Yesterday I wrote about my new favorite resource, appointlet.com. I’ve used it for two very specific scheduling events and it has proven itself to be an indispensable tool for my ministry tool belt. The practical example I provided yesterday is not how I use appointlet, at least not yet. Where I’ve been sold on this application is using it to schedule a large number of people on a single day or two and it has worked like a charm. Here’s how appointlet made a stressful and tedious task simple.
Earlier this week, I wrote about our baptism process. One of the best things we now do with kids and students for baptism is require on video baptism interviews that we can show right before we baptize them. There’s no better way to set up a baptism and there’s no better gift to give to a family than a beautiful video of their child/student expressing their faith in a personal and sincere way.
However, making baptism interviews happen is no easy task. This past Monday, we set up the studio for interviews and made ourselves available from 3:30 PM until 8:30 PM. We had 5 hours to get twenty six kids filmed. We’ve found that it only takes about 10 minutes to shoot the interview, so we scheduled six, ten minute slots per hour for a total of thirty spots. That didn’t give us much wiggle room at all. We realized that there would probably be points where we would get behind and we would have to speed things up. However, it was important that all twenty six kids/students were scheduled for a slot.
Up until a few months ago, it would have meant quite possibly a hundred emails of back and forth conversations trying to get every spot filled. Everyone would have asked for there most ideal times meaning that several people would need to be contacted telling them that their requested time slot was not available. In the amount of time it took to contact a person, their new ideal time might already be taken. This is where appointlet shines.
I simply created a new calendar in my google calendar account called “Baptism Interviews.” I shared the calendar with my staff so that everyone on my team could see the appointments although I was the one getting email notifications (If I felt it was necessary, I could have set up a filter to forward notifications to relevant staff). I told appointlet.com that the only available time was from 3:30 until 8:30 on Mondays for 10 minute sessions.
Appointlet seems to only let you pick days of the week that you are available, not one day of the week per month. Without some modification, appointlet would show availability from 3:30 until 8:30 every Monday. If the Baptism Interviews were a few weeks out, you’d see multiple Mondays to choose from which would be very confusing. This is an easy fix though, I simple made a reoccurring appointment on my calendar from 3:30 until 8:30 every monday except for the Monday we were doing baptism interviews. This way, appointlet only showed time slots available for the Monday we were filming.
We created a new page on our website with all instructions for baptism for families after they come to the orientation. We tell them what to wear, what time to attend and when the baptisms will take place. We give very detailed instructions about the baptism interview including a list of questions we’ll be asking. We explain what the experience will be like so that parents can prepare their kids and even provide a few videos of finished baptism interviews so they can get a vision for what the finished product will look like. Lastly, this page includes several links to schedule a baptism interview appointment which takes them to the appointlet page. Once they set an appointment, everything else is automated. They’ll get a reminder email a day out and even it includes a link back to our baptism page with details about the interview.
We no longer have the stress of scheduling dozens of people into a select number of appointments. All we worry about is making sure that everyone has registered.
Can you see the other applications that would make appointlet worth it?
- Scheduling interviews for a job
- Scheduling counseling appointments
- Scheduling auditions
You should give appointlet a try. They offer a 30 day free trial to test it out. It took me about an hour to mess around with it and get it set up. It was pretty intuitive, but I did get stuck on one part and had to email support to get it figured out. You can also pay month to month, so you can use it when you need it which is what I’m doing right now.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you one more scheduling application that takes the stress out of scheduling. It’s not as pretty, but it’s free.
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