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The Appointment Economy: Customer Engagement

An appointment economy is emerging to improve consumer engagement, and field experiences as the globe opens up. So take a moment to check your Calendar and get your appointments scheduled...

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This story originally appeared on Calendar

An appointment economy is emerging to improve consumer engagement, and field experiences as the globe opens up. So take a moment to check your Calendar and get your appointments scheduled and up to date.

Calendar - Calendar

An appointment-as-a-service indicates that time is valuable to both parties. Have you ever made a service appointment and been told to maintain a window of several hours open because they couldn’t commit to a time? Ever made an appointment at a hospital just to spend an eternity in the waiting room? Have you ever strolled into a company and wished you could arrange an appointment ahead of time? Or wished you’d scheduled a remote work conference differently?

We’ve all had these inefficiencies that are time-sucks — but you can tighten up your schedule for maximum productivity.

The Appointment Economy — Customer Engagement — and Productivity

Increasingly, clients demand creative, tailored, and time-efficient services due to the epidemic and increased digital penetration. In an “appointment economy,” you may rapidly become a competitive distinction in gaining client connections and loyalty if you’ll maximize your time — and theirs.

The pandemic changed businesses and customers

Customers’ personal and professional life became digital-first because of Covid-19 safety regulations and the fear of illness. People learned to browse and find products using digital applications and gadgets, whether they were purchasing groceries, a meal at a local restaurant, or a new vehicle or house.

A combination of health concerns and physical distance restrictions necessitated the rapid adoption of virtual applications such as remote learning, telemedicine and telehealth, courtroom litigation, insurance claims processing, and more.

Covid-19 changed culture and behavior swiftly along with the advent of digital-first activities came a new kind of client, Generation-N. A new routine and expectation in the experiences — business associates chose inspired new routines and expectations in the first 90 days of pandemic disruption.

Businesses and social contacts demanded services in all contact points, both physical and digital – to be integrated, convenient, intuitive and frictionless, experiential, and customized. Maybe you noticed, as we did — Many clients became more impatient and expected results on their timetable.

The order of the day was for firms to speed up digital interaction while introducing new experiences — and most of these constraints had to be done while we worked at home. And now, it seems, customers and clients want businesses to up the scheduling and appointment game even more — or think we can — because we are back at the office.

During the epidemic, businesses began to digitize obsolete procedures and infrastructure quickly.

Now is the time to invest in next-generation experiences, particularly in the new miles of consumer contact. Consumers increasingly find the usual four-hour appointment time inflexible and unappealing, and it’s paving the way for an appointment economy.

Reimagining the Service Path

We are seeing a reimagining of the service path, and this new path puts the digital-first client first. Recent research found that clients regard appointments as a way to save time. As a result, more appointments and scheduling are being made in business than ever before.

Changing your appointment and scheduling protocols

These new scheduling and appointment protocols are an opportunity to redefine field service as a critical personal contact points, boosting engagement and satisfaction among clients.

Digital infrastructure is required to facilitate seamless scheduling, on-site customization, and relevant follow-ups.

In a digital-first era, people prefer face-to-face service, with 77 percent of US clients choosing in-person appointments with digital alternatives — up from 67 percent in June 2020. So what do analog appointments represent for digital transformation in a world where digital-first is becoming the norm?

That means digital infrastructure from appointment scheduling to on-time engagement to post-service follow-up. In the future, one-third of clients aged 18-44 will choose virtual appointments over in-person meetings. While now a minority, it might be regarded as a sign of the appointment regulation’s future.

Saving time and accelerating results may become more crucial when younger consumers mature and become the market majority.

Customers want appointment-based business transactions and services.

Customers would feel more comfortable visiting a company in person if they could arrange an appointment. But that’s just the start. And what is the inclination of your client?

Eighty-two percent of your clients and customers would prefer to visit a firm with an appointment. It all boils down to action and who you choose to do business with. Over 75% stated they would be more inclined to visit a company in person if they had an appointment.

In the tech industry — we have always had people just drop by the office — and this is many of our clients and customers. But as we get back into the office, we see is that nearly all of our clientele and customers prefer an appointment. So keeping everything scheduled requires an uptick in scheduling and for the teammates to pay an additional amount of attention to details of the business day.

Like the attention to detail increases, as appointments are made and kept — a remarkable thing is occurring — the productivity is up on a significant level.

Personalizing customer experiences draw new consumers and future-proof businesses.

Most customers (78%) feel customized care makes them more inclined to buy. Moreover, this figure is projected to rise as AI fuels digital-first experiences.

The surprise to business is that teenagers and those in their twenties are far more likely to agree with the viewpoint of having an appointment. Maybe teenagers are better prepared in school for making and keeping appointments. These meetings save consumers time and allow brands to learn about their customers in advance, either by asking questions or by using data like purchase history to give a genuinely tailored experience.

Youth prefer purchasing online and picking up in-store or curbside.

While this isn’t precisely “shopping with an appointment,” it does represent that younger and perhaps more digital-first consumers prefer to buy on their terms — and that often means on a schedule. They prefer screens to aisles and want to pick up their items when they want.

Their time is their most valuable asset — so plan accordingly.

Customers don’t want to give up their convenience, control, and better digital-first experiences as the globe opens up, but it appears our clients and customers won’t go back to normal. It’s clear that time and experiences matter in the appointment economy, and businesses must progressively distinguish themselves via field service personalization.

Businesses may utilize appointment-setting to improve field service quality, plan better, employ resources more efficiently, and plan better.

You’ll want to clue your team to up their game in the appointment and scheduling department. We are still in January, and there is no better time in the first quarter. Appreciate the customer’s time and presence and find greater productivity that benefits everybody.

Offering the right experiences at the right time and scale is the hallmark of good business with the right technology. To see how you are doing with these new goals, invest in real-time analytics and scheduling. One of your most significant ways to facilitate digital self-service appointment scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellations are with your Calendar.

How to manage today’s scaled up appointment needs

Automate, self-service, and chatbots to manage today’s needs. Enable human agents to foresee and solve issues and achieve desired results by scaling automated technologies to gather and unify critical client contexts.

Remember that you will want to make experiences part of the unified customer experience, with digital at the center. So move beyond a “how did we do” email or survey and thank consumers for their business.

Video and voicemail messages

Try a video or voicemail message. Use your appointment and economic data to forecast the future. This is a business opportunity to adjust capacity if reservations surge or fall next month so that you schedule with predictability.

The expectations of service have shifted.

The expectations of services have shifted, and you still have to work on experiences and services — your upgrades are here to stay.

Conclusion

Your customers can and should be able to anticipate more convenient scheduling and tailored services both now and in the coming years. Companies that can effortlessly provide value to customers online, curbside, and in-person will succeed in the appointment economy.

Image Credit: George Milton; Pexels; Thank you!

The post The Appointment Economy: Customer Engagement appeared first on Calendar.

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