Calendars are obsolete – Meet the new way to manage appointments
Small businesses that charge for their time have no easy task staying on top of bookings. Paper and online calendars remain the unquestioned go-to tool of choice for any business owner. Yet, when looking closely at how they operate on a day-to-day basis, it’s striking that calendars are actually poorly suited to maximise day-to-day efficiency.
Meet 10to8, the revolutionary business calendar replacement.
Calendars are passive and don’t interact with clients
Traditional online calendars are fantastic at tracking what you think is going on, but they leave you to do the hard work of digesting emails, chasing up clients and reminding people to turn up. Your online calendar knows what’s going on – why shouldn’t it take care of these other tasks too?
Your online calendar knows what’s going on – why shouldn’t it take care of these other tasks too?
When reviewing your diary, it is often crucial to see the conversation with your client that led to arranging an appointment or any follow-up messages sent afterwards. Collecting all this relevant information manually (looking through your email account, text messages on your mobile, voicemails etc.) amounts to a painful amount of context switching, and takes a substantial toll on your productivity. Worse still, it can lead to misunderstandings with your clients and missed appointments.
Moreover, to ensure that clients are always informed and attend their appointments on time, it has become mandatory nowadays to send out text and email reminders. This requires an automated system that operates in connection with your business schedule and knows how and when to best reach your individual clients.
Calendars views rarely match your business priorities
In many cases, the order of your priorities does not necessarily match the sequence of appointments in time. The fact that a customer comes to see you sooner doesn’t mean they should take up your attention first. To run a successful business, you want to be on top of things, and determine your own priority list – this could be based on the urgency of related actions (like attending to pending messages, and client inquiries, chasing unpaid invoices from recent consultations you gave, or reaching out to people who didn’t attend).
You need more than a day or week calendar view
First, calendars don’t present your business data in meaningful buckets–such as filtering by appointment types, customer types, staff, location. Instead, you need to rely on notes, internal labels or search functionality to keep your information meaningful and organised.
Second, calendars are often silos and do not sync with external platforms such as patient management notes, third-party online calendars or payment gateways.
Finally, calendars are see-through – it’s hard to present only certain parts of the information to certain staff members. Likewise, one cannot easily provide different levels of granularity on the appointment business to different business stakeholders–regardless of whether they’re hands-on or need a summary report.
An active tool designed to help you get the job done
10to8- Scheduling Software has built a solution that makes calendars obsolete from an appointment management perspective, and allows users to create reports that match their own workflows. Businesses such as Medical Practices, Beauty Salons, Counsellors, Therapists and Tutors have different processes in which they interact with clients. From taking inquiries, recording bookings in a shared diary, taking payments, sending reminders and follow-up messages.
To ensure your workflow is streamlined, the calendar is only a small part of your solution.
You may need to assemble multiple types of information and see them side-by-side in real time in order to understand exactly how your business is doing, and what needs your attention next. With 10to8, you can build your own view made up of:
- Latest conversations with your clients
- Lists of appointments (of specific type, at specific locations, with specific staff)
- List of clients that you need to follow up
- Available time slots under certain conditions
Boards can show reports of your business’s performance in the past, upcoming occupancy, as well as a dashboard for the daily use, listing people you need to attend to etc.
Online Calendars are dying, but it’s not because of the much-hyped trend of chat-based business customer communication, or even because of artificial intelligence. They are dying as they are seen for what they are: passive and obsolete.
What’s more, in the shift from paper to online, electronic calendars haven’t taken advantage of the potential that technology affords.