Online Appointment Calendars

For most small businesses, adopting an online appointment calendar is not difficult and can offer significant benefits. A website appointment calendar is a digital tool that allows individuals or businesses to manage and schedule appointments over the internet, typically through the practice’s website. These calendars are accessible via a web browser and often come with features that facilitate appointment booking, reminders, and management. The ease of use, coupled with the support and resources available from platform providers, ensures that even businesses with limited technical expertise can implement and manage these systems effectively. Using an online appointment calendar helps streamline the scheduling process, reduces the likelihood of missed appointments, and improves overall efficiency for both office staff and their clients. Some of the key components and features:
  • Convenience. Clients can schedule appointments themselves based on available time slots and the calendar system can automatically adapt time slots to predefined rules that you have created such as leaving 30 mins open between appointments. This can all be done 24/7 with the ability to book from any digital device.
  • Syncing. Calendars can give a daily, weekly or monthly view while syncing with your desktop pc calendar in Outlook or google, etc.
  • Reduced no-shows. Appointment reminders are sent automatically by email and text which lessens the likelihood of missed appointments.
  • Reductions. Reduced wait times for patients and reduces the time staff spend on the phone scheduling appointments, allowing them more time to focus on the in-person patient.
  • Customization. Calendars can be customized to reflect your website’s look and colors and tailor the appt forms to collect necessary information from patients which helps manage staff schedules and ensures the right personnel are available for specific types of appts (e.g., eye exams and frame selection)
  • Integration. Many calendar software apps integrate payment processing and can handle up-front deposits or payments
  • Improved Communication. Online calendars send personalized follow-ups and instructions after appointments that help improve communication between your patient and your practice while giving the patient the ability to provide feedback after appointments to help improve services and patient care.
  • Patient Retention. Utilizing reminders for annual exams or follow-up visits can keep patients up-to-date and foster long-term patient relationships through convenience and reliability.

Worried that you’re not a techie. Most online calendars offer a guided step-by-step process with customizable templates to tailor the calendar to your practice without having extensive technical knowledge. You’ll need to create an account, set your business hours, and configure the services you offer and the staff schedules. Tutorials can provide training for staff members on how to use the system, schedule appointments and manage cancellations. Some online scheduling tools are listed here:

  1. Calendly offers free trials and free plans and is typically used to schedule business meetings and calls. A small office plan costs approx. $12/month per user.
  2. Acuity Scheduling is more robust and more tailored to booking service-based appointments. In addition, the software can keep track of patient information, accept payments, and generate invoices. A typical office plan with one or more members starts at $34/month.
  3. YouCanBookMe is a customer-focused scheduling platform that helps owners create a better experience for their patients. You can configure pre-filled forms, auto-confirmations, email reminders, and follow-up notifications. They offer a free plan and a $12/month per user plan to schedule on one calendar such as the optician for eye exams. The plan would need to be upgraded for additional staff calendars.
  4. Square Appointments allows for plenty of functionality including selling products directly through the app but comes with slightly higher priced plans with additional costs based on the amount of transactions.
  5. Setmore is a fully customizable scheduling app that is free for up to 4 users (calendars). They offer upgraded plans with many more features at $5 per user (calendar) per month.
  6. SavvyCal is similar in features and pricing to Calendly but offers a few unique features that benefit both the patient and the practice. The patient making the booking can overlay or upload their personal calendar on top of your booking page to find mutual availability and the practitioner can highlight preferred availability instead of showing all available openings.

For opticians and for your practice, an online appointment calendar not only simplifies scheduling and improves operational efficiency but also enhances the overall patient experience and satisfaction. By automating routine tasks, optimizing resource use, and integrating with other tools, opticians can focus more on patient care and less on administrative burdens. This leads to increased productivity, better patient retention, and ultimately, higher revenue for the practice.

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