When clients manage their own appointments, it saves you loads of time from having to return missed calls and gives your clients the added convenience of being able to book, reschedule, or cancel right from their handheld devices. Moving from a paper based appointment book to an online scheduling system, however, can call for its own fair share of work.
Primary among that work is actually getting your clients to your scheduler to make appointments with you. As you probably know, change is hard, and some of your clients may resist using your website to schedule and may still want to call you instead.
This post will give you some creative ways to get your clients to go to your website to book and manage their appointments. While we’ve written about ways to get your clients to book online in the past, this time around we’re going even deeper into how you can encourage your clients to schedule online.
Client Outreach Tip #1: Email Newsletter Announcement
I know how hard it can be to come up with content for a weekly or even monthly newsletter. When you implement online scheduling for your business, you can use it as the main feature for one of the newsletters you send out to clients.
You may not think starting online scheduling is worth an entire newsletter in and of itself, but I disagree and here’s why. Most of the content that service based businesses publish is unintentionally about themselves. I don’t mean that businesses are doing this in a self-centered way; rather, I mean that businesses are usually posting about updates that are going on for their business.
While implementing online scheduling is an update to your business, it is something that clients can immediately interact with. They don’t have to pay you first before they get access to your scheduling portal. Using your business newsletter to announce that you’ve launched online scheduling for your organization is great for letting clients know you are really thinking about them and their needs (because we know all of your clients really want to be able to schedule online).
The other nice thing about doing it on a newsletter is you have some room to explain the nuances of using your scheduler. In fact, TimeTap has a handy documentation site built specifically for your clients (or, in other words, our clients’ clients). Feel free to link to that documentation site if you want to help your clients understand how to login or register for your scheduler.
Client Outreach Tip #2: Office Signage
Just because you allow booking online doesn’t mean all of the promotion you do for it has to be online too. One of the best ways to let existing clients know about this new aspect of your business is to put up a sign (or 2 or 3 signs) around your office.
If clients have been coming to you for your services for a long time, it’s possible that they’ve not even looked at your website since the first or second visit. They got your phone number or email, stored that away, and don’t see see a huge need to keep visiting your website.
A simple sign should do the trick to reel these clients into managing their own appointments. Place one on your office door, your front desk, and in the actual room that you meet with your clients in. It doesn’t have to say much more than “We now offer online scheduling, right from our website”.
And if you have embedded your TimeTap web scheduler on Facebook, you can include that they can book with you on Facebook, too (might get a few more likes for your business page to boot ;-).
Client Outreach Tip #3: Include it on your voicemail greeting
If you’ve set up an online scheduling system, but your clients aren’t using it (yet), then more than likely they are still calling you trying to get appointments. A quick way to increase awareness of the web scheduling option is to include in your voicemail greeting that you now take appointments online.
Your sample greeting could say “Thanks for calling ABC Business. We are either with a client or away from the office and can’t take your call at this time. Please be aware that you can now book, cancel, or reschedule an appointment right from our website. If you are calling regarding other issues, please leave a message after the tone and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.”
This isn’t foolproof. Of course clients will still hear that they can go to your website and a few of them will still leave messages about the appointments they want to book or changes they want to make. It does, however, decrease the likelihood that clients aren’t using your web scheduler because they’re unaware you even have one.
The three ways above are just three of many client outreach tips we’ve got up our sleeves. Stay tuned for more tips in the coming weeks and months.
The amount of time that it takes to get the majority of your clients scheduling online varies from business to business. One thing that we’ve made sure of in our web scheduler is to keep the client scheduling side as simple as possible for maximum efficiency and minimum confusion. If you think that you aren’t getting as many online appointments because your scheduling system is too complicated, then come on over to try out a free web scheduler with TimeTap .
If you have any other creative methods you’ve used to get clients over to your web scheduler, let us know about them in the comments below! And if you want an easy-to-use and free web scheduler to let your clients manage their own appointments, make sure to give TimeTap a try: