Calendar management can be a nightmare, even for experienced administrative assistants. Getting a structured system in place to effectively manage appointments is a vital part of any office setting, and can not only keep the office smooth, but can actually increase revenue.
Whether your appointment scheduling system is flexible, scheduling multiple appointments “around” a certain time, or rigid, booking strict times for each meeting, there are exemplary practices that can keep you running efficiently.
A Metric for Turnaround
Every office should have a metric set for the turnaround time when someone wants to set an appointment. This means there should be a maximum number of days any given client has to wait before they can come in for a sit-down.
Double-booking is possibly the biggest faux-pas you can commit when scheduling appointments. Even if you are using a flexible system, avoid booking two clients at the same time. If you book one client around 10:00 a.m., book the second around 10:15, not at the same time as the first. This will save you from getting overwhelmed with too many people in the waiting area.
When to Use the Flexible System
A flexible appointment system works best when there are multiple people able to take appointments. If, for example, there are two administrators available to meet clients, you have more room to be flexible when managing calendars. If you have only one calendar, it is often best to use a stricter method of scheduling.
Foster Constant Communicate
Often, schedules can be accessed and managed by multiple people. While this is not ideal, it is a fact of life. When this occurs, all those with access to a calendar must keep a constant and open line of communication to avoid double-bookings and scheduling errors. The calendar’s owner must always be clear as to when he or she will be available or traveling so the assistant can avoid mistakes. The assistant, in turn, should immediately inform the calendar owner when an appointment has been set.
Similar and Difficult Appointments
If you have a number of clients who cover the same general topic, try to group them together. This allows the administrator or calendar owner to avoid having to switch gears too often. Sticking to similar meetings in a given timeframe permits efficiency and eases preparation time.
Likewise, if you have appointments that you believe will be difficult, avoid scheduling them at the beginning or end of the day or together. Spread these appointments out in the middle of the day. This will allow the owner of the calendar to avoid headaches before getting into the groove of the workday or before going home at night.
Following these top five tips will greatly improve and smooth out your calendar management issues. Keeping your calendar stable will create an office with higher morale and smoother overall operation. If you need help or advice with appointment scheduling issues, we are here to help. Drop us a line today.