An e-booking system developed in-house has reduced human errors and cut customer waiting times from one hour to 15 minutes at aesthetics group ClearSK's 10 clinics across the island.
The Singapore-based chain, founded in 2008, provides various medical and aesthetics services, including liposuction, skin polishing, and eyebag and slimming treatments.
As its business grew, its 50 counter staff found that they could not handle the workload.
It took a long time to make package balance enquiries over the counter. I also could not get the complete information... With the online system, however, I can find out everything I need to know, plan my next visit, and get immediate confirmation for my appointments.
MADAM L.Y. CHEE, a housewife
For instance, they double-booked customers, and scheduled doctors and therapists for procedures when the required laser or ultrasound equipment was not available. The double-bookings resulted in some customers waiting for one hour at the clinic.
"We did an internal study of our processes and decided that we needed a more innovative solution to improve our workflow and enhance service delivery," said ClearSK co-founder and chief executive Daniel Then.
The company looked for off-the-shelf software but found none that could meet its needs. It then took the decision to develop an in-house one, said Mr Then.
Its first version, dubbed Automated Customer Experience (ACE), was rolled out in November 2013 in the form of a kiosk installed in three clinics. Customers scan their identity card number to log in before being able to book treatment slots, view appointments and check treatment history and package balances.
The second version was rolled out in January this year, allowing customers to make e-appointments in the comfort of their homes on the Internet. They can also check their treatment history and package balances online.
So far, the company has spent a total of $500,000 on developing the e-appointment system, making it the first aesthetics group in Singapore to let customers make appointments on the Web.
The company says it has thousands of customers, half of whom are using the system to make appointments. The e-system has also freed up its frontline staff, allowing for more personalised customer interactions over the counter.
ClearSK's customers said they like having better control over their appointments. "It took a long time to make package balance enquiries over the counter. I also could not get the complete information," said housewife L. Y. Chee.
"With the online system, however, I can find out everything I need to know, plan my next visit and get immediate confirmation for my appointments," she added.
ClearSK plans to roll out an ACE smartphone app by the year end. Among the new features is an automated alert that is sent to customers' phones when their next treatment is due.
"We believe many more customers will benefit from the app," said ClearSK co-founder and chief medical adviser Shiau Ee Leng.