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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. 

Approaching Walk-Ins as an Appointment-Based Business

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Approaching Walk-Ins as an Appointment-Based Business

How does your appointment-based business work to meet the needs of your customers? Do you have an appointment-only policy, or do you handle a mixture of walk-ins and appointments daily?

Many businesses operate by scheduling appointments, such as healthcare providers, spas, salons, and veterinary clinics, to name a few. Having an appointment serves both the client and the business in several ways. First, the client knows when they come into the business, they have a specific time to be seen. It can also make several things within the business structure easier to manage. Understanding things such as staffing, planning out your day, and revenue expectations are just a few examples. 

The problem with an appointment-only approach is that it does not account for late customers and no-shows. That last one is no small matter: one study found that up to 42% of customers skip their appointments.

By allowing for walk-ins, your business can fill the gaps in your schedule that those missed appointments leave behind. You can also add revenue, gain new customers, and create future brand loyalty. 

Although walk-ins can offer great benefits, they can also interrupt what your business had planned for the day. If you don’t manage them properly, walk-ins can result in longer wait times and poor customer service. So how do you manage time slots for walk-ins within your appointment-based business?

The following six tips can help you approach walk-ins in the best possible way:

1. Use Online Appointment Software

Walk-ins wouldn’t be a problem if you accepted all clients on a first-come, first-served basis. But you’re an appointment-based business. By and large, you want to know when people intend to arrive and when you’ll be serving them.

To determine how to work in walk-ins among existing appointments, you need to know when those appointments are scheduled. When you utilize online appointment software, you’ll be able to see all your appointments at a glance. You can also update your appointment calendar in real time so that if a spot opens up, you’ll know right away. That will enable you to give a walk-in the “Sure, I can fit you in at ___ p.m.” response they want to hear.

2. Leverage Social Media

When you get a last-minute appointment cancellation, that empty slot on your calendar could mean lost revenue. That is, unless you hop on your social channels and let your followers know, pronto, that there’s an opening they can take advantage of.

Social media lets you reach your customers in real time at no cost to you. You can also include booking buttons on your social media pages to encourage your fans to book an appointment via your online scheduling software. Maybe a customer can’t capitalize on the opening you just posted on Facebook, but seeing that post — and having ready access to your scheduling system — could prompt them to book an appointment at a time that works for you both.

3.  Track Your Walk-ins

One way to begin formulating a plan for handling your walk-ins is to keep tabs on them. Taking note of how many clients arrive late or are no-shows is helpful in scheduling, as is tracking walk-ins. Recording the average number of walk-ins and their timing over the last week or month lets you see patterns you can plan for. 

To account for these walk-ins, you might leave a few extra spots in your schedule. And don’t just track these numbers once. Continuing to audit your schedule for various appointment types will also reveal patterns at different times of year.

4. Set Off Some Time for Walk-ins

Depending on your type of business, having a dedicated block of time for walk-ins can be key. Take what you’ve learned from tracking your appointment types to look for trends. Are there days or hours where there are often gaps in appointments? If so, try to promote walk-ins during these times to boost your business during slower periods

You might add “Walk-ins welcome: Tuesdays, 2-4 p.m.” to your sidewalk sign. Or you could use your website and social media channels to advertise times when you accept walk-ins. As noted, social media is a great place to promote open time slots. It’s free to post, and those who follow you tend to be customers already.

5. Account for Staffing

Depending on your business, the walk-ins you see will vary. A nail salon or quick haircut salon will likely see more walk-ins than, say, a dentist or attorney. Relatively low-cost services in areas with high foot traffic tend to bring more walk-ins. 

Because you’ve tracked your walk-ins, you’ll have an idea of how many time slots to hold open for impromptu customers. Knowing the number of slots will, in turn, let you know how many employees you will need to accommodate them. 

Some salons might dedicate newer employees for walk-ins while established employees take the clients with appointments. This can help accommodate walk-ins while retaining loyal customers. It also gives a new stylist the chance to meet potential repeat customers who will request them in the future.

6. Disclose Wait Times to Walk-ins

It’s important to treat walk-ins the same as you would customers with appointments. If you want them to have a positive experience and return, don’t treat them like an inconvenience. Encourage them to stay, but be honest about potential wait times. 

If you are currently booked solid, let them down gently. Apologize that you can’t take them right away and show them the next available times in your calendar. If they would like to make an appointment for one of those time slots, help them do that.

