How to Perfect the Automated Scheduling Experience for Your Online Meetings

The scheduling experience at a salon

Scheduling apps have changed the standards for professionalism, especially when meeting with sales prospects. You can imagine how a sales rep may struggle to close deals if their leads are irritated by a sloppy scheduling experience.

It’s common for people with only a few meetings per day to feel comfortable handling the scheduling coordination without a booking app. 

But as traffic scales up and new leads start coming in from every direction, those same reps start running into scheduling problems. They lose time waiting for no-shows, create friction with double bookings, and run the risk of losing valuable prospects.

When inbound leads are obstructed by scheduling problems, they’re more likely to churn. Say you offer the same three meeting times to two separate clients. If both of them choose the same date and time, you’ll have to ask one to pick a different time instead. There’s a risk that this leads to email ping pong and irritates them.

There is no good reason to create friction so early in the customer journey. A fully automated, streamlined process is necessary. This is one of your first opportunities to showcase your professionalism as a customer-facing team. Leading up to the sales and support calls, a strong scheduling flow can help communicate a sense of authority.

When you get your online scheduling systems in place, it’s easier for the attendee to keep the date and join you on time. 

Is your online scheduling workflow broken?

Picking a time to meet with someone shouldn’t be so difficult. But we put up with it when we’re texting with friends and family. Business should be handled more carefully. Leads don’t have the same tolerance for back and forth that close friends do. So if a team’s scheduling workflow is broken and they are fumbling through it with no software solution, the company will lose a lot of opportunities. 

Classic problems in the scheduling flow include double bookings, no-shows, last minute cancellations or rescheduling requests. The list goes on, because without a receipt of your agreement, both parties have to have a working calendar system in place. 

When you schedule the old fashioned way, you also have to trust that both parties will take the extra step to put that meeting in their calendar. They also need to check the calendar often enough (or receive sms/email notifications) to ensure that they see and remember the meeting at all.

Calculating time lost on email ping pong 

The old school methods of scheduling meetings are supposed to be more human. More real and personable. But they can also be more time-consuming and error prone. 

Take the typical email interaction that happens, just to set up a meeting:

  • The host sends an email to suggest some meeting times 
  • The invitee can’t meet at those times, so they request a different time instead
  • The host checks but that new requested time is unavailable for them

Like a game of chess, the scheduling strategy was wrong from the start. So while these two may be able to scramble and recover, things got sloppy fast. This sends a signal about the company’s organizational weakness. Depending on the nature of the interaction, the invitee may question your company’s integrity as a whole.

  • The host apologizes and sends a few new suggestions
  • The invitee can’t meet at those times. They get frustrated. 
  • The host asks the invitee to share a time that would work instead
  • The invitee never responds to another email from the host

I’m sure you get where I’m going with this. Playing email ping pong is a waste of time for both parties. Even if you can do it in 2-3 emails, it takes time. And it’s easy to miss the appointment as one may forget to jot it down on their calendar. Using an automated scheduler can solve both problems for you.

Lost leads and frustrated customers 

You’ve designed a powerful marketing strategy and efficient sales cycle and you’re beginning to see the results. It’s like you’ve discovered a lead goldmine.

Then the worst happens — your scheduling system isn’t optimized. It takes too long and even results in double (or even triple) bookings. Your leads get frustrated and give up on trying to set an appointment. And those you managed to ghost you — they don’t show up for meetings. Of course, you can follow them up, but that’s more time to be spent playing email ping pong.

But guess what?

Your prospects don’t have the time to wait for a solution to their problems. They want it now and they’ll turn to other options. You’ll lose leads and, ultimately, revenue that was supposed to come your way.

That’s why it’s so important to streamline the scheduling experience for people. It will help alleviate some of these frustrations and improve your conversion rates. 

How can you do that? 

  • Examine your processes: Do you currently deliver the optimal scheduling experience? 
  • Improve your communications: Streamlined scheduling sets the tone for a good meeting. All of the communication is automated for your convenience.
  • Avoid misplaced meeting notes: Lost meeting notes can damage your reputation and lead to lost opportunities. 
  • Reduce cancellations and mitigate rescheduling: Make the scheduling experience a part of your customer journey — optimize it for conversions. 
  • Follow up with no-shows: This is important to ensure your pipeline retains  leads that could otherwise slip through the cracks. 
  • Send confirmation and reminder emails: People are busy. They don’t want to be burdened with the cognitive effort of remembering an appointment. This is where confirmation and reminder emails enhance the scheduling experience.  
  • SMS: With 92% of customers saying they enjoy instant messaging, SMS is a great way to give your customers what they want. 
  • Unique web conference links: Integrate your video conferencing platform of choice and create unique conference links for each meeting.
  • Use a scheduler that supports multiple team members: Scheduling meetings for teams can be tricky. An online scheduler makes this easy. 

Let’s dive deeper into some of these in the section below.

Streamlining the scheduling experience with an app 

Scheduling meetings plays a huge role in the success of your lead generation engine. This ultimately has a bearing on the performance of your business and your bottom line.

That’s why companies are improving scheduling experience with apps like Appointlet.

