Ironically, one of the major factors that takes up a huge amount of time in the day of a business owner involves creating the types of appointments that were supposed to make things easier in the first place. Though manually creating appointments certainly helps you with everything from customer flow to staffing, manually entering this information into a system like Outlook can still take a great deal of time.
Until now. In July of 2016, Microsoft launched a new Microsoft Bookings feature for Office 365 users that not only automates a large degree of the scheduling process, but also helps better position business leaders everywhere for success both now and for all time.
What is Microsoft Bookings?
Microsoft Bookings is an add-in for all Office 365 users that not only effortlessly integrates into your existing Office 365 deployment, but can also be added to your website to give your customers the ability to schedule their own appointments right away. The immediate benefit of this is that you can now take appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week – even when the business is closed or when nobody is around to pick up the phone.
All a customer has to do is navigate to your business-specific website, choose a day and time (along with other options like staff members or specific services), enter their contact information, and they’re done. The appointment is created and both you and the customer are automatically alerted.
Diving Deeper Through Customization
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Microsoft Bookings is that it is completely customizable for your particular company. You get to decide what services customers can schedule appointments for, how long each one of those services will take, which staff members will be available for them to choose from, and more. By customizing your Microsoft Bookings deployment for your own enterprise, you get to avoid things like not having too many staff members on hand, overbooking, and other things that could lead to dwindling client satisfaction.
With something like Microsoft Bookings, if you know that Staff Member A is the only person who offers Service Z and that employee can only handle five appointments in a day, new customers will be automatically denied new appointments based on that person’s availability. If that employee is away for a week on vacation, you don’t have to worry about notifying anybody – Bookings will reflect all of this information automatically.
Another one of the major benefits of Microsoft Bookings comes by way of how customers are able to interact with it from the comfort of their own homes. In an effort to reduce missed appointments, Bookings automatically sends confirmation and reminder emails to the customer so that you don’t have to do so yourself. If a customer needs to reschedule or cancel an appointment, they don’t even have to think about picking up the phone. They can make all of the adjustments they need right from your Microsoft Bookings website, at which point you will be automatically notified and you can make your own internal adjustments accordingly.
More than anything, the major benefit that you’ll receive from Microsoft Bookings is one of time. Instead of spending time manually creating appointments and keeping them up to date, you and your employees are now free to focus your efforts elsewhere on those activities that will truly help move your organization forward.
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Published on 16th August 2016 by Ian Brady.