While the majority of consumer-facing businesses such as retail stores have now reopened since the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, a recent study showed that over 60% of consumers still worry about shopping in-store. Retailers now face a new challenge: reopening their stores as safely as possible.
To help meet this challenge, an increasing number of merchants are implementing appointment booking systems. Shopping by appointment means guests schedule their store visits in advance. They may shop alone or with assistance from a sales associate. In addition, the visit may be tailored for a customer’s specific agenda or for casual browsing.
Thanks to appointment shopping, retailers have better control over the daily number of store visitors. They can also monitor what consumers have touched, so they know what to disinfect later on. The general idea is to drive foot traffic back to your store, without putting the health of your customers and employees at risk.
What Happens If You Don’t Monitor Customer Flow?
Neglecting to track and manage foot traffic may increase the risk of:
- COVID-19 transmission
- Long lines
- Lower employee resource efficiency
- Fewer personalized interactions
- Poor customer experience
- Data deficiency
Pros of Appointment Scheduling Services
Improved customer and employee safety
Appointment-only can help customers feel more at ease with visiting your store. It shows that you’re taking stringent measures to protect their health and well-being. Scheduling appointments will make your store stand out as having a customer-centric approach.
In addition, shoppers who book an appointment are usually driven by an intent to purchase. This means you have a greater opportunity to make a sale.
Limiting customer flow also keeps your workforce safe and healthy. Exposure to unregulated foot traffic may increase your employees’ risk of infection and lead to further downtime. Should one of your staff get infected, your entire team has to undergo at least 14 days of quarantine. You must also inform your recent store visitors so they can also start the quarantine and avoid further transmission. Store operations may be suspended until all employees have tested negative.
Optimized staff scheduling
Scheduled appointments help you assess peak times in footfall. This lets you assign staff only when they’re most needed. There’s also less chance of overstaffing on certain days. You also want to avoid overcrowding your store, so that social distancing rules can still be practiced.
Streamlined customer check-in
Appointment scheduling makes contact tracing a lot easier. Collecting customer information in-person is not only time-consuming, but also increases the risk of errors and typos. Masks and face shields can cause muffled speech, making it harder to record important customer details such as phone numbers and addresses accurately.
Always Answer is Your Premier Appointment Scheduling Service
At Always Answer, we are ready to take your calls and allow clients to set appointments at their convenience. For online-based appointment calendars, our telephone agents can schedule around your current availability. For healthcare businesses, we provide HIPAA compliant appointment setting services at reasonable rates.