Introducing Advanced Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams Premium
Published Oct 12 2022 09:00 AM 7,028 Views
Microsoft

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.

 

Delight Customers

 

Facilitate a seamless customer experience that allows external attendees to receive text reminders and join custom branded virtual appointments through their mobile devices.

 

The following features are basic Virtual Appointments capabilities available in all Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license plans.

 

Mobile browser join

 

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.

 

An image demonstrating the user experience when joining a virtual appointment on a mobile browser.An image demonstrating the user experience when joining a virtual appointment on a mobile browser.


Forms integration

 

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.

 

An image demonstrating Microsoft Forms integration with Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams with an example of a pre-appointment consultation form on a desktop and mobile device.An image demonstrating Microsoft Forms integration with Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams with an example of a pre-appointment consultation form on a desktop and mobile device.

Waiting room

 

Customers, clients, and patients can comfortably wait in the waiting room until their appointment is ready to begin.

 

An image demonstrating an example of a waiting room in Microsoft Teams on a mobile device.An image demonstrating an example of a waiting room in Microsoft Teams on a mobile device.

Teams Premium unlocks the following advanced Virtual Appointments capabilities.

 

SMS text reminders and notifications

 

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.

 

An image demonstrating a reminder text message notification for a virtual appointment, including the date, time and meeting join link in Microsoft Teams.An image demonstrating a reminder text message notification for a virtual appointment, including the date, time and meeting join link in Microsoft Teams.

Custom waiting room

 

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.

 

An image demonstrating an example of a custom waiting room in Microsoft Teams on a mobile device.An image demonstrating an example of a custom waiting room in Microsoft Teams on a mobile device.

Post-appointment surveys

 

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.

 

Streamline appointment management

 

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.

 

The following features are basic Virtual Appointments capabilities available in all Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license plans.

 

Bookings Schedule

 

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.

An image demonstrating how to create an appointment through Bookings schedule in Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.An image demonstrating how to create an appointment through Bookings schedule in Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.An image demonstrating a calendar view of Bookings schedule in Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.An image demonstrating a calendar view of Bookings schedule in Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.

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.

 

An image demonstrating when Bookings Schedule sends a confirmation email for an appointment. The email examples were received in Outlook on the web and on a mobile device.An image demonstrating when Bookings Schedule sends a confirmation email for an appointment. The email examples were received in Outlook on the web and on a mobile device.

Virtual Appointments Teams Meeting template in Teams calendar

 

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.

 

An image of the Virtual Appointments Teams meeting template on a desktop device.An image of the Virtual Appointments Teams meeting template on a desktop device.

Virtual Appointments Graph APIs

 

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.

 

Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams

 

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.

 

An image of the Virtual Appoints app home screen in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.An image of the Virtual Appoints app home screen in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.

Teams Premium unlocks the following advanced Virtual Appointments capabilities.

 

Queue view of scheduled and on-demand 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.

 

An image of the queue view of scheduled and on-demand appointments in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.An image of the queue view of scheduled and on-demand appointments in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.

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.

 

An image demonstrating a custom Virtual appointments schedule page admins can create through a hosted, self-service website with company branding.An image demonstrating a custom Virtual appointments schedule page admins can create through a hosted, self-service website with company branding.

2-way waiting room chat

 

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.

 

An image demonstrating the 2-way waiting room chat in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.An image demonstrating the 2-way waiting room chat in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device.

Measure rich analytics

 

View usage trends and history to help measure the business value of virtual appointments and drive customer outcomes.

 

All analytic features are unlocked with advanced Virtual Appointments in Teams Premium.

 

Individual and departmental analytics

 

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.

 

An image of the Analytics tab in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device. Analytics shown in the image include trends over time and the ability to drill down into individual appointment data.An image of the Analytics tab in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams on a desktop device. Analytics shown in the image include trends over time and the ability to drill down into individual appointment data.

Organizational analytics

 

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.

 

An image demonstrating aggregated organizational analytics available in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams.An image demonstrating aggregated organizational analytics available in the Virtual Appointments app in Microsoft Teams.

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.

An image of a Virtual Appointments experience chart comparing features avaialble with any Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license (on the right) and features available with Teams Premium (on the left).An image of a Virtual Appointments experience chart comparing features avaialble with any Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license (on the right) and features available with Teams Premium (on the left).

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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