An accurate and streamlined scheduling process is essential for any appointment-based business. Traditional pen-and-paper scheduling is time-consuming, error-prone, and requires careful attention and effort. So what’s the solution? Appointment scheduling software helps businesses and solo professionals efficiently manage their appointments with clients by automating scheduling tasks. Read our article to learn about what appointment scheduling is and what key features appointment scheduling software should have.
The basic features of scheduling software are as follows:
1. Easy 24/7 online multi-channel bookings
This is the most common feature and the greatest benefit of appointment scheduling software. The ability to book a meeting round the clock from any location and using various channels is convenient in today’s hectic world and in the face of COVID-19 in particular. Appointment scheduling software gives your clients freedom, as they can check available time slots and reschedule or cancel meetings at their leisure with no back-and-forth communication. The convenience of online booking also helps nurture client relationships.
Besides, many scheduling software solutions offer multi-channel booking options. Clients can book appointments with the click of a mouse using live booking widgets that can be placed on a corporate website or social media profile. Booking directly from social media is particularly helpful if a business has no website yet. A widget gives clients access to an expert’s calendar so they can choose the most suitable date and time on their own.
2. Real-time automated scheduling
Appointment scheduling software can automatically offer appointments for available time slots and update availability as soon as an appointment is rescheduled or canceled. Automating scheduling processes helps you reduce the time spent on manual scheduling and rescheduling of appointments and devote it to more productive activities. Freeing up more hours a week to grow your business will help you avoid losing out on clients and revenue.
Appointment scheduling software is a helpful tool to manage your availability. You can set your standard work hours for weekdays and specify hours when you’re available for appointments on particular days. This also helps you avoid errors that are possible while making appointments over the phone, via email, or in person.
3. Automated appointment reminders
Automated appointment reminders are not only convenient but also can help reduce client no-shows. According to GetApp, people are less likely to miss appointments when they receive text reminders. You won’t need to call or email your clients to remind them about upcoming appointments, as a notification system can do it automatically. As a result, your activities will coincide with your schedule and your business won’t lose money.
Besides, automated SMS reminders help attract and retain millennial clients.
According to OpenMarket’s survey,
4. Live calendar syncing
It’s difficult to juggle your work and personal calendars. Appointment scheduling software often offers two-way calendar syncing that helps you avoid conflicts like double bookings or missed events. An integrated calendar can sync with your personal calendar (Google, Apple, Outlook, etc.), export your daily activities and events, and allow you to keep track of them.
Many scheduling software solutions generate reports. You can use those reports to track your business performance. Metrics such as clients’ demographic information, appointment details, retention rates, no-shows, cancellations, etc. can be collected and analyzed for better planning and service provision. Besides, there are solutions that integrate with other enterprise software such as client relationship management (CRM) systems. Getting timely reports with relevant statistics can help your business earn more money and become more efficient.
6. Mobile app
According to research by eMarketer, That’s why many software solutions feature a mobile app. It allows for managing appointment-related tasks on the go — sending and receiving notifications, managing schedules with the click of a button, communicating with clients and team members, and accessing and keeping track of all necessary information in one place.
7. Feedback forms
Feedback forms are a nice feature for scheduling software. Collecting clients’ testimonials allows you to measure client satisfaction and consequently improve your services and make better business decisions. Using a customizable embedded feedback form to do that is much more convenient than using alternative tools like Google Forms. Besides, you can share feedback you collect on your website or social media profile to increase customer loyalty.
8. Customization & branding
When using customizable software, you can adapt the tool to your business’s specific needs. You’ll be able to achieve your goals faster and easier if you list specific services and experts and their availability or integrate your scheduling software with other helpful tools.
Many software solutions are white-label. That means they offer a fully customized design and allow you to place your brand name on the software, which helps to enhance brand awareness and build trust with clients.
9. Integrated payment processors
An integrated payment processor is a highly important feature of scheduling software. It allows you to tailor prices for your services, set payment requirements (e.g. get paid in advance or after a consultation) and refund rules (in case of last-minute cancellations), and get guaranteed payments easily. Besides, an integrated payment processor is likely to ensure more security than an off-site one by encrypting payment data. This can improve clients’ confidence, enhance retention rates, and consequently help your business earn more money.
Reliable software can drastically improve your scheduling processes, enhance your efficiency, and bring more money to your business.
To learn more about scheduling software and its benefits, read our article Key 8 Benefits of Scheduling Software for a Business.