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The 13 Most Accessible Calendar Apps of 2022

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Accessible Calendar Apps

Is staying organized on your list of goals for the coming year? If so, it is essential to choose a time management app that offers the proper functionality for your needs.

Here are the topmost accessible calendar apps of 2022:

1. Calendar App

The Calendar App is unique in that it utilizes machine learning to help improve your productivity. For example, you can send a link to a colleague, and they can pick the best time for your next meeting without any additional correspondence. It also includes time tracking features, time zone availability, and more. What else makes this one of the best accessible calendar apps? You can analyze your schedule to see how your day is broken up by task type.

2. Google Calendar

There’s a reason why Google Calendar is trusted by millions of people around the globe. This robust program easily syncs across multiple devices, making it easy to track your entire day in one spot. Plus, it integrates with thousands of other apps, programs, and time tracking tools to really give you optimum productivity. It is also free.

3. Apple Calendar

Those who generally tend to lean towards Mac and iOS devices should consider Apple Calendar. Included as part of the iCloud platform, it comes automatically installed and integrates with your Apple Watch. Sadly, there is no Windows or Android option, but that isn’t a big deal for some people.

4. Outlook Calendar

If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office, then you’ll probably enjoy using Outlook Calendar. This product is automatically installed on Windows devices, but a separate iOS app and Mac program are available.

5. Calendly

Those who have clients regularly self-scheduling meetings or calls should consider Calendly. This app integrates with many other programs, including Zapier, Salesforce, Stripe, Zoom, and others. The app also integrates with your website, making it simple for customers or clients to set their own appointments within the structured time blocks you’ve set.

6. My Study Life

Students have a lot to keep track of during the week. Unfortunately, general calendar apps aren’t always as useful as they could be for improved productivity. Instead, My Study Life makes it simple to track class schedules, assignments, lectures, and more. As one of the few student planner apps on the market, it’s worth checking out.

7. Trello

While Trello itself isn’t precisely a calendar app, it does make it possible to see projects visually on a Kanban board. These digital cards allow you to easily see what’s due on a project and what state each step is in. Additionally, you can sync it to your existing Google, Apple, or Outlook calendar. This is especially handy as a tool for teams or those looking to increase productivity for specific projects.


Those interested in a task management app that offers robust functionality should check out More than just a calendar, it provides ways for you to balance your personal and business lives by offering task lists, grocery lists, trackers, and more. This is a good blend for balancing personal and business tasks during the week.

9. Cozi

If you’re looking for a family-friendly calendar program, then you’ll like Cozi. Designed as a lifestyle planner, the program is designed for users of all ages to keep track of household necessary tasks, events, and outings. Additionally, the easy-to-use interface is simple and effective for just about anyone to use.

10. OurHome

Families with little ones will adore the OurHome app. This calendar tool works great for adults, while a unique chore tracker makes checking off tasks fun for the kids. Best of all, it is available for both Android and iOS devices.

11. TeamUp

Managing groups of people is much easier with an app like TeamUp. This calendar program is specifically designed to keep individuals organized with what’s going on. Best of all, it is free for small groups, too.

12. Float

If you like visual planners, you’ll want to check out Float. Designed specifically for teams, it makes it simple to see where each person is on an individual project and what they have going on for a specific day. Additionally, you can log hours to ensure billing meets up with invoicing, payroll, etc.

13. Plan

It’s always a beautiful thing when project management and calendar apps come together. Plan allows you to assign tasks, check status, and work directly with your team to complete tasks. Additionally, it offers quite a bit of integration with other tools like Google Mail, Outlook, Github, Google Drive, and others.

Top Calendar Apps of 2022

Now that we’ve discussed the thirteen most accessible calendar apps, it is time to try them out for yourself. It might be hard to narrow it down to your favorite with so many features and integrations.

Here’s to a productive and stress-free coming year!

Image Credit: George Pak; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Risks When Scheduling Appointments Online and How to Avoid Them

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Scheduling Appointments Online

Online appointment software is one of the easiest ways you can keep your life in check. Scheduling appointments online takes much less time than doing so over the phone, saving you more time and businesses more money. The system is still less than perfect, though.

As great as online appointment software can be, anything done over the internet entails a few risks to keep in mind. You may share personal information when booking appointments, and you’ll need to take a few precautions to keep yourself safe. To help you do so, this guide will outline some of the common risks associated with scheduling appointments online and what you can do to keep them to a minimum.

Here are 4 Risks When Scheduling Appointments Online

1. Answering Potentially Irrelevant Questions

When you’re scheduling an appointment, especially for the first time, you’ll be asked a series of questions. Most of these will be standard questions (such as asking for your name) so you can reserve your appointment slot and easily verify your identity. However, you should be wary of questions that might be irrelevant or unnecessary for the business to ask.