Following these tips can help your business begin to manage tricky walk-ins. As with any aspect of business, results tend to flow in the areas you spend time focusing on. By tracking your walk-in customers and leveraging technology to help integrate walk-ins and appointments, you’ll soon have a better handle on your scheduling logistics. And that will let you get back to what you love to do — serving your customers.

Not an April Fool’s Joke: These Are Real Appointment Statistics You Need to Know

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Not an April Fool’s Joke: These Are Real Appointment Statistics You Need to Know

The numbers don’t lie: online appointment software will do wonders for your business. In this article, we’ll outline some of the most attention-grabbing statistics about the use of online appointment software by businesses. 

As you’ll soon find out, online appointment software can boost customer retention, save your business money, and more. There’s really no reason to not use online booking for your appointment-based business. One of these statistics is bound to convince you of the need to get started.

Businesses With Online Booking Are Winning

Online booking is rapidly becoming a necessity. In an Accenture survey of healthcare consumers, 68% of respondents said they prefer a provider that allows appointments to be made, changed, and canceled online. That means if your business doesn’t utilize online appointment software, you’re probably losing customers to the competition. 

That number will only climb as online appointment software becomes the norm for businesses. So what are you waiting for? Being among the early implementers of online booking will build a loyal customer base before the competition knows what hit them. You’ll also have more time to perfect your online booking system so that, by the time the technology is omnipresent, you can rely on your smooth experience as a competitive advantage.

Nearly Half of Appointments Are Booked After Hours

If customers can only book appointments during business hours, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. A social media survey of salon owners showed that 46% of their appointments were booked before salons were open or after they closed for the day. That’s nearly half of the customers these businesses have on their schedules!

If you’re looking to fill all your appointment slots, online booking software is the solution you need. Customers may not be thinking about the appointment they want or need to make during operating hours. Allowing them to book at their convenience opens the door for so many more individuals. 

No-Show Rates Freefall With Online Booking

Due to its many benefits and features, online appointment software is proven to slash your no-show rates immediately after implementation. Research on several medical centers and practices saw no-show rates drop by as much as 42% after adding web-based booking portals to their websites. No-shows are costly and inefficient, and getting rid of them is a high priority for all appointment-based businesses.

For many customers, the convenience of being able to book appointments online and change them as needed encourages them to hold true to their commitments. Many other customers make appointments in person or over the phone because they feel pressured to do so. That pressure is eliminated when customers can make appointments on their own terms at any time or in any place. 

Most Customers Book on Mobile Devices

Market research has found that 82% of clients schedule appointments on their mobile devices as opposed to other platforms. As beautiful as your website might look on a desktop, you need to optimize your online booking experience for mobile users. 

To improve your mobile experience, start with the customer journey. Booking an appointment on a mobile device should be easy; otherwise, customers will get discouraged and log off. Make selections easy to find and the booking process as straightforward as possible. Loading times for your website also need to be adequate to avoid high bounce rates resulting from impatient customers. 

Millennials Are the Customer Segment Most Likely to Book Online

Of all the nation’s demographics, Millennials are responsible for a quarter of appointments booked online. This isn’t surprising, given this generation’s combination of tech savviness and needs that can be filled by appointments. The quick acceptance of online booking software by the Millennial generation suggests the trend will likely be popular with younger customers, too. Expect Gen Zers to slide in right beside Millennials as they begin booking their own appointments. 

Even if Millennials aren’t your primary age segment, they’re a great place to start when implementing online appointment software initially. You’ll be able to work out the kinks of a new system with an eager subset of your customer base. As Millennials continue to book appointments online, other customers will join in until you’re able to make online scheduling your only — or at least foremost — method of booking. 

Companies That Use Data Get a Leg Up

One of the greatest benefits of online appointment software is the ability to automatically gather data for your business. Data is one of your greatest assets while doing business in the 21st century. It eliminates the guesswork that often forms a part of your everyday decision-making.

A study done by the McKinsey Global Institute found that businesses that leverage data are 23 times more successful at acquiring new customers. Customer acquisition is one of the most important, and daunting, aspects of running a business. Data gives you a clearer picture of customer demographics, successful marketing strategies, and popular appointment times. Without data, you’ll be taking shots in the dark. 

Ready to heed the math? There’s no doubt that online appointment software will benefit your business in more ways than one. Identify your goals and put online booking software to work. Before you know it, you’ll have exceeded your expectations and then some.

