Perhaps, someone has set up a Calendly for you, but you need to know what to do beyond rocking up to appointments. This article is for you. Perhaps you’ve set up a Calendly for an adviser you support or your team and need them to manage their own Outlook calendars. Well, consider this article a shareable resource.
In this we’ll be covering:
- Manage the permanent in Calendly, manage the rest in Outlook
- Make a habit of booking out time in your calendar
- Use the link with cancellations and reschedules
- Tailor your availability
- Keep your process consistent
- Other quick tips
- If you’re overwhelmed
Once you get to the end, you should have a concise list of all the things you need to manage your calendar effectively.
Manage the permanent in Calendly, manage the rest in Outlook
Calendly allows you to set your availability, your buffer between appointments, and much more.
The availability tool is great for this. You might never want an appointment after 4PM so you can close out file notes for the day (yes, that might be strangely optimistic), or you might never want an appointment on a Monday morning due to a permanent team meeting.
Not all things are permanent though, even if they are usual. For example:
- You might only be able to take appointments before 9:30 when you must drop off kids at school, but that still leaves about a dozen weeks a year where you can.
- You might have a recurring meeting that only ends up being required 2/3 of the time.
- You might always meet with your team lead at the start of every Wednesday, but down the track that might move to a different time slot which would make you available.
In these cases, managing your availability by having a booking in your Outlook calendar, rather than setting your availability in Outlook, would be ideal.
Make a habit of booking out time in your calendar
Once set up, Calendly will sync to your Outlook (or other) calendar. Within the parameters used when setting it up, it’ll check against your Outlook to see if you’re available.
This means it’s important to keep your Outlook up to date even for things you might not have normally bothered with. If you have a dentist appointment booked, you need to update your Outlook calendar. If you might need to leave early to beat traffic so you can make a 6PM event, you need to book it.
If your phone is already connected to the same calendar, that makes this easy. Just add it from your phone, which will speak to your Outlook, which Calendly will then reference.
Some key ones you might not have bothered to block out in your calendar normally, but should:
- Blocking out time for transit.
- Blocking out time for lunch.
- Blocking out time for file notes or action items.
- Blocking out time to read up on overnight market movements or urgent emails.
Use the link with cancellations and reschedules
One of the biggest wins from Calendly can be reduced instances of time-wasting reschedules and cancellations of client meetings, simply due to the automated reminder email and SMS systems.
That said, these things will nonetheless happen. Whilst clients can click a link in their invite to reschedule, most will do so by phone or email. When this happens, it is important you use the link in the meeting invitation instead of clicking and dragging the meeting around in Outlook, which won’t notify Calendly of the change.
Tailor your availability
Depending on your business needs, you can tailor your availability based on the appointment type.
Some examples can include:
- Having a wider range of times available for New Business clients.
- Having a separate booking page you might share with a qualified lead, rather than one booked through a standard publicly visible website button.
- Having a separate booking link for BDM appointments which might have a narrower time available. (Every fourth Tuesday of the month between 9 and 9:01 perhaps? Just kidding… somewhat. 😊)
Keep your process consistent
When working with clients on process rebuilds, we’re always keen to ensure the client experience is consistent every time, and the process is as consistent as possible.
To achieve this, we always recommend having ‘Internally booked’ versions of each appointment.
These links would not be visible to the public, but are available for staff to use as if they were the client when booking appointments scheduled by phone or email. As these are booked by a team member, they differ to the self-serve versions in the following ways:
- No buffer between appointments.
- Longest fathomable availability ranges (if the adviser would ever consider a 7AM appointment, or a 6PM appointment, those times are available).
- No dedicated booking page on your website or redirections, as you don’t need them. The native Calendly links are enough.
This would also be the method used if a meeting was booked by an adviser on the road and subsequently entered into the calendar by the support team.
In doing so, the clients receive a consistent experience regardless of the method used and the team can automate the confirmations and reminders in less time than it would’ve taken to do it manually.
Other quick tips
There’s a long list of things we do when micromanaging appointments to get the best out of your systems. Whilst they aren’t all required, if you’re even a little bit like us you’ll value some of the little things to maximise your convenience.
Managing all day appointments
All-day appointments booked through Outlook show as ‘Free’ by default, which is great for tracking birthdays but annoying if it’s because you’re away at a conference. By default, Calendly understandably thinks ‘Free’ means you’re available. As such, you need to either update your Outlook defaults here or keep on top of checking these things regularly.
Book internal movable appointments as ‘Tentative’
If you make a business rule that movable appointments or indeed your own reserved time is ‘Tentative’, it keeps this time free for clients to self-serve. This works great for keeping those things you’d be happy to shuffle around from getting between you and a new business meeting.
Have an out-of-hours timeslot if you’re happy to do so
One downside of having a self-serve process is that prospects and clients might not realise you’re happy to be a bit flexible. If you’re happy to do so, you might want to consider leaving scope for a late appointment on a Thursday for those clients who do struggle to get away from work during the working day and you would’ve normally accommodated if they’d asked. Just don’t forget that you’ll need to mark this as busy too if you’re not going to be available one day.
Choice-driven process, not mandated
One of the biggest fears we see stems from poor use of tools like Calendly, as opposed to the tools themselves. Generally speaking, when you’re offering a client the opportunity to self-serve in a professional services context it should be a choice, not a requirement. In a financial advice review context specifically, it should absolutely exist as part of a process that includes manual (if automatically prompted) follow-up with a phone call if one isn’t booked to ensure services promised are provided.
If you’re overwhelmed
In our Simply Kaizen consulting, in-depth support of self-service tools can be a great way to support automation for clients where they choose to take it up. If you’d like to learn more about how we might be able to help you, click the ‘Virtual coffee’ button at the bottom right of this page.
If you have a question, another tip we haven’t thought of, or even a nightmare scheduling tale, we’d love to hear it in the comments below!
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