Most growing businesses have a need to manage appointments for business departments or individuals in the firm. The diary managers are often the receptionists or secretaries that maintain a meeting schedule for each principal. In the recent years, paper-based systems have given way to individual computer based systems. In the larger organization, collaborative calendar management systems operated and maintained by the different users have become the norm. In both cases, access to calendar management systems is not available to people outside the organization.
That is where online appointment scheduling for the growing business comes into its own. Allowing clients to schedule their administration appointments using an Internet connection relieves staff of the need for central calendar management. They can concentrate on managing the special exceptions when a member of officials becomes unexpectedly unavailable, or conflict schedules.
On the downside, the ability of a journal manager to manage a diary to the benefit of a principal is reduced, since appointment scheduling for our clients can now access the calendar directly.
A list of expected benefits
1. Accessibility and ease of use
The general view from clients is that online access is now becoming the norm. If a business provides an online appointment booking service, it is more likely to attract and retain customers. Healthcare providers in the US think that 64% of all medical appointment bookings will be made online by 2019.
Some businesses, admittedly larger ones, for example, airlines, would not be able to operate if clients could not use their online appointment scheduling systems to book flights.
2. Calendar management
Something that is particularly annoying to most people is a now-show for an appointment. Sometimes there is a good reason, but often it is because the holder has just forgotten about the appointment. In some businesses non-attendance will cost the company money in lost fees.
An online system can be programmed to reduce non-attendance. The first step, which also reduces phone calls asking “when is my appointment” is to send a calendar record to be included in the attendee’s personal calendar. A second prompt is to send a reminder or series of reminders when the appointment is due.
The Online Calendar is always available. The client, therefore, able to make, amend and delete appointments whenever it suits them. They are no longer limited by the business operating hours or geography.
If the appointment entry requires the client to enter contact details, this then automatically creates a customer database which can be used at a later stage for marketing purposes.
5. Online payments
If the business is such that making an appointment incurs a fee, for example in medical practice, then making an appointment can be linked to an online payment portal through which the client can make a payment of the fee. This is also likely to reduce non-attendance if the fee is non-refundable.
6. Better resource utilization
Online appointment scheduling reduces the documentation load on business, thereby reducing filing. As a result, staff spend less time on office management and management of the associated documentation and can be redirected to other more productive tasks.