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How mobile appointments translate into customer satisfaction, higher conversions

By
October 21, 2014

PencilAppoint app.

PencilAppoint app.

Most Americans prefer to schedule personal appointments by using mobile applications, email, text messaging or Web sites, a Google Consumer Survey shows, reflecting the increasing use of mobile in daily activities.

The study, commissioned by PencilAppoint.com, an appointment-scheduling Web site and app, also showed that almost a third of Americans would like to use mobile apps, e-mail or text messages to confirm appointments with their dentists and doctors, while 41 percent would like to use them to schedule appointments with nail specialists, and 44 percent with hair stylists. The results reflect the public’s increasing dependence on mobile in many facets of daily life, including booking and keeping track of meetings, obligations and responsibilities.

“We think that going forward, people will want to control their appointments more and more through mobile devices,” said Mickey Macedo, president, PencilAppoint.com, Chevy Chase, MD. “This gives them greater flexibility to find late cancellations and to find flexibility in [their] own schedule.”

Word of mouth
The poll, conducted by Google Consumer Surveys Oct. 5 – 9, 2014, was based on 2,166 online responses and represents the national adult Internet population.

The results support the belief that making the appointment schedule for a doctor, hair dresser or business meeting available to patients, consumers and colleagues can benefit an organization in various ways, whether that means enhancing the experience or creating good word-of-mouth to boost sales and profit.

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Enhancing the customer experience.

With consumers having their phones with them much of the time, mobile appointments management is a way to create a seamless experience that will translate into increased customer satisfaction and conversion.

PencilAppoint’s app lets businesses help existing clients make real-time appointments and show open time slots that are open to new clientele. Businesses can create and manage their listing from the mobile application.

When the client makes the appointment, both the client and the service provider are notified by email, text message or both. The appointment automatically is put on the schedule and calendar.

PencilAppoint has a sister site, PencilEvent.com, a membership-based shared social network which lets retirement communities use an app to automate event-management.

For brands of all stripes, using the mobile calendar effectively to market products and services requires grasping that the smartphone is more than just a phone.

Faster appointments in a faster world.

Faster appointments in a faster world.

“Your smartphone isn’t really a phone anymore — it’s more like a remote control for your life,” said Jamie Turner, co-author of Go Mobile and CEO of Atlanta-based 60 Second Communications.

“Given that, it’s not surprising that people want to use mobile apps, mobile email, text messaging and websites to schedule appointments. It’s a natural extension of the mobile device.”

The one constant in our culture is that life keeps moving faster and faster, raising the appeal of mobile appointment management because it enables people to run their lives more quickly and efficiently, he said.

“There will always be appointments and there will always be patients. Using mobile to bridge the gap between the two is a natural evolution.”

Opening options
The study suggests that using mobile calendars to give consumers the ability to see what appointments are available to them could translate into increased sales for businesses, according to Mr. Macedo.

Opening appointment options.

Opening appointment options.

“We think that over time, all of the businesses will adapt to mobile as it becomes a part of our daily lives,” Mr. Macedo said. “The rate of adoption may vary by industry. “It’s a win-win for both businesses and consumers because it allows the businesses to cash in on an inventory of otherwise unused appointments.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

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