How to Choose an Online Appointment Scheduler

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Choosing the right appointment scheduler requires identifying needs and matching a product to fit those needs. An online appointment scheduler falls under the category of personal information manager, or PIM. A PIM can improve the bottom line by enhancing time management, making the workday more productive, and allowing for less time spent on activities that don't contribute to revenue production. The benefit to online appointment scheduling is that the appointment data is available to be retrieved anywhere there is a computer and an Internet connection, making these PIMs handy and useful for the businessman on-the-go.

Determine the number of people within the company who will need to use this service. For example, if you need to coordinate multiple employees across a wide geographic region, this will be amongst the needs when choosing the right scheduler.

Determine if you need to link the appointment scheduler to hand-held devices, such as smartphones or other types of personal digital assistants. For example, an appointment is scheduled while workers are out in the field. They may not be able to stop and check the Internet in between jobs to look for new appointments. Instead, the appointment will be sent from the online scheduler to the hand-held device the worker carries.

Determine the level of security needed for the information on the calendar. For instance, a traveling nurse might need to receive information that may be covered under health privacy laws, so a secure method of delivering appointments will be needed.

Determine the level of customer service and technical support your company will need. Many companies only offer email support, which may not be a fast enough turnaround time to solve an immediate need. On the other hand, a company that provides around-the-clock technical support will be available to help troubleshoot any problem, day or night.

Decide if you are tech-savvy enough to use some of the free, open-source software available. Skills in Web programming languages will be required, depending on the type and level of service the online appointment scheduler will handle. The upside to using open-source software is that it's free, which helps the bottom line; the downside is that there is often little or no support, should anything go wrong with the online appointment scheduler.

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