Customers Schedule Appointments Online - Microsoft Bookings
Microsoft is pushing ahead with the cloud infrastructure and is continuously presenting new products and services. With “Bookings”, Microsoft has announced a new service for Office 365 that should allow companies to make appointment scheduling with their customers simpler and more efficient. The primary target group are small businesses that are used to organizing their regular appointments via telephone or email.
Microsoft Bookings provides companies with a “self-service portal” that the customers can use to schedule an appointment on their desired date, including their preferred employee, and the possibility to enter additional information. The system will automatically send a confirmation email to the customer and add the appointment to the company’s calendar. The customer will be able to change the appointment in self-service, however, the company can define how much advance notice is required to be able to reschedule or cancel the appointment online.
Together with this service, Microsoft provides many more useful functions that can help to simplify appointment scheduling. For example, the entries in the company’s calendar automatically synchronize with the staff’s calendars. Microsoft recommends the use of the Office 365 Outlook calendar, but also supports other calendar services such as Outlook.com or Google calendar. In addition, appointments can also be added to the customer’s calendar. By design, Microsoft Bookings interacts with Office 365 Exchange Online but this is no mandatory requirement. As a result, companies that want to use this service can also continue to use their own email system.
For the customers, Bookings will be represented in form of a unique web page that can be used with desktop computers or mobile devices. The providing company can also use the browser to access the management interface or to show all scheduled appointments. Via desktop or mobile device, appointments can be rescheduled, cancelled or assigned to other staff members. And of course, also the company can use this interface to assign appointments.
Microsoft Bookings comes with no special requirements for the customers: Neither a special application nor an Office 365 or Microsoft account are needed.
The new service will be available to all Office 365 Business Premium subscribers if they participate in the “First Release Program”. At the end of this year, it should be generally available. However, at the present time it cannot be said, to what extent this service will also be available for subscribers of Office 365 Enterprise Plans (E1, E3, or E5).