How to Get More Referrals Leveraging Your Online Appointment Software

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How to Get More Referrals Leveraging Your Online Appointment Software

Referrals are a business’s best friend. People are four times more likely to make a purchase or book an appointment when referred by a pal, and they often become more devoted customers than those brought in through other methods. Appointment-based businesses in particular love returning customers and should be doing everything they can to gain new customers who promise high retention rates

Using your online appointment software and other resources, you can increase the number of referrals you get. This will grow your customer base and, in turn, your profits. Here’s how you can do it:

Create Program Awareness

To get things moving, you need to make customers aware that you have a referral program in place. Otherwise, they might not feel as inclined to bring your business to the attention of their friends. Begin with your website, where customers go to set up their appointments. 

Create a page about your referral program that they will see as they move through the booking process. Even a checkpoint asking whether someone referred them to the business will place the idea in their mind. Later on, it will be their name in that box as they refer family members and friends. 

Track Referral Counts

Keep track of how many referrals you receive from each customer. For starters, you’ll be able to see which customers make the most referrals. You can offer them special rewards for their efforts or even talk with them about becoming a brand ambassador for your company.

In addition, you can hold a sort of competition by making referral numbers public. Plan to award a prize at the end of the year to the customer with the most successful referrals. This will incentivize your clients to make an effort to get people to your business. 

Provide the Right Rewards

An effective referral program is only as good as the rewards it offers. A $5 discount is nice, but it doesn’t move the needle enough to make customers feel super motivated to provide referrals. Calculate the return on investment you would get by offering a larger incentive in exchange for a larger customer base.

For example, a free addition to a scheduled service — such as a tire rotation with an oil change — will have a much higher value and may bring new and old customers in more frequently. Extend the benefits to both the referrer and the referral, and people will be begging members of their circle to come in. You can also create tiers of rewards in which customers get larger prizes the more referrals they bring in.

Let’s talk about that customer contest. What sort of prize will be big enough, and within your budget, to offer at the end of the year? An evening at the best restaurant in town or free weekly service for a year can be a much stronger motivator to dedicated customers than the smaller perks they already enjoy.

Add a Newsletter

As part of your online booking process, add an option to sign up for your company newsletter. Let customers know that special deals will be available through the newsletter, as well as other useful news and information on a regular basis. 

Talk about your referral program in each issue of the newsletter. Consistent reminders will keep the program top of mind. Add in a link to your online appointment software; soon enough the timing will be right, and you’ll land some new customers. 

Blog posts are also easily viewed and shared by customers. Link your online appointment system to the bottom of each article, and every new reader brought in by a friend will be able to book a slot in seconds. 

Link to Social Media

Marketing through social media is a trend that keeps on growing and growing. Seventy-one percent of people are more likely to make a purchase (or, in this case, book an appointment) when they are referred to your business over social media. Consumers spend a lot of time on social media channels and can be heavily influenced by the content they see or their friends share with them.

Include links to your online booking software on your social media pages. Social media is a great place to spread information about your referral program and the rewards that come with it. The content you publish is easily shared to personal pages, where customers’ friends and family members will be able to get a glimpse of your brand and be directed to your booking platform in just a few clicks.

Ask for Feedback

At the end of each appointment, ask customers about their experience. Invite them to leave a review on your website detailing their experience for future customers. If their appointment was everything they were expecting and more, ask them to refer a friend. Simply asking for referrals will bring surprising results. Sometimes all it takes is a direct invitation to incite action. 

Even if a customer declines your invitation at first, the act of leaving a review will keep your business at the forefront of their mind for a while. If they strike up a conversation with a friend or family member, they might think about their appointment experience and take the opportunity to make a referral. Planting these seeds will allow you to reap results in the near future. 

As your focus shifts to referrals, your customer base will grow larger and stronger. Referrals have a domino effect, as your customers spur company growth forward. 

Online Appointment Software Says a Lot About Your Business

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9 Collaboration Mistakes You’re Making With Your Remote Team

Not every company uses online appointment software, at least not yet. Your business is sure to stand out — in a good way — if you choose to become an early adopter. Potential customers will take notice of your willingness to embrace newer technologies while simultaneously appreciating you for making their lives easier.

