6 Benefits of Automating Your In-Store Appointments
As more and more retailers are embracing the benefits of in-store experiences, events and consultations, the need to ensure a smooth appointment booking software process gets ever more prevalent.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 6 reasons why automating the way in which you take and manage your in-store appointments can have a benefit to your staff, your customers and your business as a whole.
It Saves Time
While in-store appointments can provide major benefits to the modern retail environment, the taking and scheduling of appointments, when carried out manually (phone, email or in-person) can be pretty time-consuming.
Think about the time spent making and receiving phone enquiries – on average, each call can be anywhere between 5-10 minutes in length. Time which can mount up pretty quickly when you start to field a high volume of enquiries each week.
Then there’s the manual input of the appointment into whatever diary system you use, and the recording of whatever personal details you’ve managed to capture during the call that’s needed for the appointment.
With an online booking system, this process is automated, eliminating the manual admin, capturing the appointment and client information without becoming a burden on staff time, that can be used more efficiently and productively on the shop floor.
Your Customers are More Inclined to Book
If you are making life easier for your customers than your competitors then there is a greater inclination for them to book with you.
Think about it.
If you want customers to book an appointment for an in-store consultation, why put up barriers?
An email enquiry is fine; but that means the customer then has to wait for your reply to let them know if the time they want is available and can be confirmed.
Providing an online appointment making service removes that time-delay, providing a clear indication of what is available and when, making it easier for your customers to make the booking that they want, at the time that they want.
Capturing the Higher Spending Customer
Typically, the higher spending customer is the one who will tend to engage with a brand across multiple channels, online and offline [Source: Criteo].
By having an automated online booking system on your website, you are providing a simple means to encourage this omnichannel engagement by creating an easy pathway to a personalised shopping experience in-store.
Not only are you giving your customers a value-adding reason to visit (a dedicated consultation, at a time of their choosing) but also making the process swift, easy and on their terms.
The Personalised Service
Matching your proposition to the wishes of the customer is the key to any successful sale, so being informed and armed with personal information is a powerful tool for the in-store sales consultant.
Your booking system is the perfect platform to allow your sales staff to gather this information in an effective and efficient way.
It also allows for a more consistent approach to the service that you provide your customers. If fielding an enquiry on the phone you need to remember to ask the right questions to capture the information, and then ensure that you input it correctly.
Adding these simple questions into the online booking process ensures this information is captured correctly, consistently and instantly added to the customer profile so that the sales consultant has it to hand, enabling the personalised service at the appointment.
Time-Saving, Value-Adding Customer Engagement
Every business will recognise the importance of staying in touch with a client to ensure that they keep their appointment.
It’s all too easy, sometimes, for a customer to book an appointment and then forget about it, or simply not turn up.
To avoid this happening, it’s important that the customer places a genuine value in the appointment.
This is typically achieved through engaging with the client before and afterwards. Sending a reminder email out to the client a couple of days beforehand keeps the appointment fresh in the mind, creating a sense that this is something to look forward to (and that you, the business, are looking forward to it).
And while this engagement is valuable, indeed essential for ongoing customer relations, it’s also particularly time-consuming.
However, your online booking system should once again provide the tools to both improve consistent customer engagement, while also eliminating the time drain, through a series of automated, personalised emails sent to remind customers of upcoming appointments, and indeed, to thank them for visiting afterwards.
Ongoing Customer Relations
Long-term sustainable growth depends on growing a loyal customer base who will return to spend with you time after time.
This means providing the kind of products and service that they want, continually meeting their needs and matching their preferences.
We’ve already mentioned how the booking system can capture the information to provide a personalised in-store appointment, but this information can be made to work harder for your business, feeding into the larger customer profiles that allow for this ongoing service.
The booking system is a powerful tool for personal data capture that can play an integral role in your wider customer relations management, allowing customers a quick route to re-book new appointments, while informing sales and marketing of their tastes and preferences for targeted on-going interaction.
An online appointment booking system should, with the correct functionality, provide businesses with a powerful platform to drive ongoing personalised and profitable engagement between client and brand; while making significant improvements to operational efficiency and staff productivity.
Isn’t it time you explored their full potential?
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