In this article, I'll describe the difference between walk-ins and appointments. Also, I'll share my view on why you want to increase the number of appointments and how to succeed with it. In the end, you can download a guide about a new appointment solution, Qmatic Cloud Appointments.
Walk-in vs. Appointments
When discussing the benefits of appointments, it's often helpful to distinguish between two terms: walk-ins and appointments. In this post, we’ll be defining them as follows:
What is a walk-in?
The term walk-in is widely used in queue management to explain situations where the visitors physically walk into the facility without having booked an appointment.
What is an appointment?
The term appointment is used to describe a visitor who has scheduled an appointed time for the service.
Most service providers agree that you want to increase the number of appointments and avoid unscheduled walk-ins. Of course, for some services, that will never be possible, for example hospitals will always need to be open to emergency matters. Yet, many other types of service providers, such as financial, retail and public organizations, were forced to implement an appointment-only policy during the pandemic. This is something which may become more common in the future. Let's look at the benefits of appointments.
Benefits of appointments
Many of the clients I speak to share the same experience from replacing walk-ins with appointments. Below is a summary of the benefits of appointments.
Distribute workload evenly over the day
Walk-ins are manageable if you only have a few visits per day. But as the number of daily visits increases, unscheduled walk-ins contribute to a disordered environment. During peak hours, the massive workload will increase stress levels among your employees, and cause long waiting times and poor visitor experience.
By getting more visitors to schedule appointments, you'll spread the workload evenly throughout the day. This way, you can better schedule your staff and get more control of their work environment.
Reduce the wait time
The wait time is affected by how many visitors you have and how many employees there are to serve the visitors, so it follows that a high number of unexpected walk-ins can lead to very long waiting times.
The more scheduled appointments you have, the fewer people there will be in the waiting rooms. When visitors arrive on time and keep to your schedule, the waiting time will be minimal. This has a great impact on the visitor experience.
Scheduled appointments have increased abruptly during the pandemic, as they lead to a significant decrease in the amount of people on site. By decreasing the size of the crowd at your facility, you reduce the spread of virus infection.
Improved visitor experience
All the benefits mentioned above can be drawn together into one overall benefit; appointments increase visitors' experience. A well-planned work environment leads to calmer employees who can provide better service. Minimum waiting time reduces disruption to the visitor's everyday life. Meanwhile, being able to safely visit services has become an important priority and expectation during the pandemic.
How to increase appointments and reduce walk-ins
To succeed with appointment management, most service providers use an appointment scheduling system, such as Qmatic Cloud Appointments.
This kind of system can make it as easy for visitors to make an appointment as it is to walk into your facility, as well as giving your staff the right tools for managing appointments. Below are the steps you need to implement if you want to replace walk-ins with appointments.
Enable appointment scheduling
The first step to increase the number of appointments is to make it easy for visitors to schedule an appointment. Qmatic Cloud Appointments enables visitors to book the appointment online or over the phone. The system also makes it possible for visitors to schedule an appointment with a specific staff member who is required for the type of service.
Manage re-scheduled appointments and cancelations
Since one reason for increasing appointments is to prevent stress among staff, you need to ensure the workload of administering re-schedules and cancelations doesn’t increase. That's why Qmatic Cloud Appointments automates the administration of the appointments.
Send confirmation and reminders
Each visitor who doesn't show up at the appointed time is a burden for your staff. To decrease no-shows, you need to make sure that the appointment is at the front of your visitors’ mind. The best way to do this is by sending a confirmation once the appointment is scheduled, and then send a reminder shortly before the time. With Qmatic Cloud Appointments, you'll ensure all visitors get the confirmation and reminders they need.
Make it easy to check in
The final step to make it as easy for visitors to schedule appointments as it is to walk into your facility is to simplify the check-in experience. When using Qmatic Cloud Appointments, visitors will receive a check-in link in the reminder message enabling self-check-in. Upon arrival, the visitor gets a mobile ticket where they can follow their status. This way, you'll move visitors seamlessly from booking online to an in-person visit.
Learn more about Qmatic Cloud Appointments
Do you want to know more about how Qmatic Cloud Appointments can improve your appointment management? Download the guide below.