appointment scheduling - woman holding magnetic card

The Appointment Scheduling Revolution

With just about every new technology, there is a period of adaptation before the technology’s use becomes widespread. It takes people time to see the value of a great tech solution, but eventually, it becomes normalized. With appointment scheduling software, this trend has held true. Right now, the industry is in a period of massive growth.

Forbes has listed online appointment scheduling as one of the major trends in appointment-based industries. According to Forbes’ report, the industry has rapidly expanded into the healthcare field, with doctors and hospitals now catering towards millennials’ desire for convenience. Forbes also mentions that cloud-based appointment scheduling solutions are becoming the norm for appointment scheduling and customer relationship management software.

Any time an innovation improves how businesses operate at an affordable cost, it isn’t long before it becomes the industry standard. Appointment scheduling software has been steadily growing yearly, with Allied Market Research projecting growth in market size from $205 million in 2019 to $546 million in 2026. North America is expected to be the dominant force in the appointment scheduling software market.

More and more businesses are shifting from manual calendar management to software tools that manage all external calendars for you. Online booking keeps businesses organized and on top of their schedule and does the same for customers. According to FinancesOnline, automated appointment reminders from online scheduling software reduce customer appointment no-shows by 29%.

In many industries, all aspects of a business that can be moved towards digitalization are being done. There is a major convenience element to digital services that many customers prefer, especially younger customers. Digitalization spending has skyrocketed over the past several years. According to Statista, global spending on digital transformation technologies has risen from $0.96 trillion in 2017 to a projected $2.39 trillion by 2024.

Businesses need to modernize to accommodate their customers’ needs, and the digitalization of appointment scheduling and queue management is tailored towards giving clients the best possible experience. Convenience and around-the-clock accessibility are factors customers tend to prioritize, and appointment scheduling software is a significant asset in these areas. This innovation is rapidly gaining popularity. Don’t let your business be a late adapter.

Introduction to Appointment Scheduling Software

Queues have been a commonly accepted aspect of business since the dawn of industry. Since the very first person sold something at a market stall, someone had to wait in line behind them. Lines can only move at the speed of the human beings working to make them move, and despite worker efficiency, massive queues can grow in a matter of minutes.

Few customer experiences are more disheartening than being trapped in a line waiting for a product or service you desperately need, but long lines have become commonplace to the consumer, so we reluctantly accept it.

You’re familiar with the long, stressful lines at places like the DMV, the passport office, the pharmacy, and even the tech support section at your local electronic store. In some instances like at retail stores, little can be done about extensive queues, save adding cash registers. But for places that rely on appointments, there are solutions that can help combat long lineups.

If your business or service tends to have extensive queues filled with frustrated customers, implementing an appointment booking service can help cut back on wait times, simplify and expedite the way you serve your customers, and increase customer satisfaction. These solutions can increase your business’s efficiency, lead to a more organized workflow, and add structure to how your company operates.

Appointment scheduling software allows businesses to monitor and adjust their queue virtually through a digital solution that optimizes how their lines run. It enables customers to view their status in the queue, provides critical information to businesses, and reduces the chaotic atmosphere brought on by long wait times. Queue management software functions as an all-in-one customer journey management solution that can streamline processes.

If your operation is constantly inundated with lineups, you may be missing out on opportunities. Making sure you’re providing customers with the best possible business experience is integral to the lifespan of any operation. Happy customers are repeat customers and word of mouth is the best form of free marketing out there – so you should be ensuring that you’re providing top-notch service every time your customers interact with your organization.

Qless is an appointment scheduling software that eases the appointment experience for customers and businesses. The platform helps with line management, provides essential information for both parties, and streamlines the overall experience for customers. Qless is a customer’s best friend, allowing users to virtually check on wait times, check-in from anywhere on any device, and facilitating more accessible communication and interaction with businesses.

Appointment scheduling software provides companies with an effective way to improve their customer experience and create a more efficient operation. This article will cover how appointment scheduling software enhances the customer experience, why the customer experience matters, and how you can implement this technology to lead to better overall results.

