With the growth of mobile and continuously connected devices, agenda management, while not perfect, has become a lot easier than in the past. The vast amount of applications out there offering to help us all better manage our time is seemingly endless. From standard and usually reliable Google calendars to ‘smart calendars’ such as Tempo (from the makers of the beloved Siri), we have many options to keep track of what’s going on in our lives.
However, while these solutions generally make it a lot easier to manage and control our own agendas, they are squarely focused on us, not our customers, suppliers and others that we do business with. This can frustrate customers and partners as they attempt, without success, to have access to you and, in the worst case scenario, send them running to the competition. First impressions are everything, so even if you are time constrained, which is often the case for startup founders for example, you want to ensure that current and potential customers as well as partners feel you are approachable and accessible from day one.
Fortunately there are some apps out there than do a good job of addressing this problem. One of the startups of reference in this space is Setster, which launched in 2008. Setster, as a first course of action, syncs with all your other calendar apps helping you to have a comprehensive and accurate view of your agenda. You can then make it visible for clients, leads and partners so that they know when you’re available and can, in turn, easily book appointments with you. Setster enables you to manage this scheduling via your own website, your Setster profile page, or your account dashboard. Of course their app is multi-device, so you can stay permanently up-to-date on your schedule and make changes on-the-go across all of your devices. There’s also a lot of other rich functionality built-in as well, including revenue updates, alerts, integration with other biz ops solutions such as Freshbooks, dashboard and analytics, and an open API. There are other solutions out there as well including Bookeo and Kickserv, so certainly worth the time to take a closer look at what’s available and see which works best for your situation.
As a SME / startup , there are a myriad of cloud-based and deployed operations management solutions out there to help you manage everything from project management (ie France’s Azendoo, Citirix, Zoho) to CRM (SugarCRM, Salesforce, Zoho) to Billing/Invoicing (eg Zohobooks, Freshbooks). Although some of these applications do offer some level of functionality for customers to remain in contact with you, in many ways they still tend to be fairly inwardly focused. So, hopefully, we’ll see deeper integration with some of the aforementioned scheduling management solutions to ensure that there is a more direct link between customer interaction points and many of these key business activities. This integration will ultimately be a must-have in order for businesses, regardless of their size, to have a clear line of sight from points of interaction with the customer through to the specific actions taken.
So if you don’t yet have a way for your customers to easily contact/access you and/or your company or to track the details of all your interactions with your customers, make this a priority and get a solution in place sooner rather than later.