What is a calendar scheduler?
A calendar scheduler is a widget, application, or web-based tool that allows you to schedule and manage events, appointments, meetings, and other activities using a calendar interface. Typically, it will enable you to view your schedule by day, week, or month and create, update, or delete events as needed.
Individuals, teams, and organizations often use calendar schedulers for personal and professional appointment scheduling. You can access them through various platforms, including desktop and mobile devices, and sync with other calendars and scheduling tools.
Comprehensive calendar schedulers include features like finding availability, identifying time zones, and handling booking confirmations and cancellations. Overall, they help users stay organized, manage their time effectively, and reduce stress while enabling them to work more effectively.
Mitigate challenges with a calendar scheduler
Scheduling can be a complicated and time-consuming process, both in personal and professional settings. From a business’s perspective, this can lead to a considerable loss in employee productivity.
Research shows employees waste up to 50 days a year doing menial, repetitive tasks. The report also indicates employees only spend 20% of the average working day on activities that matter. Why? Because mundane administrative activities like scheduling, which has several pain points, eat up valuable work hours.
Some of the most common challenges that occur when trying to schedule an appointment or meeting:
- Time conflicts: Scheduling conflicts are among the most significant issues when managing a busy schedule. You may need to attend multiple overlapping meetings or appointments, making it difficult to manage your time effectively.
- Rescheduling and cancellations: Sometimes, appointments must be rescheduled or canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, causing disruptions to your schedule and requiring you to rearrange your calendar.
- Time zone differences: If you work with co-workers, partners, or clients in different time zones, scheduling can be even more challenging to find times that work for everyone.
- Overbooking or double-booking: When managing a busy schedule, it can be easy to overbook or double-book accidentally, leading to missed appointments and wasted time.
While these are stressful and frustrating scenarios, fortunately, a calendar scheduler can help address these issues and simplify the scheduling process.
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How does a calendar scheduler work?
A calendar scheduler integrates with a user’s calendar and email address, allowing them to create and manage events in one place. Some calendar schedulers use a calendar API to sync with popular email and calendar services such as Gmail or Microsoft Outlook to access users’ availability and preferences.
Calendar schedulers use an algorithm to suggest available appointment times based on the user’s calendar data. The algorithm may consider preferred meeting durations, time zone differences, and scheduling conflicts. This means users won’t have to spend time searching for availability manually or going back and forth between email or phone to make confirmations.
Once a user schedules an event, the calendar scheduler can email all attendees the event details, like the date, time, location, and agenda. If the user needs to update or cancel an event, the calendar scheduler automatically updates their calendar and sends notifications to attendees about the changes.
Why offer a calendar scheduler in your app?
Implementing calendar scheduler functionality to your website or application is a great way to boost revenue and increase customer retention. Not to mention, in a digital world where every industry has moved online, in-app scheduling features have quickly become table stakes. A recent study surveying North American consumers reported that 94% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose a new service provider if offered online booking options. Consumers can now book everything from doctor’s appointments to workout classes to restaurant reservations virtually, bringing businesses and customers faster service, shorter sales cycles, and increased access without geographical limitations.
By integrating a calendar scheduler into your app, you can make scheduling appointments or events related to your business more convenient for your customers and employees. The scheduling process becomes more streamlined, saving both parties time and enhancing the user experience.
Here are a few examples of how different industries can use a calendar scheduler to improve existing, clunky processes for their end-users:
- Human resources: People representatives often hold meetings to discuss employee concerns or questions. They can leverage a calendar scheduler to easily track multiple schedules without leaving their HCM.
- Recruiting: When scheduling interviews, recruiters need to accommodate many calendars to ensure everyone can attend. Recruiters can use a calendar scheduler to find multiple panelists’ and interviewees’ availability, freeing time for strategic tasks.
- Sales: Sales reps constantly schedule meetings with various stakeholders and need deal cycles to stay on track. Internal stakeholders can leverage a calendar scheduler so reps can easily find a time when all stakeholders are free to meet.
Calendar scheduler features
Not all calendar schedulers offer the same capabilities. Some are solely for scheduling and managing appointments. In contrast, other calendar schedulers provide more control to customize, the ability to send notifications, ways to choose availability based on maximum fairness, and other features you may want to consider.