Long Lines and the Unsatisfied Customer

appointment scheduling - people queuing beside Louis Vuitton store

No one likes waiting in line, but the average person believes they have very little control over it. According to Harvard Business Week, Americans wait in line for 37 billion hours every year, equating roughly to 118 hours per person.

In countless industries, it is commonly accepted that there will be extensive wait times. Look only to the medical industry as an example of this. According to relyMD, the average wait time to get to an emergency room is two hours. The average wait time to see a primary physician with whom customers have already scheduled an appointment is over 18 minutes.

While these wait times are tolerated, that doesn’t mean they don’t have an enormous impact on customer satisfaction. The same study from relyMD found that the highest rated doctors have an average wait time of 13 minutes for medical appointments, while the lowest-rated doctors have a wait time of 34 minutes. 20% of people have changed their doctors due to long wait times.

The medical industry is one of many where extensive queues negatively impact how customers feel about businesses. This is endemic to just about every in-person sector with high demand and a limited capacity. While drawn-out lines are certainly a significant cause of the struggle customers experience, research indicates that not only the speed of the line can cause concerns for customers; it is also the experience within the line.

Video Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/27/what-you-hate-about-waiting-in-line-isnt-the-wait-at-all/

Many customers’ stress while waiting in queues lies in their uncertainty over the wait time, perceived unfairness of the long wait time, and a general lack of anything occupying them. These are issues that, while bothersome to the customer, are not unfixable. Using technology to create an improved experience saves customers from the negative feelings of being trapped in a long line with no clear idea of when it will end. It also saves businesses from dealing with anxious and confused customers whose perception of the company will be impacted by a negative line experience.

Long lines are bad for both customers and businesses. They present a clear downside for all parties involved. If you operate in an industry where you interact with customers, clients, or students through appointments, there’s a better way to manage this process. Let’s dive into some of the different ways online appointment scheduling improves the overall customer experience.

Increased Accessibility for 24/7 Convenience

Scheduling an appointment with some places reliant on phone-based booking can be a difficult process. It requires communication with the business within their hours of operation. Many companies aren’t open outside of the 9-5 window, making scheduling appointments an annoyance, particularly for the typical working person. This problem can be easily eliminated with online booking software that allows customers to schedule appointments at their convenience. 

Beyond managing queues, appointment scheduling software increases the overall accessibility of your business. With an online scheduling platform implemented in your operation, customers can book appointments with ease, from any device at any time. These platforms allow for customizable scheduling and can be built to manage the availability your business offers. An appointment scheduling software solution is integral to helping with calendar management.

Make sure your business makes it as easy as possible for customers to schedule client appointments and book services. With appointment scheduling software, you have an all-in-one solution that allows customers to reach you at times easiest to them, in the methods most accessible to them.

Take Confusion Out of the Equation

The time spent in line isn’t always the biggest concern to customers. Often, it is the feeling of being directionless and confused while waiting in line. Standing in an extensive line with no sense of when it will end is a big part of the feeling of restlessness that customers get.

One academic paper is most commonly quoted when discussing waiting in line, David Maister’s The Psychology of Waiting in Lines. What Maister found is that uncertain waits feel longer than certain waits. If customers don’t have a clear indication of when the line will end, that line is going to feel longer. As well, anxiety makes the wait feel longer. Customers who feel general anxiety that comes from standing in a slow-moving, unclear line, like the one at the DMV or pharmacies, will feel like their experience lasted longer than customers who aren’t anxious.

If you want to reduce your customers’ feelings of anxiety and confusion, clarity goes a long way. A queue management system with a comprehensive interface that shows customers important information will play a big role in easing customer concerns.

Qless is an online scheduling platform that allows customers to see exactly how long their wait is going to be. It takes away the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety that comes from not knowing. Customers will have a significantly enhanced experience while waiting for your service if they know exactly how long they’ll have to wait.

