An appointment scheduling software automates and simplifies the manner in which an organization books and manages its customers’ appointments, contacts, and reservations. Scheduling software is a critical business tool in the today’s business environment. The software market has numerous options for scheduling systems. In this article, we analyze the eight important features to look for in appointment scheduling software.
Software Capabilities: Depending on the nature of the business, the appointment scheduling needs may vary from one business to another. For example, appointments scheduling needs of a veterinary clinic differs greatly with the needs of a salon. However, scheduling software should offer the following basic features:
· Automated text and email reminders.
· Accuracy and dependability.
· Calendar flexibility: To allow for multiple calendars and ability to book multiple appointments per time slot.
· Easy to use.
· Easy report generation.
In addition to the above basic features, you should ensure that the appointment scheduling software has other additional capabilities to meet the unique business requirements of your organization.
Ease of access and use by employees and customers: Is the software going to be internally hosted or cloud-based? Today, employees and customers are accessing appointment scheduling systems through their mobile devices. A modern appointment scheduling software should be accessible online. The success of a scheduling software solution may be significantly affected by its user-friendliness. The software should be easy to use and learn.
Compatibility with other systems: An important feature is the ability to integrate with other systems. At a minimum, top scheduling systems should easily integrate with the company’s website or Facebook page. Further, the scheduling software should provide for bi-directional synchronization with other personal calendars in other programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Google.
Security: Appointment scheduling software collects sensitive customer details such as phone contacts, mailing addresses, email addresses and, in some cases, payment information. Consequently, it is critical for scheduling software to have sufficient safeguards against data loss or being compromised.
Support: Is the training and level of support being offered by the software company adequate for your organization’s needs? Given the critical nature of the appointment schedule software to the success of a business, it is paramount that the organization receives high –level of support. Several support channels such as phone support, email support, and live chats should be available. It is advisable to have in place the service level agreements (SLAs) detailing the quality of support and service to be offered.
Cost: The cost of appointment scheduling software varies considerably depending on the features and functionalities. There should be a direct correlation between the cost and the value derived from the software. An organization must guard against investing in expensive software with many features which are not relevant for its business.
Update and upgrades: A software provider should regularly provide new functionalities and features to improve the system. This applies to appointment scheduling software as well. The provision of regular updates and upgrades is a sign of provider who is in touch with the ever-changing industry trends and customer needs.
Customer Reviews: What are the views of other customers in your industry who are using the software? Does the software provider have credible references and testimonials? A review of the appointment scheduling software can be conducted through an analysis of the online customer reviews. Conducting thorough case studies and site visits would help in assessing the software.
No matter your appointment scheduling needs, it is important to select software that best meets the unique business requirements of your organizations. The software should be easy to use, navigate and customize.