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This blog post was created for Calendly's blog by LeadsBridge, the data management platform that helps thousands of businesses connect, automate, and optimize their sales and marketing workflows.
Online appointment scheduling has seen a consistent rise in the last few years, especially in the past 6 months due to current circumstances.
As straightforward as it may seem, both individuals and organizations make some common mistakes when scheduling and processing online appointments.
These 5 mistakes can directly cost you customers and revenue.
It is pivotal for a business to ensure these mistakes are not made and be aware of the potential effective solutions they can employ to minimize the risks associated with these mistakes.
1. Unqualified leads are filling up your appointment slots
Many professionals as well as businesses fail to identify the right message for their prospects and end up spending their marketing dollars trying to tempt people who are not interested in their product or service.
This strategic mistake not only leads to loss of time and human/financial resources, it hurts your business in the long run as well. The time you're spending on people who will never buy your product is time you could have been nurturing better-fit prospects.
This is why it's crucial for organizations to prospect the right audience ensuring they are targeting the right people. It helps by:
Increasing mindshare and brand awareness amidst people who are interested in your product or service
Optimizing your return on investment (ROI) and cutting down on customer acquisition cost
Consistently nurturing high-quality leads that have great potential for conversion
There are many digital tools you can use to identify the right prospects. For instance, if you are planning to use paid advertising, you can rely on Facebook Custom Audiences to show ads for demos, webinars, and other valuable content to people who are selected based on their connections and interests.
2. You're not asking qualifying questions
Another major mistake that many professionals and businesses make is asking the wrong qualifying questions or no questions at all.
As a brand, if you want to serve your customers well, you need to learn about them. You must be aware of their personality, preferences, requirements, budgets, and other factors that can influence their buying decision. Even if you've been successful in generating a lead and scheduling an appointment, being aware of your potential customer's expectations is key to closing the deal.
Not learning about your target audience can drive up your customer acquisition cost, which leads to poor ROI. Knowing your customers will allow your organization to define expectations and meet them adequately within their financial constraints.
Calendly has a dedicated feature that enables businesses to add questions to the scheduling process. As your brand serves more and more customers through online appointment scheduling, you can learn and enhance the questions to deliver better and more personalized experiences to your customers.
3. You don't have a follow-up process
In today's world, your brand isn't just squaring up against its direct competitors, but also every businesses out there trying to grab your target audience's attention with ads and PR.
Customers have limited attention spans, and even when they have signed up for an appointment or a webinar, it's very likely for them to not follow up on their own. This is why it has become necessary for businesses to craft a robust SMS- or email-based follow-up campaign that keeps your prospects engaged.
Without an automated follow-up process:
Your brand is likely to lose high quality leads, potential paying customers, and revenue
Businesses have wasted all the financial resources, time, and manual effort required to nurture a prospect to that point
The loss of mature leads will dramatically increase your customer acquisition cost
Organizations will fail to collect reviews and feedback which will result in lack of improvement in product or service
Creating an automated follow-up process ensures that the organization's marketing endeavors are being backed up by adequate reinforcement to maximize the chance of conversion.
Your business can rely on a wide range of digital tools and integrations to automate the follow-up process. For instance, you can sync your email marketing campaigns, SMS platforms, and CRM with Calendly using LeadsBridge.
4. You don't send appointment reminders
It would be a big mistake to assume that once they book an appointment with you, your prospects will no doubt remember to show up. There are major benefits of having automated appointment reminders that can be sent through email or SMS notifications.
Reminder notifications allow businesses to reduce the ratio of no-shows while cutting down the cost of nurturing a lead
Reminders are regarded as a sign of great service by your brand. When customers receive notifications about their appointments, they know your brand cares
All of these notifications can be sent through email or SMS using an automated process, which means businesses do not have to bear additional work for sending reminders
Appointment reminders also provide convenience and a sense of security to your customers who can then schedule their day and other activities around it
Reminders can be extremely crucial when decision-making is time sensitive. For example, if your brand is offering a car insurance consultancy and one of your potential customers wants to learn more about a particular offer that is about to run out, missing out on an appointment can rob them of an amazing deal. To avoid such situations that can compound the issues and grievances of customers, automated reminders can be quite helpful.
You can set reminders and personalize your text or email reminder messages in Calendly by clicking on Add Another Reminder.
5. You don't have a strategy for re-engaging no-shows
Another key mistake that many professionals and businesses commit is not having any plan or strategy for dealing with no-shows. They are simply regarded as wasted marketing spend and loss of revenue which is a poor response to the situation. If a lead doesn't show up, it does not necessarily mean they are no longer interested in your product.
There are a multitude of reasons why prospects might not show up despite scheduling an online appointment, including an incorrect or poorly executed follow-up strategy on the part of the business.
As a brand, you need to identify and address those issues and concerns to optimize your marketing campaigns. Here are two ideas:
No-shows are not necessarily lost deals. Have a dedicated follow-up campaign for no-shows with the goal of re-engaging leads who may be interested in booking a new appointment time.
Some people simply don't want to talk to a person. They don't want to have constraints on their time at all. Provide a recorded version of the missed demo or webinar, which they can then watch at their leisure.
These strategies will allow your organization to improve its online scheduling process and maximize the number of prospects they serve. Using Calendly ensures that you can send automated follow-up emails or texts to collect all the information you need to manage the problem of no-shows.
The importance of scheduling online appointments cannot be understated, especially in a a world where work is increasingly done at a distance. While your business solely relies on generating high quality leads through digital means, it cannot afford to lose potential customers and revenue generation opportunities due to poorly-executed online scheduling. Some mistakes can be addressed manually but may require substantive resources to execute at scale.
This is where a reliable online appointment scheduling service like Calendly can help businesses in automating the process and taking human error and resource-intensive busywork out of the equation. It allows businesses to identify the right audiences, send timely reminders, schedule follow-ups, and collect all the right information brands need to serve their customers effectively.
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