TimeTrade Blog » online appointment scheduling | TimeTrade Blog http://blog.timetrade.com Tips, Tricks, and Updates from our Blog Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 How Online Appointment Scheduling Will Change Your Experience at the DMV http://blog.timetrade.com/2013/08/20/how-online-appointment-scheduling-will-change-your-experience-at-the-dmv/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2013/08/20/how-online-appointment-scheduling-will-change-your-experience-at-the-dmv/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 17:00:13 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=3368 https://www.google.com/search?q=dmv+wait+lines&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&authuser=0&ei=E-QIUpGLLuSQyAGT7oDgDw&biw=1680&bih=923&sei=IuQIUuiHHsekyQGQs4DYDw#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=CiDOWB-ZqOhyCM%3A%3BwSbbSTNXPf8VxM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Flatimesblogs.latimes.com%252Fphotos%252Funcategorized%252F2008%252F08%252F01%252Fhurry_up_and_wait.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Flatimesblogs.latimes.com%252Flanow%252F2008%252F08%252F---its-last-lin.html%3B500%3B248

Imagine a world where you didn’t need to wait upward of a few hours to simply renew your license every few years? Everyone dreads a trip to the DMV, and it has always been that way.There’s no way for that to change, right? Wrong.

In the news recently was a plan introduced in Chautauqua County, New York to implement online appointment scheduling within its registry. The plan, formulated by Larry Barmore, a clerk candidate, would “be a win-win for both the customer and the staff,” according to Barmore, because “by scheduling an appointment online people would be able to set a time that is convenient for them and more time-consuming transactions could be spread out during the day so staff could better serve all the customers” (Click here to read more about Barmore’s plan).

A brief Google search reveals that most DMVs only allow appointments to be scheduled for a road test. Makes sense. However, the majority of states necessitate a phone call in order to do so. The two exceptions I found were California and Florida, which each have a rudimentary online system for scheduling these tests and other, more routine visits.

This begs the question, why haven’t more DMVs gone in the direction Barmore wishes to take Chautauqua County? Considering research done on online appointment scheduling reveals drastic increases in customer satisfaction, this should be a no-brainer. Well, DMVs have no competition, and will not lose customers as a result of bad experiences. Therefore, they probably feel as though the return on investment of such solutions will be negative.

However, as everyone knows, time is money. And the time wasted waiting at a DMV can definitely be worth a good chunk of cash. I’d easily pay an extra $10 or more to get my license renewed if it meant I could be in and out in 15 minutes. I’m sure thousands of others would do the same. Plus, I’m sure the DMV employees would love this. They’d have to put up with fewer disgruntled customers, angry because they waited for an hour and a half. Like Barmore said, this is truly a win-win for employees and customers. Furthermore, the state would surely at least break even by charging extra for those who scheduled online, and maybe even profit. Really, what is not to love for all parties? I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope Larry Barmore’s suggestion is the DMV of the future.

Update: Over the last weekend, news came out that the Bridgeport , CT DMV is introducing online appointment scheduling for learner’s permit tests. The article also reveals that the state is looking to bring the new technology into other DMV branches as a result of increased customer satisfaction. We can only hope more states follow Connecticut’s lead.

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Online Appointment Scheduling Enables Enhanced Sales Effectiveness through a Better Customer Experience http://blog.timetrade.com/2013/05/08/online-appointment-scheduling-enables-enhanced-sales-effectiveness/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2013/05/08/online-appointment-scheduling-enables-enhanced-sales-effectiveness/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 11:52:24 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=3219 peter-ostrow-0206We are happy to have Peter Ostrow of the Aberdeen Group join us today as our Guest Blogger.  Peter is a recognized expert is Sales Effectiveness, so we hope you find his recent research both informative and actionable.  To download the full research report, Click Here…


How much effort does it typically take for business-to-business (B2B) professionals to successfully schedule a meeting or call with one another? For most of us, the answer is likely “too much,” with a flurry of back-and-forth email messages, confusion about time zones, and crossed signals often serving, unfortunately, as the norm. Now, the technology enabler of online appointment scheduling is impacting how successful B2B sales teams are overcoming these inefficiencies.

From the perspective of pure analytical research, online appointment scheduling tools make a great deal of sense. Take a peek at the following sales effectiveness KPI results, which Aberdeen’s research has shown two reveals significant deltas between users and non-adopters of this technology:

online appointment scheduling boosts sales

The overall corporate benefits of better customer retention, larger average deal sizes, and shorter sales cycles are of particular relevance to contemporary sales teams looking for every possible edge that supports better results they can bring to their companies. The net-net here is all about the velocity of B2B sales efficiencies: everyone wants to sell more, sell faster and reach President’s Club ahead of everyone else. They want to spend time with prospects and customers focusing on the features, advantages and benefits of their solution – not chasing people down to book appointments. It can be said, moreover, that ping-pong is a nice addition to a physical office environment, but an unnecessary inconvenience when it comes to business communications. My research proves that online appointment scheduling tools improve the performance of sales teams in terms of:

Knowing the Customer: Online appointment scheduling users are 11% more likely than other firms (41% vs. 37%) to actively seek ways to better understand the behavior of their prospects and customers. Using the scheduling tool to get a feel for how soon – or not – a prospect is willing to meet, for example, can help classify an opportunity as more or less likely to close a deal within a certain selling period. This strategic action is also taken more often by Best-in-Class companies than under-performing firms by a 49% to 37% margin.

Automating the Process: Fifty-two percent (52%) of the Best-in-Class support a “guided selling methodology to help sales reps identify the optimal message and timing at each stage of the sales cycle,” compared with 45% of Laggard companies. The idea of guided selling represents a process that takes guesswork out of many sales situations, via a wizard-driven application or simply a left-to-right checklist designed to speed up the overall sales cycle. Indeed, the average sales cycle among Best-in-Class firms was shortened by 4.2% from year-to-year, while Industry Average and Laggard firms saw theirs lengthen by 1.3% and 3.0%, respectively. Online appointment setting is a natural fit for adding a simple but effective technology-supported stage to the seller’s process.

Improving Workflow for the “Last Mile” of Selling: My research details a number of practices that top-performing sales teams use to help close deals faster and more often, which are supported by technologies such as electronic signatures, configure/price/quote and sales contract management. The process of proposing, presenting, quoting and negotiating sales deals is less cumbersome when seller and buyer, using online appointment scheduling, can more easily access calendars and meet to hammer out contractual details.

Making Every Customer Interaction Count: It is safe to assume that B2B buyers are plenty busy, and are less inclined to buy from a high-maintenance seller who takes too many steps – and emails – simply to schedule their calls and meetings. Online appointment scheduling users are 58% more likely than other firms (19% vs. 12%) to marry their focus on sales cycle shortening with making the most out of a smaller number of interactions, neatly fitting their conversations into more easily-scheduled meetings.

In the end, let’s make sure we are all working smarter, if not also harder:

aberdeen_cartoon

To download the full research report, Click Here…

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5 Great Sales Uses for Online Appointment Scheduling http://blog.timetrade.com/2013/04/09/5-great-sales-uses-for-online-appointment-scheduling/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2013/04/09/5-great-sales-uses-for-online-appointment-scheduling/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 13:46:58 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=3147 This week we’re at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) 2013 Leadership Summit and we have heard a lot of feedback on how online appointment scheduling has greatly improved their productivity (and their bottom line).  We’ve also seen some innovative uses of how salespeople are using our solution both here at the show and from recent blog posts and discussions (and I must admit, some I’ve never thought of).  I thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve heard:

1. Let Clients Book Meetings via Facebook

You’ve built a great Facebook page for your business, have a ton of likes and crank out great content.  But, your prospects and customers who want to talk to you now have to track you down.  Sue B. Zimmerman put together a great video on Basecamp (which we love) and how she uses TimeTrade.  In the video, she shows how she empowers clients book meetings with her right from her Facebook Page:

2. Get Sales Meeting through LinkedIn

Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life is an expert in social selling.  Recently he blogged about how 52% of his Q1 2013 opportunities came from inbound activity using TimeTrade.  Jamie put together a video where he shows how he prospects using LinkedIn and TimeTrade:

