Microsoft Outlook Users Turn to Appointment-Plus for Online Customer Appointment Scheduling and Business Management

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Businesses struggling to manage the customer appointment scheduling process with Outlook and Outlook Express discover a better alternative in online appointment software.

Online scheduling software such as Appointment-Plus was specifically developed to manage the complete customer appointment scheduling process from online customer intake/registration, through scheduling, payments, reminders and reports.

Microsoft Outlook is the undeniable leader in managing email messaging and contacts, boasting a nearly 50% market share for businesses. Many Outlook business users are service providers with customer appointment scheduling needs. As a result, many business owners attempt to utilize the calendaring and scheduling components of Outlook to manage their customer appointments. While Outlook scheduling provides a sound foundation for managing a personal calendar, it lacks many key elements to effectively manage customer appointments for a business. Features such as online customer scheduling, different user access levels, automatic email confirmations and reminders, customer e-mail marketing, and online customer payments are critical to the success of many businesses. Seeking a more robust customer appointment-scheduling tool, Outlook users are turning to Appointment-Plus to meet their customer scheduling needs.

An October 2009, online survey conducted by Appointment-Plus found that nearly 40% of web searchers reviewing the Appointment-Plus website were searching for an alternative to Outlook to meet their scheduling needs. These survey respondents indicated that they were searching for a tool that would not only be more efficient for their business appointment scheduling needs but would also allow their customers to schedule appointments online directly from a website link. In addition to customer self-scheduling and office efficiency, many Outlook scheduling users are also seeking an easier process for creating business reports related to customer appointment scheduling. The complete set of reporting features offered by Appointment-Plus allows business owners the ability to track customers, appointments, sales, appointment statistics (such as no-shows) and many other key business metrics.

Perhaps one of the most common Outlook scheduling constraints seen in the business environment is the inability to set user access levels. Staff members see other staff members' schedules and customer information. As a true online business-scheduling tool, Appointment-Plus allows business owners to assign access levels to each staff member who is given access to the scheduler. When a staff member securely accesses the online schedule with their assigned login and password, the level of access can be restricted as needed. In addition, customers who use the system to schedule appointments online can be limited to very restricted data to comply with privacy regulations.

"While Outlook offers users a terrific personal appointment scheduling tool, it was simply not designed to be a complete customer appointment tool for service businesses," said Jeff Fleming, Director of Business Development. "Online scheduling software such as Appointment-Plus was specifically developed to manage the complete customer appointment scheduling process from online customer intake/registration, through scheduling, payments, reminders and reports."

StormSource Software, Inc. is a technology firm that specializes in the development of online appointment software for a wide variety of applications and industries. StormSource's flagship product is the Appointment-Plus online scheduling system. StormSource Software clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi and Comcast, federal and local government, universities and schools, and small/medium sized businesses worldwide. In 2007, Microsoft Corp. selected StormSource's Appointment-Plus software as its preferred online scheduling system.

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Ryan Kelly
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