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Understanding Slot Based Appointments

Kathryn Hamilton
Kathryn Hamilton
  • Updated

Overview: What are we talking about?

Slots are a flexible way of setting a groomer’s capacity and booking grooming appointments according to how much work they require. The slots system is used instead of booking appointments at specific times with specific durations.  Slot-based appointments are created for specific dates, but do not have to be set at a specific time on the specialist calendar.

 

This article includes:

 

Helpful Hints: Before you begin.

  • In the beginning, you don't have to make your slot system perfect because it is easy to increase or decrease the number of slots a specialist has on any given day, as well as the number of slots any particular pet requires for their service. Whoever books the service can easily handle all of this on the calendar and make adjustments according to what is already booked and the specialist's requests. If you determine a specialist is full for the day, you can quickly remove any excess slots.

  • You may consider creating a reference sheet for your receptionist to refer to when making and accepting appointments. This may include a chart based on breeds, weights, coat type, and/or service type that specifies the number of slots required for any given combination of factors. 

  • Slot-based appointments can have a drop off and pick up time assigned to them when creating the reservation. The hours that can be selected will default to the reservation type hours of operation. On the facility calendar, slot-based appointments have their own section at the top of the specialist's column. 

  • Any given specialist can have a mix between time-based and slot-based appointments for different services. It is possible for example to book time-based hair cuts while a la carte is slot-based. It is also possible for one specialist to have a given service type as time-based while a different specialist has that same service slot-based. It is not possible for a single specialist to have a particular service both slot and time-based. 

    Here is an example of a specialist who does both time-based and slot-based services:

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    Here is an example where one specialist does time-based services and the other is slot-based:

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-27_at_12.27.52_PM.png

 

How to: Understand Slot-Based Appointments

At your business, you will determine how much time 1 slot is equal to, and how many slots are required for any service for a particular animal. Commonly, 15 minute increments are used, such that 1 slot = 15 minutes, 2 = 30 minutes, 3 = 45 minutes, and so on. Your business may determine that a slot equals 5 minutes, an hour, or even a few hours should you choose - it is totally up to you!

For example, a Basset Hound may require 1 slot for your nail trim service. A Newfoundland may require 3 slots for the same nail trim. A Full Groom for a miniature doodle may take 5 slots, while a large doodle may take 10 or more. 

You will set how many slots are required for each pet for the particular service when you book the appointment. You will also set the drop off and pick up time when creating this appointment. This way you can tell the customer exactly how long you think their pet will need to be at the facility. If the pet has not done the service before, the system will default to 1 slot. If the pet has done the service before then the system will automatically populate the number of slots that pet was assigned the last time they did the service. 

 

How many slots do your groomers need each day?

A general guideline is to make 1 slot = the amount of work required for the quickest service a groomer at your business does. For example, if your groomers do A La Carte services each of those services might be 1 slot each. 

For one example, nail trims are 1 slot and a haircut for doodle is 10 slots. If your groomer’s maximum workload is 3 large doodles in a day plus 5 A La Carte service, your groomer’s slots should be set to 35.

A La Carte = 1 slot x 5 per day

Poodle Haircut = 10 slots x 3 per day

Total Groomer Daily Capacity = 35 slots 

If, on the other hand, your groomers only do full grooms (like haircuts), leaving smaller services to be handled by general staff, you might then say that 1 slot is the equivalent to an hour of work. If a small dog takes 1 hour they take up 1 slot, if a large dog take 2 hours they take 2 slots. If your specialist can do 3 small dogs and 2 large dogs in a day, they should have 7 slots total for the day.  

Small dog = 1 slot x 3

Large dog = 2 slots x 2

Total Groomer Daily Capacity = 7 slots 

 

How to: Manage Slot-Based Appointment Availability 

After you have determined what the time value for each slot is, you can assign the chosen number for each specialist for each day of the week they will work. For each slot-based specialist, you will enter the number of slots for that day of the week for all services combined. If you change the number of slots on one service for any given day of the week, it will update for all of that specialist's slot-based appointments. For more information on managing specialist schedules please see our article about Specialist Schedules. Note: you must have at least one slot-based appointment recurring weekly. 