For example, there aren’t many businesses that should require your Social Security number. Financial institutions are an example of an organization that would need your Social Security number, as well as a pediatrician looking to verify your guardianship of a child. That being said, you shouldn’t have to share such private information with vendors like your hair stylist or mechanic.

Oversharing can put your personal information at risk for identity theft and fraud. Other questions that could pose a threat to your identity include your place of work or even your address if the information simply isn’t necessary.

Before booking an appointment with a business that’s asking some curious questions, ask the business whether or not they require you to share this information. If it is optional, declining to provide it is a safer option. If it’s required, consider looking elsewhere for your services before making that commitment.

2. Using Public Wi-Fi

When you’re scheduling appointments online, be careful about the network you’re using. Public Wi-Fi leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to security. While it might be convenient to opt for public Wi–Fi over cellular data, it’s always safer to wait until you’re on a secure network before booking an appointment.

Nefarious figures can easily hack into public networks and swipe your personal information and location while you’re in the appointment booking process. Some people can even create false Wi-Fi networks you can connect to in public places and hand over your information without even realizing it.

Using cellular data is typically safer than using a public Wi-Fi network. Using your phone as a hotspot for another device is not as secure, but it is not encrypting the information you are sharing. If you are on the road and need to book an appointment, try to do so on your mobile device. Businesses with online appointment software enabled should have websites or scheduling apps that are compatible with smartphones.

3. Unsafe Browsing

If you have to use a public network for some reason, make sure you can verify its security and take as many safety precautions as possible before connecting. Additionally, there are certain cybersecurity measures that you should take even on a secure private network.

For example, saving your card information online is dangerous even if your home network is secure. The longer that information stays on the internet, the more opportunities there are for fraud and theft to occur. Autosaving other information such as your home address can also pose the same risk.

Safe browsing starts by being careful and prepared. While autosaving information certainly is convenient, especially when scheduling appointments online, remember how much safer it is to take a few extra seconds to manually input your personal info each time. Another thing to look for is a lock icon next to web addresses, as this will indicate whether the website you are using is secure or not.

4. System Errors

While not as catastrophic as someone stealing your information, even the best automated systems can experience a few hiccups. A single system error can ruin your entire appointment booking if you’re not paying attention to catch the mistake.

For example, if the online appointment scheduling system fails to synchronize with your personal online calendar, you can end up missing your appointment entirely since it won’t appear in your schedule and won’t send you any reminders. Besides having to reschedule, you could also be subject to missed appointment fees that will be difficult to dispute.

Other possible errors include misentered information, double bookings, and internet outages preventing people to finalize their appointments. Make sure you have a reliable internet connection and double-check all of the information you submit to keep such errors to a minimum.

Don’t let this guide dissuade you from relying on online appointment software with your business interactions. This software has a lot to offer, as long as you use it wisely.

Image Credit: Marcus Aurelius; Pexels; Thanks!

Time is All We Have

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Time is All We Have

When we say time is all we have, we’re not just talking about showing up to work on time every day all year long. Punctuality really means getting to work ahead of time.

Punctuality, or being on time, is essential for workplace efficiency (and especially job interviews), but it might be even more critical for your personal branding.

“You can set your clock by him (or her)” is a phrase not heard much anymore. But it is still one of the most valuable compliments an employee can be paid. With modern technology like smartphones and GPS, it ought to be a no-brainer to make it to scheduled appointments on time. Yet so often, managers complain of workers who are still an ‘a day late and a dollar short.’

With this in mind, here are five compelling reasons why timeliness is a vital soft skill to strive towards.

Punctuality equals time equals efficiency.

Few things scream “disorganized,” like being late all of the time.
While being chaotic in social settings may appear eccentric and odd, it is terrible news in the business.

Employers want to know that their employees are productive, and wasting time looking for files, tracking down client notes, or looking for a missing invoice costs the organization money.
Being organized makes it much simpler to accomplish projects, arrive at meetings, and fulfill client needs every time.

You’re on time: so you’re a trustworthy coworker and employee.

When it comes to job advancement, your personal reputation is valuable.
When your coworkers think you’re on time, they’re more inclined to include you in new and exciting tasks.

After all, no one wants to entrust a crucial project to someone who is prone to miss deadlines.

You improve the image of your organization.

It’s a safe assumption that your boss values timeliness.
Customers quickly lose faith in organizations that do not regularly deliver on time in today’s competitive industry.

Whatever position you play in the supply chain, sticking to a schedule helps maintain your company’s excellent image, which is a benefit for its success – and your involvement in it.

Punctuality demonstrates professionalism and detail-oriented thinking.

