So, you operate a Health & Wellness business. You’re a hands-on people person, a healer making a difference in your community. You feel that everything you need to practice your craft is within YOU, and you’re fuelled by your endless passion to help others. Even if it means some self-sacrifice, you’re making the world a better place.
Ok, that’s an idealistic view, but still true nonetheless. What the ideal view fails to include, is the reality that practicing your craft is filled with tedious tasks.
- Phone call negotiations for appointment times
- Patients who chronically no-show
- Paperwork piling up from every patient visit
- Collecting fees from clients and balancing the books
- Managing staff schedules
- Marketing and promotions to get the word out…Yikes!!
You’ve probably heard of, or may even be using online appointment booking and scheduling software. But have you considered what may be missing in your simple appointment scheduler? Not all systems are created equal. Most are basic and do 1 or 2 things well, but fail when your practice needs more robust functionality, such as:
- Patient side appointment booking rules
- Secure electronic charting and SOAP notes
- Invoicing and financial reports
- Automated, customizable email notifications
- Complex, irregular staff availability
Let’s look at just a few benefits that a professional appointment scheduling and management system can do for the fitness of your health & wellness practice.
In very realistic terms the best online scheduling system will
- Increase efficiency to free up time for you and your staff, allowing you to see more patients and provide better service.
- Fill up slow times by attracting new clients and allowing you to target existing patients that haven’t booked in a while and just need to be reminded you’re here for them.
- Make your unique practice more available to new and existing clients by automating most of your online marketing.
An effective booking system will automate repetitive tasks that waste your time and affect the quality of service to your patients. With your schedule of availability accessible online 24/7, clients are able to manage their own bookings, virtually eliminating phone tag, allowing you to maximize your time with your clients.
As a conservative estimate, a single therapist with 80 bookings per month can save 10 hours in that same period. Simply by allowing clients to manage their own appointments and avoiding telephone tag. Ten hours might not seem like much in a month, but how many more clients could you see in that time? Or you can use the extra time to relax. Either way, you are doing more in less time.
Your booking system should be capable of collecting prepayments from your clients at the time of booking, at which time clearly displayed messaging explains your no show policy, saving you frustrating conversations and loss of revenue. Prepayments alone can reduce no shows by up to 80%.
Immediate access to your practice’s financial data will save you time when balancing the books. Annual tax calculations can be a frustrating chore if information is not easy to access and export. Appointment data should be organized in detailed reports. These reports will give you a clear picture of where you stand daily, weekly, monthly. The best appointment booking systems allow you to define and calculate taxes automatically, and support currency settings for your country. In short, an integrated booking system will save you time every day not just at tax time.
If you’re in the health & wellness industry, you’re probably aware of electronic health charting or SOAP notes. Electronic health charting, and the Health & Wellness industry’s move towards collecting session notes and charts digitally. This improves the flow of information between you, your staff and clients. The secured digital records allow you to access all shared information for later review from a secured online portal. This powerful new feature will save an enormous amount of time and take the edge off “Busy” times.
Fill in Slow Times
As the tide of clients ebbs and flows, it’s important to find ways to keep afloat. How do you find new clients? One of the best ways is by referral. Try to reach out to other synergistic business professionals to build a lucrative referral network. A system that allows those in your referral network to book patients directly into your online calendar makes it very easy to turn a referral into a booking. Similarly, if an existing client would like to refer a friend, the system should allow a quick easy way to do this.
Acquiring new clients is key to business growth. However, did you know that acquiring a new client costs you more than retaining an existing one?
Look for a system that will allow you to identify clients who have not visited recently, whereby you could target a phone or email campaign to entice them for another visit. During a seasonal slow period, this could be a lifesaver.
Alleviating a patient’s pain or stress will leave them thankful and willing to share their positive experience. The online booking system should provide a simple means for patients to submit a review and some way to for you to manage their visibility.
Be More Available for Your Patients
A key benefit of an electronic booking system is it boosts your online presence every second of every day. The online calendar becomes another point of contact for potential clients to find your unique brand, making you much more likely to be found than with a website only. There are hundreds of people already looking for the services you provide in your area. Right now, they are searching online for professionals just like you to help them heal or grow. Will they find you?
To boost your bookings even further, embed your online calendar directly into your website or Facebook page and link it with other social media platforms like Twitter. Your clients may already be visiting and interacting with you on these sites, let them book appointments there too.
Just like a well supported web page, your online booking calendar should be available for bookings 24/7. Clients should be able to find you and your unique skills at their leisure around the clock. In fact 50% of online bookings get generated after 5:00 pm and 10% after midnight. Be sure to choose a system that has virtually no downtime.
With clients managing their own appointments, there’s no need for a dedicated receptionist. The days of having to deal with all those voice mails at the start of the next day are gone
When you’re out and about, being able to quickly and easily book and manage appointments is an important consideration. Mobile friendly layouts and a dedicated iOS and Android apps are essential tools for the job of booking more appointments.
Take the time to do some research and ask the right questions to find the right solution for you. Choosing a system that grows with your business will ensure a greater benefit to your practice. Switching systems is stressful to you and your staff as well as a confusing hassle to your clients.
Keep these key points in mind in your search
- Will the booking system reduce the overhead of busy times by offering time saving features that maximize efficiency
- Provide you with the tools and access to data to help fill slow times
- Improves your online visibility to reach new clients
Don’t settle for pretty marketing tactics, dig deep and take the time to test thoroughly.
Happy searching !