Old-school retailers using antiquated call-up and email booking systems are putting their customers under unnecessary stress. It’s no wonder more and more customers are switching to digitally-savvy, hassle-free retailers to schedule in-store and virtual appointments using an Online Booking System.
How does the Call-up booking method work?
For many years, it’s been the norm that the customer needs to go through the rigmarole of finding a retailer’s store number, emailing or calling them and waiting for confirmation to schedule an appointment.
To demonstrate why making the customer email or call you to book an appointment is a flawed and outdated process, we’ve created some scenarios:
Call-up to book appointment booking journey
Busy consumer Patricia has been meaning to make a retail appointment for many weeks. When she does finally find a spare moment during her lunch break to call her retailer of choice to schedule said appointment, no-one answers.
Patricia expects them to call her back. She waits a few days. Nothing. She’s disappointed. Patricia struggles to find the time to call the retailer again but when she does call them again, the time she needs isn’t available.
After all that, Patricia has a nasty surprise when she gets her next phone bill. She’s been charged for making the call. Ultimately, she never makes a booking.
Email to book appointment booking journey
Let’s now imagine that Patricia instead manages to squeeze in time to write a quick email to schedule an appointment on her lunch break. Your store team will then need to spend time typing out available times. Patricia will also have to decide if any of those times are convenient and find time again to send a reply. On top, she needs to keep an eye out to find out if her booking is confirmed.
In both scenarios, Patricia–and customers more generally–would have to proactively put the appointment into their calendar. It’s no surprise that retailers with these processes still in place encounter significantly higher no show rates, costing both time and money. Essentially, customers like Patricia are more likely to forget about their scheduled appointment if they don’t have time to manually record their appointment details.
If Patricia needs to cancel or reschedule her appointment in either scenario, she’d have to find the right contact details by searching online before contacting the retailer. Doing so is often a real headache, meaning she’d probably not bother to do so. This further increases the no show rate.
How Qudini’s Online Booking System streamlines the customer journey
Fortunately, there is a stress-free alternative. Here’s a look at how Patricia’s booking journey changes when she switches to a retailer offering an Online Booking System:
Patricia has a few spare minutes so she googles ‘schedule appointment’ along with the name of the retailer she’s thinking of. The first link she sees takes her to their online booking page. Patricia chooses the service she wants and selects a time that’s convenient. With time to spare, she’s completed her booking.
Immediately afterwards, her phone buzzes as she receives a confirmation email with a calendar invitation. Should she need to alter her booking, she’ll only have to click this cancellation or reschedule link. She’ll also receive email and SMS reminders leading up to the day of her booking with further opportunities to reschedule if need be.
“Appointment booking has allowed us to better forecast, not only in terms of staffing and resources, but also parts as well when it comes to ‘break fix’.”
What services do customers want to book appointments for?
Customers most commonly book appointments for:
- In-store services
- Virtual services
- Sales advice
- Gift advice
- Style advice/personal shopping
- Personalization services
- Accessibility services (assisted shopping, wheelchair access, quiet store hours)
- Click and collect/ buy online pickup in store (BOPIS)
- Home visits (for services and repairs
- Field consultants
- In-store amenities and dwell spaces
Why retailers need Appointment software
Despite ecommerce creating excessive choice for consumers worldwide, the brick-and-mortar store is still the key driver for retail sales. Retail consultancy firm McKinsey anticipates that as much as 85% of US retail sales will still take place in physical stores by 2025.
Yet it’s far from plain sailing for physical retail. Retailers will close an estimated 50,000 physical stores by 2026. To win the retail revolution, brand leaders need to innovate, innovate, innovate. It’s clicks-to-bricks businesses like Warby Parker and Bonobos, who are creating experiential stores, that will thrive in the omnichannel future of retail.
After all, consumers no longer simply want to buy products or services. They want retailers to go above and beyond to create the perfect in-store experience. For instance, younger consumers are particularly likely to want retailers to use Retail Choreography software tools in-store and online.
