For businesses that rely on client appointments – including salons, travel agencies, dentist offices, or massage therapists, among others – whether they can grow their booking rate can literally make or break their company’s growth.
Managing and scheduling appointments can be very challenging when not managed properly, which often results in various issues, especially double booking (when a business accidentally books two clients in a single time slot) and no-shows. To avoid these potential problems, companies can use appointment scheduling software that provides customer self-booking convenience 24/7. These solutions increase attendance and revenue by allowing clients to schedule during non-business hours, and they also avoid overbooking and no-shows with automated notifications and waiting lists.
This is why learning how to schedule client appointments effectively is very important if you really want to grow your business, and if you are currently struggling with scheduling client appointments, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we will share some of the most effective tips you can use to schedule client appointments effectively.
Without further ado, let us begin.
Tips for More Effective Client Appointments
Below, we will discuss some common challenges to scheduling client appointments, and actionable tips to tackle these challenges.
Paper-based notes and calendars
In a traditional booking process (i.e. via phone call), the service provider’s staff must manually jot down the client’s information delivered over the phone.
There are even some businesses that still use paper-based calendars that are hard to organize, which often result in a messy and stressful scheduling process, both for the business and the clients.
How to tackle this: it’s 2021, and it’s finally time to adopt an online booking system. There are affordable and easy-to-use appointment booking software like Bookeo that will help streamline and organize your whole booking system.
Back-and-forth phone calls/emails
In a traditional booking process, typically the client will first pick up the phone, call the business, and the business will then inform the potential client with available time slots.
What if the caller is not making the booking for themselves? For example, for their boss or children. Then the caller must first ask the other party before making the confirmation, which can often result in lengthy and/or back-and-forth phone calls.
On the other hand, the service provider must also call or email the client before the reservation to remind them about the appointment to prevent no-shows.
Even a single appointment can be a major time-consuming headache.
How to tackle this: with an online booking system like Bookeo, the client can see the available time slots and make the reservation at their own time and pace.
40% of online bookings nowadays actually happen after hours, and there are those who suddenly remembered to book a salon appointment in the middle of the night, and will expect to be able to make the reservation from their phone without leaving their bed.
If you don’t offer 24/7 reservations, you are going to miss out on a lot of potential customers.
How to tackle this: choose a solution that offers automation, so you can take reservations 24/7 without needing to hire more people.
Last-minute cancellation and no-shows
No-shows can result in a massive loss of potential revenue in the long run, and not to mention they are a waste of your valuable time and efforts.
How to tackle this: consider including cancellation and no-show policy when confirming reservations.
Scattered information in too many different platforms
If you are only managing 5 different clients, probably you can handle them by yourself. Yet, what if your business blooms and you’ll have to manage 1,000 different client appointments every week?
How to tackle this: choose a client appointments software that can automatically sync with your (and your client’s) calendar so you can keep things organized in a single place.
Data privacy and security
Clients nowadays are more aware of the dangers of cybercrime, and so they are more concerned about their privacy and data security. They won’t book your service unless they are sure your site is 100% safe.
How to tackle this: a professional-looking and functional website is a must (we do judge the book by its cover). Effectively communicate your business’s commitment to data security and convince your clients that your site is secure.
A key aspect of managing client appointments is to have a system capable of confirming client’s payments on a timely basis to ensure a smooth transaction and reservation process. In a phone-based system, this is often a very time-consuming process and typically you’ll need to compromise by allowing clients to pay later on-premise.
How to tackle this: if your online booking system is not yet integrated with an online payment system, make sure to choose a reliable and secure one.
Notification and reminder
In a traditional scheduling and booking system, typically service businesses must assign an employee for calling clients prior to the reservation to remind them about the appointment. Sometimes, the employee would also be tasked with briefing the client on what to expect and what to prepare.
Not only this is a time-consuming process, but it is also error-prone.
How to tackle this: choose a client appointments software solution that is capable of sending automatic reminders for appointments to save more time and maintain accuracy.
Availability on all types of devices
More and more people are now exclusively using mobile devices in all their online activities, including making reservations and booking appointments.
How to tackle this: choosing a solution that is mobile-friendly is a major necessity. Make sure your clients can book your service anytime, anywhere, and from any device.
Capture client’s information
How should we integrate the client appointment system with our overall marketing strategy?
How to tackle this: we can require clients to sign up for an account with their email address and full name before they can book our service. You can then send a follow-up email to thank the client, and after a specific amount of time can send another email to remind them about your services.
Having an integrated, online booking system can help your business save valuable that you can otherwise spend on your core competencies to grow your business.
It’s crucial for any modern service-based business not only to have a clear scheduling and booking strategy but also to choose the right online booking system to help with a more streamlined and error-free process of scheduling client appointments.