Training Your Employees How To Use Booking Software: What You Need To Know
You’ve decided you want to use appointment scheduling software to make your business more efficient and customer-friendly.
Even though you’re enthusiastic about the change, your team might not be as onboard as you are. You might have one member who hates change, preferring to follow “the old ways”.
Like our rotary phone dialling friend here, they might stick with the old ways because new technology intimidates them. They might simply be comfortable with the way they’ve scheduled clients since forever, and not be keen on changing things now. They might even be worried about how new technology could affect their jobs.
We’re going to go over a lot of good stuff in this article, from how to get buy-in from reluctant employees to how to implement your new software and train your team. We’ve geared it toward appointment scheduling software, but honestly, these tips can help you get your employees excited about all kinds of new technologies.
Tip #1: Get buy-in from your team
When it comes to any big procedural change, the first and most important step is getting employee buy-in. You could have magic money printing machines, but if your employees aren’t willing to press the button, money isn’t going to come out.
That might seem like a fantasy scenario, but it’s really not – automating appointment scheduling reduces double bookings, cancellations, no-shows and mix-ups. And it frees up time. When implemented properly, that means money.
To get your team on board, it’s important to address the reasons that they might be hesitant to start using appointment scheduling software. The three main barriers?
- People are unwilling to change,
- averse to technology, and
- worried about job security.
How to handle change aversion
Change can be pretty scary. We’re hardwired to be stressed about uncertainty, and change, by definition, brings us into uncharted territory.
Your team members are pretty unlikely to walk up and yell “I’m afraid of change!”, however, so it’s important to listen for subtle cues that show that change aversion is what’s at play.
You might hear statements like “I’ve never had a problem with our old way of scheduling” (unlikely), “What’s wrong with the old way of doing things?” (a lot), or “I’m comfortable with things as they are” (fair enough).
Tackling this type of aversion is actually pretty straightforward. First, explain (in great detail) exactly why you’re implementing appointment scheduling software, and how it’s going to improve their lives (and their bottom line). Then, make sure you have ample time to train your team to use the equipment properly.
With Bookedin, links to book appointments online can be used across team members’ social media pages, allowing them to convert their online presence into cold hard cash. Money is a great incentive to embrace change, and the promise of more clients can really help move the needle.
How to handle tech aversion
There are people who think that trying to find what appointments have been scheduled for the day looks like this:
…and is easier than doing it like this:
Fair enough! Not everyone is super tech literate, and some people feel uncomfortable – even embarrassed – when learning new technology.
As the implementer of this new technology, you have two main goals. The first is to ensure your appointment booking software is really easy to use – no filling in complex forms, no accessing multiple files, just a few button presses.
Your second goal is to understand the technology inside and out, yourself, before trying to get your team onboard. It’s so much easier to get buy-in when you understand all of the ups and downs of implementing a particular change – and by testing the software yourself first, you’ll know exactly how user-friendly it is.
Talk about job security
This third challenge is less common when integrating automated appointment booking, but it does come up: whoever is currently in charge of booking starts worrying about how it might affect their career.
You’ve got to nip this fear in the bud as soon as possible, so make it abundantly clear that this change won’t affect anyone’s job. After all, whoever is in charge of appointment booking is probably handling a lot more than just the schedule – reception and secretarial work is multi-faceted.
Let team members who are worried know that this is a tool to help them, not to replace them. Offer them training and, if applicable, help them develop new skills to suit their new work environment. They might use the appointment scheduling tool to collect and analyze data about your clients. They might use their free time to improve client outreach. There’s still plenty for every member of your team to do.
It’s really hard to get buy-in for something you don’t believe in yourself. That’s why you should show your exuberance for change. After all, appointment software is great! You’ll free up time, you’ll create a better client experience, and you’ll make coordinating between team members that much easier.
Extend this enthusiasm to your team members. Let them know how important it is for them to accept fully. Get their input, hear their worries, and try to get them as hyped up about the change as you are. After all, enthusiasm is contagious.
