As 61% of customers now either expect or appreciate appointment booking from their local businesses, the space has grown more competitive to accommodate all the different configurations that users might require in connecting with their customers. As Agendize Appointment Booking grows along with its entire customer engagement platform, we’ve noticed the same words and terms being thrown around, but without the meaning necessarily being the same.
Some competitors might promote their “Customer Engagement Clouds” as a leading-edge enterprise platforms, claiming true omni-channel relevance and mobile application tools. However, what really qualifies these claims, and what platforms are built to truly satisfy the expectations of a customer engagement platform?
Appointment booking needs to be holistic
While appointments themselves are fairly punctual affairs, appointment booking software that makes customers happy needs to, first and foremost, create a seamless experience that lets them book appointments the way they want to. Some competitors excel at this in many ways, allowing customers to book via mobile devices, voice, text message, online portals and customer-facing apps.
Beyond that, however, they will often be lacking in the elements that allow customers to book how they want. With interfaces that are lacking in speed and design, many competitors fail to provide a central widget that allows customers to select different staff and services with ease, instead requiring them to click through defined links for the services they want.
Furthermore, while competitors may provide various customizations for its user businesses to put their own mark on the appointment-booking process, they often fail to offer critical features custom CSS, white-label, private-label, customizable email notifications, editable appointment statuses and more. These limitations are further reflected in their general lack of API, implying that most advanced integrators will not get the customization they’re looking for, while also showing that they cannot truly help businesses engage with customers on their own branding and terms.
Customer engagement must go beyond appointments and queues
While Appointment Booking competitors will promote themselves as a customer engagement solution, they generally offer incomplete access and experience for users who want to engage customers with true convenience. These providers often fail to offer a dashboard calendar or various staff configurations, while booking appointments on behalf of customers requires them to log out of their system.
Furthermore, the absence of integrated customer lists and company-wide bookings does not create the holistic engagement, security and call-and-response feeling that consumers are looking for. While some offer Queuing Management Systems, they will still fail to offer live chat, click-to-call, form management and more. It’s understandable, as the lack of an integrated customer list or CRM means that there would be no central place to record these interactions and develop an understanding of each customer’s journey. In the end, however, does this really qualify as customer engagement? Is it truly a way to create a lasting impression on interested and engaged customers, or is it simply a 2-trick pony?
What is true customer engagement
While some competitor features make them perfectly suited for a particular audience, there’s a fundamental lack of additional apps and functionalities that maximize the efficiency of Appointment Booking. For instance, Appointment Booking with built-in CRM and enhanced email and SMS marketing permits businesses to not only register their entire client histories (and even interactions with other apps like Free Callbacks, Live Chat and more), but also access analytics which suits all of those tools and provides even-more options for decision-makers.
These additional channels can be critical to crafting a complete engagement solution, as seventy Percent of Mobile Searchers use tools like Click-to-Call and find it an important channel to discover businesses, while Live Chat is known to improve the reputation of a business and email marketing to loyal customers can produce higher response rates and increased sales. So, in considering a Customer Engagement Solution, consider something that offers the full array of tools consumers need to connect. There’s too much business to miss out on by just doing things one way.