It’s not always easy to arrange appointments with doctors or beauticians, especially if visitors have to go in person. But now, with everything online, the appointment booking system has become a popular online service. Booking is more effortless, and customers are happier. Its flexibility to a physician, dentist, beautician, or legal advisor is promising.
All service providers can use this software, a one-stop-shop for the clients to book and retrieve their booking history. Automated alerts like emails and SMS regarding the booking details and online payment facilities make this online booking software very popular. It can keep both parties happy and satisfied as far as the appointments are concerned. A cloud implementation will simplify the service provider’s pockets. It also enables them to access the data and analytics from anywhere. This makes it convenient for the service provider to keep track of the appointments even when they are traveling.
Table of Content
Mechanism of the online appointment booking system
The basic options which should be available in an appointment/booking software are:
The inquiry system is the primary option for prospective clients to post their inquiries on the services provided, the service provider’s details, and other details such as the rates, convenient time, location, etc. This can be part of a service provider portal, for example, a beautician, who can be contacted through the inquiry posted. The beautician receives an email / SMS regarding the inquiry posted along with the contact details of the prospective client. Use the CRM module if you also use the ERP booking system. The module can store data if users also subscribe to the CRM module as part of it.
The service provider or the beautician, in this case, can set his or her time slots here for which they will be charging the client. It is up to the service provider to set the pattern of the timeslot. Timeslots can be set hourly, daily, fortnightly, or any manner, depending on the profession and availability of the service. Some consultants may charge hourly or every 2 hours also. So if the client feels that they require 2 hours and the timeslot is hourly, they can book two consecutive timeslots available.
A booking system is where confirmed bookings are set by the client or automatically upon payment. The booking system will send automated confirmation and email / SMS to both the parties involved so that the service provider can manage the booked timeslots. Even if the service provider is not available in town while the booking is made, the system will alert and remind her or him about the upcoming appointments on a timely basis. Similarly, the alerts and reminders also go to the booked client who can keep their timing. If the clients and the service provider keep their time, all the appointments will go as per schedule smoothly. This improves customer satisfaction, and they will keep coming back to the same service provider as long as the service is also of good quality.
Online payment gateways
This is an important aspect of online appointment scheduling software. Many booking systems fail because the clients cannot confirm the booking by paying online. Once the payment is made, the client and the service provider are bound to keep their appointments. Some service providers also allow rescheduling if requested in advance and charge a nominal fee. This ensures a smooth flow of the actual appointments.
Alerts and Reminders
An appointment booking system allows the service provider and the client to set reminders for themselves at specified intervals. This ensures that both parties do not miss the pre-booked appointment.
Integration with calendar
The booked appointments with Google Calendar will make the reminders easily visible. It is because Google calendars are highly reliable and can be integrated and accessed everywhere.
Integration with Other modules of ERP
Users also can integrate the Booking system with CRM, Accounting and Payroll system to manage user’s finance or HRM in the case of a chain of service centers. This automates the entire process of the service provider. The full data analytics also will be available in the touch of a couple of buttons.
User management is important in the case of multiple user roles accessing the software. For example, the associated staff need not get the clients’ details, such as case history or the treatments opted (as the case may be). But the software can make all the details accessible to the actual service provider. In the case of a group of consultants, each consultant can hide the details of their clients from fellow consultants. But, the entire data will be accessible to the management or the main consultant who manages the consulting firm.
Customization is a very important aspect of any software. The clients will expect customization in terms of the user interface and functionality. Due to high competition, most solution providers offer a customizable user interface that will match the service provider’s existing brand.
This is a very important factor, especially for high-profile clients who are very particular about their privacy. Data security is also important for the service provider as competitors can access unsecured data.
Adopting the cloud booking management system ensures that the accessibility of the software and data is in remote areas. This keeps the service provider and services mobile which is very important for surviving the high competition. The cloud-based software keeps the initial investment minimal. The cloud-based software allows the user to adopt Software sharing (SaaS), Infrastructure sharing (IaaS), or Platform sharing (PaaS). The service provider can choose the most feasible solution depending on the nature of the service provided and the budget set aside for the subscription of the cloud-based booking system.