 

When you click to edit the day in question, you will see Slots Based is selected in green, indicating this service is slot-based for the selected specialist and selected service type. 

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If you would like to edit the number of slots for that day of the week moving forward, you can change the number of slots and save while the Apply to All Future Shifts toggle is green/yes.

Screen_Shot_2022-05-25_at_5.16.12_PM.png

If you wish to edit the number of slots only for the select date, change the Apply to All Future Shifts to red/no before saving. 

Screen_Shot_2022-05-25_at_5.16.35_PM.png

 

Alternatively, if editing slot numbers for a select date, you can do so from the facility calendar. Navigate to the date in question. Any specialists with slot-based appointment types will have a "+" sign and a "-" sign. Click these to add or remove slots for that day. The number you enter is the number that will be added or removed from the total availability. 

 

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How to: Book Slot-Based Appointments from Redesigned New Appointment Page

The redesigned New Appointment page was released in June 2022. If not already enabled, this can be switched on by any Admin user by navigating to the Reservations > New Appointment page and selecting the option at the top-right to Use New Page. This will enable the redesigned version for all users within the app across all locations.

 

Appointment-based services will be booked from the New Appointment page. For more information on scheduling appointments please review our article on Scheduling an Appointment.

  1. Navigate to Reservations > New Appointment and select a Pet, Location, Service Category, and Appointment type

  2. Choose a Specialist that has a slot-based schedule for the selected service.
     
  3. Once you select an Appointment Date, the section with the pet's information will switch to have slot-based booking information. Rather than a duration and appointment time like with time-based services, you will be presented with a place to enter the number of slots to book and an indication of how many slots the specialist is booked for that day. You will also see a section to optionally input the drop off and pick up time. Note: If a Drop Off time is selected, an End Time will also be required to be selected. 

    If the pet has not done the selected service before the number of slots will default to one. Please ensure this value is adjusted as appropriate for the pet and service. If the pet has received this service previously then the number of slots they were last booked for will auto-populate. 

    Screenshot_2023-04-12_at_1.14.59_PM.png

  4. The system will also display how many slots the specialist is already booked for that day out of their total number available. Hovering over this box opens a list of the pets that are already booked for that day. 


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5. Enter any additional details such as Price, Add Daycare, Add-Ons, and Notes before saving the appointment. 

 

How to: Book Slot-Based Appointments from the Legacy New Appointment page

Optionally you can use the legacy version of the New Appointment page that existed prior to June 2022 to book appointments. These are the steps to book on that page:

  1. Navigate to Reservations > New Appointment and select a Reservation Type, Service, and Date

  2. A list of options for specialists will appear. Click Book Now on the specialist you would like the pet to be scheduled with. 


    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.13.47_PM.png

  3. After selecting a pet, information about the appointment appears. Below the pet information is a box for # of slots, where you will enter the number of slots the pet should take up. Please note this will default to one if the pet has not done the service previously. 


    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.16.29_PM.png

  4. Adjust any remaining information such as Price, Add-Ons, and Notes before saving the appointment. 

 

How to: Reschedule Slot-Based Appointments

If you must reschedule a slot-based appointment, there are a couple of ways this can be done. This section will show you how appointments can be rebooked by either opening the Reschedule option, the Edit Reservation window, or, if only changing the specialist, dragging and dropping on the Facility Calendar. Alternatively, you can cancel the appointment and create a new booking (see our article on Canceling Reservations and Appointments).

Please note that if using the Edit Reservation option, especially if switching to time-based, you must adjust the reservation time in addition to rescheduling the service. Reservation times will not automatically change if you only adjust the service. 

 

From Reschedule Option

  1. Navigate to any page where you can edit the animal's reservation. This includes the Animal's or Owner's Reservations tab, the Dashboard, Calendar Details, the Facility Calendar, or other Reports that contain reservation lists.

