5 Tips for Better Appointment Scheduling

Few things matter more to the health of a service business than customer satisfaction. And while you may offer quality service, are you offering it in a timely and efficient manner? This is where accurate and effective appointment scheduling comes into play.

Try These 5 Tips

It’s amazing how many service businesses don’t take scheduling seriously – despite the fact that it’s one of the biggest factors in whether or not a client is satisfied. All you have to do is read online reviews of service businesses in your area and you’ll see that a large percentage of the complaints have to do with long waits.

So, what’s the solution? While there are unique factors at play in every business, the following tips should prove to be helpful:

Start On Time

This should be obvious, but it’s something that a lot of businesses are terrible at. They don’t account for all of the pre-appointment logistics and end up conducting a really poor timeline.

Take, for example, a practice in which the first patient is normally scheduled at 8:00, but doesn’t actually get to a point where they can be seen by the physician until 8:20.

“It’s important to recognize the pre-visit work at the front office and clinical intake, and account for that,” says Elizabeth Woodcock, a physician practice consultant. “If you give that 8:00 patient a ‘7:40 arrival time’, that means the patient will be ready for their billable encounter at 8:00, which is truly ‘starting on time!’”

Use an Automated Platform

Are you still trying to do all of your appointment scheduling manually? While you may assume that it takes months to learn a new system, the fact of the matter is that today’s appointment scheduling platforms – such as Yocale – are highly intuitive. If you understand how to create an account, drag and drop, and input basic information, you can automate your scheduling.

Not only does automating your appointment scheduling allow you to avoid costly mistakes like over-booking or under-booking, but it also frees your administrative staff up to interact with clients. As an added bonus, platforms like Yocale also have powerful analytics features built in that will let you evaluate your performance over time.

Reduce Wait Times

Few things are more frustrating to a client than having to sit in your waiting room and twiddle their thumbs. If you want to have a good reputation of being a business that’s efficient and responsive, schedule appointments much closer together and cut down on some of the unnecessary elements that make appointments go longer than they should.

Be Upfront About Cancellation Policies

Cancellations and no-shows are very real. You can’t run a service business without having at least a few of them per month. (Many practitioners have multiple per day or week.) While an appointment scheduling platform will help cut down on these with automated reminders, you need to be clear about policies and reinforce them when they miss an appointment.

Gather Feedback From Clients

You might have one opinion of your appointment scheduling, but it’s ultimately your patients whose opinions matter. Regularly ask for feedback on how you’re doing and areas where you can improve. Their opinions may surprise you.

Take Appointment Scheduling Seriously

You have to get serious about being a better appointment scheduler. While you might not think a few extra minutes spent in the waiting room is a big deal to a client, it can be a major point of contention. And whether you realize it or not, it also hurts your profitability. So make better appointment scheduling a priority this year – and every year, for that matter.