It’s often rewarding when a company improves their scheduling experience. Tracking the user journey from initial site visit all the way through to booking confirmation may reveal a lot about what’s working and where you’re losing people.

Here are some things that can turn leads off:

  • Takes too long to agree on a time. Whether it’s a phone call or series of emails, going back and forth wastes time that your customers don’t want to spend. 
  • Complicated scheduler interface. Some scheduling tools have complicated user interfaces that can bewilder people who are not technically savvy.
  • Inconvenience. Don’t make your customers sift through their calendars to find and confirm meetings. Send invites that they can access at their convenience.

So how do you provide a positive scheduling experience?

Let’s dig into some aspects of the meeting scheduling process that will help you ensure you make a fantastic first impression. 

Improve your lead & customer communication skills 

A meeting begins long before separate parties come together. In fact, the meeting’s boundaries may extend even prior to the meeting request. Ultimately, the meeting’s potential starts when someone first has the impulse to learn more about your company and make a connection with you. 

That’s why it’s important to entice site visitors with a strong lead magnet. It’s the very first step in securing their interest. But once someone bites the hook, so to speak, you need a solid follow-up game that includes an automated scheduling experience. When a booking is made, you should set up the automated email and SMS reminders to keep meeting instructions in front of the attendees. This helps to improve attendance and prevent no-shows.

Avoid misplaced meeting notes 

Misplaced meeting notes are one of the single most common reasons that meetings fail. Even if you can pull in a late arrival, you’re at risk of having less time to connect and your first shared experience was immediately problematic. It’s irritating as the host but it can also paint a picture of incompetence to the attendee. And no one wants to work with someone who’s disorganized.

Again, this is where a scheduler like Appointlet comes into play. Keeping everything organized is super-easy. No more notepads or misplaced information as you can keep all your information in one place. And thanks to easy integrations (via Zapier) with your CRM, you can quickly pull up important information from previous interactions with your lead or customer. This ensures that you have fruitful meetings, without the embarrassing missteps along the way.

Reduce cancellations and mitigate rescheduling

Let’s face it — life happens and sometimes people will have to cancel or reschedule. But people are much more likely to do so if they’ve forgotten about the meeting and double booked themselves. Unlike other problems which can be easily automated away, the easiest way to reduce cancellations is by convincing the invitee of the meeting’s value to them. If they’re hungry to meet with you, their attendance will improve.  

Handle no-shows professionally

It might not be as painful as getting stood up on a date… but no-shows still hurt. You set aside time to meet with someone and they didn’t make it a priority to follow through. But emotions aside, this also means you’ll see fewer sales and less overall revenue. It’s really important that you keep the meeting details in front of them and make attendance compelling. 

The most important aspect of such a system is, of course, a scheduling platform. They will automatically send email and text reminders for your upcoming meeting. For the no-shows that happened simply because someone forgot about the meeting, these reminders can be the essential element that locks them in.

Plus, with a scheduling app, if a customer has a genuine reason for not attending your meeting then it’s easy for them to reschedule or cancel. Giving them this liberty is a good way of showing empathy — a trait that’s essential to winning them over. It also allows you the opportunity to fill up vacant slots with new bookings.

Appointlet gives its users control over the rules about how much advance notice will be required for an attendee to cancel or reschedule. These limitations can help with last minute cancellations and pressure people to abide by their original commitment.

At the end of the day, having a solid booking system results in less time wasted on:

  • Following up with customers before a meeting.
  • Waiting for customers who are not going to show up. 

Using an online scheduler will improve your success rates and help you grow your business.

Confirm meetings and send reminders by email or SMS

It’s no secret that we’re living in a busy world. People are spending more time on their phone, so email and SMS are two of the best ways to capture their attention. Ultimately, the goal is to keep the meeting details on their mind. You can easily do this by sending:

  • Confirmation emails. Sending an email immediately after a meeting has been set reassures the attendee that the booking process was a success. 
  • Reminder emails. With so many things on their minds, it’s easy for meeting attendees to forget an upcoming meeting. Send reminder emails to ensure they remember and prepare themselves psychologically for it. 
  • SMS reminders. Make it easy for your customers to see your reminders by sending text messages. Email inboxes can get cluttered, so SMS can be more effective for some invitees.

If you’re not sure that you want to meet with every person who requests a time, Appointlet includes the option to manually reject or accept meetings first. This gives you more control over who you spend time with. 

Generate unique web conference links 

With most meetings being virtual, it’s helpful to have a system in place that generates unique web conference links for each meeting. Whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or your other favorite web conferencing tool, Appointlet supports it.

When a meeting’s location is set to Web Conference, Appointlet provides a “join meeting” button with a direct link to that unique room. So when it comes time to meet, the host and attendee can easily join with a single click. 

Support for multiple team members 

We hear from a lot of Appointlet users that started off looking for a solution that met their personal needs. But over time, coworkers catch wind of the service and want to try it out for themselves. Around this time, we tend to see organizations scale up pretty quickly as a decision maker is pulled in and approves a quantity of licenses. 