Check-In from Anywhere

appointment scheduling - woman holding iPhone during daytime

The remote check-in feature for Qless is also an important aspect of improving the customer experience. Qless’ appointment scheduling software allows customers to check into the queue from anywhere, allowing customers more freedom. Would you rather wait in a 30-minute queue inside a crowded office at a university or walk around campus for 20 minutes and grab a coffee? With remote check-in, customers have the freedom to wait for their appointment outside of a line, also opening physical space inside the business.

Providing customers with the best possible experience before the appointment begins will lead to a positive lasting impression of your business. The ability to remotely check-in and see the line time will allow customers to plan around the line. No one wants to stand in a line for an hour or sit around in a waiting room reading old magazines. Customers can check into lineups from wherever they are, track their movement in the queue, and enter the premises when they’re close to the front, and prepare for payment.

The risk for the businesses is non-existent in this instance as well. If a customer fails to show up for their designated spot in line, the line keeps moving without them. The business has no obligation to wait. What this does is simply give the customers more freedom and mobility. It also reduces the crowd within an office or building, making for a more pleasant atmosphere overall.

The Importance of the Customer Experience

The customer experience is a major indicator of a business’s ability to succeed. Going above and beyond to ensure your customers are happy is important if you want your business to last. This is true in higher education, healthcare, retail, and just about every other industry out there. A disgruntled student is a student at risk of transferring. An unhappy patient is a patient who will seek out other options. There is no industry without competition, and customers will always have other places to go. This is a significant reason as to why the customer experience is so important.

The success of an operation is often directly related to the perception of the people they are servicing. According to Bain and Company, customers that excel at the customer experience grow at a 4-8% rate higher than their market. According to Dimension Data, 84% of businesses that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in revenue. Growth is dependent on satisfied customers, who return as repeat customers and spread free word-of-mouth marketing.

Positive customer interactions yield better overall results and make them more likely to continue with your business. According to PWC.com, 73% of consumers say a positive experience is key to influencing their brand loyalties. Research from Oracle showed that 77% of customers say inefficient customer service experiences detract from their quality of life.

The focus of any professional operation should be providing customers with the most efficient and positive experience possible. This is a challenge in businesses with high wait times and limited employee availability. Qless – along with other appointment scheduling apps and websites – give companies an effective way to improve the overall experience.

According to Forbes, the number one reason customers switch brands is that they don’t feel appreciated. Show your appreciation to your customers by providing them with user-friendly queue management and customer booking software that takes the pain out of waiting in line.

User-Friendly Features with No Learning Curve

appointment scheduling - person using MacBook Pro

For a lot of software platforms, the onboarding process can be extensive. Learning from the ground up can take a long time, especially with solutions that both the business and their customers have to use. For software to be worth implementing, not only does it have to provide value, it has to be accessible to users regardless of their tech-savviness.

Qless is easy to use on both ends. First and foremost – the customer-facing portion is built with the user in mind, and the features on the app are designed to be simple and easily understood. Customers have a variety of different ways they can check in and monitor queues and the average person with a smartphone can begin to navigate the simple, intuitive user interface in a matter of minutes with a smartphone. Your customers will have no problem learning how to use Qless’ user-friendly features.

On the internal side, the app integrations process for businesses optimizing their entire booking experience with Qless is just as easy. Organizations using Qless can bypass the common implementation hurdles. Staff that have been burdened by the stress of dealing with in-person lines can now easily manage the virtual queue instead. While every change a business goes through will require an adjustment period, the actual difficulty of using the Qless platform is extremely marginal compared to the upside it provides. 

Qless is built around the idea that game-changing technology shouldn’t necessarily be difficult to implement. Businesses can streamline their queue management and appointment booking processes without an extended adjustment period, and customers can quickly adopt a valuable resource without any significant learning curve.

Providing Key Information That Streamlines Processes

Information is the engine that your business runs on. Every successful company collects data on marketing and sales, product development, and other key indicators to learn as much as possible about what works and what doesn’t.

