22 Sep 7 Strengths of Online Scheduling Apps for Small Business
We recently published a guest post with getapp.com on the 7 reasons for SMBs to Manage Appointments with a Mobile Scheduling App, and we’re so proud of the content that we figured we’d abbreviate it for you here. If you’re looking for more information on the subject or want to find out about more great apps, click the link above or head to getapp.com for the 411!
Choosing a mobile appointment scheduling app is crucial for businesses to get the most out of their appointment bookings in a time-sensitive manner.
Despite its importance, many businesses just aren’t there yet. An Agendize-GetData survey of 500 U.S.-based companies found that more than half of SMBs use online calendars to books appointments, while almost a quarter schedule over the phone, and 8.8% still use pen and paper. Only 10.8% of respondents said they use online appointment scheduling software to automate their appointment booking process, and the number that use an appointment booking app is likely to be even less.
However, with a few critical features, not only can a business owner manage their schedule without stress, but they can enjoy the many ways a scheduling app helps them understand and reach out to their customers.
Using a scheduling app can save time and preparation by making a business’ real-time schedule available at a few taps. Seeing the layout of a day, week, or month allows business owners to prepare for the services and goods they intend to provide. Appointment scheduling apps that offer a progress bar which fills as a day is booked with appointments can also help small business owners visualize their schedule, allocate staff, and further prepare for the coming days and weeks.
Even if a small business only has a few staff members, keeping track of all their appointments and ensuring there are no double-bookings can be the most hectic of daily tasks. While a good appointment booking software typically ensures that double-bookings aren’t possible, staff members still need to be managed, kept apprised, and quickly replaced if they can’t perform their duties. An online scheduling app makes an entire staff’s schedule accessible from a smartphone. This ensures that an entrepreneur can spend less time managing their business and more time growing it, while calendar syncing through Google or Outlook can help staff members manage their calendars themselves and keep a whole business on the same page.
Adjust appointments on-the-go
Many appointment scheduling solutions follow a desktop-only model, but with a mobile scheduling app, business owners can accept, decline, reschedule, or modify appointments wherever they are. This not only ensures they can respond to bookings in an emergency, but also have the peace-of-mind that their business is running smoothly while they’re away, ensuring customers are all-the-more satisfied with their service at all times.
A 2014 report from Software Advice shows that 53% of CRM buyers still use manual methods to conduct customer relations, and though they are happy to move from paper to digital, 71% are shopping around for cloud-based CRMs that not only enable mobile access, but include crucial integrations like emailing and calendar syncing.
Given the right online scheduling app, an entrepreneur can maintain an up-to-date list containing all their client’s information with ease. This list should include appointment history, preferences, contact information, portfolio, chronic conditions or allergies, and a client’s portfolio in the case of certain industries, so when contacting them or managing appointments, entrepreneurs are never at a loss for what their client needs.
Connect with clients instantly
When considering what a client may want or need, having information is good, but being able to take action is better. That’s why the right online scheduling app keeps your clients’ email addresses and phone numbers all in one place, and even let you contact them at the click of a button or tap on your mobile. This way you can call, text, or email them with questions, updates or offers in an instant, right from their client profiles.
Say no to no-shows
Automated reminders can reduce no-shows by as much as 80%. Adjusting the notifications customers receive can make a tremendous difference in getting and keeping their attention, particularly as our use of technology becomes more and more ubiquitous. Automated reminders allow business owners to touch base with clients minutes, hours, and days before an appointment, through email or SMS, giving customers the same mobility and convenience that entrepreneurs seek for themselves.
If a customer is prompted to leave a review following an appointment, a business is far more likely to get honest feedback, and even a positive review, which the client might not have mentioned otherwise. This feedback is essential to make sure a customers can get the most out of what they love to use every day, as well as providing the potential for extra sales. A recent Brightlocal survey found that around 38% of US consumers read online reviews, and that a positive review leads 45% of consumers to visit a local website and 23% to visit a local shop. Keeping both customers and a business accountable for their appointments is at the heart of improving customer service and overall satisfaction.
Choosing the right mobile scheduling app
Ultimately, using a mobile app is crucial to getting the most out of any online scheduling solution. Mobile has transformed our use of technology through its simplicity and accessibility. Being able to see and manage a schedule, as well as get insights and take actions with customers in real time, will prove ever-more necessary in helping businesses grow and improve their customer satisfaction.
Choosing the right mobile scheduling app may only be a start at this, but it’s a good start nonetheless!