Tip #2: Find the best ways to implement the software
Now that you’ve talked to your team members about their concerns, it’s time for the exciting part: setting up your new software.
Take advantage of free trials
The best things in life are free, and for businesses looking to automate processes, there’s nothing quite as sweet as a free trial.
*While we’re not sure Aladdin’s 4th wish would have been for efficient booking software, it’s nice to dream.
There are a few advantages to going the free trial route. No money down means that if things don’t work out, either because the software isn’t to your liking or because your team won’t get behind it, you’ve lost relatively little.
The second advantage to free trials is that they give you the opportunity to test a few different booking softwares out before you decide on which one you like best.
Finally, the free-to-paid model gives you a timeframe in which to get your whole team skilled up and all of your clients integrated into the appointment software. That brings us to our next point:
Establish a transition timeframe
Eventually, you’re going to want everyone using the same appointment booking software. It makes things a lot easier, because you can synchronize calendars, which makes scheduling anything and everything much easier.
Talk to your team and establish a date by which all appointments should be scheduled through the appointment booking software. In some circumstances, you’ll have team members who are not on board – in spaces like tattoo parlors, where artists are responsible for their own clients, this isn’t the end of the world.
During this transitional time frame, import client lists into the booking software. Team members can, if they choose, record appointments manually and through the booking software (though honestly, that’s wasted effort in most cases).
Tip #3 Focus on training your team
With proper training, appointment scheduling for your team can go from this:
When your team has bought into your appointment scheduling vision, training becomes that much easier – people who are resistant to the change to begin with can often be much harder to train.
Find software with in-house support
One of the easiest ways to train your team is to find appointment booking software that offers in-house support. Combining this support with a software that’s easy to use means training will take very little time.
We’re really proud of how easy Bookedin is to use, and we offer in-house support to help you train your team. If you’ll permit us a humblebrag – and a chance to highlight one of our awesome clients – check out this quote from Eddie Barber of Uptown Barbershop:
“…It’s been really smooth. And my team too, just to highlight that side of it, because I had to go back and train my team. There was really not much to be done, because it was so straightforward. They were all like, “Okay, cool.” I had a Zoom meeting with them, and we talked about it for about 4 minutes, and they were like, “Oh okay, I see how it works.” That was that.”
Schedule training time
People are (for good reason) pretty mindful of how much time there is in a day. They might feel like the White Rabbit:
*This is, after all, why appointment scheduling software is so useful.
When your team is already busy doing this, that, and the other thing, they’re not going to be keen on adding training to their already full workload. To remedy this, schedule time specifically for training. In the case of Eddie, that training only took 4 minutes, but allowing for at least an hour gives you a better window in case of hiccups. Should certain team members need more time, schedule it for them!
Choose the right training method
There are several different training methods you can implement, and to go over them all here would be an exercise in futility.
We’re going to be a bit more clever than the warrior in this GIF, and just climb the proverbial wall. Your main bottleneck is going to be the number of team members you have. For many businesses, the best option is simply to have a quick meeting with all of your team members. You might also engage one-on-one with team members if the system is particularly complex, if they’re reluctant to learn, or if you want to personalize the training.
Hands-on training is usually best for appointment booking software – it’s important they know how to use the technology, and it’s easy enough to run scenarios and experiments. All you have to do is create a fake client who books through the software, and your team members will easily see how the booking software works, and how to navigate through it.
Training employees on new software is useful. It can increase productivity! It can help your bottom line!
But is it fun?
It can be. You can make it fun – you have the power! You might do a training session followed by a lunch for your team. You can give out gift cards to team members who complete the training. Heck, you could throw a party when everyone is done! Whatever you can do to make what can feel a bit dry into something to look forward to is a very useful approach. The more excited your team is about the training, the better it’s liable to go.
By following all of the above tips, you’ll be much more likely to find success when training your team to use this software. One last tip – if ever you’re struggling with training, focus on the end goal. Once everything is said and done, life will be much easier – both for your team and your customers.