Appointment Calendar vs. Appointment Scheduling Software

September 23, 2020

Table of Contents

Let’s take a moment and reflect real quick: How do you schedule your appointments? 

Are you using some sort of calendar on your business laptop? Are you using a Microsoft Excel template? Or are you still living in the dark ages and using a pen and paper scheduling system? 

online-appointment-scheduling-software

Now stop and ask yourself a second question: Is your current method of appointment scheduling getting in the way of efficiency? 

Chances are, the answer is yes. And even if you don’t think it is, there’s a good chance that you could find a way to make your scheduling process even more efficient than it is now. 

Appointment scheduling software is the answer to all of your scheduling problems. 

Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face reality. Digital is the future. With more and more industries and processes turning to software and apps, digital has become the norm instead of the exception. In fact, 70% of companies say that they already have a digital transformation strategy or are working on one currently. 

So if you’re looking to avoid being left behind in the dust, it’s time to get rid of your old appointment calendar and look to the future with appointment scheduling software.

A Little History On Appointment Calendars and Scheduling

It seems almost unbelievable when we take a look back and understand just how quickly technology has progressed in the past 50 years. 

When it comes to appointment scheduling, methods have changed alongside the progression of communication technology. We’ve gone from face-to-face meetings to phone conversations, all the way to email and instant messenger. While all of this new technology has its own share of pros and cons, appointment scheduling has undoubtedly become easier over time. 

 

Face-to-Face Scheduling

Offers higher levels of personalization due to in-person meeting

Less convenient for customers

Phone Scheduling

Balances personalization with convenience for customers

Can become chaotic and disorganized when phone calls are non-stop

Email Scheduling

Keeps a better trail of history with scheduling, allowing for better organization

Highly impersonal 

 

But what about appointment calendars themselves? 

Well, there are two common traditional appointment calendar types in use today. These are:

  1. Pen and paper calendars
  2. Spreadsheets (Excel, Google Sheets, etc.)

Obviously, pen and paper calendars have been around for ages. Before the advent of technology, customers would walk in or call and schedule an appointment. Their information would then be recorded in a designated appointment book by hand. 

However, with computers becoming more and more common at the turn of the century, new methods of tracking appointments quickly presented themselves. Using a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel allowed for quicker and more efficient appointment tracking. Not to mention more organized as well. Everyone knows someone with awful handwriting, and that can actually become a detriment to your business when appointments get missed! 

Thankfully, with advancements in technology, these methods have quickly become a relic of the past. New appointment scheduling software and apps have become the norm. Designed with efficiency and ease-of-use in mind, this software has permanently left its mark in the history of appointment calendars. 

Why You Need to Switch to Appointment Scheduling Software

Now you’re probably asking yourself: “Why should I make the switch to appointment scheduling software?” 

Many people are perfectly content with sticking to what’s always worked for them. While that can be a commendable strategy, why settle for good enough when you could have the best? 

Aside from joining the future of business with a digital strategy, there are numerous benefits that come with adopting an appointment scheduling software or app. Here are just a few of those benefits:

24/7 Booking

scheduling-appointment-on-mobile-device

 

Your clients are busy. This is true whether you’re running a hair salon or an automotive garage. They have busy lives, jobs, families, and many other aspects which require loads of time and attention.

If they’re only able to book with you during your hours of operation, what happens if their daily tasks happen to land at the same time? A missed customer. That’s what happens. Chances are, they’re going to open up their phone and find a salon or garage with online booking. And with 76% of people choosing to book appointments from their mobile devices, this scenario is a lot more common than you might realize. 

Whether it’s 3 pm or 3 am, your clients should be able to book appointments with you. Not everyone works the typical 9-5 job. With schedules being so vast, it’s more important than ever to offer some flexibility with your appointment booking options.

Automation

Appointment scheduling software really changes the playing field when it comes to automation. There are a few different things that become automated when you make the switch, including:

  • Checking service availability
  • Alerts and reminders
  • The booking process itself

Removing the need for human interaction not only makes your life a whole lot easier, but it actually helps your business in the end as well. These automation features are completely error-free. No more double bookings or appointment mistakes that can cost you some hard-earned revenue. 