3. In Email and Salesforce.com

Vala Afshar, CMO of Enterasys, recently listed TimeTrade as one of the “The 10 Must-Have Sales and Marketing Business Tools” in the Huffington Post.   Vala says, “We have generated many opportunities we would have otherwise missed just by having this simple convenience in our mails. TimeTrade reduces the constant back and forth of trying to schedule meetings, allowing us to better focus on our customers.”  And because its integrated into Salesforce.com, the salesperson is alerted and prepped for the call.  Check out the full article with some great tips and tools here…

4. On the Go Mobile Scheduling

I got this one from our own Chris Carroll.  While at a tradeshow I was jotting down information on the back of business cards from prospects who were interested in learning more after the show.  I looked over and Chris had his iPhone up showing prospects our TimeTrade Mobile App on his iPhone and was sending them meeting invites while they were at the booth.  Not only did they get to see the full product experience, he left the show with scheduled meetings – not just business card leads.  iPhoneLife has a good article on our App and others which is worth checking out at: Top 10 iPhone Apps to Market, Manage, and Monetize Your Business.

5. Schedule from Your Webinars

You’ve got a great webinar topic which drew a large audience who is interested in what you have to say.  Then, at the height of their interest, you thank them for joining the webinar and tell them you will follow up after.  That’s the way I’ve always done it.  Recently, I was speaking with one of the major web conferencing providers and they told me that some of their customers were getting great conversions from their webinars by simply dropping their scheduling link into the public chat during the webinar.  Simple – if you are interested in learning more, just click the link we just posted, pick a day/time that works for you and we’ll have one of our experts call you.

I hope you found these innovative sales use-cases helpful.  If you’ve got a good one, feel free to share it in the comments.  We’d love to hear it!

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Create a Seamless Online Scheduling Experience by Uploading Your Logo http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/06/15/create-a-seamless-online-scheduling-experience-by-uploading-your-logo/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/06/15/create-a-seamless-online-scheduling-experience-by-uploading-your-logo/#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2011 18:29:38 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=2342 When using new tools and solutions that are customer/prospect facing like TimeTrade Workgroup or Professional editions, it’s important to be sure they have a positive impact your business relationship. Whether it’s early on in the sales cycle or years after you’ve acquired a loyal customer, there are some key components to keep in mind when asking someone to take an action such as Click-to-Schedule.

Don’t Confuse Your Prospects and Customers
If you ask a customer or prospect to click a link, it’s important to make sure you’re specific and clear with your intent. Explain what they can expect to experience and where it is they’ll be headed if they do decide to click.  Including a welcome message and/or your company logo in your scheduling process lets your customers and prospects know they’re still in the right place once they’ve clicked your link and to proceed to book an appointment. Reduce the unknown and you’ll reduce hesitation or confusion.

Earn Their Trust
Fresh relationships are also fragile ones, and when you’re prospecting, you probably have a lot of fresh relationships. It’s important to build trust with those you interact with and show them that you’re a professional.

People can be wary of links in emails and if you use TimeTrade, you probably send hyperlinks pretty regularly. So once someone clicks, you can counteract any inherent “friction” or “stress” by letting them know they’re still interacting with you, and not some other vendor or third party. Including your branding and a welcome message as part of the TimeTrade scheduling process is a good way to retain, and even build trust with your customers or prospects. You’re showing them that you are a professional using technology to make both of your lives easier.

Watch the video below to learn how to add your company logo to customer-facing TimeTrade pages.

If you are a TimeTrade Professional user, you will need to add the Branding Option from your “My Subscription” screen under the “Admin” dropdown menu.

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Guest Blog: How TimeTrade Doubled My Productivity http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/05/18/guest-blog-how-timetrade-doubled-my-productivity/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/05/18/guest-blog-how-timetrade-doubled-my-productivity/#comments Wed, 18 May 2011 17:01:19 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=2328 Justin Shepard of ByAllAccounts took the time to blog about his experience with TimeTrade and we thought we’d post it here in case you missed it. Read below for a first-hand account of how TimeTrade can help double a rep’s productivity.

