Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Why Businesses Need Enterprise Appointment Booking Software



Why Businesses Need Enterprise Appointment Booking Software

Why Businesses Need Enterprise Appointment Booking SoftwareIntroduction

Booking appointments are routine and common tasks among many enterprise businesses and organisations. Regardless of the type of service or activity being booked, an efficient method of managing this process is essential in ensuring an entity runs efficiently and to its fullest and most profitable potential.
Unfortunately, traditional methods of managing appointments such as over the phone, by e-mail or in-person are neither effective nor efficient.
Depending on the number of appointments booked on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, this seemingly simple task can have a significant and negative impact on how an enterprise runs and, ultimately, its bottom line.
There’s a simple solution for enterprises looking to automate, streamline and improve the booking process: online appointment booking software.

How Enterprises uses it
Enterprise Appointment booking software instantly improves the way businesses and organisations book and manage their appointment processes by giving their clients the ability to book their own dates and times online and at any hour of the day, not just during normal business operating hours. Just as the scopes of business vary greatly among enterprises, so too do the types of appointments that can be self-booked with online appointment booking software.

Online appointment booking software improves the process by giving the client the ability to book their own dates and times online and at any hour of the day, not just during normal business operating hours.
These include:
• Vaccination services. (Corporate Health)
• Internal and external training.
• Scheduled maintenance.
• Lessons, meetings and general services.
• Licensing & testing.
• Trade shows.
• Financial services. (Tax Agents & Accountants)
• Physical training and exercise classes.
• Consulting.
• Workshops, seminars and events.

Among the industries that utilise online appointment booking software are:
Automotive (car servicing and repairs)
Banking and Finance (Retail Banking)
• Education and Training
• Entertainment and Leisure
• Health and Wellness
• Professional Services
• Sport & Fitness
 Taxation Services
Tours (Government Buildings)
Telecommunication


The Benefits of Enterprise Appointment Booking Software Vs. Traditional Methods

Traditional booking methods all have one thing in common: they have a manual component to them.

Whether appointments are booked over the phone by staff, submitted by clients by e-mail or fax, or made in-person, a manual booking process requires a significant amount of staff time and resources that may not be immediate apparent when analysing its effect on overall operating procedures. 

The booking does not end when a date and time is confirmed. Information related to the booked appointment must then be managed and maintained.
Automating the booking process through online appointment booking software and its self-booking functionality has instant benefits not found in traditional booking methods.

These include:
Time savings as staff spend less time on the phone adding, cancelling and modifying appointment bookings. Online appointment booking software also eliminates or significantly reduces time spent managing client contact information, returning voice mail and e-mail messages, and on appointment reminders. 

Monetary savings, which is a common off-shoot of the time savings experienced. Staff members can focus on more pressing tasks and primary responsibilities they were hired for, eliminating the need for overtime pay to accomplish these or hiring a new staff to assist in the booking process.

Greater flexibility and convenient for clients, as they’re able to book their dates and times 24 hours a day, not just during normal business hours. A dramatic reduction in errors such as over-bookings, incorrect appointment dates and times, and inaccurate client information.
Greater accessibility to appointments booking details, client contact information and related data, as these can be viewed from any Internet-connected device.

Instant staff access from any Internet-connection when away from the office or working remotely. 

A significant drop in “no-shows” who miss their appointment times. This helps ensure that available time slots are filled.

Another intangible benefit is the peace-of-mind knowing that the booking process is automatic, streamlined and effective.



The Characteristics of Enterprise Appointment Booking Software
Online appointment booking software for enterprise businesses and organisations uses a Software as a Service (SaaS) model completely accessible online. 

Unlike more traditional software programs limited to an individual computer or network, cloud-based appointment booking software is securely and safely housed on external servers and maintained and updated by the service provider.

Adoption rates for online appointment booking software and other cloud-based applications continue to grow at a fast pace, as evidenced by findings in a March 2012 IBM survey released at its Pulse 2012 conference that predict the number of enterprises turning to cloud computing will double by 2015.

Features
Features commonly included in appointment booking software include:
• Online self-booking.
• Automated e-mail and SMS text message reminders sent prior to a appointment time.
• Record-keeping and reporting capabilities that allow for quick and seamless data collection, management and retrieval.
• Customisable staff access types that allow enterprises to grant different access levels to staff (for security purposes).