Time-Saver

Think about it. On your busiest days, how often is one of your employees tied up on the phone, booking appointment after appointment? Wouldn’t it be nice if this process was automated instead? 

Using appointment scheduling software, you eliminate this task almost entirely. This allows you to free up the employee who normally mans the phones and have them perform other, more meaningful tasks. 

These days, running a business can make it feel like there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done. Why not use an appointment scheduling software to help reclaim some of that lost time? 

Extra Features

One of the main benefits of an appointment scheduling software actually has little to do with scheduling. Weird, isn’t it?

When you adopt an appointment scheduling software, they often come with other features that can make your life easier and improve efficiency. Some of these features may even include:

  • Push notifications 
  • Payment options 
  • Real-time reporting
  • Customer feedback
  • Internal client notes

These features can improve everything from your business efficiency to your marketing efforts, and are often overlooked when considering appointment scheduling software. 

Take Skiplino, for example. The admin app allows you to view real-time analytical reports, giving you insight into service and agent performance. 

 

 

Appointment scheduling software can often offer features that you may not think of right off the bat but are incredibly beneficial to your business. Keep that in mind. 

The Problems With Traditional Appointment Calendars

Even after learning about the key benefits of appointment scheduling software, you might still be thinking to yourself: “What’s so bad about the old way? Pen and paper is the way I’ve always done it!” 

While this might be the case, there are some glaring issues with traditional appointment calendars, whether you’re using pen and paper or even a spreadsheet template. You might just be oblivious to them because you don’t have anything to compare them to.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of different problems associated with old fashioned appointment calendars and how an appointment scheduling software compares to them. 

Accessibility 

With a pen and paper scheduler, or even an Excel spreadsheet, your customers are limited to a few different methods of booking their appointments. They can book in-person, on the phone, or potentially by email.

However, each of these different methods presents its own host of issues. 

Forcing people to book appointments in person or on the phone can be incredibly inconvenient for your customers. You’re essentially limiting the times that a customer can book an appointment to your business’ hours of operation. As we’ve mentioned previously, customer work schedules are more sporadic now than ever. 

With an appointment scheduling software, your customers can book appointments from just about anywhere. Out for a stroll in the park and feel like booking a haircut? No problem. Whip out your mobile phone and schedule that much needed trim. 

At work and decided to finally get those squeaky brakes fixed? Not an issue. Open up the scheduling desktop app and get it done. 

 

Traditional Appointment Calendars

Appointment Scheduling Software

Pigeon-hole customers into a few different booking methods

Allows customers to book from just about anywhere

Alienate people with sporadic schedules

24/7 booking is convenient for those with odd work schedules

 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to scheduling software. Your customers will thank you for the added convenience by choosing your service over the competitors. 

Organization

organized-online-schedule-calendars

 

What happens when two of your clients show up with appointments booked at the exact same time? Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? 

Double booking is a lot more common than you think. Even if you haven’t experienced this detrimental mistake yet, it’s bound to happen eventually if you’re stuck with a traditional appointment calendar. 

When you’re dealing with loads of customers, using a traditional scheduler like an appointment book is going to become inefficient. With several people on hold and maybe even a few waiting at your desk, the chances of making a small mistake such as penciling in the wrong time increase exponentially. 

This can lead to unhappy customers and some less-than-stellar Yelp reviews. 

So how does an appointment scheduling software remedy this problem?

Well, if your customer wants to book an appointment with you at a certain time, and that time isn’t available, it simply won’t allow them to do so. Easy peasy. No human error involved. 

As a bit of a side note, this also means that your customers can check availability without tying up your employees on the phone as well. All of the available times will be shown to them without a receptionist having to spend ten minutes flipping through an unorganized appointment book. Certainly a win-win situation for you and your customers. 

 

Traditional Appointment Calendars

Appointment Scheduling Software

Disorganization can lead to double booking and other detrimental errors

Automation eliminates the chance of double-booking and keeps everything organized

 

At the end of the day, using an appointment scheduling software helps you stay perfectly organized.

This leads to fewer errors and far happier clients.

Staff Efficiency 

Scheduling appointments is a task. And as a business owner, you’ve already got plenty of those. Why add another one to the pile?

