What time is it? Time for the 2nd week of our “Hack My” series! We hope you’re as excited as we are.
So in our previous post for this series, we looked at how to hack your business’ growth and get more clients. This week we look at how to set up your business' scheduling in order to hopefully have a smoother work-week.
Have you ever set the work-week’s schedule and found out that there weren’t enough staff to cover for a busy day? And because your business was understaffed, clients or customers became very impatient or even walked out? Or have you found yourself in hot water because of a lack of time transitioning from one service to next but needed a buffer?
>> I need help! <<
How can I set up my schedule online so that the work-week might run more smoothly?
We have several solutions that can definitely help.
Problem #1 : Understaffed - Upsetting to Clients & Customers - Costing Your Business
So you might have thought that you've planned out the weekly work schedule well, but it's one day - Wednesday - and the clients or customers start pouring in. You didn't anticipate a busy afternoon, but it turns out that there aren't enough staff to take care of client or customer concerns. So now there are some who are getting a little upset because service is slower than usual.
What should you do differently to avoid this should business pick up unexpectedly? Here's a way to avoid understaffing.
Solution: Online Staff Scheduling
Online staff scheduling can help you avoid being unprepared when business picks up. If you use an online scheduling system, you can create profiles for your staff members and set up their hours of availability. They can also do this themselves. Instead of keeping track of employee schedules by paper, having these online helps you to be able to plan by setting up their days & hours of availability so that they're easily viewable by calendar as you can see below.
Color-coding each staff member's schedules is also a helpful feature with online staff scheduling.
Problem #2 : Not Enough Time in Between Services/Classes
You've just finished a service with a client, and now you need to travel to your next location for your next service. Since it's 12:53 p.m., traffic is likely to be a little heavier and you're really going to need 10 extra minutes to make it there, but the service is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. If you or a coworker find that you need a gap or space of time in between completion of services whether that's due to traffic, preparation, or wrapping up with a client, then we've got a solution...add a buffer.
Solution: Buffer Time
It's as simple as adding a buffer to your services that might require you to have a little padding between services. You might add a buffer prior to the start of a service for something like travel or preparation, but you might add a buffer to the end of a service if you believe that a client ask questions at the end.
Problem #3: Need Scheduling for Multiple Offices
Your company has 3 locations - let's say that they're located in North Carolina, and there is one office in Charlotte, one in Greensboro, and another in Raleigh. Each office has different hours of operation with staff servicing clients on different days and times. Choosing an online appointment system that allows you to have scheduling for staff at multiple locations is an excellent solution.
Solution: Multiple Location Scheduling
For scheduling that runs smoothly between multiple offices, you can set up each location, add each staff member, and then add the times that they are available. From here, if certain staff members work at certain offices, you can edit the dates and times that they are available for those offices.
As an example, in the image below, let's say that I'm available at the Charlotte office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. And on Tuesdays & Thursdays, I'm available at the Greensboro office between those same times. Clients can book appointments with me at those locations on those days and between those times.
Problem #4: Need Client Reminders for Repeating Appointments
Let's say that you're a professor and you meet with a student, Jake, regularly every other Thursday from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. for discussion of his capstone project. For each meeting, Jake needs to bring his tracking log so that he can jot down what was discussed and the next steps moving forward.
But one Thursday, Jake did not show up and later emailed you saying that he totally forgot about the meeting and would try to meet in the next 2 weeks. To help make sure that Jake remembers his appointments, you can have email or text message notifications sent automatically to his inbox or phone prior to the meetings.
Solution: Automatic Email & Text Notifications
This feature is especially handy for reminding clients that they have a meeting with you - you can also edit the email templates to include information that is necessary to successfully complete each meeting whether that's bringing certain documents or items.
If you find that your schedule is suffering from appointment no shows or forgetful clients, then definitely give this solution a try.
Did any of these problems make your business' list? Give our solutions a try and we hope that these can help hack your schedule into shape.
Have another question or topic on which you could certainly use some help? Let us know on social, and you could see your question or topic featured in an upcoming post of our "Hack My" series.
We hope smoother sails with your scheduling!