No More Games, Let’s Just Talk: How TimeTrade Doubled My Productivity

This is not an advertisement for TimeTrade.  Nobody put me up to this, nor am I being held at fake finger-in-coat-pocket gunpoint by some over-eccentric staff member demanding a testimonial for ransom (not to suggest that anyone at TimeTrade would ever do such a thing, but I want my point to be made clear.)  This is not a marketing ploy, but rather an honest reflection of the ways in which appointment scheduling software has impacted my performance as a sales development professional. I’m sure there are other products out there similar to TimeTrade that work great.

Having said that, TimeTrade works wonders for me. I began using the product in October of last year, and my productivity has doubled ever since. By “productivity has doubled”, what I mean is that the number of opportunities that I create per day is twice as high with the software as it was before I started using it.  Why is that? With TimeTrade I can spend more time talking to prospects, and less time playing games.

Games I no longer have to waste my time playing thanks to TimeTrade:

“Calendar Invite Battleship”.

Ever try setting an appointment between two busy people via email, and end up sitting there sending and declining time proposals back-and-forth, hoping to blindly hit one of the few open time slots in each other’s schedules like some game of calendar invite battleship?

“The 7th at 2:00?”

“…miss! The 10th at 4:00?”

“miss! the…”

If so, you know that (unlike the real battleship) this is not a fun game to play, and it’s a waste of time on both ends. But, much like the real battleship however, it’s far easier and over much quicker when you can see the other person’s board. In a way, that’s what TimeTrade does—it shows you my board. With a TimeTrade link embedded in my email signature, one click brings you to my calendar to see exactly which appointment times I have or don’t have available, and (with your own calendar handy) another click reserves a time that works well for both parties. Easy, convenient, time-efficient (click, click “the 3rd at 9:00?” “hit!”)

Phone-Tag & Cat-and-Mouse.

Before I had TimeTrade, I used to feel like I was always trying to chase people down on their phone. I also felt like when I actually would catch people, it wasn’t at a great time. Wasting time on the chasing and waiting game is bad enough, but the last thing in the world I want to do is in anyway bother or seem intrusive to prospects. But, if you pick the time you want to speak, then I’m not catching you off guard or at a bad time.  In fact, I’m doing the opposite—fulfilling your request to have a conversation on your terms. Now, not only do I not have to chase you around or feel like a bother, but when you schedule an appointment with me, I know that you’re genuinely interested in our product and what I have to say.  In that regard, you might even say that TimeTrade adds an extra layer of lead qualification to a certain respect.

I am also opposed to using a “hard-sell” approach, because I simply don’t like being pushy or pressuring folks (not to criticize those who do, it just doesn’t work for me personally).  Instead, I try to be as polite and personable as possible, while still being informative of the benefits of our product. I don’t sell, I help prospects buy. TimeTrade caters to this preference because by attaching my calendar link in email blasts and posting it on our website, the prospects come to me, and all I have to do is be friendly and tell them what they want to know.  And many times these appointments are with those I wouldn’t have ever called. Again, that means no more wasting time (ours and theirs) calling people who aren’t interested. And, all the time I used to spend chasing can now be used for something more productive, like researching and preparing for upcoming appointments, which are never hard to set with a calendar that fills itself.

My tagline for TimeTrade:
More conversations. More quality conversations. No more playing games.

About ByAllAccounts:
ByAllAccounts provides a unique combination of transaction detail, data quality, and custodian coverage specifically required for the professional wealth management market.  Thousands of financial advisors rely on ByAllAccounts to efficiently scale their business, increase held-away assets in their billing schedule and deliver exceptional client service. Each night, hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of financial data records flow through our patented aggregation engine. Visit their blog at http://www.byallaccounts.com/blog/.

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3 Ways to Use Salesforce Integration with Online Appointment Scheduling http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/03/08/3-ways-to-use-salesforce-integration-with-online-appointment-scheduling/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/03/08/3-ways-to-use-salesforce-integration-with-online-appointment-scheduling/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2011 16:15:09 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=2231 If you’re using Salesforce.com you know it’s a great way to keep track of your activity with prospects and customers. Many salespeople spend the majority of the day in the tool; tracking leads, following up, calling new leads, and monitoring campaigns. Where Salesforce.com falls short is in providing you with the ability to invite others to view times you’ve selected to offer for appointments and instantly book a time with you.

