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Online Appointment Scheduling: What Is It and How Does it Work?

by Sam Osbourne

The Appointment Scheduling software market size is expected to reach $558 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 12.54 between 2020 and 2027. A permanent feature of the new retail landscape, it’s safe to say online appointment scheduling has fundamentally changed retail and banking. 

As brands launch these systems to keep up with rising customer expectations, here’s everything you need to know about electronic appointment scheduling. 

 

What is Online Appointment Scheduling?

An Online Appointment Scheduling system, also referred to as an Electronic Appointment Scheduling or Online Booking System, is a cloud-based solution that professionals, enterprise retailers, banks and other organizations use to automate and organize their appointment calendar. 

Typically, Appointment Scheduling systems come with: 

You can make an Appointment Software even more powerful by integrating it with a Virtual Queue System to manage walk-ins alongside appointment customers. 

 

How does appointment scheduling software work?

Traditionally, customers had to make appointments over the phone. It was a time-consuming process for all involved. Retail staff were overrun with endless calls and emails for appointment requests, forced to manually organize every booking.

Fortunately, Electronic Appointment Scheduling came along and streamlined this process. For the first time, customers didn’t have to liaise with the store to find an available booking. They could clearly see all available appointments online and confirm their booking independently.  

Here’s how Appointment Scheduling systems works: 

1. The customer schedules an appointment online, either via booking widget, mobile app, QR code, in-store or through a call center. 

2. The customer instantly receives a booking confirmation. 

3. Nearer the date of their appointment, the customer starts to receive email and text reminders which allow them to easily confirm, reschedule or cancel their booking.

4. On the day of their appointment, the customer checks into your store or clicks a weblink to join their video appointment.

Illustration showing the Appointment Booking Journey

 

What are the key features of Online Appointment Scheduling Software?

Generally, Scheduling Apps come with features like: 

 

Two-way calendar syncing 

Any Appointment Software worth its salt should be able to integrate into your store teams calendars. Essentially, this means that when your store teams’ personal or work calendars change, their availability is automatically updated to prevent double bookings. 

The 5 key calendar integrations appointment apps need are with Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, Exchange, Apple and Google.

 

Multichannel booking 

Electronic appointment scheduling gives customers more flexibility when it comes to making a booking. For instance, most systems enable your customers to schedule appointments via your website, mobile app, search engine profile, QR code, social media and more. 

There’s also no curfew–customers can book an appointment at any time of day.  

 

Automated reminders and follow-ups 

Automated email and SMS reminders are a win-win. Your store team doesn’t have to do any admin once they’re set up and your no show and cancellation rates will drop significantly. 

You should also be able to add a weblink to your reminders that enables customers to confirm, reschedule or cancel their booking. This allows your team to better allocate resources and forecast store footfall. 

 

Integrations

A stand alone Booking App will help you to boost ROI. However, you’ll see even greater results if you integrate your software into your ecosystem. From video conferencing to CRM integrations, the right connections will enable you to roll out innovative appointment features.

 

Activity dashboards 

Enterprise retailers and banks also have the unique opportunity to close the data gap and find out what’s happening between the customer entering their stores and the point of sale. 

Appointment Scheduling systems can automatically capture data on things like:

 

Waitlist management

Another important service any Appointment Booking platform needs is the ability to also manage walk-in customers. Using an all-in-one software provider means that enterprise businesses can centralize their tool management and drive their digital transformation.

Unfortunately, single-solution Appointment Scheduling providers typically won’t offer waitlist management. Make sure to choose a multi-solution software provider if you also want to create a better waiting experience. 

 

What are the benefits of an Online Appointment Scheduling system?

Appointment Scheduling apps have many benefits, both for your business and your customers. 

 

Benefits of an Online Booking System for customers

Customers generally report that they like using Scheduling Apps because they:

 

Benefits of an Online Booking System for retailers and banks

On the other hand, retailers and banks benefit from automating the appointment scheduling process by:

To learn more, read our latest article on the advantages of Online Scheduling systems

 

How to optimize your Scheduling Software

Just as you can get more out of your Appointment Booking App with a Virtual Queuing software integration, you can optimize your system by: 

 

How to Choose the best Appointment Booking system

When choosing an Appointment Scheduling software, there are a few things you should consider:

 

What is the best app for scheduling appointments?

If you want to be confident about your decision, check out our list of the best apps for scheduling appointments, which includes:

  • Qudini
  • JRNI
  • Salesforce Scheduler
  • Clientela
  • Qmatic
  • Zebra
  • Engageware
  • Coconut Software
  • Appointedd
  • Timify
  • Calendly
  • Setmore
  • Squarespace
  • Brickwork
  • Booxi

 

FAQS

Get the answers to the most popular questions about Appointment Scheduling Systems.

 

What are the types of appointment scheduling? 

The most common types of appointment scheduling are time-slot, wave, wave and walk-in, open, double, cluster, matrix and 40/20 scheduling. 

 

Why is online appointment booking important? 

Automating the appointment scheduling process takes the pressure off your store teams. It gives them back many hours they’d have spent organizing appointments over the phone and allows them to focus on higher priority tasks. You’re also more likely to win new customers than your competitors because modern consumers typically prefer retailers and banks who use digital tools. 

 

What are the disadvantage of computerized appointment systems?

Store teams may take some time to adapt to using a new technology in the beginning. Fortunately, a short training session with an explanation of the benefits is usually enough to get your employees excited about their new scheduling aid. 

 

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Do you know how you’re going to stay relevant and profitable during the recession?

Peak season is just around the corner!

Have you thought about how you’re going to manage peak season traffic this winter?

New best practice guide

Our new best practice guide explains how Appointment Booking Landing pages will drive traffic to your in-store and virtual appointment services.

Latest consumer survey report

Our latest consumer survey report shows which types of retail stores and banks customers want to be able to schedule appointments within…

Recent consumer survey report

Our recent consumer survey report shows how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits and which habits will be here to stay…

Upcoming Webinar

Our Upcoming Webinar will present consumer insights on how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits. Sign-up below for Tuesday October 12th (2pm ET | 11am PT).