27 May #Survey : How do Small Businesses Manage their Appointments in 2015?
Managing appointments and clients can be time-consuming for SMB owners and staff. Few weeks ago, we benefited from a GetData survey opportunity to ask their 500 US-based SMB panel what method were they typically using to manage their client appointments. Here are the results.
SMBs like barbershops, beauty salons or doctors have long been dealing with booking issues with their clients such as:
- double bookings (as they book one appointment on their personal agenda and the other on the business calendar.)
- client no-shows (as they forget about their appointment.)
- time losses (experienced in finding the right date & time for the appointment.)
- no clients’ history
- lack of information (about their daily schedule as the everything is on the business agenda.
How do SMBs deal with managing appointment schedules today?
#1> Online Calendar (56.3%)
Thumbs up: Online calendars are a great way to keep a business owner and his team updated about any new appointments and to access it anywhere, anytime.
Thumbs down: SMB owners have to keep dealing with clients on the phone and potentially lose time finding the right date & time to book an appointment. It doesn’t provide any data on customers.
#2> Arrange over email (24.2%)
Thumbs up: Staffs arranging appointments over email keep a trace of the conversation. They also have a contact with the client so that they can send them some promotions.
Thumbs down: All the information exchanged over email isn’t well organized. It becomes difficult for a business owner to organize his workday as he loses time searching for client emails.
#3> Online Scheduling solution (10.8%)
A new way to manage appointments, clients and staffs is starting to make its room in some small business shops.
Thumbs up: This solution automates several time-consuming tasks that small business owners don’t want to waste time with:
- booking appointments over the phone
- sending manual reminders to clients
- reschedule an appointment
- check staff availabilities
- manage a client list in a contact book, and more.
With an appointment manager, businesses can set up automatic reminders and notifications so the client doesn’t forget his appointment. It only shows the slots when staff are available so that clients doesn’t waste time waiting for a staff confirmation. Clients can also book an appointment online even when the business is closed and benefit from a better customer experience. Staff can have access to the calendar to better anticipate each workday. A CRM is integrated in order to let businesses update detailed clients and appointments profiles for better client relationships. Finally, it also integrates email marketing functionalities to send clients some special offers and grow retention.
Thumbs down: Often, business owners don’t have the time to look for such a solution and get scared with digital implementations even though this isn’t as complicated as it seems.
#4> Pen and paper (8.8%)
Thumbs up: it’s an old method that cannot be altered with digital issues such as server problems. For efficient owners, maintaining a paper agenda updated and managing staff over paper is easy.
Thumbs down: but it has its own limits. It has to be updated manually and isn’t practical to carry out. It requires a huge discipline if the business has several schedules on the same agenda.
Demographics: Over 500 US-based respondents from a panel of managers and owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Respondents are aged between 25 and 54 and have an average inferred annual income of $50k – $150k.
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