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So you’ve qualified an opportunity and scheduled an appointment with your potential customer. Perhaps the next step is to carry out a fact find over the phone, or assess their requirements in more detail face-to-face with a home visit or a meeting in your office.
So far so good, but what happens if they don’t turn up or they’re not available to take your call? People can be forgetful, and if they don’t fully understand what’s in it for them before the appointment, then all too often you might be faced with a no-show 👎.
This is valuable time lost that you could spend with other customers, so what can you do to make sure your prospects show up? We’ve put together 5 tips below to give each appointment the best possible chance of going ahead:
1. Confirm the appointment and send reminders 🔔
As soon as you book an appointment, it’s important that you confirm it in writing. Depending on the nature of the appointment, this could be a letter sent in the post, but usually an email and/or a text message is enough. If you schedule appointments far in advance, it’s also a good idea to send out a few reminders nearer the time – perhaps an email confirmation the week before and a text message on the day.
Perhaps you’re handling a large volume of appointments and managing to keep track of your diary is proving a challenge? If this is the case, then automation could be a great way for you to send personalised emails, text messages, and create physical documents from templates to be mailed out to customers. You could even set an automated task to remind you to call each prospect the day before and confirm the appointment.
2. Send an agenda 📃
If your customer doesn’t fully understand what they’ll get out of the appointment, then they might be less inclined to show up. If you give them a clear summary of what you’ll be covering and how long it’ll take, as well as details of any information you’ll need from them, then you’re setting yourself up for a successful meeting that’s more likely to go ahead.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated – a line or two should be sufficient, outlining the details of the appointment and if there’s anything they need to do to prepare. To help speed this up, you could create templates for each appointment type.
3. Personalise your communication 👋
Generic emails and text messages probably won’t get you the best results. If your communication is impersonal and doesn’t tell your customer who their appointment is with, they won’t feel too guilty if they don’t turn up because they’re less likely to feel like they’re letting anybody down.
So, it’s a good idea to get as personal as possible at this stage – address them by name and introduce the person they’ll be speaking to. Template variables are a useful tool to achieve this level of personalisation, allowing you to automatically populate, for example, the assigned representative’s name and the scheduled appointment time into your templates.
4. Provide extra information 📎
Depending on the appointment type, it might be a good idea to send any additional information that will make it easier for your customer to attend. If it’s a face-to-face meeting, provide directions and let them know what they can expect when they arrive. If it’s a telephone call, make sure they know what documents they’ll need to have to hand.
This may seem trivial, but small details like this may be a real worry for some customers. Where necessary, make it easier for them and share this information via email ahead of the appointment, or even better give them a call.
5. Make it easy to reschedule or cancel 📆
Despite your best efforts, sometimes appointments won’t go ahead. So, make sure you give customers either direct means to change the appointment themselves or just let them know that it’s OK to reschedule if they can’t make it – a rebooked appointment is better than a missed one.
🎁 BONUS TIP 🎁
Once an appointment has taken place, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to thank your potential customer for their time and follow up with any information they were promised. If they went away with a decision to make, don’t forget to follow that up too and turn that opportunity into a sale.
Put a simple process in place
The most important thing to do is put a process in place to ensure you’re following these steps. You can accomplish all of the above with a toolset as simple as a diary, your email client, and your mobile phone – as long as you’re disciplined.
If you do this, your number of failed appointments will almost certainly fall. Maybe not by double digit percentages, but if you can get 5% more appointments to succeed, and you’re doing 20 appointments per week, that’s at least one extra. If 1 in 4 appointments make you money, that’s roughly 1 extra sale a month!
How automation can help
If you’re scheduling a lot of appointments, putting this advice into practice might seem like a lot of manual work. If this is the case, then why not let FLG automate it all for you (well, apart from the phone calls of course!).
Our brand new feature, Appointments, makes it easier than ever for you to schedule calls and meetings with your customers. Within 1 week, we could have you up and running with an automated workflow whereby you book an appointment, and the rest of your process is automatically taken care of:
- Choose how appointments are allocated to your team (random, round robin etc.)
- Check availability and confirm appointments in external calendars
- Allocate a local representative or office based on availability or location
- Personalised templates with variable fields
- All letters, emails and text messages scheduled around the appointment
- Tasks set for users to contact customers via telephone
- Automatic appointment rescheduling.