How Appointment Scheduling Systems Work for Different Industries
Every industry faces monumental challenges in adapting to the digital consumer. Today’s customer wants fast service, maximum convenience, and a business that leverages technology to make their lives easier. Digital transformation is coming for every industry, and being ready for it is crucial. This is all the more important in a world where businesses face ever-growing competition.
According to DMN, the average business has 25 competitors, with 87% saying their market has become increasingly competitive in the last three years. In almost every industry, competition is increasing, and finding a way to stand out is crucial. One of the ways that many leading experts are choosing to stand out is by using tech to provide better customer service and a more streamlined customer experience.
Customer service and the customer experience are deciding factors that many customers will use to determine which business they shop with, regardless of industry. According to HubSpot, 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor when deciding who to do business with. Technology can enable businesses to improve customer service and create a personalized experience that customers will love. One software solution that helps with this is appointment scheduling software.
Appointment scheduling software is a flexible tool that can be useful for businesses across industries. It enables customers to make easy online bookings, communicate back and forth with staff, and ensure 24/7 access to scheduling services. For businesses, it provides a flexible calendar, a new platform for managing their day-to-day appointment scheduling, and a customer engagement solution that streamlines the booking process from end to end.
Appointment software is a useful tool that can be used in various ways. Let’s dive into how appointment booking software can be used in various major industries.
The Retail Industry
Every business has had to adjust to a whirlwind of change in the past several years. The pandemic impacted every industry differently, but one of the industries that were more impacted was the retail sector. Everything from clothing stores to diners to barbershops had to deal with a new normal where in-person shopping ground to a halt. These were never-before-seen circumstances that seem to be winding down, but the retail industry is still dealing with the lingering side effects.
The retail industry needs to find a way to regain shoppers’ confidence and stand out as an important option that customers can’t pass up. Online scheduling software is a way to do this. Let’s explore some of the ways that an appointment booking app can make a positive impact on the retail industry.
Retail in a World of E-Commerce
One of the aforementioned changes that the pandemic has brought to the retail industry is the shift toward e-commerce. Throughout the pandemic, more consumers than ever before were focusing on e-commerce. In a world where entering a store felt ominous and difficult, it only made sense that consumers would spend their money online instead.
According to the Census, e-commerce sales grew by 43% in 2020 as the pandemic took hold, topping more than $815 billion in the United States. While these sales numbers were still dwarfed by in-store shopping, there could very well be a day when the biggest portion of sales comes from e-commerce. China is leading the charge on this front, with a jaw-dropping 45% of its retail sales coming from e-commerce in 2022.
How can retail rise to the challenge that faces the industry? Will they simply have to accept that in-person shopping will slowly see its market share eaten into by e-commerce? The answer to this dilemma lies in the retail industry’s ability to embrace digitalization and meet the shifting demands of the modern consumer.
One of the ways brick-and-mortar can complement retail shopping is by embracing curbside pickup, also known as click and collect. Click and collect sales surged 104.5% in 2020 as consumers embraced this new mixture of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar. Click and collect sales are projected to reach $154 billion by 2025.
To make curbside pickup work, retailers need high-functioning online scheduling software. That is what QLess can provide.
A Friction-Free Appointment Booking Process
Curbside pickup is one of several retail services that may call for booking appointments. But in every case, software simplifying how people book appointments will go a long way. An appointment scheduling app is a tool that empowers both customers and operations with more control and independence.
QLess has different types of appointment scheduling features designed to make it easy for customers. They are accessible 24/7, can be used on a mobile device or desktop, and are straightforward to use. The QLess booking page allows customers to see a calendar of available appointment times, select the one that works best for them, and input the appointment type they need. This will schedule the appointment for them at any time of day or night. They’ll then receive SMS reminders to ensure they arrive on time.
This makes the process seamless and friction-free for customers. They don’t have to navigate through outdated appointment booking infrastructure and can book appointments entirely on their own time.
