Before scheduling software existed, we typically made appointments in person, by phone, or through email. Finding appointment openings that matched up with our availability wasn't always easy, and rescheduling often proved tedious.
Now, scheduling software allows businesses and clients to view openings and create appointments in minutes. This solution, coupled with automated notifications, reminders, and meeting links, saves everyone time.
While we still use conventional ways to connect, scheduling apps have eliminated unnecessary back-and-forth communication and generated a smoother appointment-making experience.
Here are the eight most common ways to make an appointment with online scheduling software:
Front desk calls
Curious to know which of these ways are supported in Zoho Bookings?
Emails remain the most common scheduling method for businesses and customers. We'll exchange an estimated 333.2 billion emails in 2022, and there's no doubt that many of these will pertain to appointment scheduling.
Here are four ways you can help customers make appointments through email:
- Include the booking page URL in your marketing emails Whether you're sending promotional emails or newsletters, you can make it easy for customers to access your booking page by linking to it in your messages.
- Copy and paste your availability from your scheduling app Some scheduling apps allow you to copy specific times you're available and paste them into messages. This way, recipients can view and book a particular time through the schedule provided in your email.
- Hyperlink the booking page URL in your email signature When you’re reaching out to prospects through email every day, it’s best to be prepared for any opportunity to meet with them. Including a link to your booking page in your email signature will ensure you never miss an opportunity to bring in new customers.
- Manually schedule the appointment Old habits die hard. Some customers prefer to discuss and confirm appointment times through back-and-forth emails, so once they've settled on a time, you can manually add their selection into the scheduling app.
When site visitors find value in your services, their next step is to locate the contact page. If they can't find important information, such as your name, email, or phone number, they'll likely leave the site and seek out other options.
By including a scheduling app on your website, you'll ensure that visitors always have a way to get in touch. This quickly turns prospects into customers and drastically reduces the time spent on emails or phone calls.
There are two ways to add your booking page to your website:
Hyperlink your booking page URL with a clickable text, image, or button. This allows site visitors to easily locate and open the scheduling page.
Add the scheduling app's HTML code to your website. Scheduling apps allow you to embed the entire booking page or insert a customizable pop-up window.
3. Social media
There are 4.62 billion of us on social media, so it's no surprise that most businesses now rely on these platforms to build their customer base. By providing a scheduling page on your social media accounts, you'll make it easy for new and existing customers to meet with you.
There are two ways customers can make an appointment from your social media accounts:
Integrate your schedule with social media apps. For example, if your scheduling app partners with platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can directly connect your schedule to your accounts. Once connected, your account pages will display the book now or reserve button for customers to schedule an appointment quickly.
Use the booking page URL to your advantage. You can include this link in your bio section and post captions, enter it into a contact field, or add it to your stories.
CRM is the central hub for customer data and engagement. Here, you have all your customers' contact information at your fingertips.
Connect your scheduling app
Some scheduling apps integrate with popular CRMs like Salesforce or Zoho CRM. Once integrated, your scheduling page becomes accessible with just the click of a button. Customers can share their availability, and you can easily set and confirm their appointments without ever leaving your CRM.
Email your booking page URL instantly
Once you integrate your scheduling software into your CRM, you can send an email to prospects with the booking page URL without opening multiple apps. As an added benefit, you can also track past and upcoming appointments and follow up with customers right from your CRM.
Do you use Zoho CRM? Here's the plugin to integrate with Zoho Bookings.
5. Front desk calls
Calling the front desk is a practice that never seems to go out of style, despite our fast-moving, high-tech culture. This is particularly common in health care, as patients typically prefer to confirm specific appointment details with a receptionist before settling on an appointment time.
Once customers confirm their availability over the phone, you can automate the remaining processes through your scheduling app. For example, when your receptionist manually schedules appointments through the scheduling app or the connected CRM, the appointment notifications, reminders, payment collection, and follow-ups are automatically taken care of.
6. Messaging apps
Messaging apps have become a central part of our daily conversations. Whether it's for work or personal reasons, we often use these platforms to decide when and where to meet.
If you use a messaging app for your business, your scheduling software can save you valuable time. Once you copy and paste your booking page URL into the chat, customers can make appointments without asking for your availability.
Although messaging apps have largely taken over the instant messaging scene, SMS texts still have a role to play. When it comes to scheduling appointments, you can automate follow-up booking notifications by sending customers an SMS reminder and the scheduling link.
Scheduling apps provide APIs that allow you to customize the appointment scheduling process. For example, you can personalize your appointment collection process, fetch customer details and prefill fields for faster bookings, or add your scheduling app to your own app.
APIs can help you achieve endless customizations so that it's easy for your customers to book appointments.
Importance of your booking page URL
Your booking page URL acts as a virtual bridge between customers and your services. More often than not, customers land on your scheduling page through the booking page URL.
You can think about your online scheduling process like an ice cream shop. Your booking page URL is the door for customers to enter; they then pick an appointment type (a flavor), choose from your available time slot (toppings), and make an appointment with you (buy the ice cream). Ultimately, you make a lasting impression on your customers when you provide impeccable service and an enjoyable scheduling process.
Link sharing etiquette: what's the polite way to share a scheduling link?
Some have wondered whether sharing scheduling links could be considered impolite. Before exploring this concept, we should acknowledge the primary intention behind these links: to save time. If we all shared our scheduling links with one another, we could easily speed up the appointment-making process.
Depending on the context, however, sharing a scheduling link could send the wrong message. For example, if you email someone a link to your schedule without any explanation, it may cause the recipient to assume that their own availability isn’t important to you. They might simply reply with their own availability, but sometimes, they may choose not to respond.
A good practice to follow is to ask your recipient when they're available and include your booking page URL in your message. This way, they can choose a time from your schedule if it works for them, but they'll also feel free to respond with other times that better fit their needs.
Although we add a step to the scheduling process when we ask for our recipient's availability, it communicates to the other person that you value their time. This ensures that you come across as thoughtful rather than rude.
Selecting a robust scheduling solution
How we meet with others has changed drastically over the past decade. Today, online scheduling makes it easier for business owners to connect with customers, and it facilitates appointment management for hybrid and remote workers.
With the methods mentioned above, solopreneurs, small teams, businesses, and organizations can broaden their customer base. However, the most important element for success is an excellent online appointment scheduling solution. Our software, Zoho Bookings, can help you streamline the booking process so you stay on top of your schedule.
Let us simplify your appointment scheduling process.