11 Sep Best Customer Experience through Online Scheduling (2/4)
As we discussed in our first post on this subject, and an article featured in StreetFightMag, implementing Online Scheduling is only the first step to using it effectively. To get the most out of it for your customers’ experience, drawing attention to it and building their habits around it are fundamental. This is important because if your customers are still calling, texting and emailing to book appointments, not only does it continue to cost you time, but what becomes the point of implementing Online Scheduling in the first place?
For drawing attention to Online Scheduling, we’ve had small business owners use a variety of of means, but most of the tricks and tips they have are more traditional than one would think. Since it saves time and closes customers and sales for them, the more they seem to promote their online scheduling, the more often they seem to get booked! Here are key tips we recommend SMBs to look at for promoting Online Scheduling:
- Design – It’s important to give consumers an appealing visual experience as they proceed through the process of scheduling online, firstly (1) because they need to be shepherded to final confirmation of their appointment, and secondly (2) because the experience is more engaging and attractive if it’s consistent with a business’ brand image. Things like color choice, including your logos and making them prominent or presenting attractive pictures of your staff and services go a long way to improving the experience. Clients like to see what they’re booking, and the right visuals give them confidence in their decisions, making them more comfortable with scheduling online.
- Message – In Online Scheduling, text replaces the voice of a secretary who clients may typically book an appointment with. Personalizing the text of widgets to make them more distinct and appealing to customers is crucial to creating unique rapport through Online Scheduling, and keeping customers coming back (Instead of “Book Now”, think “Get your haircut today!”). Here, customers need to feel your personality – the attitude and ethics behind your brand’s message – to feel more comfortable. This crafting of text also applies to confirmations, reminders and notifications, and customers have shown great appreciation the more personalized those messages are.
- Prominence – Online Scheduling is about making booking as quick and easy as possible, but many businesses forget the importance of where they position their scheduling Calls-to-Action on their website. The appointments don’t simply roll in as soon as it’s installed, the button has to be emphasized and brought to the user’s attention. Clients browsing a website want to take action in seconds and within 1 or 2 clicks, so a booking button should be featured at or near the top of every page on a website, and should also be positioned wherever great testimonials or benefits of a business are featured.
The scheduling experience customers is meant to be humanized, so that while it is more convenient than conventional booking it offers the same comfort and attractiveness that comes from booking an appointment in a store. Design, messaging and the position of your booking buttons are thus key to the success of implementing any form of online booking. To make it even easier to manage and promote the clients you generate through your online scheduling solutions, you can integrate a multiplicity of tools including everything from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to the best email marketing technology, which is a strategy you know we’re sure to cover in our next posts. Every small business depends on loyalty and reputation, but such things are crafted over years, if not decades, of taking the time to listen to customers, relate to them in ways they love, and incorporating new techniques and technology with the changing times.