In our previous blog posts, we have discussed the benefits of outsourcing appointment scheduling and check-in processes to the customer themselves. By using a company or organization’s electronic appointment scheduling system, customers can independently book, reschedule, and cancel their appointments, which streamlines the entire process in many ways. In this blog post, we will summarize the advantages of different features of the electronic appointment scheduling and self-check-in system, specifically from a time-saving perspective.
The first and most significant advantage of the electronic appointment scheduling system is its ease of use, which directly reflects on time management. When customers can independently schedule appointments for, for example, healthcare facilities and manage their bookings within the system, the load is reduced for both the customer, customer service representatives, and professionals working in the clinics.
Previously, appointments had to be booked via phone or email, and busy phone lines in the mornings are all too familiar to many. Independent and online appointment scheduling saves the resources of call centers that traditionally book appointments by phone, and long waiting times can be more easily avoided.
In addition to phone calls, appointments have also been canceled or modified via email. Scrolling through email chains and finding the right information can take up a significant amount of time during the day, which could easily be avoided with an electronic appointment scheduling system – daily minutes add up to wasted hours over the course of a month.
The benefits of electronic appointment scheduling also include automated and immediate transfer of customer-specific information within the system and the restriction of available locations, services, and times based on the customer’s information.
When the customer logs in to the system using strong authentication, booking rights can be formed based on any previous requests for examination or sent information, which limits the availability of times for the customer only to the appropriate procedures and directs them automatically to the correct place and time at the time of booking. For example, using online banking credentials or mobile authentication and utilizing the pre-existing information helps prevent the customer from accidentally choosing an inappropriate procedure or location – this helps avoid resource-consuming unnecessary bookings and unnecessary visits to clinics.
Automated customer guidance also helps avoid overburdening the call center, as customer-specific sent information has often been searched through customer service.
The self-check-in system used on-site at clinics also saves time. When the customer arrives at, for example, a medical center, they can check in for their appointment at a self-check-in kiosk located in the reception area. After checking in, the customer sees their booking number on the information display in the reception area, and professionals call the customers in for their appointments based on their number. This way, customers can easily avoid waiting in line at the reception desk.
Self-registration is visible in the same system for professionals waiting in workspaces. For example, a doctor can see that their patient has arrived and can call them in with just one click on their own device. The professional doesn’t have to run back and forth between the waiting area and their office to check who has arrived and call them in for their appointment.
The self-registration system also has the advantage that if a time has not been reserved in advance, customers can also register for the queue number in the same system using the machine – the customer only needs to use one device during their visit. The lobby display shows separately the appointment customers and the customers who have registered for the queue, and professionals can manage these queues in their own device’s view.
If a healthcare facility has both appointment customers and customers waiting in the queue, multiple different systems may be used to manage these queues simultaneously – and naturally, switching between multiple software systems slows down practical work. In addition to making customer registration and professional flow management clearer and easier, the self-registration system allows for the use of only one system within the same facility.
In the same service view, both appointment and queue customers are visible, and professionals can take customers from these queues, for example, alternately without having to jump between multiple electronic systems. In addition to calling customers, professionals can reserve customers for themselves in the service view and mark ongoing procedures or their completions visible to other professionals. A unified and common system streamlines and clarifies operations, which inevitably saves time.