  2. Click the Reservation menu button then Reschedule. 

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.45.59_PM.png

  3. This opens a popup with details about the service. Click the blue Re-schedule appointment button. 

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.48.40_PM.png

  4. An additional popup appears where you will choose the specialist and date of the appointment. Once those are selected, appointment availability will display. 

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.51.39_PM.png

  5. Both the service time and reservation time/date will update. 

 

From Edit Reservation

  1. Navigate to any page where you can edit the animal's reservation. This includes the Animal's or Owner's Reservations tab, the Dashboard, Calendar Details, the Facility Calendar, or other Reports that contain reservation lists.

  2. Click the Reservation menu button then Edit Booking Details.

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.47.08_PM.png

  3. If the appointment will take place on a different date and/or at a different time, first edit the Reservation date and time.

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-11_at_12.51.44_PM.png

  4. Click on the Additional Service tab. Click the red trash can button to the right of the service you will be rescheduling. 

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-11_at_12.53.59_PM.png

  5. Click on the Additional Service you would like to re-add. Select any relevant Service Options/Add-Ons, enter notes as needed, adjust the duration if needed, choose the date, then choose the specialist and time.

    Screen_Shot_2022-05-26_at_12.34.39_PM.png

  6. Double check that you have properly adjusted the Reservation and Service times/dates to match if needed, then Save & Close the Edit Reservation popup.

 

Change Specialist From the Facility Calendar Drag & Drop Function

If appointments are being rescheduled within the same day to a different specialist, it is possible to quickly change the appointment over. It is not possible to do this on the month view.

Note: If the specialist who you are attempting to move the service to does not perform that service (as set up on the Manage Schedules page), the system will not allow you to add to that specialist. Additionally, you cannot perform the drag and drop function between time-based and slot-based services.

  1. Navigate to Left-hand Navigation: Calendar » Facility Calendar.

  2. Navigate to the day of the appointment(s) you are rescheduling. 
  3. Click and hold the appointment and drag it to the new specialist. Hover over the green slot availability bar until you see the + button

Moving_Slot_Based_Appointment.gif

 

FAQ: Check this out!

Why aren't my slot-based appointments showing as available? 

The most common cause for a slot-based appointment not showing as available on the New Appointment page is due to a lack of recurring shifts. Your specialist must have at least one recurring slot shift per week in order for any availability to show. If you already have one recurring slot shift and availability still doesn't show, please reach out to Gingr Support from the ? icon in your app banner. 

 

How can I communicate to customers what time they should arrive for their appointment?

There are several places where you can display information for customers about their appointments. These include:

  • When booking a new appointment, it will give you the option to select a drop-off and pick-up time. You can fill this out so the customers know the appointment time or you can leave it blank and it will default to 12am. If you decide to leave it blank, you can use the below options to notify customers of what time they should arrive.
  • From Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Reservation Types and Services Configuration you can click to edit your service settings. You might consider updating the Description to include information about drop off and pickup times.

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  • Communicating with customers via email is also a great option for sharing important details about appointments. Email Custom Text can be plugged in as a variable to many email templates. You can create custom email text for both reservations and services and you can use  "{reservation_type_custom_text}" and "{services_custom_text}" on many email templates where these variables are available.

    Please note that the variable "{start_date}" is for the Reservation date/time, not the appointment. When you book a slot-based appointment the reservation time will be 12am unless a specific Drop Off time has been selected when creating the appointment. You may edit this reservation time after creation, but please note that emails such as the New Appointment email will have already sent once you create the appointment. You might consider having the start date variable below other information about drop off times. 

    For more information on emails please see our article about System Emails.
     
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  • From Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Reservation and Appointment Requests, you can enter information that will display during the customer's booking process. 

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What happens to my appointments if I switch a specialist's schedule between time-based and slot-based?

When you make most system and schedule changes they do not change any reservations that are already booked. You will need to edit each reservation by deleting the service and re-booking under the new system. You can use the Services by Date Report to gather a list of reservations that will need to be rescheduled. 

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