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Revolutionize Scheduling with Microsoft Bookings
Craig Yellick, VP Business Solutions
Microsoft Bookings: the Scheduling Tool You Should Already Be Using
Scheduling and managing appointments can be a real time sink, especially when people outside your organization are involved. You can’t see their calendars, they can’t see yours, and you go back and forth trying to settle on a date and time. Internally, even when you can see someone’s calendar the open slots are not necessarily available. There’s got to be a better way, right? Happily, now there is: Microsoft Bookings, which is part of many Office 365 license plans.
A key feature is an easy to use web-based booking calendar. Simply provide the URL to your page (or, your team’s page if scheduling for a group) and customers, vendors, other staff members – anyone with the URL can see open dates and times and initiate the booking process.
You have complete control over which dates and times are made available to schedule. That is, this is much more than simply showing all open time slots in a calendar. You could, for example, offer 45-minute blocks only on Tuesday through Thursday and only from 10 am to 2 pm. You can configure policy rules that include buffer time before and/or after the appointment. For example, an 11 am appointment automatically makes 10:30 am unavailable because you need a 30-minute buffer to allow time to prepare. You can also set minimum and maximum lead times, for example, available bookings are always at least two days out but not more than 60 days.
Bookings end up in an Exchange mailbox and calendar, so they’re immediately visible in Outlook. Sophisticated life cycle management is built right into the process. For example, automated notification emails and text messages can be sent based on your time preferences. Perhaps attendees get a reminder a week before the meeting as well as the day before, and staff get a reminder an hour before. Cancellations and schedule changes are also handled by Bookings if you’ve enabled these features for attendees to use. The notification messages are highly customizable so your organizations policies and wording can be completely and accurately spelled out.
Blue Net Can Help You Optimize This Powerful Tool
While Bookings is very easy to use, it can be a challenge to set up because of the flexibility created by all the many optional features and functions. We recommend doing some private pilot tests to get a feel for how it all works before going public. This is especially important for seeing exactly what attendees will experience as they work through the process.
Blue Net is happy to help you get started, call us today and we’ll demonstrate Bookings by using it to make an appointment for you to learn more!