For businesses, an appointment scheduler organizes the day-to-day effectively. Businesses can see the entirety of their day on a calendar, with all the appointments lined up. They can alter that calendar, message customers back and forth, and blend walk-ins with scheduled appointments. It is a flexible solution that retailers value for its ease of use and impact on the customer experience.
Omnichannel Retail Tools
These types of appointment scheduling features are pushing retailers further on the pathway toward an immersive omnichannel customer experience. Embracing the potential of digital technology is how retail can adapt to e-commerce rather than running from it. By implementing new technologies designed to make customers’ in-store experience much smoother, businesses can lean into the new world of digital change.
An omnichannel retail experience essentially means combining the physical with the virtual and using multiple avenues to integrate the two. This might involve the role of retail shifting. McKinsey imagines a world where retail stores function as omnichannel fulfillment centers where the customer experience is the primary driver of the business.
Appointment software does more than just help customers schedule appointments. They can also add to the experience with additional features like customer journey management. This includes features like bi-directional communication, customer feedback, and a mobile app that can be downloaded for maximum accessibility.
These features could become a standard component of how customers experience retail. Customers can schedule appointments for returns, product demonstrations, or curbside pickup, removing the need for a wait. They can communicate with staff before and while they’re in your store, improving the accessibility of customer service. They can send feedback through the app to inform on how their experience has been. It’ll be a true blended physical and digital experience.
Personalize Your Customers’ Shopping Experience
One of the primary drivers behind leveraging technology like an appointment scheduling solution to create an omnichannel retail experience is the goal of making retail more personalized. Personalization is a marketing trend that has become exceedingly important in the past several years and is now expected in most industries. Personalization means gearing your shopping experience to meet the individual needs of different customers, which requires a significant investment in technology.
According to Startup Bonsai, 80% of customers are likelier to buy from a company that provides a tailored experience, and 66% expect brands to understand their individual needs. Consumers want personalization from the retail stores they frequent, and they’ve come to expect it.
So how can retail stores use appointment software to create a more personalized service? There are several different methods businesses can deploy. The bi-directional communication features are a useful tool that can be leveraged. For example, businesses can create an automated message sent to customers using the platform every time they enter the store. The message could refer to the customer by name and ask them what they’re looking for. This is a small but simple touch that can go a long way.
An online appointment scheduling platform also helps businesses with a second crucial aspect of personalization: data collection. Understanding the customer experience is a key step to improving and personalizing it. Appointment scheduling software like QLess has data collection features that automatically store information on your customers’ experiences. Businesses can also send out pulse SMS surveys that customers can answer, so they can receive subjective insights from their customers on how the personalization has worked.
Overall, an appointment management system for retail is a way to personalize the customer experience, integrate e-commerce, and become a true omnichannel operation.
Receiving services from government offices is not always a positive experience. From passport offices to the DMV, wait times are abundant, and many of the systems used are outdated. This causes civilians substantial difficulties, and many prefer to avoid government offices if possible. The downside of this is that the services offered are incredibly important, so finding a way to make them easier to access is important.
The average American will spend an average of 44-minutes waiting at the DMV. Many of the offices use an outdated system that only causes further waits, and there is a consistent struggle to integrate walk-ins with employees. This has given the DMV a negative perception, but the truth is that overburdened workers need a tool that will make day-to-day management easier.
A DMV online booking system solution can make running this industry a more manageable proposition. QLess for government offices has the potential to create a more efficient system that meets the needs of consumers faster. Let’s look at some of the advantages of these solutions for government offices.
Improve the Accessibility of Your Government Office
A government office should be easily accessible. The services offered are too important for customers to have difficulty accessing them, which pertains to people of all backgrounds. An appointment scheduling software like QLess makes these services more accessible in several ways.