Let’s face it: storming into a meeting room five minutes late with papers flying and a sweaty brow isn’t a good image.
Furthermore, you are denying yourself the opportunity to test out beneficial techniques.

Whether it’s a client meeting, a team debrief, or a staff training session, being on time allows you to double-check that you have everything you need (iPad, pencils, agenda, etc.) and go over your notes.
It’s also an opportunity to figure out the optimum sitting location for you – one that allows you to maintain eye contact with the primary speaker while also maximizing your personal visibility so you can make a meaningful contribution.
It’s difficult to be seen as a serious contributor when you’re locked in the back of a conference room, bobbing and weaving amongst coworkers simply to see what’s going on because you arrived late.

Being on time implies you’ll have all of the knowledge you need to finish a project.
Even being a few minutes late to a meeting might result in you missing out on essential data that provide the groundwork for the remainder of the conversation.

You hold your coworkers in high regard.

Few things are more aggravating than having your own fine work sabotaged by a colleague’s tardiness.

With good reason, teamwork is a fundamental driver of modern organizations. Being on time is the fuel that runs the machine. Moreover, workplaces are interconnected; when everyone completes duties on schedule, workflows smoothly across the company.

A snag in one location, on the other hand, slows down the entire line, causing everyone else to suffer.
Setting a deadline for yourself to complete your part of the process on time indicates your respect for your coworkers’ ability to fulfill their own deadlines.

Simple strategies to incorporate timeliness into your personal brand

There are several solutions available to help you reach your aim of timeliness. Here are just a few to consider:

  • A simple written diary note or an alert on your smartphone or computer may serve as a handy reminder of scheduled appointments, phone calls, and deadlines.
  • Use a time management tool like Remember the Milk or Time Doctor to keep track of your tasks.
  • Also, avoid attempting to outwit the clock.
  • Learn exactly how long a task, a meeting, or a phone conversation will take — and manage your time better.
  • Setting unreasonable, strict deadlines will almost always result in you falling behind.
  • Allow for unforeseen disruptions by allowing some wiggle room.

These tips might assist you in maintaining your timeliness without being concerned about falling behind schedule.

Image Credit: DS Stories; Pexels; Thanks!

4 Ways to Send Appointment Reminders Without Annoying Customers

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Ways to Send Appointment Reminders Without Annoying Customers

A robust reminder system is an essential part of running an appointment-based business. Reminders help cut down on no-shows as well as promote on-time arrivals. When customers are present and punctual, you’re able to run a much smoother and more successful operation.

As vital as appointment reminders are, it’s important to keep in mind that not all customers are as gung ho about them as you might be. You need to be able to send effective reminders without annoying your customers. Even with the best intentions, your reminder messages can drive customers away.

Fret not, for there are ways to send appointment reminders that work without annoying your customer base. Here are a few tips to help you achieve just that:

1. Give Them an Appointment Card on Their Way Out

You should always give customers some kind of reminder about their upcoming appointment well in advance. Something as simple as an appointment card is an easy way to confirm future appointments and leave customers with a constant reminder.

An appointment card is a visual nudge to your customer that they have an upcoming appointment. This can be kept in a wallet, phone case, or even on the fridge. Your clients will have the opportunity to see that reminder every single day up until the day of their next appointment.

Appointment cards are most useful for reminding customers about return appointments. If a customer books their appointment online or over the phone, it won’t be feasible to mail them a card as a reminder. Instead, offer an appointment card as customers are leaving from an appointment and booking their next return visit.

2. Allow Them to Opt In for Automatic Reminders

If you don’t want to waste a bunch of cardstock by handing out dozens of appointment cards every day, go the digital route. Even if you do like physical appointment cards, allowing customers to opt in for automatic digital reminders is a great idea. This allows your patrons to get notified on their preferred device, wherever they are, without any extra effort on their part.

There are more options you should extend beyond just the ability to turn automated reminders on and off. Make sure you also give customers the choice to receive their appointment reminders via email, text, or even through an automated voice message. Getting reminders exactly how they want them is the best way to avoid annoying your customers.

Make it just as easy to opt out of appointment reminders as it is to opt in. Difficulties with adjusting reminder settings can be as infuriating as reminder spam can be.

3. Send Reminders at the Right Time

The best time to send a reminder is a day or two in advance of the appointment date. Sending a reminder a week in advance might seem like a good idea, but customers can easily forget about an appointment over the course of seven days. This bonus reminder then becomes more of a nuisance than a helpful notification.

Of course, you can allow customers to request more appointment reminders according to their preference, but sending a single reminder the day before an appointment date is a useful rule of thumb. This one reminder will do its job and be a helpful addition to the appointment process without bothering the customer in the slightest.

