In order for your office to run effectively and efficiently, you will need to be able to schedule your appointments correctly. Allowing too much time to pass in between appointments will waste precious time and reduce productivity. On the other hand, over-scheduling appointments can lead to long wait times which will irritate customers and possibly cause them to get up and walk out. There are a few things you must consider to create a schedule that will benefit everyone.
Decide whether you want to use an appointment book or a computer software program. Both are equally as effective, although the computer can pull up information much faster than searching for it in a book. Appointment books and software programs are widely available in stores and online. Another option is to use a free Web-based calendar for your scheduling; this offers the advantage of access from any computer.
Block out all of the days your office will be closed. This may include weekends, holidays, vacation dates and any other occurrence that may cause the office to be closed. Blocking off these dates ahead of time will ensure that you do not accidentally book appointments when no one will be around.
Block out the hours of the day that you aren't taking appointments. For example, you may not start taking appointments until after 9 a.m. Then you may take an hour for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Your day at the office may end at 5 p.m., so you won't want to schedule any appointments after 4:30 p.m.
Decide the amount of time you need for each appointment. A doctor's office may set its time in fifteen minute blocks while a hair salon may opt for thirty minutes. If an appointment will take longer than that, two blocks of time can be set aside for one person. For example, a perm may take one hour. A hair dresser could set aside two half hour blocks of time for that one customer.
Make the appointments based on the customer's needs. If the customer has to be home by 3 p.m. for her children to get off the school bus, you will want to schedule her for a 1 p.m. appointment. Always do your best to accommodate the customer.
Always hand the customer an appointment card to remind him of his future appointment. Call all of the appointments the day before so that you can confirm that they are still coming.
If you charge for no-shows, you must let the customers know that when they schedule their appointment.