Microsoft Teams has recently introduced a new feature, Microsoft Virtual Appointments, which is sure to be embraced by small business owners seeking cost-effective and reliable managed IT support services. This addition to the platform offers a meeting style specifically designed for interactions with customers.
Arranging appointments is a routine activity for many businesses. Small business owners, like Jane who runs a retail shop in Carlisle, Cumbria, often rely on virtual appointments to address queries about products and services. In the world of managed IT support, scheduling live demonstrations and video consultations is a crucial part of providing effective and tailored solutions to clients with varying IT expertise.
If you’ve been using Teams alongside another online appointment app, this new feature will help streamline the experience and make it even easier for business owners like Jane to access the IT support they need to enhance their operations and bolster their cybersecurity.
What Is Microsoft Virtual Appointments in Teams?
Microsoft Virtual Appointments in Teams provide an all-inclusive platform for customer interactions. With this feature, you can schedule, manage, and conduct B2C meetings directly within Microsoft Teams.
The new functionality integrates the scheduling aspect with the video conference interface, allowing anyone with a link to join the virtual appointment without requiring a Teams account.
Virtual Appointments seamlessly connects Microsoft’s scheduling app, Bookings, to Teams, ensuring a smooth and efficient experience.
Please note that some of the features mentioned below may be available with any Microsoft 365 plan, while others might require a premium subscription.
Microsoft Virtual Appointments Features
Manage Scheduled Appointments
Effortlessly view and manage your scheduled appointments in one place. This makes handling cancellations and time changes a breeze.
Send Customized Confirmations & Reminders
Personalise the experience for customers by sending customised messages through SMS or email. Utilise automation to provide a personal touch without manually sending each message. Automated appointment reminders also save time and improve efficiency.
Customized Waiting Room
Enhance your virtual engagements with a customised Teams waiting room. Incorporate themes and logos to reflect your business branding. Chat with attendees in the lobby waiting room, keeping them informed if your current appointment is running slightly behind schedule.
Streamline the process of sending meeting follow-ups after virtual appointments. This reduces the time spent on providing follow-up information and helps keep all details in one place, simplifying your client communication trail.
Organization & Department Analytics
Assess the effectiveness of your appointments by using a premium analytics feature. This powerful tool provides insightful reporting on B2C virtual appointments across all departments, making it easier to track and evaluate the success of your demos and consultations.
How to Use Microsoft Virtual Appointments
To begin using Virtual Appointments in Teams, admins must first configure a few settings. Please note that they must be a Bookings admin to access these options.
Create a Calendar
Within the Virtual Appointments app, select “Create a calendar” on the Home tab. Larger organisations might want to create separate calendars for different departments.
Proceed by adding staff members – up to 100. Assign each staff member a role. Once added, their availability will be visible in both Teams and Outlook.
One of the advantages of using an integrated platform like Microsoft 365 is its cross-app compatibility, allowing your calendar to sync across applications.
Create Appointment Types
Finally, set up your appointment types. You can choose from the following two options:
- Scheduled: You determine the day and time, and the system includes this information in the email confirmation.
- On-demand (Teams Premium): Customers can select when to meet from your booking calendar.
Set Up SMS Notifications (If desired)
Should you wish to use SMS notifications and have the appropriate Teams plan, you can set this up at this stage. This enables you to send appointment confirmations and reminders via text message with ease.
Please note: Attendees currently require a valid US, Canadian or UK phone number to receive SMS notifications.
Link Forms (If desired)
If you would like your attendees to complete any forms, you can link them now. Virtual Appointments permits linking up to four cloud-based forms, which you can create using Microsoft Forms.
Publish Your Booking Page
If you wish to offer customers the option to book on-demand appointments, proceed with the following step. Publish the booking page by navigating to the “Manage” tab of Virtual Appointments, selecting “Booking page”, and enabling “Publish booking page”.
Get Help Using Your Microsoft 365 Tools More Effectively
Microsoft 365 is a platform with vast potential. However, many companies may not be utilising all available features, potentially resulting in decreased team efficiency and unnecessary spending on apps they don’t require.
If you’re interested in optimising your Microsoft 365 experience, contact us today to arrange a meeting.