It’s also a good idea to send your appointment reminders within normal business hours or at other reasonable times of day. If a customer wakes up to an appointment reminder that was sent at midnight, they’re bound to be irritated. Unless a customer states otherwise, keep reminders to waking hours only.

4. Watch Your Wording

Take a moment to read your appointment reminder template. How does it come across? How your reminders are worded is just as important as sending them in the first place. Use the wrong tone or language, and your reminders might end up rubbing your customers the wrong way.

For example, reminders should be clear and concise. Put the focus on the appointment information, perhaps by putting it in bold lettering or a font that stands out from the rest of the message. That’s what the reminder is for anyway, so don’t waste your effort typing up a long notification that customers have to dig through.

Next, take a look at any wording that’s included besides the appointment information. Is there a way to personalize the message? Is there a call to action? Should you lighten the tone a little bit? You want to sound helpful, not hectoring. Ask these sorts of questions and put yourself in your customers’ shoes as you make adjustments to your reminder messages.

Happy customers will keep coming back, giving you a constant revenue stream upon which to grow your business. Appointment reminders will help you serve every customer with precision as long as you continue to use them wisely and effectively.

How to Encourage Appointment Scheduling in the Winter When No One Wants to Get Out

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How to Encourage Appointment Scheduling in the Winter When No One Wants to Get Out

Seasonal depression is nothing to scoff at. The freezing temperatures and lack of sunlight are enough to make anyone want to curl up at home in front of the fireplace. Unfortunately, this might mean that you’re filling fewer time slots in the wintertime as customers opt to stay indoors and schedule their appointments in the spring.

Encouraging appointment scheduling in the winter won’t be easy, but it’s a challenge worth facing head-on. Not only is getting your customers out of the house good for their mental and physical health, but it’s also good for your business. Here are some ideas to help you fill up your schedule even when the snow is falling:

Offer Incentives for Scheduling Appointments

People might not want to leave the comfort of their home for regular old appointments. Unless they absolutely have to, many customers are content with postponing them until temperatures start to rise again. To offset their desire to hibernate rather than book your services, you need to extend an offer that customers simply can’t refuse.

Incentives add an extra layer to appointments, making them more favorable even when weather conditions aren’t. For example, a customer might not normally book a winter appointment but be drawn toward your business by seasonal discounts and amped-up loyalty rewards.

Create Ambiance

The waiting room is an underrated aspect of appointment-based businesses. Even if you have the most streamlined booking system on planet Earth, every single one of your customers is going to spend some time in the lobby before or after an appointment. If you create an ambiance that’s comfortable and inviting, more customers will be willing to brave the cold and trek to your office.

How do you make your waiting room awesome? Look at aspects of your lobby that might go overlooked in normal circumstances. Warm lighting as opposed to blinding fluorescents can create a more inviting environment.

The music you play can also be quite influential. Replacing boring elevator music with modern, upbeat tunes or classic soul will make for a more pleasant waiting room experience. Even just keeping the common areas warm and cozy can bring out your chilly customers.

The exterior of your business shouldn’t be overlooked either. Clear sidewalks and parking lots will be a lot more welcoming to customers than icy pavement and snowy curbs.

Offer Online Check-In for Appointments

If customers have an option to wait in their warm cars until their appointment, they might feel more inclined to venture out for it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taking care of your waiting room. Rather, offering online check-in will provide another option for customers to consider. More options for customers means the business will have a better sales funnel.

Checking in online can easily be enabled through a mobile app or online software. All a customer needs to do is confirm that they have arrived at the office on time. A phone call, email, or text message will let the customer know when their appointment is about to start so they can quickly run from their car to the building, staying as warm as possible from start to finish.

Stretch Out Your Schedule

One reason why customers are hesitant to book appointments in the winter is because of perilous road conditions. Driving in the snow and ice is not a fun experience no matter how accustomed to it they are. This means drivers have to travel extra slowly, which might put them at risk of missing their appointment.

You can eliminate this fear by stretching out your schedule. Add some extra buffer time in between appointments just in case someone is running late due to poor weather conditions. You can also add more availability for walk-in customers if business is slow enough to accommodate them. This will give customers more flexibility and peace of mind.

Reach Out

If you’re using online scheduling software, you should easily be able to see when a customer made their last booking. Using this information, you can contact your regular visitors whom you haven’t seen in some time. Sometimes just reaching out to a customer is enough to bring them back for a winter appointment.

When getting in touch with customers, try to make your messages as personal as possible. Phone calls are easy to make personable but are more time-consuming. If you use some sort of messaging system, just be sure to draft up a message that doesn’t sound copy-and-pasted to your entire email list. When customers can tell that you sincerely care about them and want to serve them, you’ll have more success with winter appointment-setting.

Winter only takes up a short portion of the year, but it can feel like an eternity sometimes. Taking measures to fill up your appointment slots and stay busy will pass the time much more quickly and help your business start the next calendar year off on the right foot.