Here are a few ways Salesforce integration with online appointment scheduling can help you get more meetings, keep track of those meetings, and stay connected with your prospects and customers.

Offer Appointments to anyone outside your company with
an “Offer Appointment” Button

Salesforce Integration - offer online appointment

Click the image above to learn more about offering appointments from Salesforce

The ability to offer appointments to those outside of your company, and let them see times you’ve selected to make available is not a luxury you have if you’re using Outlook or Google Calendar alone to schedule appointments. By using an online appointment scheduling system to publish your availability to your prospects or customers, you let them confirm meetings with you without ever having to go through the tedious back-and-forth emails and phone calls. This saves you time and frustration, and let’s you spend those saved hours selling.

Track your booked sales meetings as Activities in Salesforce.com

Salesforce Integration - Online Appointment Scheduling

When you use TimeTrade’s Salesforce integration, meetings that get booked show up as open activities under the lead or contact who booked the appointment and automatically appear on your calendar. This eliminates the manual process of creating the activity and ensures you and your manager are accurately tracking your sales activity.

Include a schedule link in your Salesforce email templates

Salesforce Integration - Click to Schedule

If you include a link to your online appointment scheduling calendar in all of your communications, including those from Salesforce.com, you’ll quickly find that your links start doing your work for you. As you communicate, your contacts will see your “Click to Schedule” link and you’ll see a noticeable increase in your sales meetings, meeting attendance, and ultimately in closed business.

For more information on Salesforce Integration with TimeTrade’s Workgroup Edition, visit our Salesforce Integration page or find us on the Salesforce Appexchange.

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Enhance Your Google Calendar with Online Appointment Scheduling http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/02/25/enhance-your-google-calendar-with-online-appointment-scheduling/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/02/25/enhance-your-google-calendar-with-online-appointment-scheduling/#comments Fri, 25 Feb 2011 15:03:47 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=2204 Getting up-and-running with an online appointment scheduling solution is a great way to manage your appointment flow, let people inside or outside your company self-schedule time to meet with you, and publish different sets of availability you’ve selected to use for appointments.

But what about your existing calendar? It’s a lot of work to manually take inventory of your schedule and plug in times you want to make available, especially because as appointments flow in, you have to manually monitor your calendar and remove those time slots so no one double-books. It’s nearly impossible to stay on top of it all and you’re bound to double-book something somewhere.

If you’re using TimeTrade online appointment scheduling, you can set up your account to connect directly to your Google Calendar. TimeTrade works 24/7 to automatically update your schedule as meetings roll in and will only offer up times that are open on your calendar. This basically lets you “set and forget” TimeTrade and be sure that meetings will only show up on your calendar when and where you want them to. You’ll be more efficient and more productive.

For a quick step-by-step explanation of how to connect your  TimeTrade Professional or Workgroup Edition account with your Google Calendar, visit our FAQ or click the image below.

Google Calendar
Click the image to learn how to connect TimeTrade to your Google Calendar
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Color-Code TimeTrade Appointments in Microsoft Outlook http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/02/18/color-code-timetrade-appointments-in-microsoft-outlook/ http://blog.timetrade.com/2011/02/18/color-code-timetrade-appointments-in-microsoft-outlook/#comments Fri, 18 Feb 2011 15:19:59 +0000 http://blog.timetrade.com/?p=2174 Setting up automatic color-coding of appointments in your Outlook calendar as they come in is a great way to stay organized and get a quick, visual understanding of what your day will consist of. When you set up activities in TimeTrade Workgroup or Professional Edition and assign a color to each one, you’ll have a much better grasp of what kind of appointments fill up your calendar and will be able to be more productive in how you prepare for each day.

This is a quick and easy way to give you that little extra productive boost and to stay on top of your online appointment scheduling activity in Outlook 2010 (click here for Outlook 2007). Watch the video in full screen mode to see the full detail.

When you set up your TimeTrade activities, you can use this method to color-code each one. So at a quick glance, you can see how many Introductory calls, 1-hour demos, or any other activity you’ve set up. It’s also a great way to track how often each TimeTrade activity is being used.

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