How to Solve the 9 Most Annoying Scheduling Issues That Plague Coaches and Consultants

scheduling issues

Starting a coaching business in 2021 opens up the door to a world of opportunities. There has never been such a low barrier to entry to start your own business!

For example, automated booking systems can help even the busiest of coaches simplify their booking process.

But they don’t come without their setbacks and challenges.

Luckily, there’s usually an easy solution for most scheduling issues you’ll encounter as a coach. Let’s dive into the most common scheduling problems and how you can solve them!

How can I prevent clients booking 5 minutes from now… or 1 year from now?

Imagine you’re just going about your day, away from your desk, when you suddenly get a notification that a client just booked a meeting… 5 minutes from now!

When using automated booking systems to let clients book their own appointments with you, that’s something that can happen. 

Luckily, there’s a way around that. In Paperbell, you can use the “appointment notice” feature to choose the minimum number of hours – or days – that a client can provide as notice before they book.

For example, you could set the appointment notice to 12 hours. When a client tries to book, the first available appointment slot will appear no earlier than 12 hours from now. 

You’ll be able to choose a notice time that’s anywhere between zero and a week. However, consider that a week is a long time for clients to wait to speak to you. This is especially true if they’re booking a free discovery session. They may forget all about how excited they were about speaking with you by the time the session rolls around.

For this reason (and many others), you can also set a limit for how far out someone can book with you. Imagine a client booking their first coaching session an entire year from now! 

You can set these limits up in a way that makes sense for you. For instance, if your coaching method requires fast action and turnaround, it wouldn’t make sense to let clients book three months in advance. But only letting them book a week in advance may make it difficult for all clients to make your sessions fit within their schedule.

How do you avoid back-to-back bookings with no space in between?

Having back-to-back sessions isn’t just exhausting – it’s not the best way for you to show up for your clients. It’s important to take some time to recharge between sessions and refresh your mind.

Inside Paperbell, you can add appointment gaps that will automatically block out time between each appointment. You can choose the length of your buffers depending on what works for you. 

For instance, you can set it up to 10 minutes, but you can even block out an hour between appointments if you’ve found this works well for you.

How can I make sure I’m never double booked?

Sometimes you may have events in your personal calendar that weren’t booked using your automated booking system. When your system doesn’t sync with your automated calendar, you can end up double-booked!

That’s why it’s important to choose a tool that can sync with your Google calendar. Paperbell does this automatically, so that you don’t have to constantly tweak your availability to avoid double-bookings.

What if I want different availability for different types of bookings?

Some coaches prefer to do all their one-on-one sessions with paying clients on the same day. But what happens if someone books a free discovery session on that day?

Luckily, Paperbell lets you create different availability for each type of bookings, if you wish to do so. And this leads perfectly into the next scheduling issue you may run into…

How do I batch my client appointments/days together? 

If you’re feeling drained just by the idea of having coaching sessions spread out throughout the day, know that it’s possible to batch your appointments together.

You can do this by time blocking. Time blocking is a great time management technique that lets you batch similar tasks in the same block of time.

So, for example, you could create a time block for all discovery sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

When deciding how to create your time blocks, envision your ideal schedule. When do you feel like you get your best work done? What times in the day do you have the most energy for calls?

Then, set up your availability depending on that ideal schedule.

And since Paperbell lets you set different availability for different types of sessions, it allows you to time block easily! Because of this, you can use it to make sure you’re only available during your ideal schedule.

That’s one of the biggest benefits of running your own coaching business – the freedom to work when you want, where you want. So make sure you make use of that freedom!

How can I deal with clients in different time zones?

Having access to the Internet opens a wide world of possibilities for your coaching business. You can have clients from virtually anywhere in the world!

But that comes with its own series of problems. For instance, you’ve probably done the mental gymnastics of figuring out booking times with someone in another time zone.

When you schedule appointments with Paperbell, you only ever see your own time zone. And your clients only see their own time zone. This is all done automatically (no need for your clients to change the time zone).

This means you won’t accidentally get a client who books a free discovery session with you at 2 a.m. the next day.