How to Combat the Slow Season With Appointment Software

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How to Combat the Slow Season With Appointment Software

The winter months are often the slowest for many businesses. Whether it’s because of treacherous driving conditions or the desire to bundle up at home for the season, customers are in short supply for many appointment-based businesses during this time of year.

Instead of counting the days until summer, change your mindset and try to combat the temporary slow season. Not only will this help you keep revenue up during the slower months of the year, but you’ll also make valuable improvements that will come in handy when the busy season returns.

Keep Your Software Updated

Now is the perfect time to make sure that your software is up-to-date. Your online appointment software is a big part of your business process. Therefore, it deserves some love and attention during the slow season. Improvements that you make now will definitely come in handy once the busy season rolls around.

You should be using responsive, user-friendly, and fully functional programs. Use any downtime you have to conduct UX testing. Identify any snags customers may encounter while using your software so they can be remediated before becoming pressing concerns.

See What’s Trending

What is the latest trend capturing your consumers’ attention? Successfully riding the coattails of certain trends can carry your business forward, even during a slow period. Your business can insert itself into the spotlight where customers are currently focusing their attention.

Particularly effective trends to keep your eye on will be tech-related. By staying on top of the latest tech news and trends, you can ensure that your software is keeping stride with other industry leaders.

Pay attention to other appointment-based trends as they arise. For example, curbside check-ins picked up steam during the peak of the COVID-19. It was a way for businesses to continue seeing customers while enabling better social distancing. If you’re aware of this trend, you can implement it so customers seeking appointments won’t pass you up for competitors.

Check In With Customers

With online appointment software at your fingertips, you can see just how much time has passed in between customer appointments. You can use this knowledge to touch base with your regular customers and convince them to book an office visit during this slow patch.

You might have received such a message from a business that you visited once or twice. Something along the lines of “We’ve missed you, here’s a special offer” is a common strategy employed by businesses to spur appointment bookings when business has slowed.

If you choose to reach out to customers and reel a few back in, do your best to personalize the messages you send. A message that clearly looks copied and pasted will not hold the same weight as a personalized message showing that you value the customer as an individual.

Request Appointment Feedback

Feedback can give you great insight into how your customers think and act. After compiling enough customer responses, you can make data-driven decisions that will improve their experience and your overall business model.

After appointments, send an online survey to your customers. This can easily be done with an automated email containing a thank-you message and a survey link. Your survey should remain short yet effective, containing simple questions pertaining to things like the check-in process, wait times, and appointment satisfaction.

If you’re having a difficult time getting customers to complete an optional survey, add a little incentive. For example, customers who bring proof of completion can qualify for a 10% discount on their next appointment. This will get you more survey responses to work with, improve your business, increase appointment bookings, and pay dividends for months or years to come.

Plan for Future Appointments

If you’re unable to pick up the pace right now, start making plans to accelerate in the future. You won’t see the benefits immediately. However, building a strong foundation for upcoming appointments will place your business in an ideal spot for high profits and optimal productivity.

You should certainly be trying to book appointments for future dates, even if they don’t fall within the window of your slow season. This will give you appointment dates to look forward to, a light at the end of the tunnel if you will. These future customers could also motivate you to add other activities to your schedule, such as deep cleaning and organizing your business in preparation for the return of the busy season.

Your online appointment software will also come in handy when scheduling other things such as social media posts. Using downtime to create and schedule content will get your marketing resources lined up and ready to launch so you don’t have to stress about it when your appointment schedule is booked up again.

Don’t let the slow season slow you down. Use appointment software to keep trekking forward and prepare for business to pick up again. With this tool, you’ll hardly lose your momentum.

5 Things to Consider When Setting Up Self-Service Scheduling for Your Business

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Things to Consider When Setting Up Self-Service Scheduling for Your Business

So you’re wanting to add more self-service options for your customers. This is a great idea for a number of reasons. It lightens the workload of your employees and provides your customers with additional flexibility. Appointment-based businesses will benefit from self-service solutions just as much as those in any other industry.

Before you hand the reins over to your customers and allow them to run wild, though, there are a few things you need to consider. Keep these five things in mind when setting up self-service scheduling for your appointment-based business:

1. Business Capacity

How many staff members are available to assist customers on a day-to-day basis? This will help you determine how many appointment slots to include when setting online scheduling options. If you allow people to book an endless amount of appointments, the influx of customers can overwhelm your staff.

Start by listing some important details about your appointment process. What are your hours of operation? How long does the average appointment last? How many appointments can you take at a single time according to your staff list? Do you need to include buffer time in between appointments?