For starters, QLess has added features to ensure that people with disabilities have an easier time utilizing key resources. These features exist on mobile devices and on-site kiosks and are designed to adjust to users’ unique needs. Some notable features include a text-to-speech screen reader, adjustable font sizes, spacing, and brightness, dyslexia-friendly font, and a pausable interface with helpful user tooltips so users can go at their own pace.
The appointment scheduling features of QLess also help make crucial services easier to access. Customers can check the availability of upcoming appointments they need and schedule these appointments from wherever they are, even if it is outside of business hours. They can send information over through the platform using the bi-directional communication features and receive automatic reminders on the day of their appointment to ensure they make it.
The government industry is one where accessing appointments should be easy for everyone. The services offered are vital, from passport renewals and license registrations to social services. With appointment software, these important services are easier to reach than ever before.
Data to Better Understand Key Processes
A lack of data is one of the biggest things that is obstructing government offices from providing a high-quality customer experience. Data enables businesses to objectively evaluate how their processes are performing, but collecting data on things like wait times, customer intake, and appointment no-shows have never been easy. With QLess, government offices now have a tool that enables them to collect data that provides key information on what needs improving.
QLess isn’t just a DMV online scheduling software; it also functions as a queue management system. It enables remote check-ins and places customers in a virtual queue. The data from this can show businesses information on several important things. The QLess business intelligence features collect information on median wait time, transaction time, no-show percentage, and the number of customers serviced daily. This data can all be segmented according to things like date, time of day, or who the employee that serviced the customer was.
The data is then displayed in a dashboard that arranges it clearly and is organized through graphs and charts. The data collected can provide offices with clear insights into logical next steps toward improving their processes. If there are certain times of day when the office is inundated and wait times are high, they must clearly adjust for that. If the no-show percentage has reached dangerous highs, adding more reminders might be the ideal decision.
Leveraging data allows organizations to make more informed decisions and better understand where they may be coming up short. QLess provides clear, high-value data on important aspects of the day-to-day, like the customer journey.
Better Structure Busy Employees’ Workflows
Employees at government offices face a monumental task. They have to handle a constant stream of customers, many of who have just waited in an hour-long line and are in terrible moods. They provide a vital service at the fastest pace they possibly can. They deserve to have their loads lightened and receive a more organized day-to-day workflow. That is why an online scheduler is a perfect solution for government offices.
QLess has flexible calendar management features that can radically simplify employee processes. It takes the need for organizing the queue and appointment calendar out of their hands and allows them to focus only on service fulfillment. It does this by providing a flexible calendar with queue management features and automation.
QLess arranges the appointment schedule in a color-coded calendar, so employees can see how many appointments they have scheduled and the appointment type they are processing. They can send mass messages requesting specific customer information before the appointment to streamline the process. They can also move appointments around. The queue management system sorts customers into a virtual line according to their appointment and arrival times. It can be entirely automated according to pre-set priorities and blend appointments with walk-ins for a hybrid queue.
This all serves to lighten the load for government workers. They can focus on their tasks and the appointment ahead of them rather than worrying about organizing their schedule or the customer queue. This is one of the reasons that QLess has been found to increase staff productivity by up to 90% with acuity scheduling.
Easy Integration Into Current Infrastructure
If you’re going to undergo the process of digitally transforming key components of your business, you must have the infrastructure to handle that transformation. Part of what makes QLess and other appointment systems such a valuable tool is that they can easily integrate with the current tech infrastructure most government offices rely on. It is a solution that won’t require a massive time or cost investment from government offices to set up.
Most government websites use a .gov domain. QLess can directly integrate with .gov websites, so customers visiting your website can access the full range of QLess features. They can join virtual queues or schedule their appointment online, all without having to leave your website. This saves customers valuable time and makes setting up your new appointment system a breeze.
QLess also has API integration, meaning it can be between multiple applications that government offices will likely already use. QLess doesn’t make businesses trim their tech stack; it works hand-in-hand with several other applications that offices might use to provide the best possible results.