Up until recently, having comprehensive information on the flow of your business wasn’t a possibility. Calculating the average wait-time, transaction time, percentage of customers that don’t show up for a meeting, and other key information was virtually impossible. But with comprehensive booking tools providing pivotal details, a business can gain necessary data that guides process changes that drastically improve customer experiences.

Every great business must evolve. Learning from results is how every operation improves, and data and business intelligence go a long way to enable organizations to grow from their pain points. According to TechJury, data analytics make decision-making 5x faster for businesses. Data from FinancesOnline.com revealed that companies implementing a Business Intelligence-based solution could see a 127% return on investment in just three years.

appointment scheduling - tableau infographic showing ROI of BI investment.

The importance of data is that it reveals truths capable of completely changing how your business operates. Data and business intelligence give you a bigger picture with actionable insights that can streamline your operation. Customer flow and queues appear to be random and externally influenced, but with Qless, you can receive key data that can completely shift how your operation works.

Qless tracks a vast amount of information and provides custom reports that inform you on the day-to-day of your operations. Qless tracks the complete customer experience, covering everything from payments to wait times and service times. You can learn how long the average customer spends waiting in line, how long it takes your business to process payments with a transaction time tracker, how many people missed their appointments, and much more. It is an all-in-one solution that provides a massive amount of information that provides you with a window into your business from your customer’s POV.

This is a valuable resource for improving your customer’s experience within your operation. Take the information you are provided and use it to trim your operation’s buffer time and excess waits. Qless is helpful in this area as well. Efficiency in the workplace is streamlined through an all-in-one solution that handles everything from booking to line management. With critical details that lead to improved workplace policy, both customers and employees can benefit from the business intelligence Qless provides.

Book More Appointments with Online Scheduling

The goal of any operation is to be as efficient as possible. In an appointment-based business, improving client intake is a great way to bring more money in and help customers gain access to critical services. Many companies don’t have an internal strategy to increase their capacity to take on more customers within a typical day. While sales and marketing help, having a professional solution that handles your customer flow for you can speed up how your business runs, giving you much more room to increase the number of customers helped every day.

Scheduling software that alerts you to upcoming appointments, handles customers within a virtual queue, and provides data that helps you speed up processes will open up employees’ time. If employees have a more organized workflow, they’ll have a heightened ability to take on more tasks. A speedier operation is a more effective business, and giving workers the ability to maximize their time will help improve day-to-day intake.

From the customers’ perspective, the benefits of a faster business with a higher capacity for customer intake are apparent. Cutting down on waiting times, giving them more options for booking appointments, and reducing crowds is something that any customer will appreciate. Having a system in place that opens capacity for business makes life easier for customers, which in turn leads to positive word of mouth chatter, drawing in more customers. It should be simple to book appointments. Making an online reservation is much easier than a phone call, and customers are likely to notice that difference.

For a solution that will open your business to more appointments per month and create a more seamless booking process, look to Qless. Qless helps companies create a central hub to handle all elements of their customer flow in the best possible way.

Opening Communication with Customers

appointment scheduling - woman in black headphones holding black and silver headphones

Having communication tools in place with your customers goes a long way. So much of business can feel one-sided and transactional, with customers left in the dark. To increase customer engagement, you have to make the people that frequent your business feel heard. Open communication is a significant factor in improving experience and satisfaction. Keeping clients and patients as up-to-date and informed as possible reduces stress and strengthens connections.

According to Project.co, 96% of people think the businesses they deal with could improve communication. Throughout extended wait times, most customers won’t hear much from the employees of the business they’re waiting for. This is a risk for the business. According to HubSpot, nearly 60% of consumers feel that long wait times are the most frustrating part of a service experience. If that experience is frustrating for customers, it could spell a loss in revenue for businesses. Data from Zendesk showed that 50% of consumers would switch to a new brand after one bad experience.

The typical operation doesn’t always consider every aspect of the experience of the people using their service, and communication with clients can fall by the wayside. This isn’t something businesses should be content with. Working to improve your communication infrastructure will provide customers with an improved sense of security. In the previously mentioned study by David Maister, Maister found several issues corresponded with a simple lack of communication from businesses to consumers.