If scheduling meetings with a single attendee is a small challenge, then booking time with 3 or more people is exponentially harder. There are many different types of scheduling needs to take into account. For example, if meetings should be evenly distributed across a team, that represents a different need than scheduling multiple meeting hosts to meet with one or more attendees at once. 

Managing bookings with 3+ people doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Appointlet provides a “Round-Robin” system that pools availability across all of your team and does its best to assign them equally. You can give certain team members priority in the pool, if they should get the majority of meetings. 

Assigning multiple team members to co-host a single meeting is also easy with Appointlet. You just add the people in question and our system reads their combined availability before presenting any times. People that view the scheduling page will only see times that work for all of the attending hosts. 

This can cut down significantly on coordination. All of the email confirmation and reminder features work for group meetings, so you get the same benefits there as well.

Collecting feedback on the scheduling experience 

So you’ve implemented a solution and want to know how you’re doing. One of the best ways to find out is… ask them directly! How do you do this?

With Appointlet, you can use the Zapier integration to collect feedback from attendees once the meeting is over. At the end of the meeting, Zapier is triggered to send an automated follow-up email with a simple survey (using Delighted) to collect the required feedback. You can easily create templates for this that you can tweak according to who you’re sending the survey to.

Identifying key metrics 

Customer experience (CX) is the key to retaining your existing contracts. It’s also an integral ingredient to growing a tribe of loyal customers and brand ambassadors. 

Why is customer experience so important?

  • Excellence in CX will help you differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Happy customers become word-of-mouth promoters.
  • Top-notch customer service skills inspire brand loyalty.

Data also shows that online scheduling adds to the overall customer experience. Here are a few insights to consider:

  • 81% of marketers believe most of the competition plays out at the customer experience level.
  • 32% of people leave a brand after one bad experience — that includes the scheduling experience.
  • 40% of consumers are aware of self-service appointment scheduling.

Providing your customers with an easy way to book an appointment with you is critical. More importantly, the scheduling experience must offer a positive customer experience. 

Common FAQs About the Scheduling Experience 

Creating and implementing an amazing scheduling experience is essential to business growth. A poor experience during the scheduling process results in your leads having a poor perception of you. Before we wrap up our post, let’s briefly answer a few common questions asked about creating a positive scheduling experience. 

What are the key components of a good scheduling experience? 

A scheduling experience is usually best when it takes little to no effort. If your invitee barely notices that they used an app and they meet with you on time, that would be considered a success. This is achieved through meeting reminders and the option to reschedule through the same automation system if needed.

Where does the scheduling experience start and end? 

A good scheduling experience starts when someone is interested in meeting with your company. From that moment on, the ease or difficulty of scheduling with you is the experience portion. You could argue that the scheduling experience ends when the meeting is complete. If you send a request for meeting feedback, you can extend the boundaries further into the future.

Does the scheduling experience impact sales and customer retention? 

Yes, a low quality scheduling experience puts companies at risk of losing leads, which impacts sales. A good scheduling experience positively impacts your customer’s perception of your brand, leading to better retention.

What’s the best scheduling software to deliver a good experience? 

With a super clean user interface, ease-of-use, and many other features designed to make scheduling a meeting easy, Appointlet definitely takes the cup. Whether you’re setting meetings with individuals or teams, the process is a breeze for both the host and the invitees — Appointlet does most of the work for you. 

How do I automate the data intake for our scheduling experience? 

A scheduling process typically includes an intake form. If you’re automating the experience with an app like Appointlet, all you have to do is customize your form once. All future attendees will see the same fields and be asked to fill them out prior to confirming their meeting request. 

What online scheduling app lets me view my daily schedule? 

Viewing your daily schedule at a glance is easiest with Appointlet. Whenever someone books a meeting with you, your dashboard will include all of that information. You’ll also have control over cancellation, rescheduling, and joining meetings. With search filters, you can find any meeting quickly.

What CX metrics are relevant for evaluating a scheduling experience? 

Customer experience (CX) is at the heart of every successful business. And it starts with the scheduling experience. A few CX metrics you can use to evaluate a scheduling experience include the appointment history of a customer, number of appointments completed, and no-shows in a given period.

Keep track of these to gauge the effectiveness of your scheduling process.

Delivering an amazing scheduling experience — the start to solid customer relationships

Online scheduling apps have made it easier for businesses to automatically schedule appointments with their leads and customers. This results in time and money saved. It also ensures your leads or customers get a positive experience, resulting in you closing more sales.

You’ve invested a lot in developing an optimized lead generation strategy. Make sure you put systems in place to maximize the chances of those leads turning into customers. 

And you can do that by creating an amazing scheduling experience. So go ahead and get started for free with Appointlet.

No matter your industry, from healthcare to technology to retail to call centers and everything in between, an online scheduler is an investment you shouldn’t ignore.

What’s your experience with online scheduling apps? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Ezra Sandzer-Bell

Ezra Sandzer-Bell works at Appointlet as product marketing manager and customer advocate. He has helped thousands of customers improve their online scheduling workflow. Outside of work, he is a music theory instructor and founder of a music software company.

Making schedule simple, for you and your attendees.