When the average business owner considers implementing new technology, one of the first things they consider is how difficult the process will be. In the case of QLess, it is a simple and efficient solution that can easily integrate with the current infrastructure most government offices will already be relying on.
The healthcare industry provides an irreplaceable service to customers and plays a massively important societal role. Whether hospitals, urgent care facilities, private practices, or walk-in clinics, the healthcare sector offers a lifesaving service that is crucial to all people across the country. However, like many other industries, the healthcare industry is overburdened.
The pandemic exacerbated an issue that has been prevalent for years as the healthcare system strained under ever-increasing demand. Even as the pandemic has slowed, the cracks in the system remain. Within 20 years, the population of Americans 65 and older will double, according to Urban Institute. The healthcare system needs tools to help them manage ever-increasing demand.
Technology has the potential to improve how healthcare offices operate, increasing their customer intake and improving staff and customers’ experience along the way. An appointment management system like QLess is an effective and mobile-friendly solution with plenty of healthcare applications. Let’s look at the dramatic impact that patient scheduling software can make across the healthcare industry.
Reduce Appointment No-Shows
Appointment no-shows are a problem in every industry. They are regular occurrences everywhere, from retail to education. A customer will schedule an appointment, and staff will block off time accordingly. Then, the customer won’t show up on the day of the appointment, whether due to scheduling conflicts, disinterest, or forgetfulness. This is a problem in almost every industry but is particularly pronounced in healthcare.
Patient no-shows impact the healthcare industry’s resource utilization and waste busy professionals’ time. They impact the quality of service by disrupting the day-to-day flow of an office and are a lost opportunity for businesses.
Patient no-show rates are incredibly high in the healthcare industry. According to the National Library of Medicine, patient no-show rates have been reported between 12%-80% across medical settings. This incurs a high cost on the industry in lost opportunity and wasted time. According to Forbes, patient no-shows cost the healthcare industry more than $150 billion annually.
However, there are ways to cut into the rate of patient no-shows. It has been found that email reminders, SMS messages, and phone calls on the day of the appointment can cut into the no-show rate.
QLess has two features here that can help. The bi-directional communication and business intelligence features will dramatically cut healthcare offices’ no-show rates. The business intelligence feature provides data on the no-show percentage and how many appointment no-shows a business has. They can monitor this number to ensure it doesn’t reach an unsightly rate. They can also use the bi-directional communication features to send automated appointment reminders in the days leading up to the appointment to ensure customers are ready and aware.
A Safer Waiting Room
The patient waiting room is a deeply ingrained aspect of the healthcare experience, and it is not one that many are too fond of. It is particularly unsatisfactory considering that many crowded waiting rooms will have sick or injured people. While this has always been a health hazard, the pandemic opened eyes to just how much of a hazard it is. With a transmissible virus spreading rampantly, a crowded room of sick individuals makes for a serious hazard.
QLess is a waiting room management solution to reduce physical congestion in medical offices. This is done with the appointment scheduling system and the queue management software.
The queue management software enables customers to check in for their previously scheduled appointment virtually. They can sit on their couches at home, check-in for their appointment, and monitor the wait time of the lineup. They can enter the office when it is their turn for an appointment. This completely reduces the need for physical queues and empowers customers to check the real-time availability of medical services from wherever they are.
The appointment scheduling software helps decongest the waiting room by providing staff with a flexible calendar management feature. This will enable the staff to move appointments around and adjust to changes on the fly. Disruptions like an appointment no-show can be moved on from much more quickly, as staff can simply slide a different appointment into the available slot, and the calendar will automatically adjust. This improves efficiency and ensures customers are in and out faster.
The waiting room is an aspect of the patient experience that has consistently posed problems of contagiousness and overall unpleasantness. QLess enables customers to wait for their appointments from wherever they are and empowers businesses with the tools to move on faster from no-shows or late customers. This contributes to a safer, less congested waiting room.
