Choosing an appointment scheduling tool might not be the most thrilling adventure in the world. But it is crucial in order to get the most out of your sales meetings.
Because if you can’t easily schedule and manage appointments with your leads, you run the risk of losing them.
In this guide, we’ll look at the 11 most important features that you need to look for when choosing an appointment scheduler.
At its core, an appointment scheduling tool allows you to book and manage appointments with your inbound leads.
While that’s the most basic function of an appointment scheduler, there are many schedulers out there that go above and beyond, giving you total control of your calendar. These advanced schedulers provide granular management tools like lead routing and round robin lead distribution.
An appointment scheduling tool is critical if you want to optimize your speed to lead. Businesses tend to wait way too long to respond to a lead––the average time is about 42 hours, according to the Harvard Business Review. That’s 42 hours your lead can and will spend researching other companies who might get in touch faster.
By scheduling an appointment immediately, you can ensure that you stay on your lead’s mind. After all, the whole point of making a sales appointment is to qualify that lead and hopefully close the sale. You can’t do that if your lead forgets about you, so time is of the essence.
Convinced yet? I thought so.
Now you know you need an appointment scheduling tool. But what do you look for?
Here are the 11 most important features to look for in an appointment scheduling tool (in no particular order) and how we’ve approached each feature here at Chili Piper.
You want to make the scheduling process as easy as possible for your leads, and that means the appointment scheduling tool you use should have a simple, intuitive interface that allows for seamless scheduling.
For best results, the interface should be as minimal as possible to reduce friction. Your leads should be able to instantly choose a time and date that works for their schedules.
At Chili Piper, we use a simple layout that quickly allows your leads to select from a list of times and dates. There’s no confusion here, just a dead easy way to book a meeting.
We made sure to not hide or obscure anything important––all of the details and options are right at your leads’ fingertips.
This one might seem like a given, but many appointment scheduling tools only provide you with fairly basic booking form capabilities.
Different businesses will need different pieces of information from leads, so your needs might not be met by a basic scheduler with a stripped-down booking form that only collects, say, a name and work email address.
That’s why we pair with enrichment vendors (such as Clearbit and Zoominfo) to allow you to capture all the data you need from your forms.
This is a big one if your sales team already uses a calendar. Appointment scheduling tools will have their own calendar, but if you want to fully integrate a scheduler into your workflow, you’ll probably need it to integrate and sync with existing calendar apps that you’re already using.
For most businesses, those apps are Google Calendar and Office 365. Integrations with these apps means that you can use your daily calendar to also track and manage your sales appointments instead of having to use an entirely separate calendar.
Chili Piper seamlessly integrates with both Google and Office 365. You can automatically coordinate calendars and manage availability between your reps and prospects for a smooth experience.
And if you use Chrome, you can install our Instant Booker extension to book meetings in one click from Google Calendar, Gmail, Office 365, Outlook, and more.
Technically this one isn’t a necessity, but once you make the switch to one-click booking, you won’t want to go back.
One-click booking is exactly what it sounds like. When your lead fills out your contact form and prompts the appointment scheduler, they can schedule a meeting in just one click.
Sometimes it’ll be two clicks if they need to choose a different day, but that’s still a breeze to do.
Chili Piper customers who use this feature have touted it as one of the primary reasons for an improvement in both call booking and close rates.
In the lead management process, sometimes you’ll be emailing a lead before scheduling a meeting with them. In these cases, it’s super helpful to have the ability to schedule via email. And even better than that? One-click email booking.
This is a more advanced feature, so not all appointment scheduler tools offer it. But just like one-click bookings, it’s a game changer. Once you get used to it, you won’t want to go without it.
That’s why we baked this feature into Chili Piper. You can share suggested meeting times over email, allowing your leads to book an appointment with you in a single click.
Since you already use a bunch of apps day-to-day, it makes a lot of sense to integrate an appointment scheduler into those apps.
This is another feature you won’t get with every appointment scheduling tool, but it’s worth looking out for. Sometimes, a scheduler might offer a few integrations, but having lots of integrations available to you is a huge perk. By not having to add a completely separate and dedicated scheduling app, you can organically integrate scheduling into your existing workflow.
We made sure that Chili Piper can integrate with several popular apps, including Salesforce, Gmail, Outlook, Slack, Salesloft, Hubspot, ClickFunnels, and more.
With all these integrations, you can infuse scheduling into your workflow and book meetings on the fly. This allows you to spend less time scheduling and more time talking with your leads.
One of the best ways to shorten the amount of time something takes is to automate as much as you can. And when it comes to scheduling, you can automate a whole lot without sacrificing that ever-important human touch.
Meeting invites can be easily automated with the use of templates, another appointment scheduling tool feature you should keep an eye out for. Templates allow you to pre-write an invite and then automatically customize that invite with meeting details.
At Chili Piper, we use dynamic templates that can be fully customized in our easy template editor.
With templates like these, you can say goodbye to typing out each invitation by hand. You can create various templates for different meeting types and even different leads, which can really come in handy.
From a technical perspective, booking meetings is pretty easy. But internally it can create some issues. You have to figure out how to send the right leads to the right reps at the right time, and that’s where lead routing comes in.
Lead routing allows you to optimize lead distribution amongst your sales team without running into any hiccups. At Chili Piper, our intelligent assistant takes care of this so you don’t have to. It quickly and accurately routes the lead to the correct rep so that they can immediately book a meeting or start a phone call.
Round robin distribution is an excellent method of more efficiently distributing leads. It’s been shown to improve speed to lead, which is something every business should be working to improve.
If you’re already using round robin––or if you’re thinking about making the switch––then you need an appointment scheduling tool that supports it.
We love using round robin, so it was natural to make it a part of Chili Piper. You can create advanced round robin rules that suit your team’s workflow, and you can also generate reports to manage important information like which of your reps is next up in the queue and how many numbers your reps have received.
Cancellations are going to happen no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the number of cancellations you get. This is why your appointment scheduler tool should allow for simple rescheduling.
The easier it is for a lead to reschedule, the more likely they are to reschedule instead of flat out cancel. (This can also effectively reduce the amount of no-shows.)
With Chili Piper, you can give your leads the option to reschedule in just one or two clicks.
Combine this with automated reminder emails, and you can dramatically reduce the amount of cancellations and no-shows.
This is probably an obvious one, right? It seems like the whole world lives on Zoom these days. Most of your leads are probably using Zoom as their main video conferencing tool, so it’s ideal to have an appointment scheduling tool that natively supports Zoom.
Integrating Chili Piper and Zoom is easy and unlocks the ability to instantly start video meetings with a lead the moment they submit your form.
And if Zoom is your meeting tool of choice, you can easily add Zoom details to your meeting invites.
Optimizing your meeting conversion rates isn’t a typical appointment scheduler feature. But if you think about it, being able to optimize meeting conversions makes perfect sense.
After all, the entire point of sales meetings is to convert leads. If your meetings aren’t resulting in conversions, you’ll want to figure out why. You can track this with external software, but having this baked into a scheduler and being able to integrate with other apps can be transformative.
Chili Piper has the ability to track every stage of a meeting from the initial booking to the final close. Even better, you can create comprehensive reports in Salesforce to better analyze your scheduling metrics and see where you can improve.
When you’re choosing an appointment scheduling tool, you shouldn’t have to compromise. Booking meetings should be easy for both you and your leads, and the appointment scheduler you use should have features that meet your needs.
Don’t settle for an appointment scheduling tool that doesn’t tick all of the boxes. Make sure that it has these eleven features as well as any other features you need to make scheduling easier for you.