This week we revisit online appointment booking and our newest feature which allows for requiring a deposit in order to book an appointment. We'll look at why both are good business practices.
Welcome to the first tip of the week of 2021. Today we focus on online appointment booking and why collecting a deposit for appointments booked this way is good business practice.
Why is booking online important?
There are several reasons why offering your clients the option to book appointments online is good business. First, people expect the convenience of booking appointments when it is convenient for them (which is often after your practice is closed). Second, it helps reduce the workload on your front desk, which frees that team to focus on the clients that are there today. We highlighted more of these benefits in a prior post.
Why does requiring a deposit important?
Well, simply put, it puts some skin in the game. Online booking makes it very easy to book an appointment, so people will book more appointments. However, there's very little that can be done to make sure they show up. Sure, we can call them and remind them of the appointment, but at the end of the day, there is no cost to not showing up, but there is a real cost to an empty surgery block for that day.
Enter deposits! For the types of appointments that are harder to fill at the last moment, deposits provide that extra incentive to follow through with the reservation. At the very least, the deposit helps to offset the cost associated with having no work to do during that block. But in the best case, it also encourages clients to show up, which is what we ultimately want.
So how does the process work?
It's quite simple, actually. Every appointment type can be set to require some amount of deposit. The amount that would be due is highlighted at the start of the booking process. As the final step, the client is prompted to enter payment information. A receipt is emailed to the client, a credit is created in our software (that credit will be used to offset the final invoice balance), and the appointment is booked as it does today. One important thing to note - we rely on our payment processing partners, CardConnect and Gravity Payments - so an account with one of them is required for this to work.
Providing clients the ability to book appointments online is a must these days. Clients expect it, and the benefits of offering it are overwhelmingly positive. Requiring a deposit to book an appoinment is the next logical step to ensure that clients show up and that the practice can offset its costs.