15 Minutes Could Save You 15 Hours this Busy Season

Want to free up more time this busy season? You could stop showering. Or ban March Madness? But what about something more effective and less offensive, like eliminating dozens of back and forth emails by implementing meeting scheduler software?

A few months ago, a friend told me she was using a meeting scheduler app. Instead of exchanging a series of messages back and forth with her clients on when they should talk, she sent them a link and they booked their call with her.

This sounded nice, but I worry about client service. I want my clients to feel like they’re getting white-glove service, personal attention and all of those exceptional levels of quality that I associate with my brand. I wasn’t sure sending them a link to DIY the scheduling dirty work was the right answer for me.

Then I started to think about how much non-value-add-time scheduling meetings really takes:

  1. You open up your calendar and hunt for open time slots. Ones that aren’t too close to another appointment and don’t conflict with any important meetings. (5 minutes)
  2. You type up three or four meeting options, being careful to translate any time zone differences into your client’s time zone, and specifying such so there’s no confusion. (3 minutes)
  3. You send the email and await reply (60 minutes – 2 days of marinating)
  4. Your contact replies and says that none of those times work. They have come up with three alternatives (8 minutes of their own time). You check your calendar and find that one works for you (3 minutes).
  5. You reply by email to tell them that Tuesday at 4pm would be great. (2 minutes) Add two more minutes if you reply to the email separately from creating a calendar invitation.

So we’re at 10-15 minutes of time spent scheduling this meeting. Not counting the inefficiency of having to stop what you’re doing to answer or send another email, and the marinating time while you wait (and inadvertently book over) the times you suggested to begin with.

Multiply 15 minutes by the number of meetings you book each week and the result is an intriguing amount potential time savings. Even if you’re only booking 4 - 5 external meetings a week, that’s a full hour of time.  

What I came to realize is, with the right language in my email, I can provide even better service to my clients using automated booking. The scheduling part of my message looks something like this:

 “You can see my availability in perpetuity and book directly on my calendar here: {Link}”

If I’m concerned they may find the link more off-putting, or need more hand holding, I use:

“I’m trying out a time saving scheduling program, so that we don’t have to go back and forth on when to chat. You can see all of my availability and book directly on my calendar here: {Link}. Let me know if you have any trouble with it and I’d be happy to email over some times.”

Scheduling apps are simple for clients to use, and allow you to set all of the parameters you need to be sane: working hours, buffer times, meeting durations, and they sync bank and forth with your calendar real time so there’s never a double-booking. One hour a week of time savings x 15 weeks = 15 hours of time you can now focus on highest and best use activities, rather than the easily-automated task of scheduling a meeting.

For sole practitioners and small practices with a primary point of contact can embed a scheduling tool on your website. You can check out how I’ve done that here.

I currently use ScheduleOnce and the time savings more than covers the $20 monthly fee to connect it to Outlook. Many other apps that have similar features, so find the one that works for your needs (here is a list to start with). And as they say, 15 minutes (setting up a meeting scheduler app) could save you 15 hours of time…in perpetuity.

This article was also published in AccoutingToday.