Most people today run their personal and business diaries on their phones, synchronised to their computers and other devices. In fact, I’m not sure there will be many people under the age of 30 who have ever owned a paper diary, or at least who would admit it!
Given the adoption of online diaries and online calendars, can we assume that we are more organised? Are we actually more likely to remember our appointments if they are in an online calendar, rather than a paper one? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect one of two answers:
- We are at exactly the same level of organisation, or scatter-brainedness
- We put in appointments and then forget about them, only checking in the morning over breakfast. (At least in paper diaries you scribble in a way that highlights the important stuff and you will often see a whole week at a glance).
But regardless of how our behaviour has changed, the simple fact is that people do forget their appointments! Often!
But reminding forgetful people is only one reason to confirm a business appointment. Here are three more:
1 – Your customers will be prepared
Your customers are busy. They probably had to ‘fit you in’ to their own schedule. The fact that you are meeting is an indication that there is some actual or potential benefit for them. So help them get the most out of the meeting. By reminding them of the appointment you are doing a few things at the same time:
- You will remind them to collect any information or make other preparations for the meeting. If they are prepared, they will get more out of the meeting (and so will you).
- You will start their mind working. In a busy world full of distractions, the appointment will be more fruitful if the mind quietly processes some thoughts in the background before the meeting.
- You will remind them to ask you to bring or prepare something yourself.
- If you confirm the appointment in the right way, you will also confirm the following key elements of every appointment: Time/place, purpose, attendees, objectives of the appointment.
- So confirming an appointment will provide a real benefit to your customers and to you, by getting the preparation right.
2 – It is good marketing
Any chance to talk to put your name in front of your customers is worth taking. Especially if it is helpful. By confirming a business appointment you are making some important statements about yourself and your relationship with your client
- You care. About your client and about your own business.
- You are efficient. You are more likely to ‘get the job done’
- You are polite. Particularly if you use polite words in your messaging or your phone conversation.
- You are savvy. If you use automated confirmations, particularly texting a mobile phone, then you will be seen as savvy and up with the times.
- You are there. It is a competitive world, so keep reminding everyone that you are there!
3 – You will make more money
Let’s face it, this is the most important bit! A business appointment is usually related, in one way or another, to making money. By confirming a business appointment you are increasing your chances of making money:
- If you are an appointment based business, such as a plumber, physiotherapist, hairdresser, consultant, accountant or similar, then time is money. If your customer is not home, or does not show up, it is lost money. In fact, you could have booked another client into that empty spot, so it is a ‘double-whammy’.
- If you confirm an appointment, you are more likely to ‘make the sale’, because your customer will be prepared and it is good marketing (see points above).
So if you have never really seen the point in confirming business appointments, have another think. It can feel like an overhead when you are busy yourself, but the impact can be significant and there are plenty of ways to automate the reminders.
Will Morton is part of the Topbin team. He is dedicated to leveling the playing field between big business and small business in an increasingly technological and global environment. Topbin is an online software platform that meets the core needs of most small and medium sized businesses.