Customers want - no, make that expect - a great experience when they interact with any business, and that is especially true of a physical service-based business. They are looking for great service all around though, from the moment they first make contact with you and your business to when, the service having been rendered, it's time to pay.
Great service is not just a boon to customers though, it can be a real booster for your company's bottom line as well. In a recent Google Local study, 86% of the consumers surveyed said they will pay more for a service if the company - and the people providing it - offer a superior customer service experience. It was also among the top three reasons everyone surveyed said they became repeat customers of service businesses of all kinds.
Most service businesses - whether you are a hairdresser, a car mechanic, a fitness instructor or a dog walker - first interact with new customers when they need to book an appointment.
These days the best free appointment scheduling software makes scheduling customer appointments quick, easy and efficient. But there is a right, and a wrong way to go about using even the best free appointment scheduling software to provide the best possible start to the customer's experience with your business. Here are some tips for doing just that.
Personalization is Key
The advent of online everything sometimes takes away from the personalized customer service of old. You can't say, for example, that shopping online is always quite the same as interacting with a friendly, helpful clerk in a shop is it?
Savvy businesses have realized this though and go to great lengths to retain as much of the personalization that people appreciate as possible. And, for a service business, that should include the appointment booking process because an automated, standardized world, a personalized customer experience became the key to keeping customers connected and happy.
Instead of having to take time out of their busy day - time they really don't have -ringing up a business to book, reschedule, or cancel appointments over the phone, customers can make use of your free appointment scheduling software to choose and schedule their own appointments from the convenience of their computer or mobile phone at any time, and from any place.
It might seem like this anytime, no contact scheduling would create an impersonal, distant experience for your customers, but in fact, when you look at it a little more closely the opposite is true. Why? Here are just some great ways free appointment scheduling software can help boost your customer's experience and they opinion of your business.
Online Appointment Scheduling is Faster
People are busy, and so if someone does not respect their time they will get frustrated. Asking someone to remain on hold for ten minutes just to book an appointment for a haircut is not respecting their time. In fact, it's suggesting that your time is more valuable than theirs, which is not a great way to begin a relationship.
By offering a fast, easy way to schedule appointments at their leisure you are demonstrating that you've thought about how busy people are and by making use of free appointment scheduling software you are doing your best to respect them and their time, which is something that will be appreciated.
Online Appointment Scheduling Empowers Consumers
Making an appointment online at their convenience gives customers a sense of empowerment, of being in control of the process. They can choose the day, the time, the service, and, if applicable, the service provider of their choice without fearing that they will be subject to an uncomfortable hard sell. Consumers value this kind of low pressure experience more than you might think, as you will discover once you offer it.
Online Appointment Scheduling Reduces Errors
Even the best staff working in any business can make mistakes when scheduling appointments over the phone, or even in person.
When you are busy, and trying to do several things at once, appointment scheduling often starts to go wrong. Times get mixed up. Walk in appointments booked at particularly busy times never quite make it into the appointment book. The same slot is given out to two different customers. And the result of all these innocent errors is almost always angry, frustrated customers, which is the last thing you want.
By maintaining an organized, easy to update online appointment scheduling system all of these potential errors can be eliminated. Your customer has an immediate record of their newly booked appointment and so do you, slots can't be double booked and clients will be allotted the right amount of time for you to provide their service in the best possible way. Which brings us to our final point...
Online Appointment Scheduling Software Helps Your Offer Better Service
There are features included in the best free appointment scheduling software that can even help you provide better service on the day while also streamlining appointments and cut down on wasted time.
How? Here's a hypothetical example:
Imagine you are a hairstylist. You can make use of your online booking system to gain valuable extra information about your unique styling needs before the appointment. You can add fields asking questions about hair type, length, usual styling habits, and more, and all of this information will allow you to be better prepared to give them the look that they want.
The concept can be carried across all kinds of different niches. Personal trainers can ask questions about current fitness levels. Tattoo artists can ask detailed questions about the kinds of artwork the client is looking for and even share image and drawing ideas in a few clicks in a follow-up message. The scope is endless and the best part of it all is this makes the experience feel very personalized, something that is exactly what the client wants.