When choosing an appointment scheduling software to roll out across your retail store portfolio, it’s important to find a provider that integrates with a range of calendar apps. This will help to increase productivity, streamline operations and prevent customer no-shows to appointments.
An appointment booking platform should integrate with a number of third-party calendar tools, including:
- Microsoft Outlook
- Office 365
Why integrate your appointment booking system with calendar apps?
By choosing an appointment booking app that integrates with a number of prominent calendar apps or providers, retailers can:
Increase store operations
Retailers can streamline their in-store operations by integrating with third-party calendar tools. A decent appointment booking system will showcase activities in your store’s calendar, and scheduled activities in third-party calendars will also show up in the booking system’s calendar, blocking out time-slots where store associates are unavailable. Activities booked within your booking system should also be pushed back to the third-party calendar apps for full visibility.
Help store associates to manage their time
Store associates should be able to subscribe to the appointment booking calendar and see all appointments within their work and personal calendars, whether that is through Outlook, Google or Apple etc.
This way store associates can understand their availability periods and to place events booked in the booking system directly into their calendars.
Prevent no-shows and increase engagement
Customers with a booking will receive regular reminder emails and SMS updates, but occupying a place in their calendar will hold greater importance for many consumers, especially those that are reliant on their calendars.
This will have a major impact on the number of customer no-shows, saving your team time and building stronger relationships with your customers.
Keep customers updated if the appointment changes
If a store associate or the customer has to change the appointment time or date for whatever reason, then a calendar integration will help avoid confusion and keep everyone updated and informed on all changes.
Provide useful information about store visits or virtual appointments
Calendar integrations can also be useful for supplying customers with information about the appointment, such as the customer journey from the store entrance to the appointment (i.e. “Speak with our customer host who will point you in the right direction”, or “Go to our beauty and styling bar at the far end of the first floor”).
For virtual appointments, which have grown in popularity since the pandemic, it’s also useful to provide a video call link. For instance, at Qudini our Appointment Scheduling Software is integrated with Zoom, allowing customers to easily join video calls with our clients.
Which calendar apps should your booking system integrate with?
There are loads of booking apps out there, but here are some of the most popular:
Gmail is by far the most popular email provider, with 1.5 billion users worldwide, according to Shift, and its calendar tool is heavily used for personal and business purposes – 500 million people use the calendar tool.
Th Google calendar is accessible to anyone with a Gmail account, Google Drive or GSuite through their browser, but the tech giant has also created a free Google Calendar app for iOS and Android users.
Investing in an appointment scheduling software Outlook integration is worthwhile for a number of reasons. Owned by Microsoft, the email system and calendar has 400 million users, according to Shift, and is particularly commonplace within corporate organizations.
Like Outlook, Office 365 is a Microsoft product that is the corporate heavyweight of email communications, and is heavily used by a number of prominent retailer businesses. It comes with a calendar interface that is quite intuitive.
Microsoft Exchange powers the back end of Office 365 and Outlook email systems and is designed to integrate all emails into one database. It is commonly used by organizations to integrate additional email features (shared contacts, shared calendars), into one easy to use platform.
Like Google’s calendar interface, Apple’s calendar comes free with any of its products, making it convenient for customers to access and use. It also integrates with all other Apple devices that the consumer has (iPad, iPhone etc.) – however, it won’t be present on any Windows or Android devices.
With 45% of US consumers having an iPhone, according to 2021 predictions from Statista, this is a must-have from a customer engagement point of view.
By integrating with these 5 calendar apps, your appointment booking system with be able to easily communicate with your store associates and customers, and vice versa.
For more information about Qudini’s Appointment Scheduling Software, including our features, take a look at our solutions page here.