|This feature is only available in SmarterMail Enterprise.
Sending calendar invitiations to individuals, or groups of people, is a perfectly fine way of connecting with others. However, in some cases it can be a bit too time consuming. For example, if you run a consulting business and want to provide some type of free evaluation or initial consultation to attract new business. Sending out invites to each person who contacts you may work, but wouldn't it be better if these people could simply schedule a time on their own -- a time that fits their schedule as well as your own?
Well, that's where SmarterMail Scheduling comes in. Using Scheduling gives you the ability to set up different meeting types, set your availability, check various calendars to ensure there's no conflicts, and much more. You can even provide an external URL that people can use to schedule appointment times, or even embed scheduling details into a custom page to ensure branding guidelines are followed.
Regardless of how the Scheduling page is used, once someone actually sets up an appointment, meeting invitations are automatically sent to BOTH the page visitor and the SmarterMail user. For the SmarterMail user, the appointment will be automatically accepted and added to their calendar, with the complete appointment details.
When accessing Scheduling, the following cards will be available:
The Settings card allows you to set up basic guidelines for using the Scheduling feature. These guidelines include:
- Enable Scheduling - This toggle actually enables the scheduling feature. When toggled off, all cards are hidden from view. When enabled, all of the cards associated with the various parts of the scheduling feature are displayed.
- Mark appointments as private - Enabling this will block out time on a calendar, but not display the details of the blocked time. This works similarly to marking appointments as private when sending out meeting/appointment invitations for a calendar.
- Calendar to use for appointments - This will be the calendar to use for the appointment types that are scheduled. The dropdown will display any default, custom, or shared calendars for the user.
- Minutes between appointments - This is the default time between scheduled appointments. For example, when set to 30 minutes (the default), if a person schedules a 1 hour appointment at 9:00 a.m., the next available time displayed for an appointment would be 10:30 a.m. (1 hour for the appointment, plus the 30 minutes between appointments.)
- Lead time for new appointments - This is the default between the current time and when a appointment can be scheduled. For example, if it's 9:00 a.m. and the lead time is set to 30 minutes, the potential first available time for a new appointment to be scheduled would be 9:30 a.m. The idea behind this setting is it's impractical for someone to schedule an appointment that occurs immediately as it doesn't offer the user any lead time to prepare, etc.
Appointment Types allow a user to set the type of appointment someone will schedule with them. For example, an interview, a demonstration, and intial consultation, a training session, etc. These types, then, appear on the actual scheduling page a visitor sees when they set up their appointment. Each type will appear in a dropdown, and the visitor selects the type of appointment they want to set up.
To add an Appointment Type, do the following:
- Click the New Appointment Type button and a new modal opens.
- In that modal, set the Name for the appointment type. For example, "Product Training".
- Next, set the Duration of the appointment. The duration can be in 15 minute increments up to an hour, then hourly up to 12 hours.
- If the appointment will be via a SmarterMail Online Meeting, toggle Online Meeting. When an appointment is made by a visitor, a SmarterMail Online Meeting is automatically created for that specific appointment, and the URL is included in the meeting invites sent to both the organizer and visitor.
- Finally, if any Location OTHER than a SmarterMail Online Meeting is going to be used, enter it. Generally, this will be a phone call, a meeting room, etc. However, should a user want to use the same Online Meeting URL from SmarterMail, or any other online meeting URL (e.g., Microsoft Teams), it can be entered.
Once all of the information has been entered, be sure to save the settings. Then, be sure to save the page.
Calendars to Check for Conflicts
People use many calendars for many different things. As such, when offering the public the ability to schedule an appointment type it's important to know when a SmarterMail user is available so as to not double book appointments. Therefore, having the ability to check more than one calendar to ensure there aren't any conflicts is important.
By default, the Calendar to use for appointments that's selected on the Settings card will always be used when checking for conflicts. However, there may be other calendars a SmarterMail user will want checked, like a Training or Meetings calendar.
To add another calendar to use to check for conflicts, do the following:
- Click the New Calendar button and a new modal opens.
- On that modal, click the Calendar dropdown.
- In the list of custom and shared calendars, select a new calendar to use.
- Click the Save button.
If another calendar needs to be added, repeat the steps above until all have been added. When finished, be sure to save the page.
Availability is just that: when a SmarterMail user wants to make themselves available for public scheduling. For example, if they only want people to be able to set appointments in the afternoon, they can set their Availability to just those afternoon hours. If they want to be available for a few hours a day, or a few hours every coouple of days, they can do that as well.
The days and times set in Availability are what will appear on their public page when a visitor starts the scheduling process. To set Availability, do the following:
- First, toggle the days to be available.
- Next, set the times to be available on those particluar days.
- Once all of the changes have been made, be sure to save the page.
There may be some types of data a SmarterMail user wants to set prior to an appointment being made. For example, a part number, a product name, a ticket number, etc. In these cases, Custom Fields can be created. These fields can then be filled out and included in the meeting invitation that's created once a visitor schedules something. By default, a visitor's email address and their full name will always be required when scheduling an appointment. This is why they're displayed and uneditable. A total of 5 custom fields can be added, not counting Email Address and Full Name.
To add a Custom Field, do the following:
- Type the name of the Custom Filed on the line.
- If the Custom Field is required, toggle that on the same line.
- Once a custom field is added, a new line appears automatically. If more fields are desired, they can be added.
- Once all of the changes have been made, be sure to save the page.
Page details consist of the following:
This is the URL of the SmarterMail user's public-facing scheduling page. It can be used in a signature, as an added line at the bottom of emails, as a link on a person's contact page, etc. It's the page visitors will go to in order to schedule an Appointment Type.
The Embed Code allows a SmarterMail user to embed their scheduling page into a custom template. Creating a custom page allows users to offer corporate branding in terms of colors, logos, etc. so that a visitor feels more comfortable with setting up an Appointment Type.
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