The software also accounts for daylight savings time changes, which removes one more thing from your admin to-do list. 

What if clients need to reschedule?

Life happens, and at one point or another, you’ll have a client who absolutely needs to reschedule their appointment.

The traditional way coaches deal with this is by canceling the original appointment, then sending their clients the booking calendar again so that they can book a new one.

Or worse – they end up emailing back and forth with the client to find a time that suits everyone!

You can avoid those headache-inducing moments when you let clients reschedule their appointments, themselves.

In Paperbell, every client has their own portal where they can do this on their own. The system takes care of notifying you when this happens.

Plus, clients can access other useful information in their portal, such as:

With a client portal, clients don’t need to rely on you every single time they need to book their next appointment, reschedule, or review a file you shared with them.

How do I make sure clients get appointment reminders?

We’re all human, and humans forget things sometimes. We’ve all been in that awkward situation when we’ve forgotten an important appointment.

Reminders can help mitigate this risk. But sending reminder emails adds another chore to your to-do list… plus, what if you forget to send those, too?

In Paperbell, you can set up automated appointment reminders to get sent out at any interval you want. You can remind clients a day before, an hour before, 5 minutes before, or all of the above if you wish!

And those are just examples. You can send those emails whenever you feel works best to remind your clients. 

You can also customize the emails that get sent out. This means you can send emails that sound like you (and not a robot). 

Plus, you can use those emails as an opportunity to nurture and warm up potential clients who booked a free discovery session. You can educate them on:

  • How to prepare for the call
  • What they’ll get out of the session
  • Common challenges they may face
  • And so much more

For paying coaching clients, you can use the reminder emails to remind them of how to prepare for the session, especially if your process involves homework.

How can I prevent no-shows for my free discovery sessions?

How can you make sure that people show up for your free discovery sessions? 

No-shows can even be an issue with paid bookings. People have a lot going on in their lives, and appointments can slip through the cracks.

But they’re a much bigger problem with free discovery sessions, since clients may believe they have nothing to lose if they don’t show up.

Luckily, there are several ways to prevent no-shows from happening, whether someone books a free or paid call with you.

First, make sure you have appointment reminders for every type of session. Scroll back up to the previous section for more info on automated appointment reminders.

Another effective way to prevent no-shows is to make sure your client adds their booking to their personal calendar. Some scheduling tools allow clients to book appointments with you, but they still have to take that extra step of adding the appointment to their own calendar. 

So how can you ensure appointments make it to your calendar and your clients’ calendars? 

One way to do this is to remind them to do so in your confirmation email. Or, if you use Paperbell, this process is done automatically every time a client books a new appointment. The booking also gets added to your calendar so that you don’t miss anything.

But there are other issues that may cause no-shows.

Some clients may not show up to sessions because they’re unsure of how they’re supposed to be connecting with you. For example, they might think the session is a phone call, and they’ll sit at home, expecting a call from you. 

Meanwhile, you’re sitting on Zoom, wondering where it all went wrong.

In Paperbell, the automated calendar invitation specifies how the meeting is happening. For instance, if it’s a Zoom call, there will be a Zoom link. 

The Zoom integration even creates custom Zoom links for every appointment so that there’s no chance of someone crashing the appointment!

You can adjust these settings when you’re creating your appointment types. This way, you can ensure your clients always have the right link. This can go a long way in preventing no-shows.

Finally, you can further prevent no-shows by making your policies crystal clear. When your clients understand what happens if they don’t show up, they will know the implications and be more careful.

If you already use Paperbell for your bookings, you can use it to send your contracts instead of paying for a separate document signing software. Contracts lay out the terms for everyone to see, which prevents ambiguity. 

Avoid common scheduling problems and set your coaching business up for success

Scheduling bookings for your coaching business can be a hassle when you don’t have the proper tools. But with Paperbell, you get a tool that was designed specifically for coaches – and that can help you counter these scheduling issues before they even arise.

Sign up for your free account today and test out these life-saving features for yourself!

scheduling issues
By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
November 17, 2021

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