Appointment scheduling software allows retailers to offer their customers a fast, simple and engaging way to book appointments for service in-store or online.
Retailers that implement this software can increase footfall traffic to their stores, boost conversion rates (both in-store and online) and strengthen existing relationships with consumers.
There are numerous ways retailers and other organisations can use a booking software, but here are 5 of the most common appointment scheduling types are:
- Time-slot scheduling
- Wave scheduling
- Wave and walk-in appointments
- Open appointments
- Double bookings.
1) Time-slot scheduling
The most common booking type is time-slot scheduling, which is when a customer is provided with a list of available time-slots to choose from.
The customer clicks on the time-slot that suits them, fills out their details and receives a confirmation email and/or SMS as a follow up.
2) Wave scheduling
Another common scheduling type is wave scheduling, where customers essentially arrive in waves at certain times throughout the day and are served in the order at which they arrive.
For instance, you might have five customers coming into store every half hour or hour and a customer host assigns them to the next available consultant or associate. This is a great way to stagger customer visits throughout the day, which is useful when your customer journey demands that you prioritize customers with urgent needs over others.
3) Wave scheduling + walk-in
Another approach to the above wave scheduling technique is to schedule customers at specific times during the first half of each hour, and keep the second half-hour open for walk-in customers or who require urgent care.
This way you can prioritize those with appointments first, or those with urgent needs, and then for the rest of the hour your team can see walk-in customers.
Another approach to the wave system is to schedule appointments that are expected to take longer on the hour and to schedule shorter appointments on the half-hour.
4) Open booking
Another approach is to have open booking scheduling, where customers aren’t given a specific time for their appointment but are told to come in during a specific time range, such as between 10am and 12pm. The customers are served in the order of their arrival. Open booking works best when there is a constant stream of customers or when a store is not busy.
5) Double scheduling
Another approach to scheduling is to allow two customers to make an appointment at once. This is when a retailer allows to customers to arrive at the same appointment time and are both scheduled into a single time slot. This is sometimes used when customers have urgent needs and must be added to an already-full schedule. Potential workarounds is having another sales associates available to take additional bookings or offering virtual bookings instead.
Multiple stores, countries and languages
When choosing an appointment booking system, it’s worth making sure it is available across multiple store locations and regions, so that the system is fully integrated and head office and in-store teams are in-sync. This will come in useful if store managers or associates want to transfer customers from one store to another if they are at max capacity. or for customers wanting to change branches. This also helps with the after-sales process, as all appointment data is stored on your CRM in an efficient manner. It’s also worth finding a booking system that has multiple languages, especially if you’re a global business.