Quick Post: How flexible should appointment times be?

A quick post today that was inspired by an email I got from a reader. He asked just how flexible his policy relating to changing and canceling appointment times should be – a terrific question.

Companies are afraid to create liberal polices for fear of them being abused. However, a mindset like that isn’t fair to the majority of customers that won’t abuse the policies (see this post about working for the 99% instead of the 1%). Very few customers will wake up saying “I’m going to try and pull one on Company X today.” The vast majority of customers will have legitimate for using the flexibility and will almost certainly appreciate the added flexibility (i. e. the very liberal return policy at Nordstrom).

Since the majority of customers won’t abuse the policy, design your appointment policy to be as flexible as you can. There is a delicate mix between operational efficiency and policy flexibility that has to maintained and this depends entirely on the company and the business.

For example, if your company is a one man plumber, you can’t have appointments changing all the time because there is only one person to send to customers’ homes. If your company has 50 plumbers on staff, though, it isn’t a big deal to change who goes where because chances are someone will be available. If customers come to you, the same thing applies. If you are a one man doctor’s office, you need to keep appointments fairly strictly. If you have five doctors and plenty of patients, it doesn’t matter as much. It is important to look at your business and what you can handle.

The most important part is to create a policy that you can realistically support. If you find yourself providing bad service as a result of this liberal policy, you should definitely change it.