Scheduling appointments is never a good use of your time. If you constantly need to meet with clients and vendors or organize meetings with coworkers and partners, the likelihood is you spend several hours a week just on appointment scheduling. To eliminate this lost time from your week, you need a virtual assistant for appointment scheduling.
Benefits of a Scheduling Virtual Assistant
If you’re unsure that a virtual assistant for scheduling would be the right option for you, consider the benefits.
Scale Your Business
A traditional approach would be to hire a personal assistant, but this means paying for a full-time member of staff. You may not need someone to work that many hours to support you at this point. With a virtual assistant, you can just receive scheduling and perhaps a few other basic services. If you need more support later, it’s easy to scale up.
Contracting a virtual assistant is not only cheaper than a personal assistant, it’s also more cost effective than continuing to manage your scheduling alone. This is because all the time you spend scheduling could be time spent on activities crucial to your business. In addition, a virtual assistant has access to paid scheduling tools — one less expense for you.
An assistant who is dedicated to scheduling will never make mistakes and will ensure that your schedule is optimized for your needs. This will minimize the risk you arrive late to a meeting, double book appointments, or simply end the day exhausted because you’ve scheduled too much.
What Kinds of Scheduling Services Do Virtual Assistants Offer?
Virtual assistants offer a range of scheduling services to suit all sorts of needs.
General Appointment Scheduling
Through general appointment scheduling services, your virtual assistant will make sure that your meetings and other appointments are scheduled for the right time. This usually involves communicating with the people you’re meeting by phone or email. Your virtual assistant will make sure there are no overlaps, that you have enough time to change location (if necessary), and that there won’t be any problems if the meeting runs a little longer than expected.
Scheduling Group Events
Finding a date and time when everyone in a group is available can be challenging — and time consuming. When a virtual assistant takes over this task, you avoid the headache of back and forth communication.
A virtual assistant can manage your calendar beyond appointment setting. The VA can move items around to ensure you’re always working on the highest-priority tasks first and create a system to highlight your most important activities.
Your VA can send you reminders about what events are happening that day or week (whatever you prefer). The virtual assistant can set up automated reminders that you’ll always receive at the same time, meaning you’ll always know when to check.
A virtual assistant can send confirmations via email on your behalf and gather RSVPs for events. The VA can also set up automated confirmation for people to book appointments in the slots you have available.
If you have a trip in another city, your scheduling assistant can organize appointments with potential clients, suppliers, and other professionals for networking purposes. The VA will ensure you make the best of your time during the business trip.
A virtual assistant can handle everything related to an upcoming conference, including creating a packed (but manageable) schedule that allows you to take advantage of every opportunity on offer.
How Do Virtual Assistants Schedule Appointments?
Each scheduling virtual assistant uses a slightly different process, but this usually involves the following steps.
Step 1: Compile a List of Appointments
Your VA will begin by finding out what appointments need scheduling. This may involve a combination of asking you, looking at your to-do list, and checking your email inbox.
Step 2: Determine How Much Time the Appointment Requires
Next, your virtual assistant will decide how much time to schedule for each appointment. The VA will add a buffer in case the meeting takes slightly longer than expected, account for travel time in moving from one appointment to another, and schedule breaks to give you a chance to breathe.
Step 3: Communicate with Attendees
By using email, phone calls, and scheduling tools, your VA will arrange appointments at times that suit both you and the attendees. If you have a virtual appointment with people based in different time zones, the VA will make sure everyone is clear about what time the meeting is taking place.
Step 4: Add Appointments to a Single Calendar
Finally, your VA will make sure that your appointments are on the same calendar as all your work deadlines, events, and personal commitments. Creating separate calendars for different purposes may stop your schedule from becoming cluttered, but it increases the risk of mistakes and oversights. A better option is to categorize items on your calendar and hide categories when you don’t need to view them.
Top Tools Your Virtual Scheduling Assistant Should Use
Scheduling appointments is much more efficient when a VA uses tools. Every top appointment scheduling virtual assistant is familiar with at least some of the following.
A popular choice for a calendar comes with G Suite. Google Calendar is powerful enough to meet your needs (for instance, it allows you to create multiple categories for your calendar), but it’s simple enough that anyone can use it. Since almost everyone in business is already using G Suite, Google Calendar is ideal for collaborating with teams.
If you have the HubSpot CRM, it makes sense to use HubSpot Meetings. As well as integrating with your CRM, it connects to Google Calendar and (another popular choice) Office 365 Calendar. With HubSpot Meetings, your VA can schedule appointments without needing to send numerous emails. Plus, it improves other areas of your business, such as by enabling you to find out key information about leads before you meet with them.
HubSpot Meetings is customizable, allowing you to add it to your website with your own branding. Users can input their information to schedule a meeting at a time convenient to them. Then, your VA will process the appointments and make sure you receive a reminder. You can even use the tool to schedule group meetings and create notifications for these meetings with the key information.
Another tool that allows users to choose a time when they’d like to schedule an appointment is Doodle. This is designed especially for meetings with large groups. Rather than just selecting the time they prefer from the free time you have available, users rank their choices and can give explanations. You can also see who you are still waiting for to respond.
If you’re collaborating with people all over the globe, a tool like World Time Buddy is a must. This goes beyond your basic world clock — it shows you what time it will be in various cities at a specific hour and date in the future. This is particularly useful for avoiding mistakes around dates when some places are changing to daylight saving time.
How the Best Virtual Assistants Manage Your Schedule
The best virtual assistants also use some specific techniques to ensure they always schedule appointments at a time that is convenient for everyone, never double book, and avoid an overcrowded schedule.
1. Block Unavailable Time
You’ll want to keep some times of the day free from appointments, such as the time to fully concentrate on work, for breaks, and for family or social life. Your VA will make sure these times are blocked and unavailable for meetings.
2. Learn About Your Preferences
You most likely also have preferences about what types of appointments you like to take at different times of the day or week. Top virtual assistants put in the effort to learn about your preferences and schedule appointments accordingly.
In addition, your VA should learn about additional preferences you have around meetings. The virtual assistant may offer clients the choice of your favorite video conferencing tools, inform clients if they should call you or if you’ll call them, and arrange in-person appointments in your preferred meeting place.
3. Add Your Calendar to Their Phones
Scheduling virtual assistants should have access to their clients’ calendars at all times — not just when they’re in front of their computers. This allows them to book appointments and resolve issues at a moment’s notice.
4. Set an Appointment Policy
Your VA can either create an appointment policy for you or enforce the one you already have. This will specify the maximum number of appointments you can have each day (or week) and include a procedure for confirming appointments.
Find your virtual assistant for scheduling through MYVA360. In addition to scheduling appointments, our general VAs send reminders, follow up with clients after meetings, and make travel bookings. Sign up now and you’ll receive a special 5-percent discount on our scheduling assistant services.