As humans, we know that mistakes come with the species. Unlike other species where a mistake may very well mean a life or death situation, we have evolved to where a mistake may be as minor as a typo or parking citation.
As Mean Girls so clearly taught us, the complex social structures humans live in have gotten us away from our animal intuition & instincts and into a land rife with mistakes and forgiveness for said mistakes.
The same can be said for people who use an online scheduling system. We here at TimeTap have seen the way thousands of businesses have arranged their schedules to take appointments and have seen the same mistakes made countless times.
In this post, we’re going to cover the top X killer mistakes people make when they set up their web scheduler. We’ll break them all down into their basic human mistakes to hopefully motivate you to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Laziness
You’ve taken the time to setup your online scheduling account, you’ve entered in your working hours, and you’ve even added a few appointments. That’s really good, but you can do so much more.
You can (and perhaps should) right a description for each service or appointment type your clients could book with you. You can customize your email templates so they’re friendly & clients look forward to coming to meet with you. You can type out helpful directions to your location so clients don’t get confused when they’re on their way to meet you. You can customize the welcome message each client sees when they first come to your web scheduler to sound more like your brand. The list goes on, and most of the items that people will pass on involve writing. It’s not that it’s hard or that you don’t know how to do it. It’s just that it takes some serious thought and creativity and isn’t what you’ve got enough?
No! It isn’t enough.
But ask yourself, would a mother lion ever give up running after that zebra for her cubs because she thought “isn’t the zebra I got yesterday enough?” Not in a million years. Animals don’t get lazy when it comes to survival instincts and that’s exactly what you need to be thinking here.Setting up your scheduler and getting the basic information applied is a great start. You are doing better than most businesses who don’t allow online scheduling, and yes, you may pat yourself on the back for that.
Customizing the text used throughout your online scheduling is about business survival. Your instinct should be to customize more, not less.
Mistake #2: Seeing supply as it relates to demand
People hate change. Well most people hate it. Some people thrive in it, but for the most part, we humans would prefer to stay on the opposite side of the party from Change. Similarly, businesses are owned by people and in effect also hate change.
I’ve spoken with countless service providers who wonder why they’re not getting more appointments. Turns out, they only offer appointments between 9am-5pm which is great if you don’t work or have a flexible enough job that you can go between those hours. For the most part, though, most of us can’t come between those times, especially not on a repeating basis.
I know, I know: “But those have been my hours for years!” Please, save us both the trouble and just be honest with yourself. Has it been your hours for years because that’s actually what you clients want or because you have just kept making the same decision about your hours year after year?
If a hawk wants to catch her prey, would she only go out looking for it at the times she set aside? As 5 o’clock rolls around does she pack it in? No! A hawk learns instinctively when the best times for hunting are in the environment she’s in. She pays attention and hunts at those times so she can optimize her catch. Another animal instinct toward survival.
You can apply this same rationale to your business. What time are your clients most likely going to want to take advantage of your service?
Some businesses respond to this by saying they’ll take appointments at any time, day or night. I don’t think this is the best response as you’re likely to get worn out, even if people aren’t booking with you all day, at the exhausting idea that someone could.
Instead, look at your more popular appointment times and work from there. Ask yourself if people would want to come in for appointments on the weekends? Can you open up availability for them at that time?
The point here is to look at what your demand is telling you, not based on the current supply of appointments you have to offer but on what timeslots you could offer to increase overall bookings and thus business revenue.
Mistake #3: Not playing on your strengths
There are far too many times where I see people trying to polish up a skill that just doesn’t work for them. I think this is a really admirable thing to do and work at, but it oftentimes comes at the expense of actually playing up your strengths.
A chiropractor, for instance, really wants to offer nutrition consultations at his office. He is a fantastic chiropractor and has regular clients, but he sees nutrition consultation as a new outlet to grow his business further and get more clients in the door.
It involves some marketing, however, that he isn’t quite used to (nor does he particularly like). It also involves him having to sell clients on nutrition plans and he doesn’t really like that salesy process.
As he works hard to market this new nutrition consultation and sell the few clients he gets in the door on his nutrition plans, his chiropractic patients start to see the difference in his concentration and he starts to forget to send out reminders for their appointments. In essence, the shine of his real strength starts to fade.
An owl hunts at night because that’s what her vision has been adapted to. She sits close to the trunk of a tree because her head can swivel almost 360 degrees around to the other side to look down at the ground for scurrying prey.
Why would she come out during the day to hunt when her success rate is much better at night? If she did, she’d undoubtedly be tired when night did roll around and would catch less prey as a result.
I’m not saying not to try new services or take new roads for your business. We can all strive to better ourselves with being able to offer additional services or expertise. We can use a web scheduler to let clients schedule those types of appointments even.
What I’m saying is make sure that you don’t do this to the point that it compromises the real strengths you’ve already developed.
So there you have it: 3 mistakes we make all the time in business scheduling that would be killer if an animal replicated in her domain.
I’d love to hear from you, too. What mistakes have you come across in your scheduling procedures? Have you made any of the mistakes we mentioned here? How did you recognize it as a mistake and recover?
If you’re looking for a web scheduler that can help you make fewer mistakes in your scheduling processes, sign up for TimeTap’s free scheduling system. We can’t guarantee that we’ll completely eliminate the human error factor, but we sure will try: