The onset of COVID-19 inspired a frantic scramble among multiple industries to rethink how they conduct business. The subsequent explosion in online meetings and appointments transformed business-to-customer engagements. Connecting virtually with customers and clients may have started as a necessity, but now it's an opportunity to engage in new ways that tap into the convenient services clients are now used to.
Whether you’re a financial consultant supplying mortgage advice or a retailer offering a showroom tour, virtual appointments provide a way to build trust and loyalty with your clients. By uniting personalized service with convenience, organizations are realizing the possibilities of virtual appointments to make it easier to build deeper relationships with the customers, clients, and people they serve.
But as the practice continues to expand, stubborn hindrances, both technical and nontechnical, can cause headaches for both facilitators of virtual appointments and their clients. Problems crop up during the scheduling phase, as schedulers can lack one unified place to manage appointments or wrestle with nonintegrated platforms. During an appointment, attendees may lack the technical know-how to successfully join a call, or there can be log-in problems on both sides—not to mention simple forgetfulness to join in the first place. Finally, there can be a lack of metrics around attendance or participation over time, making it difficult to gain insights and trends to improve the customer experience and business outcomes.
Advanced Virtual Appointments in Teams Premium provides an end-to-end solution designed to help you drive better customer experiences and operational excellence for business-to-customer engagements.
Facilitate a seamless customer experience that allows external attendees to receive text reminders and join custom branded virtual appointments through their mobile devices.
Make it easier for external attendees to join virtual appointments through their mobile phones without requiring them to download the Teams app. This enables a seamless experience for customers no matter from where they choose to join.
Customers can complete all pre-appointment forms requested through the Microsoft Forms integration—further streamlining the pre-appointment process and keeping relevant information in one place.
Customers, clients, and patients can comfortably wait in the waiting room until their appointment is ready to begin.
Send text message notifications to reduce no shows and make it easier for attendees to join virtual appointments through their mobile devices. Admins can set up text messages by default when creating virtual appointments and schedulers can adjust it on an as-needed basis. Attendees will receive a personalized confirmation and reminder text message with details of their appointment including the date, time, and meeting join link.
Create a custom waiting room for your external attendees so they receive a branded, first-class experience from the get-go. Customize with your company’s logo, branding, and more.
Coming soon, send customers a post-appointment survey so they can provide feedback and rate the overall effectiveness of their experience. This feedback can help improve and make enhancements to future appointments.
Empower scheduling administrators to set up and manage scheduled and on-demand virtual appointments in one location - with advanced capabilities like appointment queuing and custom waiting rooms that allow for pre-appointment chat.
Schedulers and facilitators can also view all their weekly appointments—and those of their entire department—in one, easy-to-navigate calendar. Virtual Appointments integrates with Microsoft Bookings and Outlook calendar to reflect real-time availability, prevent double-booking, and show all virtual appointments in one place. Schedulers can easily create an appointment from their schedule or enable clients to self-schedule an appointment through a website.
Once an appointment is scheduled, an email confirmation with meeting link and relevant details is sent from the dedicated Bookings calendar to maintain organization branding and give privacy to organizers. They will also receive a reminder email before the appointment with the same information, so the customer is ready and aware of what is needed.
Directly from their Teams calendar, schedulers can create a virtual appointment using the Virtual Appointments Teams meeting template. The template has the familiarity of a basic Teams meeting but comes with custom fields that are tailored for personalized business-to-customer (B2C) engagement. Workers get a hassle-free meeting experience without having to set up, learn, or manage new tools. The template also lays out a routine scheduling flow, but with valuable B2C features, such as a tailored meeting invitation for guests, the ability to join on any device without first having to install Teams, and a pre-appointment waiting room guests can enter before their appointment begins. In the future, Teams Premium will unlock additional advanced capabilities in the Teams Meeting template to enable an even more personalized business-to-customer engagement.
Coming soon, enable developers to programmatically create and manage Virtual Appointments with an enhanced user experience designed for business-to-consumer scenarios. Virtual Appointments join links can be embedded in any application and currently include a waiting room and mobile browser join experience for your customers. In the future, Teams Premium will unlock additional advanced capabilities in the Virtual Appointments Graph APIs to enable developers to build solutions that deliver an even richer business-to-customer engagement. Learn more about what is available today with Virtual Appointments Graph APIs.
Employees can now access all virtual appointments in one place. The Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams includes a comprehensive dashboard that provides a quick view of an employee's schedule as integrated with Bookings. It is further enhanced with Teams Premium which unlocks a snapshot into the queue of appointments, a summary of appointment analytics, and options to manage appointments.
Empower employees to manage and service scheduled and on-demand virtual appointments in one location with advanced capabilities to track wait times, live status of a meeting, and more. Scheduling administrators and staff conducting virtual appointments can monitor incoming requests and process them appropriately.
Scheduling administrators can set up an on-demand entry point for customers to request services and appointments on demand through a hosted, self-service website with company branding.
Coming soon, provide a seamless client experience with an interactive waiting room that allows facilitators to send waiting room messages to customers prior to the meeting. For example, a client in the waiting room can receive messages from the facilitator or other staff schedulers such as, “Last appointment is running long. Be with you in 5 mins.” The client can respond directly in chat so they can stay connected and ask any questions as needed.
View usage trends and history to help measure the business value of virtual appointments and drive customer outcomes.
Individuals or departments can focus on key metrics, such as no-shows, wait times, and calendar-level analytics to drive business outcomes and improve customer experiences. Reports include trends over time and the ability to drill down into individual appointment data.
A virtual appointment administrator or operations supervisor can also view aggregated analytics across their department and entire organization. They can view detailed activity for virtual appointments created and conducted through multiple scheduling entry points and date ranges. Reports also include active user information for capabilities unlocked in Teams Premium, including SMS, 2-way waiting room chat, and queuing. Administrators can export data into Excel for additional analysis.
Virtual Appointments is designed to enhance interactions with your clients, customers, and patients, all in one unified place. It starts with an industry-leading customer communication platform featuring screen sharing, appointment reminders, forms collection, branded waiting rooms, mobile experiences, and analytics—plus more exciting features on the way.
Advanced Virtual Appointments features will begin to roll out in December as a part of Teams Premium public preview, with general availability of Teams Premium in February. Want to learn the latest updates about Teams Premium, including public preview and general availability? Sign up to get updates here.
Available today in any Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license, you can start using basic capabilities that make it easy for customers to join their appointment through a web browser on any device or schedule a B2C meeting through Bookings. Get started by creating a Bookings schedule today and learn more about Virtual Appointments and other Teams Premium features.
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