Maximum Patient Satisfaction
The patient experience is a crucial component of thriving in the medical industry. While the service provided is incredibly important, healthcare is a business at the end of the day. It is a business that is incredibly competitive and increasingly so. There are more than 785,000 businesses in the healthcare sector in the United States alone, according to Policy Advice. It makes up roughly 19% of the U.S economy’s GDP. In a crowded industry, standing out is important.
One of the ways to do this is by zeroing in on the patient experience. Providing excellent customer service, maximum customer convenience, and a transparent communication style will help make your medical business stand out. A patient scheduling platform is impactful because it gives customers an easy platform for booking appointments, provides a bi-directional communication channel for staff and customers, and helps businesses offer faster, more flexible services.
If people are dissatisfied with your services, they aren’t going to stick around. But if they are happy, you will find them loyal customers. According to Medical Economics, 69% of patients would switch healthcare providers for better services. One of the top services mentioned that people would switch providers for? Self-scheduling.
Making your service convenient and accessible for your patients will help retain them. An appointment management system takes a significant amount of the burden off customers. They can easily schedule appointments on an accessible booking page, connect with staff and doctors, and avoid long waits. It is an ideal solution to ensure your customers’ long-term satisfaction.
A Technology-Oriented Medical Experience
Over the past several years, a pronounced demographic shift has changed how healthcare companies do business. Millennials have aged into the dominant spending cohort, and Gen Z is following right behind them. This has led to a world where two of the most important generations to target are digital natives that were raised on technologies like smartphones and the internet.
Healthcare industries have to adjust to the new world of digital transformation, and the pandemic showed us what that might look like. Telehealth has become a crucial new component of the healthcare industry. As of April 2021, the monthly volume of telehealth claims was 38x higher than the pre-pandemic baseline. 84% of physicians were offering virtual care.
Virtual healthcare is now the new normal. Having systems in place that can manage the appointment booking process for virtual healthcare services is important. QLess provides a solution that integrates with Zoom and Microsoft Teams, so businesses can effortlessly schedule virtual consultations with their patients. Customers can select the appointment type, including in-person or virtual, and receive a link to a scheduled appointment.
The future of healthcare lies in digital technologies. Businesses that adapt to that change early will be better positioned for success in the future. Appointment scheduling systems are a virtual solution that can help healthcare businesses reduce no-shows, improve the patient experience, and create a safer waiting room for their customers.
Higher Education Institutions
Higher education institutions are facing a significant problem right now. Students have more options than ever before, and mobility has increased dramatically. While last year saw a slight decline in transfers, according to Forbes, 2.1 million college students transferred between academic institutions in the 2020-21 academic year.
Higher education institutions now must consider how they will ensure their students stick around. Tuition costs seem to reach new highs every year across the United States, and if students don’t feel like their schools are offering excellent customer service, they may become dissatisfied.
An appointment scheduling software is a solution that can help schools with their appointment process, from the financial section to academic advisement offices. Let’s examine how appointment software for higher education can maximize staff schedules and improve students’ lives.
Enable Enhanced Virtual Meetings
Like many other industries we’ve mentioned, higher education was completely blindsided by the pandemic. The past several years took a massive toll on higher education institutes as students had to switch to remote learning. Many students are returning to campus now, and it feels like the world is reverting to normal. However, some precautions are still being kept in place, and many campuses are opting for virtual appointments for office hours and advisement meetings.
QLess provides a virtual services feature to make the entire digital appointment process a breeze for staff and students. The way it works is simple. Using the QLess booking system features, students can view available appointment slots. Then, they can virtually join the queue when it is time for their appointment. They can monitor the wait time on their phone or computer, and when it is time for their appointment, they’ll receive a link to the video meeting.
QLess integrates with Zoom and Microsoft Teams, so institutions can pick the virtual meeting platform that works best for them. Offices can run their entire operation through this feature, with queuing features that blend appointments with walk-ins, so you can ensure that every student gets the time they deserve.
