Life demands schedules and organization. When you’re running a business, you will be burdened by schedules that put weight on your regular activities. Automated tools, however, can help alleviate this pain.
Some have standalone features and some come with other functions designed to aid sales and marketing. Though appointment scheduling is viewed as sales enablement feature, it can yield better results when the process is streamlined.
Accenture predicts that by the end of 2019, 66 percent of US healthcare clinics will offer digital self-scheduling, and 64 percent of patients will book appointments digitally, the value of which could hit $3.2 billion. That’s the massive potential of appointment scheduling.
However, there are many pitfalls. Here are seven appointment scheduling mistakes to avoid.
1. Sending an Email Without the Calendar Link
Once you’ve a crafted a great sales pitch, the next step is to send an email to prospective customers and make it part of your nurture campaign. If the customers are interested in your product, there should be a mechanism to get back to you, and it should be easy. If only you provide an email or phone number, prospects may find them cumbersome or obnoxious. Instead, drop in a calendar link to schedule calls or product demos. Better still, keep a calendar link in your email signature.
2. Your Employees Don’t Have the Right Calendar Link
Keep your calendar link interface simple and clutter-free and make sure there are different options for scheduling appointments. Alternatively, you can post a common link for group calls or demos. This way, customers can see the availability of all the employees and can schedule a call with someone who has a free slot. You can make things even easier by giving prospects a drop-down menu to choose time slots. This can be followed up by the sales or support rep with whom they talk to.
3. Not Tying Appointment Scheduling to Lead Generation
Appointment scheduling software helps sales enablement in various ways. Don’t draw boundaries around its functionality. Appointment scheduling tools can be used as lead generation vehicles as well.
You can generate more leads from your website using contact forms, which integrate contact management along with online scheduling. The forms can be placed on all webpages. This practice helps you capture contact information that can be used for lead generation purposes. A CTA button like “Book Now” can work well.
4. Not Sending Email and SMS Reminders
Now, the prospects have booked an appointment with you, but at the time of the call, they might be busy with some other work and won’t answer you. Or, it may happen that they completely forgot the schedule and the call. It’s time to stop wasting appointment slots.
Run a campaign through your CRM to send email and SMS reminders to your prospects. This is an added advantage to using Agile CRM, which has all the features of online appointment scheduling software.
5. You’ve Got Lots of Appointments, but Not the Right Prospects
Imagine you have shared the link to your calendar on your website and through many emails. Now, your calendar is filled with appointments and you are booked for the entire month. Great! However, when you start calling your prospective customers, you realize that most of them don’t belong to your target market. Big problem. Make sure you’ve got the right customer before scheduling an appointment.
Tune your appointment scheduling software so that it sends you a request for booking only when someone asks for that. Later on, you can profile your customers and accept their requests.
6. You Aren’t Giving Recurring Visitors Enough Information
Businesses should give prospects information on the costs of appointments and visits, help them establish recurring visits and allow them to request reminders on their mobile devices. Their payable dues before their next visit also need to be made clear. Give them a way to track their expenses. Keep your appointment scheduling software customer-friendly.
7. Not Integrating With a Payment System
If you charge appointment or consultation fees, then route the calendar link through the payment gateway to provide a hassle-free payment option for the customer. This is a better way to track your invoices, too. Otherwise, customers will be lost searching for the payment options.
There are plenty of benefits to appointment scheduling software. Automation alone should lessen the burden placed on any business. Just be sure to avoid these nasty pitfalls and optimize your time.