Blog/Builder/Feature of the month: scheduling and timers

Written by Chandra Bergmann, Developer Advocacy

In the world of software, working with dates and times is a notoriously difficult problem. While the idea of scheduling is a straightforward concept, the devil really is in the details. How do you account for different time zones? When do you need to be TCPA compliant? If you need to schedule appointments in close succession, how do you ensure they don’t overlap?

And this is all without touching on the question of syncing multiple calendars on different scheduling platforms. The way computer programs process dates and times under the hood introduces its own can of devilishly detailed worms – just look at the Y2K scare – and keeping track of all those worms can be difficult and time-consuming. 

This is why we designed Airkit to provide a plethora of tools that simplify the process of incorporating schedulers, timers, and reminders into your applications. 

Working with dates and times is made easy in Airkit

When it comes to the problem of timers and reminders, Airkit comes with a built-in Timer Action that can be attached to any other Action you could conceivably want your application to take. Some of the most common use cases include making regularly scheduled calls to an external API or sending automatic reminder messages via SMS. (And don’t worry – if you’re making automated calls or sending automated texts, Airkit makes it simple to stay TCPA compliant.)

Our scheduling system is similarly straightforward. Airkit’s Scheduler Web Control streamlines calendar-based scheduling and with it the process of building apps that allow users to digitally organize appointments, book delivery times, or sign up for classes with limited availability. Itinerary details can be stored internally, within your Airkit app, as well as in external systems. Airkit also streamlines the process of integrating with external calendars

The functionality of timers and schedulers can also be combined. For example, a Timer can be set to send a reminder to a customer five minutes before their selected and subsequently scheduled call time. 

If you want to take a deeper look into how Airkit handles dates and times under the hood, there are three data types to familiarize yourself with: DateTime, Date, and Time. The best way to think of these is as follows: a DateTime is a specific time marked on your calendar, a Date is a particular day’s square on your calendar, and a Time is a particular configuration of your clock. Times and dates are, when possible, stored as a single variable called a DateTime, which keeps track of the time and date as well as the timezone, making it easy to synchronize schedules across multiple timezones. 

Aiding in the process of scheduling are the Airscript functions NOW, ADD_TO_DATETIME, and SUBTRACT_FROM_DATETIME. More about using Airscript to add scheduling can be found here

Customer look: using Airkit scheduling to improve connect rates

Turning leads into customers is a challenge for even the best Sales teams, and getting a hold of prospects in the first place can be an even tougher task. To improve sales conversion and customer experience, many leading brands are leveraging Airkit’s above scheduling capabilities to connect with potential customers when and how they want.

Take this Fortune 100 Insurer for example. Prior to Airkit, this insurance company was suffering from low connect rates and a high outbound call volume. To solve this problem, the team used Airkit to build a workflow that would provide their prospects and customers with the choice of connecting with the contact center immediately or scheduling a call at a later time. 

The app experience looks like this: 

1. Upon visiting the insurer’s website, customers are presented with two options: a) “Call Now” and b) “Call Later.”

2. If the customer chooses to “Call Now,” they immediately receive an incoming call with the opportunity to speak to a representative and be routed to the contact center. 

3. If the customer chooses “Call Later,” they are then prompted to enter a phone number and zip code and select a time in the future that works for them, within the contact center’s hours of operation. 

4. At the time of callback, customers receive an incoming phone call with the opportunity to speak with a representative and be routed to the contact center. 

5. Prior to the callback, customers will receive a scheduling confirmation, a 10-minute reminder, and a maximum of two “missed call” text messages in the case they do not answer during their scheduled appointment. 

In just a few months, this workflow enabled the insurer to boost connect rates with prospects and customers and reduce the need for outbound calling attempts, allowing their team to spend less time playing phone tag with customers and focus more of their efforts on providing the best customer experience for their clients. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to make the most of building with Airkit’s Scheduling and Timers, try out Airkit’s platform for yourself.

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