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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Strategies to Improve Client Appointment Scheduling

This technique shows how to use multiple schedules with groups of services to control when appointments are scheduled and provide a better client experience. Let's take a look at two examples – a sports massage business and a bridal shop.

Sports Massage
Two partners in a sports massage practice had a scheduling problem since one partner preferred a longer period of time between appointments to prepare for the next client. The solution was to create a second set of services with longer durations and assigned only to that partner. The services also had a grouping name assigned for clients to see which therapist provided the service. For clients, the services drop-down list now appeared as the screenshot below.

Services have been duplicated and grouped by staff, providing each massage therapist with different prep times between clients.

After selecting a service, clients then selects an appointment date/time. The staff selection step was automatically hidden and the staff schedule was automatically selected based on the service. By creating groups of services that are assigned to each massage therapist the Schedapple application knows the staff member can be automatically determined by the service. Each therapist has their ideal service duration and the client has one less step when scheduling online.

Bridal Shop
The bridal shop initially had one schedule for all client appointments. Clients loved scheduling their appointments online, but the store staff was soon overwhelmed due to brides needing more help than other types of clients. The owner wanted to limit bride appointments to one-at-a-time, while simultaneous serving two additional clients for other services (e.g. bridesmaids, mother of the bride).

The solution was to add a second schedule. The first schedule was only for brides' appointments. While the second schedule was for all other services and allowed two concurrent appointments.

Clients didn't see any change when scheduling online, selecting a service first and then the appointment date/time. Schedapple automatically selects the schedule based on the service (since the schedules didn't have any overlapping/common services). The calendar shows the appointments on two schedules (see screenshot below).

The schedule on the left is for brides' appointments, allowing one appointment at a time. The schedule on the right is for all other services and allows two concurrent appointments.

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