The eye is without a doubt one of the most vital organs in the human body and that is why everyone must take good care of their eyes. Unfortunately, the only time that most people remember to visit an optician is when they are having problems reading or seeing objects clearly.
If you are not sure how often to visit opticians, you may want to hear what the NHS says. According to experts, people who think they are free of eye problems should visit an optician once every two years as their vision may be gradually deteriorating without their knowing it. However, those with chronic eye problems require at least a yearly eye test to ascertain the condition of the eye. Depending on the severity of the eye condition, an optician can recommend going for checks more frequently.
If you are an optician and have quite a number of patients, you may want to think of possible ways to provide better services and attract new clients. Installing a booking system is one of the first steps to ensuring that you turn your business around for the better. Opticians online booking system will help you run your business more efficiently and with less stress. Here are some of the benefits that it offers.
1. Makes Appointment Booking Easy
With the online booking system, appointment scheduling becomes a piece of cake. Just about anybody familiar with computers or mobile devices can easily log into your website and book an appointment for an eye test. This method of booking is even more convenient for the elderly who need to get their eyes examined regularly. If they can’t book the appointment by themselves, they can ask someone to do it for them. Additionally, if they have had a meeting with you before, you can schedule them for routine checkups so that they do not have to bother about booking appointments each time they are coming for a checkup.
2. It is Convenient for Everyone
Imagine getting things done whenever you want to do so. No time restrictions and no stress whatsoever. That’s the kind of life that clients crave for. They want to be able to do business with you whenever they want. The opticians online booking system offers clients the opportunity to do just so. No matter what time of the day it is, clients can go to your website and book an appointment within a few minutes. People do not have to wait until office hours to call in and schedule a meeting with you. Now they can book whenever they please.
3. It Reduces Phone Hours
Having you or your staff spend a better part of the day speaking to clients on the phone can reduce productivity in the workplace. When you stick to the manual method of booking appointments, your business may suffer in the long run. Some first-time clients are very inquisitive and they may need you to answer loads of questions before they finally book an appointment. Some of them may call more than once a day, asking for information that they would have easily read up on your website if you use an online booking system. With an appointment booking software installed on your website, everything that a potential client needs to know before deciding to come to your clinic will be available online. They do not need to call your office. If they are pleased with what they see online, they can proceed to book an appointment without speaking to you or your staff directly.
4. Allows for Cross-Channel Bookings
Some appointment-scheduling systems integrate with your business website as well as all your social media accounts. Businesses who are looking to increase online visibility are often advised to be active on some of the most popular social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you are active on these platforms, your fans and followers can book an appointment with you via these sources. If for example, a prospective client comes across your post on social media and is impressed, they can choose to immediately book an appointment with you without going to your website to do so. One of the advantages of cross-channel booking is its power to convince a client to book an appointment on the spot without having to think twice.
5. Gives You More Control
Manual appointment scheduling gives you little control of clients who want your services. When they call to book an appointment, you can only accept their bookings when you are around to answer their calls. If you miss their calls, some of them may not be patient enough to call a second time or even wait for you to call back. They may quickly opt for the services of another professional that has been recommended to them.
With the online booking system, however, both existing and potential clients can book an appointment anytime they want to and you can accept, reject or amend each booking. But to do this, you will have to enable the manual confirmation setting of the booking system you install on your website. Choosing an auto-confirmation option will mean accepting new bookings automatically.
6. Sends Reminders to Clients
Some clients can get very busy and forget that they booked an appointment with an optician. Frequent no-shows, that is clients not showing up for their appointment can be bad for business. The truth is, if your clients keep missing their appointments, you will eventually have to shut down your clinic. After all the primary reason why you opened one is to render service. When the few who request your service fail to show up then you will be running at a loss and would be unable to maintain your clinic. An appointment booking system, however, can help you avoid no-shows by reminding clients of their appointment with you. With easy access to opticians records, you can choose to send an SMS, or an email to clients 24 hours before the time for their appointment. These messages will notify them of the time of their meeting with you. Clients who receive these reminders will likely make adjustments to their schedules to ensure that they are there.