Your company may have chosen to transition to online appointment-making for the sake of convenience, financial incentives, or both. The good news for you is that your decision sends several positive signals. If you’re on the fence about diving in, it might help you to consider some of the positive, unspoken PR an online system brings with it:

You Respect People’s Time

Using online appointment software isn’t just about saving time and money, though it will definitely save you both. In addition to those benefits, online appointment-making saves your customers time and hassle. They’ll appreciate anything you can do to make their interactions with you as simple and pain-free as possible.

Few things frustrate a customer more than long wait times and unexpected delays. Online appointment software combats both of those problems by having customers choose from a predetermined list of options. Studies have shown that you are actually doing your customer a favor by limiting their options.

When implemented correctly, this feature helps to narrow the window of time customers spend on the front and back end of their appointment. Who doesn’t like freeing up some extra time?

You Embrace Newer Technologies

Companies that embrace any innovation that makes doing business easier are a welcome respite from those that provide poor customer service. However, it’s important that you not adopt anything just because it’s new. Instead, look for newer tech that demonstrably makes your business run more efficiently. As your company fine-tunes its practices, your customers stand to benefit.

Consider a few ways using an online appointment system will improve your business operations. When customers are able to set up their own appointments, it frees up at least a few of your employees to attend to more pressing issues. Perhaps the increased efficiency will allow you to add an extra appointment slot per hour, thereby serving more customers and increasing revenue.

You’re Willing to Make Investments

Free business software is typically worth every penny you paid for it. Jokes aside, you’re unlikely to come across enterprise-level software that’s free and trouble-free. Once you’ve accepted that your business must invest in the software tools it uses, you won’t be as tempted to sabotage your business using cheap solutions.

Online appointment software is no different. Reliable packages often run on a subscription basis, typically with a monthly recurring fee.

Moving into new tech shows customers that your company doesn’t pinch pennies when it comes to making their experience pleasant. They’ll appreciate that you’re willing to invest in the technologies needed to facilitate their interactions with you.

Play the long game. You are committed to upgrading when needed, with an eye fixed on how your business operations make life better for your customers. They, in turn, will appreciate your stability and be less likely to start window-shopping your competitors.

Your Employees Are Capable

Is there anything more comforting than arriving at an appointment to be greeted by an employee who clearly knows their stuff? Efficiently handling appointments both online and as customers enter your facility leaves a lasting impression. 

In case you feel any trepidation, rest assured that no one needs a degree in information technology to operate online appointment software. You won’t need to hire a computer engineer from MIT to install your system, either. 

You will, however, need to commit at least some time up front to make sure all of your employees know how to use the new system. No need to stress, though. Most will get the hang of it in no time.

You Place a High Priority on Data Security

Online appointment software moves a lot of information around on a daily basis. Customers expect you to keep their information safe, preventing credit card or identity theft stemming from vulnerabilities in your system. While online appointment software increases data capacity, it does so while holding data in an iron grip.

Savvy customers will recognize that moving their appointments to an online system is in fact more secure than traditional means. Data can be quickly compiled, archived, secured, and deleted on command. Software vendors, for their part, have a huge stake in keeping the information of your clients safe.

Using online appointment booking enables stronger confidentiality. The risk of someone overhearing your information is eliminated. Patients visiting the doctor’s office can type out notes regarding the nature of their illness instead of announcing potentially embarrassing symptoms in a waiting room.

You Cultivate Relationships

In addition to offering increased convenience, customers will see that you want to establish a relationship with them. Tracking appointment frequency with your new system makes it easier to remember individuals who enter your business regularly. This allows you to demonstrate that your company sees people as something more than dollar signs, but individuals with names and faces. 

Make it a point to use the personalized aspects of online appointment software to your advantage. Personal interactions give infrequent customers more reason to become regulars. When an employee sees a name pop up on the screen as a customer walks in — or even a photo, if allowed — they can make a point of addressing the visitor by name. The employee will also have access to important details about the customer’s most recent appointments.

You Encourage Flexibility

Making life easier for your customers is almost always the right thing to do. When it comes to appointments, this means greater ability to roll with the punches that come with daily life. Personal matters and unexpected circumstances will arise that cause customers to reschedule appointments. Online appointment software can help with that.

With access to the internet, or even a mobile app, your customers can make adjustments to their appointments when needed. By allowing them to feel a heightened sense of control whenever life throws them a curveball, you ease your customers’ tension and demonstrate a willingness to help them refocus on more pressing concerns.