That’s a lot of questions to ask, and there are more you can include, but each one is important when setting up self-service scheduling for your business. Your answers will determine how many appointment slots you make available and what sort of cancellation policy you want to put into place.

2. Cybersecurity

How secure is your network? If you can’t answer with absolute certainty that your security is up to par, then improving it is your first order of business. It won’t matter how many bells and whistles you add to your online appointment experience; customers will steer clear of your business if your data security is full of holes.

There are a number of steps you can take to build up your cybersecurity. Don’t be afraid to overdo it a little if it ensures your customer data remains secure. Install antivirus software, firewall protection, and data encryption to your system. Stay on top of data security practices such as recognizing phishing schemes and screening any third-party companies you might work with.

3. Payment Methods

The purpose of self-service scheduling is to provide additional flexibility to your customers. It allows them to book, change, or cancel appointments at any time of day or night. But don’t limit your system’s flexibility to just time management. While that’s a great perk on its own, you can use your online appointment software to expand your payment options as well.

Customers love convenience and flexibility on payments, and including additional payment methods can bring more people to your online appointment platform. Simply adding PayPal compatibility alongside debit and credit card payments will expand customer options. You can also look at integrating mobile payment apps or even find ways to let customers spend cryptocurrency at your place of business.

4. Customer Support

Once your self-service scheduling is all set up and ready to go, it might take some getting used to. Some customers will get the hang of the new system immediately, while others might need a little guidance their first time around. Smart business owners will prepare their customer support reps to help answer any and all questions regarding online appointment setting.

Make sure to train and equip your employees with everything they need to assist customers getting used to the new self-service system. With the necessary resources, they’ll be able to help every customer get their bearings.

The beauty of self-service appointment setting is that customers can use it outside of business hours. For those times when a customer service agent isn’t available to answer questions, a chatbot can fill in. Adding one of these digital helpers to your website can guide customers through the appointment process and answer frequently asked questions no matter what time it is.

5. Data Collection

We’ve already touched on how important it is to protect customer data. However, it’s also important to recognize the value of the data you do access and how its use can upgrade your business.

Because self-service scheduling is done entirely online, your business’s data-tracking potential is about to hit new all-time highs. The data your appointment software gathers can give you new insights into your customers so you can serve them better.

For example, before using online appointment software, you might not have had a clear picture of your main customer demographics. With the creation of customer profiles, you can get exact numbers on demographic characteristics like gender and age among your customer base. This will help you develop new services and tailor marketing campaigns to the people who will respond most positively.

Adding self-service scheduling will totally transform your business for the better. You’ll be able to help more customers, increase revenue, and create a more efficient workflow all by making this one influential change to your system.

What to Schedule When Returning Home for the Holidays

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What to Schedule When Returning Home for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time reserved for family. However, responsibilities don’t all disappear during this time, and you might not want to spend all month with your in-laws. Scheduling your time can help you find the perfect balance.

Whether it’s Christmastime, Thanksgiving, or even a family Easter gathering, you can make the best use of your time back at home with your online calendar. Here’s what to schedule to maximize your return home for the holidays:

Start With Family Commitments

Before you fill out the rest of your online calendar, mark down any family commitments you have. Of course, planned dinners, movie nights, and other family activities should take precedence. This is why you’re traveling home in the first place, after all, so it should be the bulk of your online calendar for the duration of the trip.

Once your online calendar is filled with family events, you can fill in the cracks with anything else that needs attention. However, it’ll be much more challenging to find the time you need to tend to personal responsibilities without scheduling things out.

Other family commitments may include getting Christmas presents for everyone or bringing a meal to a family potluck. Use your online calendar to make time for these commitments, whether it’s a reminder to go shopping or planning a cooking schedule for holiday dinner.

Get Travel Plans in Order

Will you need to make a long trek to visit family? The better you plan your travel itinerary, the less holiday stress you have to endure. Start by scheduling times to pack, so you don’t forget anything in the last-minute rush.

If you plan on flying, schedule your departure time to get to the airport on time, and note arrival times if the family will be picking you up. If you opt to drive, schedule your own departure time that works best for everyone. Whichever option you choose, be sure to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

In some scenarios, you might end up staying in a hotel rather than with a family member. If this is the case, you can add check-in times to your online calendar to work around the rest of your schedule. Be sure to take note of any breakfast served!

Make Time for Work

At least for this holiday season, you might have to take work home with you. This is because so many employees who moved to remote work due to COVID-19 were offered a lot of flexibility — but also the likelihood that you’ll have a few projects to tackle over the extended break. So be sure to add time during your trip to complete these projects before returning home.

If your trip home includes time off, straighten out your work schedule before and after the days of your trip. Many people want time off during the holidays, so the sooner you can request your days off, the better. You can even pick up some shifts before and after your trip to help out your fellow employees.

