In any subject related to business and customer service, one of the main topics has always been to enhance and improve what we know as “User Experience“. This term refers to the set of factors involved in the process of interaction of an individual with a particular product or service and that generates a positive or negative perception of a company. Therefore, providing the best possible experience should be the goal of any organization, as it is a new way of focusing on maintaining and caring for our audience.
One of the aspects that make the customer perceive a quality service that increases their satisfaction is, among other things, a fast and efficient service. Behind each customer service department there will always be a team of agents who are responsible for solving all the needs in the shortest possible time. However, it is true that at certain times when there is a high volume of interactions with customers, it is not always possible to offer immediate attention, and users have to wait longer than desired to perform actions as simple and routine as booking or canceling an appointment with the company.
In this sense, what can help any organization to automate appointment scheduling are unified communication solutions. The reason is that these tools, in addition to including a series of functionalities that streamline the processes, allow the implementation of Artificial Intelligence systems, such as virtual agents, to reduce waiting times.
The importance of automated appointment scheduling
From the customer’s point of view, when we talk about previous appointments with a company, it is possible that the note where he had it written down gets lost, he forgets to attend or simply has lost interest in it. In this sense, this can cause damage to the company, since it will not be able to notify another client to replace it.
To prevent this situation from happening, many companies send a personalized SMS with an appointment reminder. However, this is not always enough, as text messages are less and less used, sometimes go unread, and even answering them has a cost that the customer is not always willing to assume if other alternatives are available. In this sense, in addition to a phone call, consumers prefer to be contacted through instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp or Telegram. Companies must therefore be able to take advantage of this preference to remember previous appointments that customers have with the company.
However, the latter does not mean that we have to opt for a single channel. There are people who appreciate an appointment reminder by SMS; others who prefer to confirm by phone because they consider it a more direct way; and others who opt for communication via WhatsApp because, among other advantages, it has zero cost for the customer. Therefore, it is important to opt for an omnichannel communication strategy that allows us to serve our customers regardless of the mean used.
In other occasions, what happens is that customers want to let you know that they will attend the appointment, but when they contact the company, the agents are overwhelmed and cannot attend them, thus increasing waiting times and generating frustration in the user that will end in a bad experience. Of course, the image they will have of the company will be negative and they will not trust it again.
To solve this, it is advisable to use Artificial Intelligence. As we will see below, with a virtual agent (callbot or chatbot) implemented in our communications solution, human intervention will be reduced only to those situations that these systems are not able to solve, and in addition, they will be able to recognize the caller to give a personalized response.
The role of virtual agents in automated appointment management
Nowadays, processes are increasingly required to be more and more automatic, which means that agents must also be more efficient and productive. However, it is true that not everything depends on them. The tools used also play a fundamental role in achieving this goal.
In the case of appointment management, the systems that can help streamline processes are callbots for calls and chatbots for messages. Their use can result in a large number of advantages for our automated appointment service:
- We will be able to reduce waiting times: the process of requesting, confirming or cancelling an appointment with the company can be somewhat tedious for customers if they have to wait a long time to contact an agent. With a virtual agent, the response will be immediate. This allows agents to focus on other aspects of the service, such as personalised customer service.
- 24/7 availability: Artificial Intelligence systems have the advantage of being available at any time. Thus, if the customer needs to manage their appointment, they can do so when they are free, regardless of whether it is during working hours or not.
- Integration with the company’s database: normally, companies have an internal database in which they record the necessary information about customers. Thus, when a call or a message is received and the user expresses that he/she wants to get an appointment, the virtual agent will search the database for available dates. When the customer decides which option is the most convenient and accepts it, an event will be created so that, in the previous days, the reminder will be launched.
Whether you manage your appointments by phone call or via WhatsApp, we cannot deny that Artificial Intelligence systems allow us to automate this task, so that it can be done more efficiently. A virtual PBX like the ones we offer you in Fonvirtual, besides giving you the possibility to manage your calls and messages from the same platform, allows you to implement a callbot or a chatbot with which you can automate your processes. If you want more information, do not hesitate to contact us. We will find the solution that best suits your needs.