Advanced Functionality
The appointment booking needs of enterprise-level businesses and organisations typically stretch beyond the standard features and functionality of online appointment booking software systems, given the size of their operations and the number of separate locations they run. Some online appointment booking software providers have developed services and functionality specific to these needs. 

These may include:
• High scalability of the system. This is important for enterprises, as it allows them to accommodate large numbers of appointment bookings, staff, and clients across multiple locations.

• Unlike more traditional software programs limited to an individual computer or network, cloud-based online appointment booking software is securely and safely housed on external servers and maintained and updated by the service provider.

• Web services that integrate into existing software and booking processes already in use at the business or organisation.

• High configurability to accommodate more specific and advanced booking needs.

• Readily available customer support from locally-based representatives.

• Dedicated business and support contacts to quickly address questions, concerns and requests.

Given the knowledge, experience and manpower necessary to sufficiently provide advanced functionality, it’s offered only by a few online appointment booking software providers.

Implementation
Implementation of online appointment booking software depends upon how it’s to be used and any advanced functionality included with the service. Given the unique considerations of enterprise-level organisations and businesses, the online appointment booking software provider will typically assign a representative to work with them on their specific needs, integrations, system settings and other necessary steps to employ. 

Once configured, an enterprise can begin to utilise the self-booking functionality rapidly. Since these systems typically are pre-built with functionality and security measures already in place, the “go-live” timelines can be cut up to 90 percent than those of traditional software implementation.

Common considerations include:
• Features and Functionality
• Professional Services
• Security
• Cost
• Customer Support
• Training
• Location of the provider



What to Look for When Selecting a Provider
Due diligence and research should be conducted when selecting an online appointment booking software provider, given the important role it will play in an enterprise’s operations. 

Common considerations include:
Features and functionality
Enterprise Booking Software for large coporationsAlthough some features and functionality come standard with some online appointment booking software systems, they can vary widely among the many service providers. A current analysis of both current and future needs can help enterprises in the selection process. Creating a specified workflow typically requires the most time in the analysis process, and a provider should utilise the services of a specialists experienced with multiple variations of the booking processes.

Professional services 
Enterprise appointment booking software for hospitialsEnterprises often have unique booking needs that stretch beyond the standard functionality of the software, as stated in the above. Many providers do not offer the professional services necessary to accommodate these needs. Inquire on what the provider currently offers and its limitations for customisation and advanced services.






Security
Enterprise appointment booking software for retails bankingThis is an important consideration for enterprise businesses and organisations, given the transfer and flow of online data. Reputable providers incorporate the latest security measures and practices, such as secure server databases, data storage and back-up procedures, as well as processes related to failover and federal regulations, if applicable.





Cost
Enterprise appointment booking software for governement
Pricing for an enterprise suite of services is typically a bit different from a basic subscription for a small business that utilises only standard services and doesn’t require any customisation. For enterprises, some online appointment booking software providers offer a more cost-effective monthly package to accommodate the high usage and multiple locations common with most of these operations. (These costs would otherwise add up quickly if purchased as individual accounts.) 
Reputable providers will write up a contract agreements that includes all work to be done, business requirements, the total cost of the work and fees, insurance, and other information pertinent to both parties.

Priority Support
Enterprise appointment booking software for councilsCustomer support should be a requirement when researching an online appointment booking software provider. The ability to immediately reach a dedicated contact or support representative is imperative for an appointment booking application that needs to be functional at all times.






Dependability 
Enterprise appointment booking software for corporate health servicesDependability Longevity is usually a good tell-tale sign of a dependable service provider. Learn how long the provider has been in business. Another sign of a dependable application is feedback from other enterprise businesses and organisations that currently use the service. Most providers are willing to provide references upon request.


 Conclusion
 Enterprise corporate business appointment booking software
Enterprises of all sizes and scopes of business can instantly benefit from online appointment booking software for booking a wide variety of services, events and activities.
Implementing such a system not only makes the booking process more convenient and easier for clients, it can translate into significant time and monetary savings, greater efficiency for staff, and a complete automation of booking procedures from start to finish. The flexibility and functionality of some online appointment booking software mesh perfectly with the unique booking needs of enterprise-level businesses and organisations, making online appointment booking software the best choice for transforming this necessary, but oftentimes burdensome, task.





To learn more about enterprise appointment booking software and how it can improve your booking processes, visit bookitlive for Enterpise.

By David Godbold - Online Booking Specialist  at bookitlive