As homeopaths, we love helping people. Our client work is the focus of our business and we want to make sure that we provide a personal service.
Whether we work from home or in a clinic, part of our work will be involved with booking appointments and taking payments for those.
Simple can be beautiful
This can be kept very very simple with a paper diary and cash or cheque payments on the day. For many homeopaths, this system works beautifully with their client base and nothing needs to change.
Simple can be frustrating too
For some of us, we find that our personal work becomes secondary to our work of ‘being our own receptionist’.
We find ourselves playing phone/email/text tag with clients who want to book or rearrange appointments.
We find ourselves with clients turning up for appointments without having any cash or having forgotten their cheque book. We might then need to send them our bank details.
We find ourselves with clients who forget to pay and need reminding. It can feel awkward to write an email with a payment reminder when our ‘real work’ is homeopathy.
The truth is, we are living in busy times. We are busy, and our clients are busy too. Above and beyond being busy, there are higher levels of distraction than ever before.
Busy, busy, busy
When people are busy but organised they turn up for appointments without reminders.
When people are busy but organised they remember to bring cash, cheque or pay on time.
When people are busy and distracted, they may forget one – or more – of these.
How a booking system can help with appointments
An online booking system will send out an automatic booking confirmation email as soon as an appointment is made.
It will also send out a reminder to your clients without you having to do a thing.
That same booking system can also allow your client to rearrange their own appointment using a link in their appointment confirmation email.
They don’t have to call you to book if they prefer to book online when it’s convenient for them.
How a booking system can help with payments
If your clients book online they can also pay at the time of booking and even use a credit card quickly and easily.
It can also be used to send invoices for consultations, and products or packages or just about anything else.
You can use it to log when payment is received and view a list of outstanding invoices so you know who might need a reminder.
It took me a while to be convinced that a booking system was for me, but one month I had so many late cancellations/rearrangements and late payments I felt so frustrated that I decided to make the change.
It took a few months to get it properly set up and to get my clients used to the new system, but now I just don’t know what I did without it. It easily saves me 5-6 hours of ‘email ping-pong’ time every month.
I am rarely paid late and I find it so useful for selling ‘add-on products’ such as herbal remedies. I’m a Neal’s Yard Organic consultant and the system also helps me take payments for skin-care and other products easily.
Booking systems to try
One popular booking system is Acuity and lots of people use other shared calendars such as Google.
I really like GetTimely.com as it has a lot of additional features that work well for me.
If you’re already using a booking system you might be a convert to one of these. If you’re not, then why not give it a try? You could be pleasantly surprised.
You might know that I run 3 part seminars on modern business practice for homeopaths. One of the first things we look at is how to make things easier for our clients.
One of the other things it does is boost our own confidence. It is so lovely when homeopaths on my seminars come back and tell me that their clients have started to use their booking system and how good they feel about it.
The best thing of all? Our clients love it too!
We hope this has given you some ideas on making things easier for your clients and for you too!
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, just drop us a line.