Common Scheduling Challenges in Small Business and How To Fix Them
When you’re running a small business, even the little things can impact your revenue in big ways. And while appointments are no little thing, the challenges that can keep them from happening often are.
Too often, missed opportunities or errors on the part of client or employee result in a no-show — or prevent an appointment from getting scheduled in the first place. As a business owner, it’s important to have solutions in place to prevent these issues from happening and to ensure that not only do you convert as many interested prospects into clients as you can, but that all of those clients show up for their appointments.
So what challenges stand in the way of successful appointments and maximized revenue — and equally important, how do you fix them? Here are four of the big ones, with solutions you can put into place right now to keep them from happening.
This challenge is all too common to any small business that operates on appointments. While exact data on no-show rates for all appointment-based small businesses is hard to find, it can be helpful to look at healthcare, where annual no-show rates are estimated to be between 5% and 30%, costing the industry $150 billion every year.
The fix: Appointment reminders. A well-timed text, call, or email reminder can reduce no-show rates by as much as 90%. With services like ours, you can automate these reminders too to save expenses on time and labor.
Your front desk team isn’t infallible. Costly missed opportunities can come in the form of incorrect scheduling information — such as telling a client a slot isn’t available when they actually could be accommodated — or incorrectly logging a client’s appointment time. In both scenarios, small errors can lead to big losses, including clients that never end up making it through the door.
The fix: Automated appointment systems. Automated systems do the hard work for you of informing when an appointment can happen and properly inputting it into your book. And because they’re digital, there’s a lot less chance of human error.
It should be as easy as possible for your clients to book an appointment. While human-to-human contact is usually good practice in business, requiring that interested customers call your front desk directly during business hours can be a hurdle to getting appointments on the books, meaning lots of lost revenue potential.
The fix: Digital bookings. Digitize your booking system so that it allows clients to book their appointments online and at their own time. It’s a lot more efficient, and can help ensure that fewer potential customers fall through the cracks.
You’ve probably seen it happen time and again: a potential client expresses interest in your services, but then they never actually book an appointment. So what happened in the meantime? As a business owner, you have to do everything you can to fill in the gaps that are keeping some prospects from moving forward so that interest more often leads to profit.
The fix: Targeted promotions. When in doubt, incentivize. Re-engage leads who expressed interest without pulling the appointment trigger by contacting them with a personalized offer, such as 10% off their first service or a free service addition.
Any solution that you put into place to improve your scheduling capabilities is going to have clear benefits for your bottom line. And the sooner you get them up and running, the sooner you can spend less time worrying about lost opportunity and more time providing the best service possible.
Need help booking more appointments? Give Appointment Reminder a try for free.