Understanding these key features can help you choose the right calendar scheduler. Some of the capabilities to look for include the following:
- Custom workflows and branding: Use a calendar scheduler with a seamless, in-app integration that matches your branding and product UI. Look for a solution that allows you to update your company name and logo, event title and duration, time zone, theme colors, and custom buttons and text. Give event organizers the ability to collect information from attendees before they book an event (e.g., phone numbers and other custom fields).
- Email notifications: Ensure your solution supports booking confirmations, cancellations, and reschedules – including event details and instructions for attendees.
- Pre-populated input fields: Increase productivity even more with the ability to send application-specific data with query parameters to create a seamless booking experience and associate user actions with your application data.
- Responsive design: Give attendees an excellent user experience when they book events on a scheduling page that renders beautifully across devices, whether on desktop or mobile.
- Time zone detection and accommodation: Make it easy for attendees to book meetings and appointments based on their own time zone.
- Real-time, two-way calendar sync: Connect calendars between two or more sources so data remains accurate, consistent, and secure.
- Round-robin scheduling: Reduces complexity and ensures fairness in the scheduling process. This method can also improve team collaboration by providing greater insight into who or what is available when helping teams synchronize their calendars across multiple platforms and devices.
By partnering with Nylas, we solved technical obstacles that would’ve taken us a lot longer on our own and required a much larger investment of resources. We likely released interview scheduling at least a year earlier than we would have if we tried to build it ourselves.
Director of Product Management at Ceridian
Building vs. buying a calendar scheduler
When tasked with adding calendar scheduler capabilities to your platform or application, you and your developers must decide whether to build these capabilities in-house or adopt a pre-built solution. Both options have pros and cons, depending on your business’s resources, needs, and goals.
Building a scheduler that supports multiple providers can take considerable time and money, expend developer resources, and disrupt your product roadmap.
Consider these points to help you decide whether to develop or purchase a scheduling solution:
- Budget: Building your own solution is a significant investment that requires the right personnel with subject-matter expertise and a deep understanding of security and policy requirements. Even with the best development and tech teams, constantly developing new features and maintaining old ones can take time and effort.
- Software scope: The more complex your project is, the more difficult it will become to build and maintain. Consider what your business’s core competency is. When purchasing a scheduling solution, you’ll free up your developers’ time so they can focus on building new innovative product features.
- Scalability: The complexity of building a single integration is already challenging. When you consider the accompanying costs and time of maintaining this infrastructure, it becomes an even more significant undertaking. Each time you need to add a new integration, you’ll have to build it out and maintain updates for each.
- Security: Building scheduling calendar functionality from scratch for an app that requires handling sensitive information can be challenging to ensure compliance with regulatory standards like HIPPA or GDPR. You may even have to invest in an external, expensive security solution. However, using a third-party API with built-in security allows you to leverage compliance certifications already in place, relieving the stress and required resources to maintain compliance.
- Control: Building your solution might feel like you have more control over your platform. But in reality, it’s limited to what your developers can do in the time they have left.
These considerations often prompt companies to integrate with a calendar API or adopt a pre-built scheduling solution. For developers, a calendar API or ready-made scheduler abstracts away the messy details of managing calendar events using traditional protocols. Doing so enables them to easily add calendar scheduler functionality, ship products quickly, and go to market faster.
Schedule appointments faster with the Nylas Scheduler
Nylas is a secure and reliable cloud-based communications software with a calendar API and front-end scheduler. The Nylas Scheduler, built on the Nylas Calendar API, is the fastest way to add full calendar functionality to your application and allow users to create highly customizable scheduling pages. It also enables users to set appointments through the Nylas Virtual Calendar, intended for users to manage resources or objects without an existing calendar account.
Offer your users an easy way to view availability and book meetings directly on your platform. With Nylas’ scheduling capabilities, you can:
- Embed scheduling instantly from your users’ calendar: Streamline scheduling workflows and maximize user engagement when you connect your app to every major calendar provider with one API integration.
- Build with flexible, customizable user interfaces: Quickly deploy white-labeled calendar views and custom scheduling UIs within your application for brand consistency, ensuring a seamless user experience.
- Free up engineering resources: Use pre-built, scalable scheduling solutions with fewer engineers, saving costs and increasing time to market.
- Streamline scheduling: Boost your users’ productivity with the Nylas Scheduler to automate scheduling workflows based on real-time availability and round-robin capabilities.
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