Scheduling multiple locations, with multiple team members, in multiple time zones, is a nightmare. It’s just properly, properly hard work. And automating it is extremely difficult.
There are so many moving parts that unless you’re working with a truly purpose-built software, you’ll always end up manually running everything. And that’s without having to factor in rescheduling and cancellations. And as you’ll know, scheduling isn’t a feature of Infusionsoft worth talking about.
And then Workato happened.
Isobel is the owner of Fly By Fun, a company that provides quality children’s entertainment in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Perth. When she came to us, predictably, her single biggest headache was scheduling.
Having to manage over 100 entertainers in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, their bookings, their rescheduling, cancellations and overdue payments related to bookings, was the single biggest work of the office team, and completely manual.
We used a combination of Internal Forms, custom fields, tags and Workato to automatically create an appointment in Google Calendar. And automatically change appointments when someone reschedules. And automatically update the entertainers who’ve been assigned.
1. It starts with an Internal Form.
We integrated the sales process with the booking process, collecting all the necessary information to complete a booking during the sales consultation, and collect this information using an Internal Form.
We then use the new quote system to send the customer a line-by-line quote for their party. When a payment is made, whether it’s a deposit or a full payment, we trigger a campaign using a Purchase Goal*. We use decision diamonds to make sure that all the required information is present. If it is, that information gets sent to Workato.
* By using Infusionsoft to process credit card payments and at least take deposits, we eliminate the problem of not knowing who has paid.
2. And then the magic happens.
Creating the Event
We use custom field data to create the event. Pretty simple field matching.
One of the great things about Google Calendar is it can figure out a date, time, and crucially time zone, from plain text.
This allows us to filter the Workato recipe and assign different time zones to each event based on the location of the event, and allows the main office based in NSW to see WA, SA and QLD events on their calendar in local time.
That’s time zones knocked totally out of the park.
Now the amazing thing about Workato is the depth of information it can access. When we create a calendar event in Google Calendar, we also create an invisible, inaccessible event ID. Now we can access that ID, we can reference it and save it to a custom field in Infusionsoft.
This is what we use to smash out the second big problem: automatically updating existing events.
3. Updating Existing Events.
Using the Event ID that we collected before, when it’s time to roster an entertainer to the event, it’s a piece of cake.
By submitting the simplest Internal Form ever (one field), we can assign an entertainer, set a custom field to be the entertainer’s email address (we use dropdown fields and “set field value” to eliminate human error), and use that information to invite an attendee to the calendar event in Google Calendar.
Now the formerly miserable task of rescheduling appointments is easily dealt with.
We use a different Internal Form to trigger a campaign that cancels any existing campaigns related to their first booking details, and then trigger another Workato recipe that uses the event ID that we referenced way back in Workato when the first booking was created.
Thanks to Workato, Infusionsoft and Google Apps, Isobel now has a booking system that:
1. Automatically creates calendar events when a lead becomes a paying customers.
2. Automatically assigns and rosters entertainers.
3. Automatically adjusts for different time zones.
4. Automatically deals with rescheduling and cancellations.
5. Automatically triggers a whole heap of stuff that we haven’t gone into here, because I’m not giving away all our secrets. Like integrating this whole thing with Xero. Did I mention that? No?
Workato is a phenomenal tool for doing automation right – invisibly to your customers, while improving the business for those working in it. And I’m certain that it has a place in every single business’s software toolbox. Check it out today and get a free 30 day trial.
Read the original post complete with screenshots of the processes on the Benelds blog.