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4 techniques to help you actively manage your appointments

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Keeping a full calendar requires more than simply scheduling appointments, it also requires active management. This process of active management can be adjusted over time based on what you see as best fits. Start by assuming that the client or prospective client isn’t intentionally difficult, they likely don’t have control over their own time management system that ultimately affects you and your schedule. Try these simple techniques which have helped me:

1. Have your scheduler reconfirm with a personal phone call the day before. I’ve found this is more effective than email. Ask if there appears to be any reason the appointment date or time might need to be adjusted. Then have them end on an affirmative message, such as, “OK, since you don’t foresee any difficulty with the appointment time tomorrow, I’ll tell Mr. Escobar to expect you at 10:00 a.m. We look forward to welcoming you to our office.”

2. Keep track of clients that regularly cancel or reschedule. Make these client relationships based on “phone” appointments. This way you can sit at your desk and keep working on other items if the client or prospect is late or cancels last minute.

The appointments don’t have to be phone only. Web-enabled technology such as Go-to-Meeting, Skype, FaceTime, etc. will allow you to have a personal connection that may better suit your busy client/prospect. This also saves you time at the front and back end of the appointment time.

3. Consider adding a buffer to your appointment times. Since most of my appointments now are by phone or using web technology, I block off 30 minutes plus a 30 minute buffer afterward. This allows extra time for a late start, a time overrun or the ability to redirect and work on something else if the client cancels last minute.

4. A client that always cancels or postpones may cost you more than they are worth in lost time and productivity. Over time, consider culling these clients from your practice. A prospect that cancels may be telling you something. Remember, yellow lights always turn red!