Online Appointment Scheduling: The next digital game changer for Healthcare Providers

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We always say that online engagement tools such as Online Scheduling are tailored towards SMBs, retailers, and other companies for business purposes. However, if we read in between the lines and try to understand the different uses for such a technology, we find other answers…

A recent Accenture (NYSE:ACN) survey, uncovered that 3.5 million US citizens a year are expected to turn 65 years-old through 2023. At the same time, the number of tech-savvy seniors is growing (57%).  Today, 62% of the seniors surveyed want access to self-serve tools like Online Appointment Scheduling Software when interacting with healthcare institutions but only 1/3 of Healthcare providers are offering such a digital interface to their patients.

Appointment Scheduling for healthcare providers

Lets put ourselves in the shoes of a Medical Center, a Hospital, a dentist, a surgeon, a doctor or any healthcare provider and imagine implementing an Online Appointment Scheduling tool on their website. What would change in their everyday practices or in their patients’ lives?

  • Automated patient database: with a complete profile and contact information (phone, email, etc…). No need to lose time asking your patient standard information. You already have it!
  • Mobile optimized: This enables you to access your client database and to manage bookings anywhere, anytime!
  • Online Booking availability: Patients can book an appointment with a doctor whenever they want. It makes it easier to contact Medical institutions and lowers the risk of patients of taking months before taking an appointment because they have no time to call their doctor. Patients are able to schedule an appointment even when their Healthcare provider is closed.
  • More bookings for healthcare professionals: Booking online enables patients to choose an appointment at a time that is most convenient for themselves and their healthcare provider and this enable doctors to provide treatments to more patients.
  • Reduces time spent with voice mail: Healthcare providers can say goodbye to their never-ending voice mail left by patients who want an appointment.  They save-time by having their schedules automatically organized and are no longer forced to listen to endless voice mails after work, and then worrying about follow-up calls and coordinating patients’ busy schedules.
  • Patient no-show risk is lowered: Thanks to Automatic SMS or email reminders.

There are significant benefits to both patients, who can easily contact their Healthcare providers, and professionals, who save-time and money by being bookable 24/7 .

Feel free to share more ideas of benefits that you can think of based on your experience or contact us if you want more information on online scheduling!

CV RIG
- Posted by -
Raphaël Iscar-Gutierrez
Marketing & Communication Manager
@agendize 
 
 

How Appointment Scheduling Software increases efficiency in B2B sector

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You’ve probably already experienced it. You wake up in the morning and on the way to work you suddenly open your agenda and realize that you had an appointment with a client in 5 minutes but you’re too far to make it on time… First you call your prospect, try make amends and then find another date for an appointment. The client isn’t available until next month. The deal decision is now delayed and you’re no longer inviting your family to a posh restaurant this month because you won’t earn the commissions you were expecting within the following days .

STOP these misunderstandings and inefficiencies before cost your team and your firm a lot of money! How? Through technology and particularly a  simple solution can be found.

 

A qualitative 2012 Aberdeen B2B survey highlighted the difference in efficiency between Online Scheduling users and non-users.The results are clear: Appointment Scheduling Software allows sales reps to generate and convert more leads, faster.

 

The study shows the positive impact of Appointment Scheduling Software on Sales Teams Efficiency evaluated along 4  factors.

Table with metrics on how Appointment Scheduling Software impacts Sales Effectiveness in B2B sector

Impact of Appointment Scheduling on Sales Effectiveness (source: Aberdeen Study)

Online Scheduling B2B users benefits are:

  • Better customer retention (+10%)
  • Bigger deals (+$182k)
  • More opportunities (+ 38.4 proposals / sales rep / year)
  • Shorter sales cycle (- 34% or – 15 days)
 

The following table explains how Appointment Scheduling is changing the way of working in a B2B environment.

Statistic table that shows the positive impact of Appoint Scheduling Software on Sales behavior

This statistics shows the positive impact of Appoint Scheduling Software on Sales behavior (source: Aberdeen Study)

 Changes in  work habits are:

  • Time savings: Clients can book appointments directly themselves. There is no back-and-forth required to set a meeting.
  • Streamlined workflow: The system automates the appointment process.
  • CRM interface: When taking appointments and filling in their information, customers populate your CRM database for you.

To end on a creative note, this infographic illustrates my conclusion. What do you think about online appointment scheduling software? Your comments are welcomed

Infographic: The impact of appointment scheduling softwares in B2B

Infographic: The impact of appointment scheduling software in B2B

 
CV RIG
- Posted by -
Raphaël Iscar-Gutierrez
Marketing & Communication Manager
@agendize 
 
 
source: Online Appointment Aberdeen Research

French Phenomenon: How Click & Collect has reshaped the retail industry.