Traditional appointment calendars involve having a staff member actually write the appointments down. Whether this is using a physical book or a company laptop, the task is equally as tedious. 

Think about all the different tasks that could be done if this staff member wasn’t stuck on the phone talking about appointment availability all day. Maybe you’ve got a supply closet that needs reorganizing or a floor to sweep up. 

Whatever the tasks may be, switching to appointment scheduling software can help you get them done.

Since the scheduling process is automated, you’ll no longer have to delegate an employee to man the phones. This allows the employee to perform other, more pressing tasks. And in a world where only 60% of the day is spent on productive tasks, increasing employee efficiency in any way is a bonus. 

 

Traditional Appointment Calendars

Appointment Scheduling Software 

Require a staff member to be constantly present

Eliminates the appointment scheduling task altogether 

Detrimental to employee productivity

Increases the level of efficiency 

No Shows 

Missed appointments are a huge detriment to your business. There’s no doubt about it. 

When a client misses their appointment, not only are you losing the revenue from them, but the time is now wasted because you likely won’t be able to replace their appointment at the last minute. In the health industry alone, 23% of people do not show up to their appointments without a reminder. While missed appointments may not be as impactful to you as they are in the medical field, they’re still a nagging problem for your bottom line.

With appointment scheduling software, you can schedule alerts and reminders to be sent to your clients reminding them of their upcoming appointment. You can even have your clients choose whether they’d like to receive this alert through SMS, email, and/or via the app. Convenient, isn’t it?

 

Traditional Appointment Calendars

Appointment Scheduling Software

No shows are more common due to lack of alert system

Cuts down on the number of no shows by using SMS and email alerts 

 

Your customers will appreciate being reminded of their upcoming appointment. The only way you can make that happen is by adopting an appointment scheduling software. 

Reporting and Analytics

appointment-setter-software-data-analytics

 

How do you track important customer demographics when you’re using an appointment book? Have them fill out a pen and paper questionnaire? That would be a surefire way to send them straight out the door, never to return again.

All jokes aside, traditional appointment calendars offer zero in the way of reports and customer analytics. Unless you’re using a separate app and manually recording information into it, you’re not going to have much to work with. And even if you are using separate software for this endeavor, wouldn’t it be much more efficient to have your scheduling and reports in one place?

This is where appointment scheduling software really shines. 

Having analytics features helps you track different things such as:

  • Customer demographics
  • Appointment history
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Staff performance

Using this data, you can tailor your marketing efforts to your target audience and fix any problems that may arise. You can figure out what your most popular service is. You can pinpoint your busiest times. The possibilities are endless. And they’re right there at your fingertips. 

Appointment scheduling software gives you an entire box of analytics and reporting tools that traditional appointment calendars simply cannot offer. Remember this when you’re on the fence about making the switch to digital. 

Appointment Calendar vs. Appointment Scheduling Software Summary

By now, you’ve learned about all of the different problems associated with traditional appointment calendars. And how appointment scheduling software can solve all of these issues. 

Look, we get it. Your methods have probably always worked. Maybe you don’t mind delegating an employee to booking appointments. Maybe you’ve never accidentally caused a double booking situation. If that’s the case, all the power to you.

However, the fact of the matter is that adopting appointment scheduling software can turn an okay scheduling system into a great one. 

Even if you haven’t run into any of these problems, chances are you will eventually. And with extra features like reports and analytics at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you want to make the switch?

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to pull the trigger and grab yourself an appointment scheduling software. 

Having Trouble Choosing The Correct Appointment Scheduling Software? 

choosing-the-right-online-appointment- scheduler

 

Even if you’ve decided to take the plunge, choosing the correct appointment scheduling software can be an arduous task. There are so many different options on the market, all offering promises of increased efficiency and unmatched ease of use. 

Why don’t we make the choice a little bit easier for you? Skiplino offers all the different features you’ll need for your business, including:

  • An easy to use booking calendar
  • An optimized mobile app for customers
  • Appointment reminder push notifications
  • Insights and analytics
  • Transaction processing
  • Virtual appointments
  • Customer feedback

Even if you’re just looking for some advice on appointment scheduling, why not get in touch with us? We’re here to help.

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