Maister pointed to multiple issues that exacerbated the feeling of stress while waiting in line. For example, he demonstrated that unexplained waits feel longer than explained delays and that finite wait times feel shorter than unknown wait times. These are both problems that a communicative business team can clear up. However, often front desk and other client-facing employees don’t have the answers to all of the questions. That’s where an all-in-one customer relationship management solution comes in. 

Appointment scheduling software like Qless allows for the communication of crucial information to the consumers that frequent your business. Qless provides multi-channel, bi-directional discussions that reach consumers in the way they want to be contacted. With updates that detail wait times and allow for personalization, a business can communicate with their customers any updates that will help remove feelings of line stress. It will also provide your business with need-to-know information from customers and target customers with reminder emails to cut back on missed appointments.

With Qless, customers can inform businesses what type of appointment they’re there for, cancel appointments, or try and request more time. Companies can create messages with custom features that allow them to receive need-to-know information from customers. Personalized messaging will also make an impact by making your customers feel seen and heard. Qless will show appointments, provide customized and automated reminders, and make for an easy and two-sided way to schedule meetings.

The more improved and detailed communication you can provide to your customers, the better they will feel about their experience. All service-based businesses should prioritize going above and beyond to inform them about wait times, delays, and any other pertinent information. A customer portal that provides bi-directional communication to businesses and customers will keep clients and operations on the same page.

Vital for Unprecedented Times

The world experienced a perception-shattering 2020, and the shockwaves continue to linger, even as we begin to return to normal. In the time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, every business has had to adjust to the “new normal.” Whether it was work from home, new policies, or other mindset shifts, companies have had to face down a strange new reality. Even with vaccinations, the lingering impact of the pandemic is likely not going anywhere, and businesses that can adjust rapidly to these changes will improve operations and increase customer safety.

One of the significant changes to businesses that COVID has led to is the increased digitization of customer interactions. For most people, there is still a tentativeness to in-person communication and an unwillingness to meet directly with strangers unless absolutely necessary. Mandatory indoor masks and a general distrust of crowds led many businesses to look towards shifting as much of their business as possible to the virtual world.

Research from McKinsey & Company indicates just how significant the shift to digital is. In a massive global survey, McKinsey found that within North America, the share of customer interactions that are digital jumped from 41% in December of 2019 to 65% in July of 2021. They also found that respondents were three times likelier at the time of the survey to have at least 80% of their customer interactions be digital in nature than before the pandemic.

Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/how-covid-19-has-pushed-companies-over-the-technology-tipping-point-and-transformed-business-forever

This sped up a revolution that was already well underway. More and more businesses focus on making things as easy as possible for their customers with digital solutions. Companies that were best equipped to weather the pandemic storm were the ones with the best technology infrastructures already in place. According to the same McKinsey report, 67% of the respondents reporting a very effective response to the pandemic invested more than industry peers in digital-related expenditures, and 72% were the first in their industry to experiment with new technologies during the crisis.

A heavier reliance on digital technology gives businesses an increased ability to overcome real-world problems like the pandemic. Appointment scheduling software is an adaptation that shifts some key areas of the company to digital, opening staff calendars up and accommodating customers.

Additionally, according to Nature.com using data from the U.S Census Bureau, the number of people reporting anxiety symptoms in the U.S jumped from 11% to 42% from June 2019 to December 2020. Many people are dealing with lingering stress and a fear of crowds, and long lines can feel massively stress-inducing. With digital appointment scheduling services like Qless, businesses can implement solutions built for unprecedented times.

The key features of Qless make it so people don’t physically have to stand in line to wait for service. This removes crowds from your business and eases customers’ comfort. Qless decongests businesses, removing the need to be physically present until just before the scheduled appointment. It is a way to digitize your business further, adapting to increased demand for digitized interactions.