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Cora Drive adResults of a study unravelling the growing trend of “Click & Collect” and how Drive Thru has changed the retail industry in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facts

  •  Out of France’s 90 main retailers, 70% have an e-commerce website
  •  Online sales will comprise 5.7% of household consumption by 2015
  •  The top 10 pure e-commerce players monopolize 70% of online sales

What is it?

In order to boost sales without trying to beat e-commerce retailers at their own game, traditional retailers have begun to leverage their online presence through the “Click & Collect” model – where customers (1) shop online and (2) collect their order on-site at a drive-thru.

Adopters

Hypermarkets and food retailers in particular have embraced the Click & Collect concept. This trend is spreading among other retailers – e.g. clothing, furniture, electronics, office supplies.

Benefits

  • Customer get a better and convenient service, better balance their budget, save time.
  • Retailers make tremendous gains in operational efficiency.

Cora Drive warehouse

Impact

There is plenty of data proving that using a site to drive traffic into retail stores is both effective and highly beneficial. Companies like Morgan see a 30% increase in sales from the Click & Collect model.

In fact, this model is so beneficial that some of France’s biggest pure e-commerce players have begun to vertically integrate the other way by setting up physical locations of their own.

The bridge

Online Scheduling and Click & Collect’s accomplish the same goal: it is the bridge that brings consumers from online to offline – generating footfall for businesses.

Our previous blog post stresses the benefits of Online Scheduling in the retail sector:

  • Up-sell to qualified, ready-to-buy customers
  • Provide a higher quality customer service experience
  • Automatically build customer database

 

Source: Le drive et le click & collect séduisent enseignes et clients.


4 reasons why retailers should embrace Online Scheduling tools

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Our friends at Capgemini Consulting have confirmed something we’ve been saying all along: retailers should embrace Online Scheduling tools! The study is a great read but we’re giving you the cheat sheet on how brick-and-mortar retailers can use Online Scheduling tools to generate more traffic and happier customers.

Home Depot uses Online Scheduling

1. Measured Bottom Line Impact

Through personal customer service, there is much higher potential of upselling for complimentary goods that can generate up to:

> 2.2% additional revenues for Electronics retailers

> 0.25% for DIY retailers

> 0.1% for Grocery retailers

Moreover, Online Scheduling automatically records customer data. Take advantage of this data to send personalized and targeted follow ups or promotions.

2. The other benefits of Click2Store 

Online scheduling reduces acquisition costs and increases revenue opportunities. Customers come to you!

By booking appointments with knowledgeable staff, personal and timely assistance will ensure customers spend more time with you and customers spend more. 48% of North American Shoppers said they were motivated to spend more in-store thanks to helpful customer service. Additionally, 60% of sales generated on an appointment, in turn, generated a 20% increase in upselling.

Appointment Booking works especially well for Companies with High Average Basket Value (e.g. electronics) and Diverse Product Range (e.g. home improvement/DIY)

3. Don’t miss out!

Your competitors are doing it. Online booking tools are being used by 42% of North American retailers, including 20% of the top 30 US retailers.

There is a significant opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in Europe where only 7% of all retailers use Online Scheduling.

Avoid common mistakes: Most companies who use Online Scheduling have no mobile version despite reducing dropouts/no shows and providing customer on-the-go flexibility. Also, 66% of companies record customer needs and history BUT only 20% are using it to share personalized offers.

4. Success factors

 Multi-channel. Provide a Multi Channel experience by using a synchronized system in-store and online with mobile optimized tools like Agendize.

Tailored service. Online Scheduling will allow you to customize your service to customer needs. Online Scheduling lets your customers choose their appointment time, employees, experience level, type of service, etc.

CRM integration. Synchronize Online Scheduling with your CRM and Mailing tool in order to automatically save customer data and create personalized solutions and promotions. Agendize integrates with 8 major CRM and Mailing applications – e.g. Salesforce, Zoho, MailChimp.

Dynamic process. Make sure your Online Scheduling system integrates seamlessly with your operations – e.g. employee schedule management, management visibility, etc. Agendize Online Schedule offers a plethora of configurable options to define the scheduling process exactly like you need it to be. For instance, employee calendars can be synchronized and automatic notifications can be sent to customers, managers and employees.

IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAY:Your approach to Online Scheduling needs to include all of the above or it won’t be effective. Good thing Agendize does it all.


3 reasons why scheduling goes mobile

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There are 3 good reasons why Online Scheduling should be optimized for mobile.

 

1. #2 reason for mobile search

The top 2 reasons why people would call your business after searching you on their mobile device: checking your opening hours or scheduling an appointment with you.

reasons-for-calling-a-business

Source

2. SMBs go mobile

Now that over 50% of online searches are done via mobile devices, it is critical for businesses to have a mobile-optimized presence. These top industries who have gone mobile (table below) are also those who are the most likely to be called by customers to book an appointment!

top-mobile-adopters

Source

3. Popular across the board

Agendize data confirms these trends… Any service-based business ultimately needs to schedule face-to-face time with their customer. This makes Online Scheduling relevant for businesses of all sizes, across the board – as shown by the adoption repartition across different verticals.

SMB-adopters-Agendize-partner SMB-adopters-Agendize

Source: Agendize data

Conclusion

It’s simple. Online Scheduling needs to be mobile-optimized because it is relevant for various SMB segments, who are going mobile and whose customer are searching for them on mobile to book an appointment… That’s why Agendize will soon bring you an even more optimal user experience for mobile…

mobile-experience2

 


Make the most of Agendize.

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Reduce no-shows by up to 80%, spend 75% less time managing appointments and never face double-bookings again.

 tutorialvideo2

Calendar Sync.

Never face double-bookings between calendars again. Synchronize your online appointments with Google Calendar and Windows Live Calendar. Online Scheduling will know when you are not available and your appointments will appear automatically on all your calendars.

Tutorial Videos: Google Calendar and Windows Live Calendar

PDF Guides:

PDF Document Admin Guide – Set up 2-way sync

PDF Document User Guide – Google Calendar Sync

PDF Document User Guide – Windows Live Calendar Sync

SMS reminder

Automatic Notifications.

Reduce no-shows by sending automatic email or SMS notifications to managers, staff members and customers at any point in the booking process.

PDF Guide:

PDF Document Admin Guide – Email and SMS notifications

Email notification

Reminders & To-do’s.

Reduce no-shows by sending automatic email or SMS reminders. Simplify the daily operations of your employees by automatically sending them daily to-do lists.

PDF Guide:

PDF Document Admin Guide – Reminders & To-do lists

 

 

 

 


Live Chat. Best Practices.

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Not too long ago, we gave you some industry insights about Live Chat – focused on impact. This time, we share best practices with you: how to configure, install and operate?

How to configure?

logo_proactivechat_fmtActivate proactive invitation.

67% of visitors are receptive to proactive chat invitation. The proactive mode also yields better conversion rates – up to 40% versus 22% for the reactive mode. Also, the proactive mode improves sales: visitors who respond to proactive chat invitations are 8 times more likely to purchase than regular visitors.

logo_transcript_fmtActivate chat transcripts.

Historically, keeping a “paper trail” of the communication was one of the main reasons why visitors preferred email exchanges. This is why we advise that you allow visitors to download a transcript after their chat session.

How to install?

chat-icon-positionOn the top right.

32% of visitors prefer a Chat invitation button on the top right.

 

Human or female.

A chat button including a human figure is far more likely to be clicked… People also have a preference for a photo of a female.

How to operate?

Number of operators

chat-operator-formulaExpect between 2% and 15% of your visitors to initiate a chat session. An agent should not handle more than 4 or 5 chats at the same time.

So…Take the number of visitors on your site at a given moment, multiply by 5% and divide by 4. That’s the number of operators you need.

history_fmt

Opening hours

84% of visitors consider that operators should be available on week days (extended hours) and on weekends – similarly to shopping hours.

logo_customalert_fmt

Response time

80% of visitors are satisfied with a waiting time of up to 10 minutes. In fact, 47% of people like doing other things online while waiting.

 

 

Operator knowledge

For chat success, the most critical factors are the knowledge and speed of the agent.

The more complex the questions get, the less the operator is expected to be able to answer them.

 

 

Expected to answer

Product details
Customer inquiry
Delivery status
Pricing
Promotions
Return information

 

 

 

 

 


The new mailing paradox: customization is bad

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A new study taking a look at mailing best practices reveals startling results: customizing a mailing may not be good after all, quite the opposite! It appears personalization would harm your campaigns by yielding lower reading rates, lower delivery rates and increased complaint rates. Let’s take a look at this paradox.