Implementing online appointment software will help place your business in a positive light. Making life easier for your employees as well as your customers sure sounds like a win-win. Schedule some time to look at your options, remembering to assess costs through the lenses of increased productivity and customer loyalty.

6 Ways to Smooth Your Transition to an Online Appointment System

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6 Ways to Smooth Your Transition to an Online Appointment System

Online appointment software is infinitely more efficient than taking bookings over the phone. Your employees won’t get interrupted by the lines ringing off the hook everyday, and customers can book appointments more quickly and whenever they want.

If you currently rely on a phone system for appointment bookings, you’ll need to undergo a transition process. To make life easier for everyone, use the following tips to make the switch from phone to online bookings seamlessly:

Start With the Setup

Before you start transitioning online, make sure your infrastructure is good to go before launch. Run some tests with your online appointment software to make sure it’s accurately tracking customer information and setting up appointments without errors. Also take note of any delays or double bookings that pop up so you can resolve these issues before they get out of hand. 

Once you’ve worked the kinks out of your online appointment software, you’ll be set up for a smooth transition experience. If you neglect this step, you may have to take your appointment system offline while it’s being repaired, adding further bumps to your transition. Be sure to check everything from confirmation emails to autofill selections when running a pre-launch audit. 

Change Voicemail Messages

Give customers a heads up by changing your voicemail message. In it, you can notify customers of your plan to switch from taking bookings over the phone to only accepting them through online appointment software. Those customers who are used to calling in to make their appointment will be quickly notified of the change.

You can set up your voicemail message to run a script describing the new system and how to access it before a call is put through. This allows customers to get most of the information they need before talking to one of your employees. If they can make the switch to your online platform on their own, your employees will be spared from explaining the details over a dozen times a day. 

Another potential option is having your voicemail messaging act as an extension to your online appointment software. An automated response system will set up appointments for your online system while using a call-in feature that some of your customers will continue to prefer using. 

Incentivize Online Booking

As you make the transition, incentivize the use of your online appointment software to lure customers over more quickly. Those resistant customers will feel more inclined to give the new system a go if you give them an offer they can’t refuse. 

While you don’t want to break the bank with incentives, even the smallest offer will carry some weight. Consider providing a discount code for customers using your online appointment software for the first time. This will give customers the chance to learn the new system in pursuit of a lower price.

Some incentives are built into the online appointment software itself. For example, being able to prepay for appointments is a huge plus for many customers. The ability to book an appointment outside of normal business hours is another great perk for customers with busier schedules. 

Provide a Transition Period

Even with good incentives, you shouldn’t expect your entire client base to switch approaches overnight. There are a lot of moving parts, and a transition period will allow for a smoother change for both your business and your customers. 

Make customers aware of the strict deadline by which they will have to start booking appointments exclusively through your online appointment software. This advance notice will indicate when they need to commit to the switch and provide enough time for them to acclimate to a new system of operations.

Leverage Marketing 

Old and new customers alike need to know when you decide to start implementing online appointment software. Leverage your marketing resources to inform everyone that they can now schedule appointments online and that phone bookings will be discontinued. Start by displaying this message clearly on your website’s homepage and your social media pages.

If you send out newsletters and messages to your customers, add information about the change to your next e-blast. Include links to relevant information or your new customer portal to help them get started. A robust social media strategy can also spread the word about your new system to followers, as well as net you some new customers. 

Walk Customers Through the Process

Each time a customer walks through your doors, take the time to walk them through the online appointment process and answer any questions they might have right then and there. This gives each customer a chance to voice concerns they might have over the change, which they otherwise might keep to themselves.

This also offers you a chance to encourage customers to set up a return appointment on the spot. This will give your retention rate a boost and fill up your online appointment calendar much faster. 

Look for ways to guide your customers through the process online as well. AI-driven tools such as chatbots can answer frequently asked questions or present a guided tour through the online booking process. 

The smoother your transition process, the sooner you can get to taking care of customers and booking appointments like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t rush the process — that can cause you to make mistakes that will set you back. Take the transition one step at a time to make sure your online appointment software takes its proper place from day one.

7 Ways Appointment Software Supports Sales and Marketing

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7 Ways Appointment Software Supports Sales and Marketing

You know online appointment software can help customer service teams up their efficiency. But believe it or not, it can also make life easier for your sales and marketing teams. 

