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As the famous song exclaims… Appointment Makers of the World unite, well something like that anyway…

Being busy is de rigueur these days; meetings, conference calls, web chats, Skype calls, personal appointments and so on, the list is seemingly endless. It’s actually pretty easy to manage all of these in today’s world – calendars on PC’s and laptops that sync with smartphones make sure of that. But what’s next? How about if you wanted to really connect all your appointments, not only with your devices, but also with the rest of your information too? Greater numbers of businesses are discovering the value of collaborative working and information sharing and are deploying new systems that automate associated processes. Take a busy sales team for example; each member of the team needs to be kept up to date with when and where they need to be and they also typically have a ton of client appointments on a daily basis – or they should have… managing this efficiently is tough, so imagine being able to link all of your client and company information to relevant appointments from directly within CRM, creating audit trails at the same time…

Everyone loves how Outlook meeting invites work, we agree they are an effective tool and slot so easily into someone’s working life via their calendar. We know the working day ebbs and flows around these calendar slots, the problem with these of course is that they only ever exist in their calendar. Taking business related appointments only, then unless you have configured a shared or team calendar, then your colleagues are unable to see who is where and what is going on with that appointment – if they are absent for whatever reason, piecing the breadcrumbs together is a time-consuming and inexact science, leading to disruption and, more often than not, a poor customer experience. It therefore makes huge amounts of sense to link these appointments directly to the customer record in your CRM system…

Easy, right? You may think so, but where some CRM solutions enable the creation of appointments, it’s not altogether ‘seamless’. What happens once the appointment has been created is crucial, and often the source of great frustration for the appointment maker and the person who is meant to attend it. Let’s run through a typical process… You record said appointment within your CRM for everyone with access to see, BUT that’s it. No email to the other attendees. So, you then go ahead and create your calendar appointment, in Outlook for example, adding the attendees and clicking back and forth between Outlook and CRM to relate the appointment to the subject, grab email addresses and reference what the meeting is about. If you are then absent for whatever reason, then colleagues are forced to piece together notes and history, or nobody is alerted, the appointment is missed, and the customer journey suffers detrimentally. Remote working is even worse, users forced to have to click between multiple separate applications to piece together disjointed information. Simplicity is key… processes need to be intuitive and human-centric, which is the fastest way to create engagement and keep staff happy.

We only know of a couple of CRM solutions that do anything like this, but, and this is an important but, they only work via middle-ware or additional sync processes which can be costly and sometimes clunky and most definitely need installing on every single device and desktop. These often-only sync with Outlook and not your actual email exchange – this means it only works with your Outlook desktop app and will only work while it’s turned on, logged in and connected. So, if your user is away from their desk, and you or a colleague makes an appointment in CRM, it’s not going to show in your calendar on your phone whilst out and about waiting for your next appointment. That all important sync will not happen until the next time you open Outlook on your desktop. How frustrating.

Oxygen CRM is a human-centric, fully functioning cloud CRM, developed specifically for Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Like all Oxygen applications, automation features heavily, and the entire design is geared around intuition and simplicity.

Using Oxygen CRM, to create an appointment you simply access the customer record in CRM, navigate to the ‘Appointments’ tab, and… well, add a new appointment. All fields are configurable, as is the layout and colour palette. Once you save the item, the appointment is recorded within CRM, directly against the customer record, at the same time notifying any attendees via email, just the same as if you had created the appointment directly within Outlook. The appointment is always visible in the historical appointments list for the customer account, date and time stamped for good measure. Simple!

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