How many times have you arrived at a scheduled appointment, only to find out that the person you’re meeting is running behind? You're forced to wait minutes, maybe hours, for something that you expected to happen on time, which results in your entire day being uprooted. We’ve all been through this. Doctors, dentists, lawyers — they’re all guilty of this minor, but frustrating, offense.
Even though waiting for appointments has become a common occurrence, it can still negatively impact the customer experience. When customers make an appointment, they expect prompt service. Instead, they’re frequently met with a lack of communication on delays and wait times. By simply communicating with the customer, companies can dramatically change how they’re perceived, and how long a customer is willing to wait for service. Below, we’ve outlined some tips on how to improve communication with your customers, with the added benefit of enhancing the overall customer experience.
1. Communicate on their territory
When people are headed to an appointment, they likely don’t have time for a long chat or to check their emails. Communication needs to be quick and easy. That’s why companies should consider using text messaging to update customers of delays, cancellations and changes to their appointments. If you’re worried that SMS messages may be too intrusive, just remember that 75 percent of people don’t mind receiving text messages from a brand. With most people used to texts for quick communications, or even lengthy conversations, more companies should be moving towards SMS to stay in touch with customers.
2. Be friendly and empathetic
Customers may have waited weeks to get this appointment, only to have it delayed. That’s why it’s important to ensure that all communication is friendly, empathetic and understanding of the client’s needs. It’s also why text messaging can be beneficial. With texts, companies can use a more inviting and personable tone than emails or phone calls. They can also add emojis to help convey emotions, such as frustration or disappointment on behalf of the client. When issues arise, it is important for companies to remember to be authentic first and to show customers that you care.
3. Automate the process
Sending a text message every time an appointment is delayed can sound like a daunting task, especially if people want constant updates on wait times. Luckily, technology can help to automate the process. Through an appointment scheduling system, customers can get automatic notifications about delays or disruptions. This can help control expectations, reduce wait times and improve the customer experience. As the appointment time looms closer, clients are automatically informed if the appointment will be pushed back, which allows them to tend to other activities instead of waiting in the lobby to be served.
We’ve all been through it: delayed appointments are bound to happen. This doesn’t mean that the client should have to suffer though. By investing in a service that allows for easy communication with their customers, companies can help improve the customer experience, leading to higher retention. Contact us today for a free business demo!