How we’re streamlining the way we book in research participants

Charlotte Jais - profile picture
Screenshot of Charlotte's Calendly homepage.

I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to anyone with experience of booking participants for research sessions that this can be a long and sometimes painful process.

After lots of emails flying back and forth and juggling diaries, you hopefully get to the point that you’re able to set a time and date for the session – often for the participant to no longer be able to make that session by the time it comes around (but that’s probably a topic for another blog).

We realised there had to be a better way of doing this – not just for us, but for our research participants too.

So for the last few months, we’ve been experimenting with using Calendly to book in 1-to-1 research activities.

The process of setting up a booking page in Calendly is fairly simple – you can customise the event details, choose the team members that participants can book with, and schedule email reminders to go out ahead of a booked session.

Screenshot of setting up a booking page in Calendly. On the right hand side of the image is a preview of the booking page.

It’s simple to use from the participant’s point of view too – they can select a date that works for them and see a list of available time slots for that day.

Screenshot of a Calendly booking page showing a calendar with available interview slots.

They then add their name and contact details, and respond to any screening questions that we need to ask them. After that, Calendly sends them and the host a confirmation email and a calendar invite for the session, with a Zoom link attached.

As well as streamlining the process generally, we’ve noticed other benefits too. For example, a participant can easily cancel a session if they’re no longer able to attend through a cancellation link in their booking confirmation email. This frees up slots so that other people can book them – and hopefully results in fewer no-shows too.

There are still a couple of things we need to iron out – like the best way of enabling people to book an alternative to a Zoom call. But so far, it’s definitely having a positive impact in terms of the amount of time we’re spending (or not spending now!) booking research sessions.

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