing them. After all, reaching back out to the customer encourages them to give your appointment software a second chance.

A simple email letting customers know that their complaint has been addressed will often be enough. When things really go wrong, though, you may want to call the customer. Thank them for bringing the problem to your attention. They’ll appreciate the courtesy and the resolution you came up with. 

Ready, aim, and troubleshoot your way to customer service excellence. Your effort to help every customer will make your business shine. Soon you’ll optimize your automated appointment system to the point that most complaints disappear.

Self-Service Your Customers Will Actually Appreciate

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Self-Service Your Customers Will Actually Appreciate

Reliable customer service is at the center of your business’s client retention strategy. When your team is available for real-time support, customer satisfaction will follow. 

However, 24/7 customer support requires significant resources and isn’t always sustainable. The solution? A comprehensive self-service platform. 

Recent data shows that 67% of customers prefer to self-serve rather than talk to a customer service representative, so now is the time to implement this strategy. 

Self-service allows customers to book appointments and find answers on their own, which in turn saves your business time and money. A robust self-service framework paired with traditional customer service features can help businesses streamline client support, boost customer satisfaction, and allocate resources more effectively. 

The real challenge, though, is getting your customers to use these tools. This guide will cover the basics of self-service and offer some tried-and-true methods for bringing your customers on board. 

Prioritizing Efficiency: The Basics of Self-Service 

Before diving into the how-tos of customer self-service, it’s important to break down this popular approach. In a self-service framework, the client is able to find the answer to their question without contacting customer support. Self-service also applies when customers quickly make online appointments rather than calling or emailing your business directly. 

The benefits of self-service are twofold: clients find the answers they’re looking for without picking up the phone, and your business saves money on customer support personnel. This cuts down on wait times and boosts customer happiness, while allowing your business to focus on everyday operations. 

There are a few self-service options that businesses should keep in mind when building out their framework. 

Online Booking Systems 

In traditional customer support models, clients call or email a business to make an appointment. However, this method can lead to phone tag, long wait times, and simply too many calls for the business to manage. Online booking platforms are a highly effective way to streamline appointments and provide accessible scheduling to a diverse customer base. 

Knowledge Bases 

If your customer service lines are routinely flooded with the same types of questions, a knowledge base can be a useful tool to implement. This page on your website will include answers to your most frequently asked questions, as well as multimedia features like video tutorials and graphics. You can organize the questions by topic and use this page to point customers toward other self-service features, including your online appointments platform. 

Automation 

One of the most common ways that businesses automate customer service is through chatbots — an industry that’s projected to be worth $9.4 billion by 2024. AI-powered chat features can answer questions automatically and point customers to the tools they’re looking for. You can also set up the chatbot to funnel customers to service representatives when necessary. 

Self-service will look different for every business. Appointment-based businesses will benefit greatly from online booking systems, while businesses that sell products might focus more on bolstering their knowledge base. Pinpointing the services that will best serve your customers will set you up for success. 

Leading Your Customers to Self-Service: 5 Key Steps 

When it comes to creating useful self-service tools for your customer base, developing the platform is only half the battle. You also need to get your customers to use it. 

The reality is that many of your clients will tend to stick to what they’re used to. With a bit of persuasion, though, you can change that. Here are a few key ways to show your client base the value of self-service. 

1. Promote Your Self-Service Features 

Customers won’t use self-service tools if they don’t know they exist. So be sure to market your self-service features just as you’d market your product or service. 

Email marketing, onsite pop-ups, and social media posts can be effective ways to highlight the service. Remember that it can take time for customers to adapt to these changes, so plan to keep marketing your new platform long after its launch.

2. Incorporate Multimedia 

New online services can be intimidating. However, you can make these platforms as accessible as possible through multimedia promotion, incorporating videos and graphics when marketing your self-service tools. 

For example, you might create a pop-up video that guides customers through the online booking process. This technique brings the self-service feature to the client’s attention, while showing them exactly how to use it. 

3. Create Clear Navigation 

Ask yourself these questions: Are our self-service tools easy to find on our website? Is our platform easy to use? Can customers easily jump between services? 

Keeping your customer on the site and encouraging them to self-serve starts with clear website navigation. Be sure that your self-service tools are in your header and footer menus. It can also be helpful to route customers to these tools through onsite buttons. 

4. Make It Social 

With over 1 billion Facebook Messenger messages flowing between brands and consumers every month, it’s clear that social strategy and customer support are often one and the same. 

Consider how your business can use your social platforms to guide customers to self-serve. This can involve setting up automated message responses that include a link to a self-service tool. You can also link directly to your online appointments system through your social media pages. Your messaging should promote the idea that your new services are available 24/7 for your customers’ benefit, not yours.

5. Gather Feedback 

Self-service should truly serve your customers’ needs, so it’s important to collect feedback from them and assess whether these tools are effective. You also need to watch your data. 

Keep track of how much traffic these tools are generating, how long customers are staying on the self-service pages, and how your sales numbers change after implementing these platforms. This information will help you adjust your self-service tools to better support your clients. 

Self-service is a user-friendly and scalable solution for customer support. As more consumers flock online, your investment in a self-service platform is likely to reap fast dividends. Once you direct your customers to these tools, your business can renew its focus on providing a better product or service.

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