7. Allows Clients to Make Changes to Their Bookings with Ease
The business owner is not the only person who has control over appointments schedules. The clients too have a measure of control over appointment schedules. Apart from the fact that they can choose who they want to attend at the clinic, they can also modify their appointments to fit their situation. Some clients may receive reminders about their appointments but may realize that they may not be available at the scheduled time or date. Such clients can quickly make changes to appointments. They can choose to move their appointments to a time and day convenient for them. They can also choose to cancel the appointment entirely if they are unsure of their personal schedule. When clients make changes to their appointment, the spot they had earlier chosen becomes available on the calendar and other interested clients can take it. To ensure that you are not kept waiting by clients who cannot make it to their appointments, you may have to request advance payment. Clients who make changes on time will get a refund but those who fail to do so will lose their money.
8. Allows for More Repeat Customers
Isn’t this what every business owner wants? Repeat customers soon turn into loyal clients who will not have anyone else treat them aside from you. The online booking system allows you to get some personal information about each client that books an eye test or request for any other optician service. The system stores customer data which can help you to build and maintain relationships with your clients. Your 24/7 access to opticians records can allow you to send messages about special discount offers, new arrivals, and even eye care tips. By doing this, you remind your clients of your commitment to ensuring great eye health. Note that your clients with whom you have built a relationship can play a key role in growing your customer base. Through the words of their mouths, they can promote your business and recommend your services to their family and friends. This form of advertisement is effective and costs nothing.
9. Helps You Manage Multiple Staff And Locations
With a booking system, you and your staff can get information on when you will be meeting with a client. This will enable each one of you to prepare in advance before the meeting. It is important to look into the file of your clients before they arrive. This way you do not begin to ask questions that they have already provided details on. If the client has a special case, you may want to gather as much information as you can on the condition. If your staff know that they are scheduled to meet with a particular patient, they will be around to do their job. But if they are unaware, they may be late to work or may have other engagements to attend to. With a booking system, your staff can quickly look at the calendar and know the day and time that they will be attending to a patient.
Additionally, opticians with a lab that is in another location will find the booking system useful. While you can’t be in two places at the same time, a booking system can help you effectively manage the activities that go on in your lab and your clinic. Before clients go to your lab, they will need to book an appointment, the same way they would when coming to your clinic.
10. Integrates with Payment Gateways
Most opticians online booking plugins allow clients to make payments before they meet with you. Instead of coming to your clinic to pay for the services rendered, you can allow your clients to pay a certain amount out of the total charge when booking their appointments. This way, clients take their appointments seriously knowing that they have committed some money. When choosing a booking system, find out the payment gateways that it integrates with. Clients will be more than happy to make payments from the comfort of their homes.
11. Saves Time and Increases Staff Efficiency
If you want to grow your business, do whatever helps you save time and money. By saving time, you help your employees become more efficient at their job. Telephone booking is time consuming especially if you have many clients. While some calls may be brief others may take some time. The problem, however, is not just the time spent on the phone but the interruption to workflow. When you and your employees are constantly distracted by phone calls it becomes difficult to give whatever task you were working on your full concentration. You will most likely not give your best when your attention is divided. Additionally, it is not always easy to return to a task once you have been interrupted. It may take some time for you to get yourself into the working mood again. Employees who have time to focus on their jobs, perform better at work.
12. Allows You to Keep Track of Your Business Performance
You need to know how your business is doing at all times. Without analytics, you might never discover what works for your business and this would mean that your business may never grow beyond its current state. Most booking systems allow easy access to opticians records and have analytics that can help you know what your clients like and what they want from you. For example, are your clients interested in the eye care tips that you send to them from time to time? Do they come for a checkup afterward? With analytics, you can discover what works for your business.
13. Supports Multiple Languages
Some clients may not be fluent in English and will, therefore, appreciate an opportunity to book an appointment in a language that they understand very well. Some booking systems support up to 10 popular languages or more. This way, your clients who speak a foreign language can schedule an appointment without needing to call your clinic. If you want to attract and retain clients who speak a different language, get an opticians online booking system. It makes the appointment scheduling process easy for them.
There are many online booking plugins out there but not all of them are suited for opticians. You will need to ask questions about the opticians online booking systems that are available to you. At the end of the day, installing the right booking plugin is worth it as it helps to enhance customer experience and eventually grow your customer base.