Here’s a pro tip for your online calendar; plan out the week of your return before you even leave for your trip. This way, meetings, and deadlines are all straightened out for you right when you get home. You won’t have to fuss over any details during or after your trip if they’re already squared away.

Straighten Out Duties at Home

Just because you’re on a trip doesn’t mean that responsibilities get waived at home. Got some pets at home? Some plants that need to be watered?  Make sure everything is cared for even while you’re away, even if that requires some extra help.

You can hire a pet sitter or a housesitter while you’re gone. But, if you do, sync up an online calendar with them to know precisely what needs to be done at what times. Then, with proper communication, you’ll come home with everything looking like you never left.

Keeping your home safe while you’re away should also be a high priority. You can ask a neighbor to pick up scheduled mail and packages and to keep an eye out on your property while you’re away, allowing you to have some peace of mind.

Stick With Your Routine

You should have a good routine going that keeps your life in order from sun up to sundown. If you aren’t already, use your online calendar to help you stick with it every day. Your online calendar will really come in handy when sticking to a routine on the road.

If you maintain your routine throughout your trip, you’ll more easily adjust when you return home. Of course, some aspects of your routine might need some adjustments, like substituting your morning workouts for evening pickleball tournaments with the family. However, you should try to maintain as closely as possible, like a healthy sleep schedule built for maximum productivity.

Give Yourself Time to Recover

A long trip with the family can be exhausting. So before you make a return to reality, schedule some time to recover. Some good old-fashioned “me time” will do the trick.

When planning your trip, add a day or two to the end of it just to relax and get your affairs in order. Heading right back to work after a long trip can make you feel exhausted, stressed, and even depressed. Take care of yourself before getting back to business.

More than anything, do your best to have fun when visiting family, regardless of the occasion. Your online calendar will help you take advantage of every moment, leaving no time block left behind.

How to Decide the Minimum Amount of Appointment Cancellation Notice to Require

By | Appointment | No Comments
How to Decide the Minimum Amount of Appointment Cancellation Notice to Require

In a perfect world, every appointment your customers make with you would take place. But in a perfect world, ice cream would be a superfood and a staple of every diet. Alas, that just isn’t the case. Unfortunately, cancellations are a fact of life. Lots of things can happen that result in canceled customer appointments. 

How your business deals with appointment cancellations will play a big part in its ultimate success. Some organizations require a fee to be paid if an appointment is canceled or issue a no-refund policy for every booking. That allows them to recoup some of the money lost when an appointment slot goes unfilled. However, a certain amount of lenience can provide a much stronger relationship with your customers. Working with a customer’s changing schedules and accommodating their needs as a business can create loyalty that is more beneficial long-term.  

For that reason, many companies implement a grace period before charging fees. This is part of an appointment-cancellation policy that customers are expected to follow. 

The biggest question with any cancellation policy is how much notice is required. How far in advance will you require your customers to cancel before they incur a penalty? The following variables can help you craft the perfect appointment-cancellation policy for your business and its customers:

1. Hours of Operation

The first thing you should consider when formulating an appointment-cancellation policy is your hours of operation. Businesses that are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. may want to specify that their cancellation deadline hits when business doors open for the day (or even by close of business the previous day). This can be done to make it easier for business owners to plan their daily schedules and not have to roll with the punches of multiple cancellations, no-shows, and late arrivals throughout the day. 

Businesses with longer hours of operation might have to attempt more of a balancing act. For example, a salon owner who books time slots until 9 p.m might allow patrons to cancel appointments up until noon. The extra hours they have at their disposal could allow them to fill those coveted after-work appointments with people on their waitlist, minimizing disruption and revenue loss.

2. Staff Availability

Appointment cancellations directly impact your staff. If you’re gearing up for a full day of appointments, you may plan to have your entire staff on hand to absorb the anticipated traffic. When last-minute cancellations occur, a busy day can get completely off-balance. All those employees you asked to come in that day may not have enough appointments to keep them busy anymore.

If the number of appointments you have on a given day directly impacts your staffing decisions, you might want to opt for a cancellation policy that requires advance notice. For example, 48 hours’ notice allows employee schedules to be adjusted without a last-minute scramble. This will be especially helpful for any on-call workers you might employ who have more flexible schedules but appreciate at least some certainty. 

3. Appointment Demand

How in demand are your appointment slots? This might fluctuate depending on the time of year, but it’s an important component of your cancellation policy. If you have a long waitlist for daily appointments, short cancellation notices might not affect your business at all. As soon as an appointment slot opens up, it can be filled instantly, and your schedule will be none the wiser. 