Setting the stage

This longitudinal study was conducted in 2008 and 2013 by Return Path, a global leader in the field of Mailing Intelligence. It initially aimed at comparing the evolution of practices in email marketing and covers over 60 brands including Disney, Expedia, Nike, Adidas…

The less information, the better

One of the main results shows that the information collected by marketers is now kept to a bare minimum. While over half the brands requested complete (postal) mailing information in 2008, a third of brands now only request an email address with a postal code or name. More interestingly, the more information is requested during the sign-up, the less effective the campaign is. Additionally, only 22% of those who collect additional information use it to customize their message, which hints on the uselessness of the process.

The adverse impact of customization

We live under the impression that customizing a mailing with a first name or a personal greeting line will necessarily have a positive impact. Wrong! Personalized campaigns appear to be much less effective than anonymous ones. Personalized emails are 4 times more likely to end up in the spam box of your readers. For those emails that make it to the inbox, they are less popular (i.e. less read) and less desired (i.e. higher complaint rate). This indicates that customizing email campaigns may just be a waste of time.

customization is bad

Source: Return Path, 2013. The Email Subscriber Experience, 2008-2013.

What can you do about it?

This study deals with tens of millions of emails and many brands. Yet, it may not reflect an absolute truth. After all, there are contradicting studies out there and your situation may be different. Nonetheless, it begs the question: what will be the impact of customizing your campaign?
You can always perform A/B testing to get absolute certainty. Send a customized email to half of your mailing list and an anonymous one to the other half. Which performs better?

It’s what’s on the inside.

It seems to be more about what’s inside the email. Even if the outside (subject/header) calls out your name, the content might hold no relevance to you. And that’s the key for the success of a campaign: content that is relevant to the target audience and instigates action.
Plus, it feels commonsensical that a recipient may perceive the mention of his name or location as an invasion of one’s privacy. Not hard to imagine how an email subject that reads “Mary, I have a surprise for you!” can come across a little spamy.

Conclusion

The key is really to send a legitimate message that the recipient expects. Far more important than personalizing a name field, be sure to produce quality content that is unique and targeted!

The survey is available for free download.


Meet eBridge Marketing Solutions – a digital agency’s take on interaction tools

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When we talk marketing these days, a lot of what we’re talking about revolves around the internet and the web strategies you can use to promote your product or service and communicate effectively with your customers. In this interview, we meet eBridge Marketing Solutions, an agency that specializes in online marketing, and learn a little more about how they work in this rapidly evolving, ever changing industry.

Can you briefly introduce your agency ?

ebridge screenshot digital agency

eBridge Marketing Solutions is an internet marketing services agency based in Vancouver, Canada. We work with B2B technology companies, helping them to achieve their online promotion and marketing goals. We opened our doors in 2001 and thanks to our award-winning team of experts we’ve built a strong reputation in the industry for delivering effective strategic online campaigns.

What is your strategic positioning in the market?

We are a full service firm that offers a one-stop shop for technology based businesses that want help marketing themselves online. We cover all aspects of internet promotion and our clients can enjoy managing just one relationship and one point of contact for all their online marketing needs.

What are your main services?

We cover anything that a business would need when it comes to internet marketing. Our main service offerings are online media buying, search engine strategies (including SEO and PPC management), website design and development, copywriting, social media management and channel marketing programs.

What are the challenges your customers face when it comes to meeting their online marketing requirements?

The world of internet marketing is constantly changing and it can be challenging for some of our clients to maintain an online presence that is up to date and delivers what their customers are looking for. Another challenge is the industry that we work in being so highly competitive. It all comes down to finding ways to help our clients define what makes them unique and communicate that through all of our work. With search marketing, and the constant shifts and changes to search algorithms, it’s crucial for clients to stay on top of the latest trends and anticipate what needs to be done to maintain their position. This can all be really overwhelming for businesses, so they look to our expertise to help them stay on top of their game.

What would you say is the hot button for your clients? What do they really need your help with?

Conversion is definitely top of the list. We look at all the ways we can help our clients improve this, whether it’s jazzing up an out-dated website design, revamping tired graphics or improving online forms and other conversion mechanisms, such as content. We look at anything that will stand in the way of a prospect deciding to buy and determine how to best use their online presence to support customer trust and loyalty. We also stress the importance of tracking, coaching and assisting our clients in setting up mechanisms to monitor their activities and their efficacy. Without website analytics and data, you’ll never know what’s working and what’s not.

What kind of challenges do your clients face with customer service? What are your thoughts on the realities of the customer service landscape today?

