Things you need to know about the appointment scheduling system

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Meetings and appointments are vital for every business. They can be effectively arranged through the appointment scheduling system.

Maybe you are spending more time than you would like to on emails for fixing appointments and meetings. Tools like an appointment scheduling system help to automate the process and yield better results. These are software programs that make things easier for revenue generation. Plenty of them are there and the online appointment scheduler is the most common type. Let’s dive into the essentialities.

What is an appointment scheduling system?

It happens to be a software solution that helps service providers to manage appointments efficiently. The other name of the system for appointment scheduling is the appointment booking system and appointment management software. The system includes

  • Internet booking
  • Mobile app booking
  • Call center workers

On the integration of the system with the customer journey management system, or queue management system, it makes seamless arrangements to turn customer online visits into in-person visits.

How does it work?

While the system can work in several ways, the following are the most common modus operandi.

  • The customer books an appointment online or through the call center. The customer chooses a branch or provider and if those are available, they receive a confirmation of the booking.
  • The customer receives a reminder including a check-in link closer to the date of appointment.
  • The customer uses the link in the reminder and checks in. In some cases, staffs also assist them.
  • On completion of the check-in process, the customer receives a mobile token to monitor their status in the sequence of appointments. They need not be at the place until the time of appointments.
  • The service provider calls the customer when the turn comes and they receive the service.

Appointment scheduling system advantages

The system is beneficial for both customers and service providers:

  • It reduces waiting time
  • Has more flexibility
  • Delivers excellent customer experience.
  • Ensures control over customer arrival flow
  • Helps to manage customer footfall
  • Relives excessive pressure on people
  • Improves efficiency of the organization

Different types of appointment scheduling systems

An appointment scheduling system has the following features:

  • Online Scheduling: One can make appointments online and can also reschedule or cancel them through the online system. It cuts down no-shows.
  • Access to multiple channels: It allows fixing appointments person to person, through phone calls, and video conferencing.
  • Limit daily appointments: It can manage the total number of appointments in a day by limiting available time slots.
  • Reminder option:  The system can send reminders about appointments and can also update the client on any change.
  • Integration of calendar: The system allows integration to third-party apps and manages multiple calendars minimizing the chances of double booking and overbooking. The calendar also allows viewing of all upcoming appointments and streamlines the process.
  • Puts buffers: Sufficient breaks between appointment is necessary for taking follow-up actions. The system ensures enough buffer between back-to-back appointments.

Different types of appointment scheduling systems

The following are the most common types of scheduling appointments.

1. Time-slot scheduling

It is also known as a stream schedule. In this system, the customer can choose their suitable time slot from the list of available time slots. The customer clicks on the preferred slot and provides details to get confirmation of the appointment via email or SMS.

2. Wave scheduling

It is ideal when customers arrive like waves at a particular time of the day. Appointments are fixed based on their arrival order. It becomes useful when the customer journey demands prioritization based on the urgency of their needs. Businesses can provide different time slots for this. The customers also have the flexibility and can arrive at their convenience.

3. Wave scheduling plus walk-in

It involves scheduling customers during the first half an hour of every hour. You can keep the second half of hours open for the customers who walk in needing urgent services. It is a great option for healthcare providers.

4. Open booking

In this appointment scheduling system, no specific time of appointment is allotted for a customer. They are asked to come during s specific time range and get their appointment in the order they arrive. It is one of the most flexible appointment scheduling options. It has similarities to the walk-in appointment system.

5. Double scheduling

It is a different type of appointment scheduling. It involves allowing two customers at the same time. Retailers mostly follow this when they allow the same time slot for more than one customer. Businesses use this appointment scheduling technique when a customer with urgent needs is accommodated on a schedule that is already full.

6. Round-Robin scheduling

It is an ideal option for sales and customer services. It allows a set of specific time slots for clients and with several staff members available to take the appointment. In case one of the staff members happens to be unavailable, the next takes the appointment. It relieves staff from stress and also makes customers happy.

7. Cluster scheduling

This method of scheduling appointments is popular among healthcare service providers.  They make an appointment for people needing similar services on a particular day. It helps them to provide better services.

8. Priority scheduling

This appointment scheduling system is ideal for reserving an appointment for people with urgent needs. These people are allowed to have their appointment over others on a priority basis. It can be done in two ways. People in the queue are added to the list based on the urgency of their needs. Or, a fixed time slot can be kept for such appointments. It also suits healthcare facilities.

Wrapping up

A good appointment scheduling system can take the business to the next level. It can synchronize real-time appointments through calendar sharing, email integration, etc. As it can function across multiple locations and regions, it can boost the business up in a great way. Businesses with a global presence must find a scheduling system that supports multiple languages.

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