For example, a tax accounting service may be incredibly busy in the first four months of the year, but business may slow in the summer. During slower months, you might appreciate having a little more notice for appointment cancellations when fewer people are waiting in line for open slots. You might even consider changing your cancellation policy during this time to accommodate changing needs for your business. If that’s what you decide to do, just be sure to make the changes clear to your customers so there’s no unnecessary frustration. 

4. Reminder Practices

Appointment reminders are one of the greatest tools your business can implement. By running all your appointments through online appointment software, the system can automatically send reminder messages that keep no-shows and late arrivals to a minimum. They can also help you when it comes to cancellations.

Most businesses will send reminders 24 hours in advance so that appointment reminders are fresh in customers’ minds. However, this is too late to include a reminder about your cancellation policy. Try sending your appointment reminder messages 48 hours in advance if you want to implement a 24-hour cancellation policy. Include a link for canceling or rescheduling appointments in the reminders you send, and changes should be made smoothly.

Your goal will always be to keep appointment cancellations to a minimum, but you should also be prepared for when cancellations inevitably occur. Draft an initial cancellation policy and weigh it against the four variables mentioned in this article. Once you come up with a good balance, share it with customers and observe how it affects appointment bookings over the next few months. 

Why Allowing Customers to Schedule Appointments Too Far in Advance Might Be Counterproductive

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Why Allowing Customers to Schedule Appointments Too Far in Advance Might Be Counterproductive

The beauty of online appointment software is that customers can book appointments on their own time. This option is so much more convenient for customers and businesses alike. However, this tool presents a new dilemma that your business should address as soon as possible. How far in advance should you allow customers to book their appointments?

This is a valid question that all business owners who use scheduling software should ask themselves. Plans change for both businesses and customers, so setting a limit on how far in advance customers can schedule appointments is a good idea to consider.

So, what is a reasonable amount of time for appointment scheduling? You want to make sure you’re allowing customers to adequately plan ahead without creating additional roadblocks. Here are some possible scenarios and consequences to consider that will help you decide:

1. Plans May Change

You simply can’t predict the future with certainty, no matter how many data trend lines you draw or crystal balls you place in your office. It’s certainly nice to allow scheduling into the distant future, but there are just too many variables that you just can’t plan for that far in advance.

For example, you might allow customers to schedule appointments up to three months in advance. A lot can happen in those three months that may cause appointments to be canceled or postponed. Calendars are hardly set in stone at that point, so you’re creating an inefficient scheduling landscape that leads to a lot of preventable movement or an increased amount of no-shows and cancelations.

Customers can also have major life changes that are nearly impossible to anticipate. If one of your regular customers has to move out of state, what are the chances they would remember to cancel their appointment if it’s months away? While this is an honest mistake, it’s a miscommunication that can happen because you allowed appointments to be set too far into the future.

2. Economics Are Unpredictable

Ask anyone who was running an appointment-based business when COVID-19 hit and you’ll hear some crazy stories about staying open. While this shift in the economy was due to a pandemic, it paints a vivid picture of some of the economic troubles that might affect businesses and their appointment-setting.

Let’s say you operate a small garage where you provide oil changes and tire rotations by appointment. You can get by with a few regular customers every month, but what happens when the rent you pay for your garage space shoots up? You might have to move to a new location, change your prices, or even sell the garage entirely.

All of these possible scenarios will directly impact future appointments. The further out your appointments are booked, the more difficult it will be to come up with a good solution to move them.

3. Customer Relationships Fluctuate

For many appointment-based businesses, customers develop strong relationships with individual members of your organization. This could be a particular stylist who gets the customer’s hair done just right, a favorite massage therapist, or a personal trainer who is familiar with their workout plan and goals. This relationship is part of a winning formula that your business should cultivate carefully.

Unfortunately, lots of things can change here. You can’t always count on everyone you work with. Employees might take up new job offers, decide to change careers, or simply retire. A situation like this means that some customers will no longer be able to rely on the one member of your organization they’ve grown closest to. Breaking the news to customers with extended appointment dates might be a tough assignment.

4. Human Error Will Persist

At the end of the day, the No. 1 reason why scheduling appointments too far in advance is a bad idea is because people are imperfect. Appointments can be easily forgotten when booked that far in the future. Even if they’re not forgotten completely, the passage of time can cause details to become blurry and other scheduling conflicts to arise. The resulting missed appointment is money your business loses.

Luckily, online appointment software can help your business keep customers accountable for the appointments they set with helpful reminders and automatic calendar syncing. However, there’s still a wide margin for error that is much more easily avoided by placing a limit to how far down the road customers can make appointments.

Sit down with your team and discuss how far in advance customers should be able to book appointments. Align this with your business goals and practices, such as cancellation policies and revenue goals. When the new policy is set, be sure to keep track of important appointment metrics such as no-show rates and customer retention to see how they’re affected by the changes you implement.

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