5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Appointment System
As much as some people prefer human communication when interacting with a business, just about every consumer craves convenience and efficiency. Without those two things, consumers may not bother to become customers.
A pre-pandemic survey discovered that 27 percent of people are too busy to book a medical appointment. If that many consumers will skip healthcare because the first step is too inconvenient, imagine how many are blowing off less important needs—tire rotations, haircuts, insurance consultations, home repairs, and so on—because they don’t have time to pick up the phone or don’t want to risk a long wait as a walk-in.
A virtual appointment system offers a way to empower customers to book appointments and follow through with them. Digital appointment scheduling also offers plenty of benefits for your organization. Here are five reasons why your business should consider such a system.
1. Customer Expectations
Digital convenience has spread to almost every aspect of the consumer experience. People can order a pizza, buy concert tickets, refill a prescription, and much more from the comfort of their homes on a computer or on the go through their smartphones. This convenience is so expected that not having a virtual appointment system can feel old-fashioned. Even though some people prefer old-fashioned, others may wonder why your business hasn’t joined the 21st century—and choose a competitor that has.
Beyond convenience, a virtual appointment system also puts the power of scheduling in the hands of the customer. People can use the system to see a range of available times and easily book the one that works for them. Furthermore, they can complete the booking anytime they want—when it’s most convenient for them—instead of calling strictly during your office hours.
2. Staff Efficiency
Traditional appointment scheduling requires two people: the customer who needs an appointment and an employee to handle the details, including answering the phone, searching for a time that works for the customer, canceling and changing appointments as needed, managing the calendar, and so on. In a tight labor market, that’s an inefficient use of resources. A virtual system frees up employees for other tasks, including delivering swift, personalized attention to customers in the office or business.
Appointment scheduling software also creates efficiency by enabling customers to fill out forms and provide other key information through the system. Then, when they come in for their appointment, your employees are ready to serve them immediately—and better. The minutes saved add up, thus allowing you to possibly see more customers in the same amount of time.
3. Resources Allocation
So many organizations today struggle with staffing, and perhaps nothing is more frustrating than having too many or too few employees to handle the customer load. Virtual appointment systems deliver a more accurate picture of your peak and slow periods and allow you to staff accordingly. The long-term data is just as valuable, helping you with operational strategy such as hiring, training, facility management, business expansion, and more.
4. Automatic Notifications
Inevitably, even the most diligent customers forget about appointments sometimes. Things happen on your end, too, that require you to shuffle the calendar and reschedule your customers. The best virtual appointment systems automatically send text and email notifications so that customers remember their appointments, provide necessary information in advance, and are alerted when you need to reschedule. Besides keeping your employees from getting bogged down with extra phone calls, automatic notifications help prevent missed appointments that cut into your bottom line.
5. Scheduling Future Appointments Through the System
Naturally, you want customers to become repeat customers. In a healthcare setting, this takes on greater urgency than its impact on the bottom line; patients’ health may depend on making that next appointment. An automated appointment system helps get people back to your place of business to get the care and service they need.
The virtual system can be set to send a notification to book another appointment after the current one concludes. (Thank-you messages and invitations to take a survey can also be sent this way.) If the customer doesn’t make an appointment right away, reminders can be automatically sent. For businesses, special offers can be texted encouraging customers to rebook (e.g., “Schedule your next oil change now and get $10 off!”).
Underlying all these benefits we’ve discussed, a virtual appointment system drives revenue. Check out our guide, Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More, to learn how.
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