Online is where it’s at. Of course it’s still important to have excellent offline customer service, but customers these days expect more. They expect to receive assistance via social media. They expect to be able to chat live on a website. They expect to be responded to quickly, whether via email or phone. Businesses can’t just decide what communications channels work best for them. They have to adapt to what their customers demand. Especially if they are working in a highly saturated market. If a competitor has superior customer service and uses tools that make it easier to get in touch, this can spell disaster for a competing business that is not keeping up with the realities of online customer service.

Do your customers use interactive web-based customer service software ?

Online customer service tools are very important to our clients. Click to chat is especially important since they are running ecommerce websites selling products that can at times be quite complex with many technical implications. It’s crucial for customers and prospects to be able to get the help they need as they are doing research and looking at different offerings. Live chat is the perfect way to offer this real time assistance during the decision making process.

Click to call installed on eBridge website

Click to call installed on eBridge website

What do they look for in the tools they choose? What’s important to them?

When it comes to choosing a customer support tool it’s all about easy implementation, strong functionality and white labeling. They need tools that fit in nicely with their existing website’s look and feel. Many of our clients work with customers around the world, so different language functionality can also really help. The tools also have to be very easy for customer service departments to use with data that is simple to digest and accessible. Data is absolutely crucial with interaction tools for tracking conversions and ROI. You need to be able to know whether that live chat session, for example, assisted with making the sale.

Multiple language support? White label? Ease of implementation? What would you rank as the most important characteristic of an engagement tool?


How call tracking can power your marketing

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Generally, when data tracking in marketing is discussed, it usually revolves around the web and analyzing online actions – clicks, traffic sources, sales, etc.…

Many businesses don’t even consider tracking data from telephone calls; either they don’t realize this is an option or they figure it’s too complex or expensive for them.

Let’s turn this around and take a look at call tracking and how it can help your business benefit from all kinds of insights, for both online AND offline campaigns and activities.

What is call tracking?

Call tracking is the telephone version of web analytics. A unique telephone number is created which your business can then use in advertising and other marketing efforts to track their effectiveness. Get plenty of analytical insights into your callers including the number that called, the geographic location of the caller and the time of the call.

Benefits of call tracking

•  Get a complete understanding of what drives the calls to your business. If you are running an advertising campaign, you need to know whether your spend is actually translating into calls and leads for your business!

•  Running a whole bunch of different campaigns at the same time? Call tracking is super useful for measuring and comparing simultaneous campaigns. So for example, if your business is running a radio ad, a TV ad and an online campaign, by using three different call tracking numbers, you will be able to see very easily which one performed the best.

•  Get a very clear indication if you have some weak spots to fix. If your ad or campaign is not generating calls, or quality inquiries, then you know it’s time to look at your strategy and see what tweaks would help.

•  Save your money with improved insights. You might come to decide that a campaign is simply not worth it or that your business would perhaps do better by focusing on other channels.

Without insights into your calls, you really don’t know what’s working and what’s not. Apply what you learn to improve your business in terms of resource spend, efficiency, marketing strategy and of course the three magic letters… ROI!

Where to use it

Call tracking can help you get insights for both your online and offline efforts. Use your special tracking number for:

• Any form of advertising, whether offline (print, flyer) or online (directory listing, banner ad, PPC ad).
• Direct mail and email marketing campaigns.
• Marketing materials, such as brochures, white papers or PowerPoint presentations.
• Specific pages within your website, such as your landing pages.

Google Adwords

You might be thinking to yourself, why on earth would I need a tracking phone number for my Google PPC efforts? Isn’t the whole point of online advertising online action?

The truth of the matter is that some people will go to Google, click on your ad and then call you. They won’t fill in the online contact form. They won’t use live chat. They will pick up the telephone. It doesn’t take a marketing whiz to understand that tracking this sort of activity is crucial. Running Google Adwords isn’t cheap, so it’s of paramount importance that you fully understand everything those ads are bringing you.

Agencies, listen up!

If you’re a marketing or digital agency, you’re always looking for ways that you can offer the most value to your customers. You want to make sure that you’re using all of the most up to date tactics and that you’re recommending and leveraging all the most crucial strategies. And finally, is there anything more important than being able to track the effectiveness of your campaigns and efforts? Get all the credit you deserve by using call tracking for your clients.

If you’re not tracking your calls, how will you ever know?

Have you used call tracking before? If not, what’s holding you back? If yes, what did you learn and where did you use this special tracking functionality?


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