The virtual service options and the numerous features they correspond with provide a high-value tool for academic offices to run their various types of appointments and meetings. These are safe and efficient ways of connecting with students that provide maximum simplicity for all parties involved.
Make the Appointment Experience Less of a Stressor
College students are stressed. Plain and simple, they have a lot on their plate. The average student has an extensive workload, many work jobs to afford tuition, and they are young adults trying to figure out which pathways in life to pursue. According to PBS, 48% of college students reported moderate to severe stress. Universities need to do what they can to limit the stress students face.
Being unable to access school resources is a significant stressor, particularly for important things like class registration advisement meetings and financial aid. If students struggle to get appointments for these all-important meetings, it will only add to their stress levels.
Many schools are reliant on booking pages that are outdated or inflexible. With QLess, schools have a one-stop solution that allows them to satisfy students’ needs and remove all stress from the appointment booking process.
QLess’ 24/7 appointment scheduling software enables students to set appointments at their own pace. They can choose the academic office they hope to access, the individual staff they want to connect with, and the appointment type they are there for. They can then send messages to staff with updates for their appointment and attach important documents for processing before the appointment begins.
This will offer students an overall more relaxed process. They’ll be able to have a clear understanding of what appointments are available and have more freedom to choose the appointment type and staff they hope to connect with. The simplicity and independence of the whole process make it a breeze for students and a stress-free experience.
Improve Communication with the Student Body
Communication is an important part of feeling heard and appreciated. Students deserve to feel that way at the higher education institutions they attend, considering their significant investment. However, most higher education institutions struggle to provide the communicativeness students seek, given their massive population. QLess is a tool with communication features that allow colleges to better connect with their students.
The communication features of QLess work seamlessly in conjunction with the appointment scheduling software. They open up a clear channel where staff and students can message back and forth. Rather than email messages and alerts, these messages can show up on SMS while protecting students’ and staff’s personal information.
Beyond just messaging back and forth, the QLess software enables staff to hear more from their students by sending pulse surveys. These surveys are valuable ways of collecting insights from the student body into important issues. Staff can ask students whether they are struggling to access resources, how the appointment process can be improved, and learn more about how students find their educational experience.
This will make students feel more engaged and involved with campus life. They will feel like the university is trying to improve their experience and hear their opinions. It will also provide important insights into areas students feel the academic institution lacks.
A Digitally Enhanced Campus
Higher education institutes are responsible for meeting the needs of the people they serve. This has been something that has changed throughout the years as students’ desires shift. Right now, one of the biggest things students will seek out from their colleges is implementing technology that makes their lives easier.
The average student that most colleges will be servicing currently will be Gen Z. Gen Z encompasses the age range of 9-24 right now, meaning just about all college students will be within this demographic.
Colleges must implement solutions that align with their established habits to properly service this age group. If there’s one thing we know about Gen Z, it is a generation hooked to their virtual technologies. 55% of Gen Z spends five or more hours every day on their smartphone. They are tech natives that anticipate the businesses they frequent to accommodate their virtual preferences.
By implementing software like QLess, higher education institutes are showing their students that they are committed to providing a tech-oriented higher education experience. QLess offers online appointment scheduling software and a queuing system that works in conjunction to improve the campus experience through technology. It is mobile-oriented software that meets the needs and expectations of college students for technology in education.
There are many kinds of technology that offer a valuable solution that is useful to businesses across industries. A high-quality appointment scheduling system is a rare exception. This software solution is designed to enhance customers’ convenience, increase business flexibility, and create a more accessible business for people of all backgrounds.
In industries like healthcare, retail, education, and government, an appointment scheduling system can make an impact. There’s a good reason that QLess has been implemented by institutions ranging from Texas A&M and the City of Milwaukee to UCLA Health. With easy-to-grasp tools, inexpensive implementation, and a clear value for businesses and customers, an appointment scheduling system is an ideal addition to enterprises across industries.