Useful Across Industries

Regardless of the industry your organization serves, your customers deserve the best.  Long lines are a staple of just about every primary service-based sector, as is the need for appointment scheduling. Business tools that speed up processes are invaluable across industries, and appointment scheduling software is a tool with near limitless applications.

There are many different industries where long lines to access services are a commonly accepted price of doing business. The higher education industry is a prime example. Students are paying customers, often paying tens of thousands of dollars every year for their education. Universities need to ensure they are doing what they can to create the best possible experience for students seeking assistance. Yet, students are often made to wait in long lines for academic advising or financial assistance appointments, despite many university students being limited in their free time.

As previously discussed, the same issues pertain to the healthcare industry. Whether you are seeking emergency assistance at a hospital or arriving for patient appointments at your local physician’s office, there is likely a wait in store. This wait is often in a crowded waiting room with other people seeking medical assistance, some with transmittable illnesses. This is something people accept without thinking about alternatives.

With government operations, the queues are legendary. The DMVs wait times in larger metropolitan areas vary from state to state, with some states’ wait times being borderline unmanageable. According to Tred.com, wait times in Texas are often over two hours, and in California, the bigger offices tend to have average wait times of over two hours as well. These wait times are often impacted by no-shows and other factors that aren’t inherent to the nature of what the DMV does. The same is true with many different government offices.

Just because long queues and scheduling confusion are widely accepted doesn’t mean they aren’t fixable. Qless and appointment scheduling software have been implemented in all the industries mentioned above, as well as retail and events. These services drastically reduce buffer times and trim operational bloating. Cut back on hold-ups over canceled appointments, stressed-out customers confused over wait times, and long indoor lineups that make people anxious. The key features of appointment scheduling software allow for the straightforward planning and canceling of appointments, checking in remotely, and simplifying communication between customers and businesses.

QLess: Your All-in-one Appointment Scheduling Software Solution

If you are an appointment-based operation looking to give customers the best possible experience from start to finish, Qless may be for you. A website and app for service professionals, Qless can transform your internal and external operations. The goal for every service should be to satisfy customers, and finding a way to make the modern digital-oriented customer happy isn’t always easy. Having an online and mobile solution that completely optimizes their experience within your business will go a long way.

Qless is a website and app solution that will position your business to handle a higher load of clients, increasing your profitability. It’ll lessen congestion within the physical space by eliminating the need for clients to wait in queues for services. It’ll open the door to better communication with customers by allowing for two-way messaging. Qless creates more personalized experiences for the people your operation services by accommodating the scheduling and queueing process to their needs.

The three primary components that Qless covers are appointment scheduling, queue management, and business intelligence. All three of these user-friendly features are intended to streamline business processes to make the customer experience as seamless as possible. This will allow businesses to handle larger workloads, attract new customers through positive reviews, and grow their business in a scalable way.

Qless has quickly become a staple of several major industries. Commonly used in government offices, universities, hospitals, health care facilities, and doctor’s offices, as well as in the retail and event space, more and more businesses are seeing the opportunities and advantages appointment scheduling software provides. From the time of booking to when customers leave the building, every step of the process should be as painless as possible. Qless’ core features are custom-tailored to produce the best possible customer experience.

Gathering pivotal business intelligence from Qless will provide an opportunity for businesses to learn more about how their operations run. Learn more about how in-person and online payments are processed, how long the average wait time is, and how long appointments are taking. Combined with more back and forth conversations with customers, businesses can have all the information necessary to make the tweaks needed to overcome deficiencies.

The key to growth is changing and adapting to new innovations. Qless is a mobile and online appointment scheduling software that can greatly enhance several components of your operation. From waiting in line to making appointments and paying, Qless manages multiple aspects of your business in a way that surpasses all expectations.

Transform Your Customer Experience

Your customers are the engine that drives your business, and they deserve the best. Cut back on appointment scheduling difficulties and arduous lines with Qless, the all-in-one appointment scheduling software solution. If you’re ready to transform your operation’s customer experience and see the benefits of appointment scheduling online, book a demo with Qless today, or visit our website to learn more about what we can do for you.