If you’re already licking your chops at the thought of squeezing in more sales meetings, then keep reading. This article will outline some of the ways appointment software can help you attract leads, close sales, and chisel your brand:

Online Booking Is Enticing

The simple perk of being able to book an appointment online is music to most customers’ ears. No longer will they have to wait on hold to ask about your availability and to hopefully get the slot they want. With appointment software, all they have to do is log onto your website and complete the booking process with a few clicks.

Ask your marketing team to come up with a campaign alerting new and existing companies of your new system. Social media and email marketing costs are minimal. Then, they can add small details to bring appointment software to the forefront of your branding, such as adding a “Book Now” button to your homepage.

Not only are buttons helpful for customers, but they also bring in new business. In other words, everyone wins. 

Customer Relationships Improve

A huge part of the sales process is building a relationship with the customer. The stronger the relationship, the more likely a customer is to commit to a purchase. 

Online appointment software starts the relationship-building process early. It incentivizes loyalty and makes it easy for customers to commit due to its sheer convenience. The software also tracks customer information for sales representatives to use when they reach out to clients.

Data Delivers New Insights

Speaking of tracking information, nothing helps a marketing team more than cold, hard data. Otherwise, marketers are forced to guess at what sorts of tactics and talking points lead to conversions.

There are a variety of data points appointment software can track for you. Some examples include:

  • No-show and late appointment rate
  • Age and gender demographics
  • Booking link clickthrough rate
  • Proportion of bookings per service line
  • Average amount spent per customer

This data can help your marketing team spot gaps in your audiences and services. If only a few women book appointments in a given month, for example, maybe it’s time for a campaign targeted specifically at them. If late appointments are common, maybe you need to institute buffer periods. 

Budgeting Becomes Easier

If you don’t know how many appointments to expect in a given month, it can be difficult to budget. How much you spend on office upgrades should depend on how much traffic your office gets, for example.

The more money you save, the more you can reinvest in your sales and marketing operations. Marketing might want to throw a live event as soon as the pandemic is over. Sales may need a new video conferencing tool, or perhaps a year-end reward to work their tails off.

Bookings Get Made 24/7

Your online appointment software doesn’t take breaks or expect weekends off. This means that your customers can continue to book appointments even when there’s no one around to answer the phone. 

This constant flow of customers also takes work off your sales team’s shoulders. They can focus on chasing down high-quality leads, rather than pursuing those that would have booked anyway.

SEO Gets a Boost

How your website ranks for relevant keywords has a lot to do with how much business it brings in. A higher position not only produces more traffic but also improves your brand’s credibility. 

Google puts a premium on the user experience. Making it easy for customers to book online improves your site’s UX, which should also help it appear higher in search engine results pages.

Knowing the Workload Dictates the Day

When customers book through online appointment software, your sales and marketing team members get a better sense of their workload for the day. Even if they aren’t directly serving customers, they probably get roped in regularly.

For example, on days projected to have few appointments, your sales team can make cold calls in an attempt to fill more slots. Your marketing team can also jump on board, perhaps by developing new ads or discount offers.

Online appointment software can make a night-and-day difference for every role on every team. Nowhere is that more true than sales and marketing. 

How to Use Appointment Software in Your Personal Life

By | Scheduling | No Comments
How to Use Appointment Software in Your Personal Life

Businesses use appointment software for all sorts of reasons. Making it easier for customers to book appointments is one. Another is helping the team manage its workload. 

Believe it or not, however, the benefits of appointment software extend beyond businesses. Some people use it in their personal lives as well. 

Why? Let’s take a look:

Staying Connected

Even though social distancing has taken over your social life, you can use online appointment software to stay in touch with friends. The software makes it simple to coordinate schedules, whether you’re meeting in person or virtually.

You can use online appointment software to show your availability to friends. Then, they can select a time that works best for a phone call, video chat, or meetup. This will help you stay connected even when conflicting schedules keep you apart.

Want to keep your friends on the hook? Each member of your group can rotate through being in charge of scheduling the next activity. With online appointment software, you can send a payment to them if they foot the bill. 

Networking

Connecting with business professionals is a great way to get ahead in your field. Networking events can be difficult to put together, given how busy industry veterans can be. Online appointment software makes it easier to coordinate with them.

Opening up appointments to mentors and people you’re trying to network with makes it easier to fit them into your schedule. It also eliminates the back-and-forth communication involved in pinpointing a time, helping you meet more people in less time. 

