Real Time Reception News

Choosing the best appointment booking software

Choosing appoinment booking software

Choosing appointment booking software

Choosing the best appointment booking software for your practice is confusing. There are so many things to think about and so much choice!

Electronic diary management uses appointment booking software which we – the virtual receptionists- and you -the practitioners- can both see in real time. This avoids the risk of double booking – we are all looking at the same page.

Our clients use a range of appointment booking software so we see a variety of them. We don’t recommend any brand in particular but here are some ideas to get you started. The first thing to remember is that once you have started using one it’s difficult to change, and the choice is huge so it is worth asking other people in your profession what they use and then giving them a try.

Here are some headers to think about:

Virtual receptionist appointment scheduling

This is obviously most important from our point of view.

We need to be able to view the back end of the diary, which can be a problem with some diaries designed to go on a website. If some-one phones to check when their appointment is we need to be able to find it by putting their name in, not by scrolling through pages of diary.

We have to have several receptionists logged into the diary concurrently. When there are 2 callers ringing your clinic at the same time a second receptionist must be able to access your diary without knocking the first one off. We like to stay logged in all day as logging in each time we get a call for you is time consuming.

In an ideal situation a booking would entail this sequence:

  1. Find the patient in contacts, or create new
  2. Find an appointment
  3. Book it.

Take advantage of free trial of the diary and try this sequence before you commit, to ensure it suits you.


Most diaries run on a monthly charge and the providers will be maintaining and hosting the software for you. Is it affordable long term? If you get other practitioners in the clinic how much will it cost for them to use the software? What is the charge for virtual reception services to log in to the diary?


To be fair all the software we have seen has been quick to adopt the GDPR regulations. As a user of the software you are required to ensure that contact details and clinical details of your clients are being stored securely.


It needs to be really, really clear so that we can see who is in clinic and that an appointment is free. Our rule is that if there is a white space it is available for booking. And sharing a diary, although it might be cost saving can complicate the booking.

Can you do all the things you need to with it.

Standard functions would be:

  • automated sms appointment reminders to your clients,
  • embed it in your website,
  • an audit trail

more specialised functions:

  • Does it provide suitable patient record software for your profession and for other practitioners who may use it?
  • Can you link it to a merchant account to take payment?
  • Can it be used for NHS or insurance funded treatments?

Once you have chosen give us a call to talk through how our virtual reception service can help you.


There is nothing like a bit of sun and a bank holiday to ensure we get active

Good news for all the Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Podiatrists and any other physical therapists out there. –

Easter is almost upon us and the BBC weather app on my phone tells me it is going to be warm and sunny – at last!!!

There is nothing like a bit of sun and a bank holiday to ensure we start to get active – gardening, walking, canoeing – everyone will be busy this weekend and that means they will be suffering on Tuesday. Which means in turn that it will be busy for you guys.

Here at RTR HQ we are preparing for a rush of calls next Tuesday morning, so you can be sure we will be ready to pick up your calls and book appointments for your clients. Read more…

We are very delighted with the service

thank you all for all of your tremendous kindness, support, patience, hard work and diligence with the care of my reception service.

Both Andrew and our brilliant new associate Anna are all extremely grateful to you all.

Your reception team are often given very warm compliments by the patients being looked after by them.

Guy Gold and Associates
Camden Town, London

Alright Love? As a professional should you always use a patients name

Ireland’s health service have made a recommendation to call patients by their first name rather than use generic terms such as love or dear. Do they need to be told! As a professional you always call patients by their name, and in some cases this would be their surname as it might seem more appropriate. This infers that you have read the client’s notes and identified them. If the name is wrong then you will have looked at the wrong notes!

Calling someone love is ageist – both old and young and demeaning. My hair is no longer dyed the vibrant red it used to be, and I am treated differently to the way I used to. People call me dear or love more than they did. Do they consider me as somehow less able than them because I have hair a lovely shade of pewter?

In the unlikely event that I ever have to live in a retirement home, carers who remember that I am Jennie, not Jennifer, might remember that I drink tea very weak and without milk, hate mashed spuds and most green things and prefer University Challenge to Eastenders.

I am not generic and neither is anyone else!

Virtual Reception Service vs Part-Time Receptionist

Noticed a few posts suggesting podiatrists get a retired receptionist part-time rather than use a virtual receptionist – REALLY?  So many reasons why that isn’t such a great idea.

 Virtual Receptionist
Retired Part-time Receptionist
Hours We are open 10 hours a day to take calls for our clients. We cover holidays and sick leave, so you don’t have to.
Maybe you can get all your patients to phone in at certain times - Good luck with that.
CostStarting from £155 plus VAT (£186) per month
£8.21 per hour plus NI and holiday and sickness pay

Understand the businessWe work with health practitioners, we understand podiatry, physio, osteo, chiropractic and other therapies.
You’ve got to train them
Know your businessWe do learn about your business quite quickly, but we have all the information to hand to be sure.
Again - you have to train them
Friendly faceOur teams are always polite and friendly. We try to be helpful. If we can’t answer a question we send you a message.
When they are there
Bring you coffeeOkay – we can’t bring you coffee
Yep, they can do that

If you have a multi-therapy clinic with a generous turnover then sure, get yourself a full time team, but for small clinics you can have “a full time receptionist at a fraction of the cost”. And don’t forget if you do have an on-site receptionist you can still use a virtual reception team to back-up.