How Google Calendar has changed – and why it might affect your appointment bookings

Published 5th June 2023*

You’re about to get more no-shows for your calls.

But it’s not your fault. Or the fault of the person who wants to have a call with you.

It’s Google’s fault.

Yes, the company that brings us nice tech with one hand and messes it up with the other strikes again.

This time, they’ve implemented a new anti-spam policy to stop spammers automatically adding appointments to Google Calendars.

Here’s a handy Q&A on what’s happening, plus some tips on how to handle it.

 

What have Google changed?

They’ve changed the default setting in all Google Calendars so events are only automatically added if you already know the person.

Though here ‘know’ just means you’ve either pressed a button to say you know them, or you’ve already received an email from them before.

So if it’s blocking spam, what’s the problem?

We’re all used to receiving event confirmations from appointment booking software (Calendly, Acuity, Dubsado, etc) and *not* clicking ‘Add to calendar’. Because we assume it will automatically go into the calendar.

Then we merrily ignore the reminder emails because ‘yes, yes, it’s in the calendar…’ Which is going to be annoying for everyone concerned if it’s actually *not* in the calendar.

Double bookings and no-shows here we come!

Will this affect every booking?

No. It will only happen if someone books a call with you…

AND you haven’t exchanged emails before…

AND they use Google Calendar.

THEN the first booking that person makes with you won’t *automatically* show up in their calendar.

Which is potentially most discovery call bookings.

 

That sounds highly annoying. Any advice?

 

Yes, but unfortunately none of these suggestions are going to fix the problem completely. There will be more no-shows, even from people who do want to turn up. So let’s all give each other a little extra leeway as we navigate our way around this.

 

 

 

Update the settings on your own Google Calendar

 

Avoid this problem in your own calendar by changing the default setting. You just need the section called ‘Manage your Calendar invitations’ in this link.

Send (more) reminder messages

 

With instructions to click ‘Yes, I know the sender’ on the email and ‘Yes’ to accept the appointment.

Mention it throughout the booking process

 

On your sales page, on the booking page, on the confirmation page… Anywhere you can get in front of their eyeballs when they book.

Use filter features in your booking software

 

As part of your booking process, ask which calendar someone uses. Then use their answer to filter the reminders you send them. If they use Google Calendar, you can send more reminders with highlighted instructions. That way you have a better chance of them showing up, but without annoying people who don’t use Google Calendar.

Calendly routing forms or Dubsado workflows from lead capture forms are just a couple of examples you can use for this.

Be a human about it

 

Set a reminder for yourself instead of them. Then on the day of the call, be a human by sending a personal reminder message.

 

 

 

 


 

 *At the time of writing, the developers at some of the appointment booking systems are looking at ways to get around this issue.  I’ll update this post with any significant changes.

 

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