Hobbies and Side Gigs

Do you use online platforms to peddle some of your old trinkets? Hosting an online yard sale can be tricky. When you’re trying to find the right buyer, you may need to set up a time to chat.

Instead of playing phone tag with half a dozen people, let your online appointment software get the job done. Post your item of choice on the internet with an appointment link that allows a buyer to schedule a time to pick it up. Once a time is selected, you can close the software off to stop anyone else from booking after the sale is made. 

Your other ventures also benefit from online appointment software. Side gigs don’t get much love and care under normal circumstances, but online appointment software can help you book meetings with buyers and better organize your efforts. 

Event Hosting

While COVID-19 is putting most events on hold for the time being, the day will return when you’re able to put together fun family events once more. Be ready for it with appointment software.

Online appointment software can help you gather RSVPs to get a head count for seating, refreshments, and venue size. The software can also enable you to share the event easily, reaching everyone you wish to invite in a matter of seconds. 

Recreational Activities

Got a tennis buddy waiting for a rematch? Don’t keep them waiting! Use online appointment software to squeeze in some time on the court.

Online appointment software can help you organize all sorts of recreational activities. From planning a workout with your gym buddy to a family holiday event, appointment software makes schedule coordination simple. 

Tutoring and Coaching

Want to make 2021 your year? You can start by looking for ways to improve yourself. Schedule tutoring and coaching sessions that help you achieve personal development and fulfillment. 

Coordinate with your tutors and coaches using online appointment software. Tell them what you hope to achieve. Ask them to help you lay out the steps to get there. Book frequent appointments with them to measure your progress and to hold yourself accountable.

Meeting Deadlines

Deadlines can be easy to miss. To make sure you don’t let any slip through the cracks, block them off in your appointment software. 

Balancing class assignments, work initiatives, and personal projects can be difficult. Use your online appointment software to block off time prior to each. The rest is just a matter of buckling down.

Juggling Schedules

Even the most level-headed of people forget things. You don’t want to miss your daughter’s piano recital because you were too focused on scheduling out your work deadlines. Online appointment software will help you strike the perfect balance in your daily schedule.

Online appointment software is as flexible and useful as you make it. Download one, and you’ll see why it’s such a staple of the business world. 

Why Online Appointment Software Should Be on Your Christmas List

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Why Online Appointment Software Should Be on Your Christmas List

Most businesses probably have extensive Christmas lists after this tumultuous year: requests for more customers, better equipment, or even building renovations are likely stuffing Santa’s mailbox right now. Something that needs to be on every company’s list, though, is online appointment software. 

The benefits of online appointment software are plain to see and can make an instant impact on your business in 2021. Ready to learn more? Read through this article and then forward it on to Santa when you’re through:

Increases Appointment Volume

Want to get more appointment bookings? Look no further. Online appointment software makes it exponentially easier for customers to find and book appointment slots with your business. The increased convenience will draw in new customers and improve retention.

You can also insert your appointment software on your website and social media pages. This eliminates hurdles for clients looking to get in contact with your business, making it easy for customers to book an appointment with just the click of a button.

Something important to consider with any business implementation is return on investment, or ROI. With everything you do, you should strive for a positive ROI, meaning you make more money than you spent. Because online appointment software is relatively inexpensive and increases lead volume, the ROI is almost universally high. 

Balances Daily Schedules

An important aspect of setting appointments for your business is managing its daily schedule. Ensuring there are no overlaps and that enough staff will be available to handle the volume ensures every day is a smooth one for both business and customer. 

Online appointment software uses artificial intelligence to keep schedules balanced without supervision. It will monitor bookings to ensure there’s no overlap or that appointments aren’t attempted to be booked when there’s no availability.

Prevents Appointment Mishaps

One late customer can throw off the entire flow of your business. With busy schedules, sometimes an honest mistake will cause a customer to run late or miss an appointment entirely. Online appointment software will automatically send out reminders to customers to prevent this from happening as often.

On the other end, businesses can sometimes misplace customer appointment times or fail to confirm them, leaving them off the schedule entirely. Online appointment software will automatically update your bookings, so you won’t have to worry about mistakes being made at the expense of your customers. 

Provides Valuable Insight

Data metrics, when implemented correctly, can give your business a huge leg up. If you use online appointment technology to record all of your appointments, you’ll automatically be collecting relevant data that you can use.

