Appointment scheduling software increases customer loyalty, grows revenue, and drives down costs. Today, it's used by countless retail, finance, technology, and telecommunications companies as part of their customer engagement strategy.
Because of its utility and effectiveness, appointment scheduling has become increasingly popular. And with so many options on the market,
In this guide, we'll cover:
- The various
types ofappointment scheduling software
- How different teams use appointment solutions
- How to
- What to look for in an enterprise appointment booking solution
Types of appointment scheduling software
It’s an age-old question, to build or to buy?
However, when you
Time and resource strains
You must also consider your internal skill sets and time. Building complex and dynamic scheduling capabilities that can accurately automate the appointment booking process and management is
Ongoing maintenance and support
The project is not over after your initial launch. Now, it’s time to focus on maintenance and upgrades.
As your business and industry evolves, your appointment solution needs to reflect and adapt to those changes. Top enterprise providers have a quarterly release process, where they will automatically roll out any improvements or new features to your environment. This ensures that customers and staff are always using the newest version of their platform.
Should you build your own appointment solution, it’s up to your technical team to vet feature requests and then design, develop, test, and deploy new updates
Level of expertise
When you choose an enterprise provider, you instantly
Enterprise solutions are also better at predicting where your industry is going. Because these providers also work with several other customers, they can identify common consumer trends and implement them to keep pace with consumer expectations.
In summary, homegrown solutions require your team’s time and financial resources
For companies that don’t want to use internal resources to build a booking system from the ground up, a specialist service provider is often the best choice. However, there is a significant difference between enterprise providers and the low-cost tools built for small/medium businesses (SMBs).
Free or low-cost scheduling tools built for SMBs
You will find most low-cost vendors feature testimonials on their website from hair salons, fitness studios, photography studios, and similar types of SMBs. It’s likely that these businesses have fewer locations, and far less complexity than large enterprise businesses.
Often, these customers have a single need and do not need customizations, integrations, or optimization of their staff and resources.
Expertise with large enterprises
Large enterprises require their scheduling solution to offer seamless integrations, powerful analytics, and
Though now free and SMB solutions are making their way into the enterprise market,
Despite limitations in features and scalability, the free/SMB option shines
Like most enterprise SaaS companies, these providers are always evolving. Though most have origins rooted in appointment scheduling,
Since large companies already have several types of software embedded in their workflows and processes, enterprise providers must have a marketplace of pre-built integrations and apps. This ensures that appointment scheduling solutions are a helpful add-on, not an entirely separate system.
Enterprise solutions provide various opportunities for customization. Even better, they can consult you on what should
Level of expertise
Reference calls and case studies
Another way to gauge expertise is to ensure your project stakeholders are on calls with vendors along the way. For example, if your CTO is particularly interested in security, set up a call between your CTO and the vendor’s Head of Security to iron out any concerns.
With an enterprise solution comes an entirely different pricing structure than homegrown and free/SMB options.
Consider the ROI associated with appointment scheduling:
- 80% increase in conversion
- Up to 5x increases in customer spend
- Up to a 50% cost reduction (after using appointments data to optimize physical locations and staff)
With results like that, an enterprise solution is the safest investment.
What to look for in an enterprise solution
Ultimately, using scheduling software will elevate your
- Customer experience
- Staff experience
- Executive experience
- Technical ability
- Vendor expertise and support
Design and functionality are critical elements to consider when building your "booking journey," the front-end process that customers go through to schedule appointments. Besides being intuitive and consistent with your brand, your appointment scheduling solution has to be functional and easy to use.
Appointment reminders can reduce no-
Another important feature that improves the customer experience are booking questions which
Staff will be the most frequent users of appointment scheduling software, so it's critical to ensure
In the employee's centralized calendar view, the most important details of the day's upcoming appointments must be visible. This ensures employees can review the customer's booking questions, preferences, and needs in advance. As soon as the customer walks through the front door, a staff member can instantly begin the appointment. Upon completion of the appointment,
Follow-up surveys are effective for providing staff with feedback on how customers felt about their appointment experience. For more advanced analysis, store managers can combine follow-up survey data with actual outcome data and start identifying ways to improve outcomes.
Comprehensive analytics capabilities are essential to monitor key online booking metrics including volume, outcomes, appointment type, appointment time, staff performance, staff utilization, and lead times.
With analytics at their fingertips, executives
- Which types of appointments are most popular with our customers? Which are least popular?
- Which appointments drive the most revenue?
- How do customers schedule an appointment?
- How long is each type of appointment scheduled for? How long does these appointments
- Who are my top performing staff members across the country, region, and individual locations?
- What appointment times are least popular?
- Do we need to bulk up staffing on specific days or at certain times?
With answers to these questions, it's easy to make operational decisions to both improve performance and reduce wasted time.
For example, if you see that there are consistently no appointments on Tuesday afternoons, but there's a line out the door on Saturdays, you can adjust your hours or staff levels to accommodate these traffic peaks and lulls.
When you're researching providers,
When reviewing extensibility, consider how the platform
Here’s a tip: RESTful APIs are much better to use in scheduling software because they're faster and more flexible
Don't forget to examine each vendor's platform security. Are these vendors all ISO27001, PCI, and GDPR compliant? Do they manage all compliance in-house?
After determining that the technology is sound, learn whether the solution will scale as you scale. Does the vendor have case studies that showcase their volume of bookings? This is just one way to analyze whether they’re the best choice to execute your project.
Vendor expertise and ongoing support
The appointment scheduling space has become
Innovation is another key component to consider. Top enterprise SaaS companies have product roadmaps that outline which new features or upgrades they’ll be making, and when. The roadmap should include feature requests and requirements directly from their customer base, mixed with their own innovative ideas.
Most enterprise SaaS service providers also have beta programs, which allow them to secure customer feedback on new features before rolling out them out to their entire customer base.
Successful implementation and utilization of an enterprise solution will
June 24, 2019
12 minute read