We’ve made an additional update to the time zones for online bookings. And we have some more planned. The short version is we are no longer auto-detecting your patients’ time zones, it will default to the time zone of your business (like it was before), and patients can change it if they choose to. We’ll be bringing back auto-detection as an option in future.
So first, it’s safe to say that the launch of time zones hasn’t gone exactly to plan. Whilst for many it’s been a welcome addition, for some, it has caused problems. Primarily this has been our time zone detection. It was not as accurate as we’d found in our testing. As can be the case, what we can test ourselves, is not as comprehensive as the tens of thousands that have booked appointments online in the last 24 hours.
The change to introduce time zone selection for online bookings was needed to improve the experience for people booking from a time zone different to the business. This had become a growing frustration, and was even more critical, as many businesses moved to Telehealth in recent months.
After introducing time zone selection, 6.5% of online bookings were from patients we detected in a time zone different to the business. In reality, that number should be a fair bit lower. We used the patient’s IP address to determine location. While we knew this wasn’t going to be 100% accurate, we believed that by showing the detected time zone on the calendar, and again confirming it on the submission form, that people could confirm it while booking. We’ve since found that not to be the case, and likely muscle memory has caused people to skip right past it.
This morning we released a follow up change to allow you to turn off patient selection of time zones in online bookings. This means, if you turn it off, online bookings would work like it did before the changes. This is useful for clinics that only service clients in their local area.
Just now, we’ve released a further change so that online bookings no longer automatically sets your patient’s time zone. Instead, they always start by viewing your availability in your business’ time zone. Just like it did before. They can, however, change that time zone if they wish. This should stop the troubles that we’ve seen so far, whilst still enabling the new functionality.
We’re not quite done there though. We are still working on the option for auto-detection and setting of the time zone, for those that need it. We plan to offer this as an opt-in setting, once we have a reliable detection method (which we think we’re on the verge of).
We’re sorry for the trouble some of you experienced with our original release. The changes we’ve now made give you the option to turn off the time zone functionality, or keep it with your business time zone as default. This solves the issues, while still letting you benefit from the new functionality.
Thanks for reading, and we’re happy to answer any questions.