For example, your software can tell you which one of your appointment packages is the most popular and which services might need some adjusting in order to sell better. You can also track customer data so you can see who your most loyal individuals are, as well as pinpoint key demographics for your marketing campaigns. 

Keep an eye on no-show rates, average duration of appointment, and any other metric you might find useful. This information can be of great use to the evolution of your company with proper access and implementation.

Increases Time Efficiency

Time is a valuable resource for both business and consumer. Online appointment software helps both sides to save time. For customers, appointment booking couldn’t be easier, taking no more than a few minutes to go through the process each time. 

For businesses, online software opens up time for employees who don’t have to man the phones and respond to emails throughout the day. They can spend more time focusing on customers, improving their appointment experience to encourage them to return again and again.

For both sides, payments can be made quickly and directly. Customers can see the change in their balance right away for budgeting and balancing. Businesses don’t have to worry about late payments or customers not covering their tab.

Improves Accessibility

Few customers want to call in and spend the time trying to relay the appointment information they hope to get into the system. In today’s world, people are simply more comfortable filling out a quick form online, and prefer to do it that way.

Online appointment software is available 24/7, meaning that your customers can book appointments at their convenience, regardless of their personal schedules. They can also make changes to their appointments without having to go through a hotline or a representative. 

Adds Online Value

If you’re trying to market your business online, as you very well should, then online appointment software is just the thing for you. Search results are becoming increasingly effective, with “near me” business searches growing at a rapid pace.

Online appointment software will improve your standing in online searches, making you visible to more customers searching for the services you provide. Once your name flashes by, the ability to book an appointment right away will lure in a lot of new clients. 

Helps Your Team

The benefits of online appointment software are not exclusive to helping your customers. The program will also be of great use for your team. You can use this tool to organize work schedules and time sheets so your employees know exactly when their shifts are in advance.

Online software also enables employees to more easily have shifts covered and swapped for greater flexibility of schedule. Changes can be approved right away, and the layout prevents too many employees from trying to ask off on the same day, leaving the company high and dry.

You better start writing to Mr. Claus so that your online appointment software will get here in time for the holidays. Transform your 2021 with programs like these, and your business will be thriving in no time. 

Calendar Joins List of Zapier Integrations

By | Time Management | No Comments

We are excited to announce that Calendar joins the list of Zapier’s integration partners. With over 2,000 apps, this means you can access more functionality and tools that help you automate your work and drive greater productivity.

There is an integration for every type of company and role:

Zapier by Role

How Zapier Integrations Work

Automated connections called Zaps set up in minutes with no coding. They can automate your day-to-day tasks and build workflows between apps that otherwise would not be possible.

Calendar Integration Details

Each Zap has one app as the “Trigger.” This is where your information comes from. It causes one or more “actions” in other apps where your data gets sent automatically.

Calendar Triggers

Right now, there is one Calendar Trigger that is supported by Zapier. When your time slot meeting is scheduled in Calendar, Zapier triggers that a new meeting has been scheduled. This information can be used and shared across applications and platforms that integrate with Zapier.

Connecting Calendar to Zapier

  1. Log in to your Zapier account or create a new account.
  2. Navigate to “My Apps” from the top menu bar.
  3. Click on “Connect a new account” and search for Calendar.
  4. Use your credentials to connect your Calendar account to Zapier.
  5. Once that’s done, you can start creating an automation! Use a pre-made Zap or create your own with the Zap Editor. Creating a Zap requires no coding knowledge. You get step-by-step instructions that walk you through the setup.

What’s Possible with Zapier?

One of the first apps available that integrates with Calendar on Zapier is Close, an all-in-one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Features include built-in calling, SMS, and email channels.

There is so much you can do with Zapier:

  • Automate appointment and meeting reminders
  • Register leads for webinars
  • Personalize messages for new leads
  • Schedule meetings with prospects, customers, and colleagues
  • Notify your team about new leads and customers
  • Share content across channels
  • Provide automatic calendar adds for upcoming events
  • Notify about changes in the database or a spreadsheet
  • Add content across channels
  • Provide the team with updates, content, and information from surveys or support tickets

The list goes on. The question is — What can Zapier do for you?

But the real question is what can’t Zapier do?

Sign-Up Today!

If you don’t already have a Zapier account, check our Calendar integration page out and sign-up from there. Join now! Here’s where you can sign-up.

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now