Google Trends data also shows that more customers are searching for “Store Appointment” than ever before. Given that there’s clear demand for Appointment Software, it’s necessary for retailers to make the booking journey as seamless as possible. A key advantage of using a Scheduling App is that you can simultaneously drive traffic to your stores and enhance the customer experience.
Yet, many brands still haven’t caught up with customer demand and risk losing brand relevance because they still rely on a call-up or email booking process.
What are the proven benefits of Qudini’s booking software?
By upgrading to Qudini’s Online Booking System, retailers see multiple benefits including:
- Increased traffic: Retailers typically double the number of appointments using Qudini, which drives sales and ensures staff are productive throughout the working day.
- Lower staff admin time: Because Qudini automates the entire booking process, store associates don’t need to do any administrative work to keep on top of bookings.
- More new customer acquisitions: 60% of customers making appointments are completely new to the brand, having never visited their stores before.
- Higher revenue: With Qudini’s Booking Software, 48% of appointment customers are more likely to convert. This is largely because store associates can prepare for appointments with plenty of time to deliver better service.
- Better staff efficiency: Store teams are 25% more productive when using our Appointment Scheduling System to streamline the booking process.
- Reduced no shows: Clients generally see a 70% reduction in no shows after deploying Qudini’s Scheduling System because customers receive booking reminders and ‘confirm your booking requests’ leading up to the appointment.
- Deeper data insights: Qudini collects over 100 data points on every appointment customers’ in-store journey. Head office and store managers can leverage this data to understand footfall patterns and to better plan resources and stock supply.
What features does Qudini’s appointment software include?
Qudini’s software engineers built our Scheduling System with enterprise retailers in mind. In other words, our Booking Software streamlines the entire appointment process with features to:
- Schedule appointments online, select a service and see intelligent time slot suggestions based on capacity
- Choose an advisor as part of their experience (if you’ve enabled this setting)
- Reschedule, cancel or confirm their appointment at the click of a button
Store, call center and HQ team features
- Ask customers tailored questions based on their selected service with question type capabilities for free text, drop down, image selection, digital signature and much more
- Send customers surveys after the customer’s visit by email or text
- Easily create and manage appointments on any desktop, tablet or smartphone, with the ability for multiple team members to use the system at once
- Download and print a list of appointments
- Call center teams even have their own interface they can create and manage appointments on behalf of customers
- Use our appointment software across multiple stores and timezones
- HQ teams also receive analytics reports to learn about appointment capacity utilization and get a deep insight into why customers make appointments
Essentially, what you can do with a call-up or email appointment booking process is severely limited.
By contrast, our Appointment System features ensure you’re creating a better brand image, driving appointment traffic, increasing sales, reducing no shows and boosting return rates than you otherwise would with a simple call-up or email process.
“Qudini makes my daily life much easier, because the appointments that I get in for the day I know are going to go ahead. Customers have much more time to prepare and they’ve had notifications the whole way through the process. They’ve also had the ability to reschedule. For me there’s less admin time that I’m having to complete, giving me more time to get on with my day job.”
HQ, NatWest Bank
Customer appointment scheduling trends
In a recent Appointment Scheduling Demand Survey of 2,000 US consumers, we found that retailers who use an Online Booking System stand to increase customer acquisition, sales, loyalty and advocacy.
The following statistics were also collected from customers who have used a scheduling service in the past year:
- 93% reported at least one positive effect
- 33% said they were more likely to visit the retailer in future
- 24% said they went on to buy something from the retailer
- 29% said they’re now more likely to return to the retailer
- 25% said it drove them to choose the retailer over their competitors
- 21% said it drove them to tell their friends about the retailer
Learn more about Qudini – market-leading Retail Choreography provider
To find out more about how we’re powering retail, watch this case study video for Samsung and leading international bank NatWest. We helped both retailers to move away from a rudimentary web-form and phone based appointment scheduling experiences to our end-to-end platform.
You can visit our clients page to read more about how we’re helping retailers and brands and organizations including London Met University with our appointment scheduling and other solutions.