All of us who schedule any sort of appointment in their life could learn from this information, and if you have a business this may be of even more use to you.
As a general rule, we schedule appointments quite often, but are you doing it in the most efficient manner possible? How do you schedule appointments efficiently, you may be asking.
You will fall into one of two categories: You will be the provider making time in your day to see a person, or you will be the customer wanting to make an appointment with someone.
The goal, as with any activity, is to leave as little wasted space in your day as possible. You wouldn’t want to spread out your appointments so they take you out of your home or office and cause you to go back and forth all day long. You would spend a great deal of time in transit and lose valuable time back at your office or doing other work.
Consequently, if you run a business you wouldn’t want to make appointments all over your day, or you would have to go back and forth between office tasks and client time constantly, which can cause you to be less productive. For many, we either have sporadic appointments in a week, or we provide a service that is scheduled more consistently throughout the day and week.
Here is my suggestion in order to Schedule for Maximum Productivity:
If you are a provider of a service making the appointment for someone to meet with you, have two good options to present to the other person before even contacting them. Have your calendar ready and open when calling.
You might say: “I have 10 a.m. on Wednesday or 3 p.m. on Thursday. Which would be best for you?”
This way you are offering them a choice, but the choice is limited to the times you actually prefer and perhaps the only options you have available. The customer then may choose from those options or ask for something else should neither work for his/her schedule.
Another method is to start by asking the following series of questions:
You: “Would you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment?”
Client: “Mornings are better for me.”
You: “Okay, would you prefer 10 a.m. on Wednesday or 9 a.m. on Thursday?”
Client: “Nine a.m. on Thursday would be best for me.”
You: “Great. Then I will see you this Thursday at 9 a.m.”
Again, here you are offering a choice. Why is this important?
When you offer people a choice and they need to state out loud their preference, they are reinforcing in their own head the day and time of the appointment, thereby having a greater chance of remembering it and showing up. If you are simply told a time, you may not remember what you were told. If you are asked to choose and speak the selection out loud, you are getting that into your brain using more senses, so it will tend to “stick.”
It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: You always want to put the appointment into some sort of calendar, whether it be on your smartphone, on a calendar in your computer, or a paper-based calendar. Do not rely on your memory to keep track of your appointments. That’s great if you happen to be one of those who can recall that data perfectly, but most of us cannot, and you are running the risk of making a mistake by not writing it down somewhere.
Not only should you note the person, place, and time of this appointment, but a contact phone number should you need it. I was just phoned this morning by a friend who was trying to locate a home-based business for the first time, and she only had the name and address. This would have been fine, except she misheard the directions and there were no numbers on the homes in the area, so she was wondering how, without a phone number, to contact the person and get further directions. She learned (the hard way) why you always want to have a contact number with the appointment data from the beginning. Those few seconds could save you stress and wasted time down the road … literally!