For service businesses with a client appointment-based business model, an online appointment scheduling software solution can help you streamline the client booking process. As a result, you’ll have an easier time managing your day-to-day operations and have better coordination with your staff and customers.
However, with all the different options available in the market, which solution is the right choice for your business?
In this guide, you’ll learn how to find and set up an online appointment scheduling software that can help improve your business, and without further ado, let us begin right away.
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What Is an Appointment Scheduling Software?
An appointment scheduling software is, simply put, a software solution or application that facilitates online appointment functions on your website.
While the features offered by different solutions may vary, typically the core function is an interactive online calendar that allows clients to view available dates, click on them, and book an appointment right away.
As we can see, this function alone can help streamline the client booking process, which will improve the client’s overall experience and allow your business to have more control of your time.
How To Choose an Online Appointment Scheduling Software
Your business is unique, and you’ll have unique needs in an online appointment scheduling software.
However, while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that will work perfectly for your specific needs, here are some key considerations you should have when choosing between different solutions.
1. Identify the features you’ll need
Above anything else, the key in choosing the right solution for your business is to first identify your needs.
Assess your current client appointment workflow, and identify the features you’ll need to help streamline this process. While most appointment scheduling software solutions offer more or less similar core features, some unique features are only available on certain solutions and not others.
Bookeo appointment scheduling software, for example, offers advanced scheduling features that allow you to schedule different services with different duration and prices depending on your business model.
Don’t know the features you’re looking for? Here are some key features to consider:
- Interactive online calendar: potential clients should easily check for available time slots and book their appointments right away 24/7
- Customizability: so you can integrate your logo and branding elements easily
- Automated notifications: SMS/email notifications to remind customers prior to their appointments, and for promotion purposes
- Calendar sync: automatically update your schedule, and allows you to customize your calendar to accommodate break times
- Analytics and reporting: helps you track your business’s performance
- Integration: integration with other apps/solutions available
As a general rule of thumb, you should choose the most affordable solution that offers all the features you need.
2. Check online payment capabilities
Not all appointment scheduling software solutions offer online payments. However, if you really want to streamline your process and maximize your client’s satisfaction, you should invest in an appointment scheduling software that offers reliable and secure online payment capabilities.
You may also consider solutions that offer flexible payments capable of processing deposits. This way, you can secure at least a portion of your service’s fee upfront, which can help in managing and reducing no-shows.
3. Ease of use
Along the way, you might not be the only one that is going to use the online appointment scheduling app. You may need to train new employees to use it, and don’t forget that your clients will also be using the app to some extent.
So, ease of use is a crucial factor, and you’ll need to consider the right balance between the features offered by the solution and how easy it will be to use these features.
If the appointment scheduling software is too complex, then you might as well stick to your current manual appointment process.
To assess this factor, take advantage of the free trial or live demo options offered by the potential solutions. During this free trial period, you should also review whether the customer support team of the said solution is helpful enough as you learn to use the product. Don’t worry about asking as many questions as you can and make the most of this period.
4. Social proofs
In this age of online reviews and social media, research other people’s or business’s reviews for the appointment scheduling apps you’re considering. If possible, contact their previous clients and ask about their experience.
Online reviews can say a lot about the solution. For example, if multiple reviews stated that the app is clunky, it probably is despite your initial free-trial experience.
Another key area to consider when choosing an appointment scheduling software is customizability. How easy is it to add your own logo, brand colors, and other branding elements?
Also, consider a solution that offers the ability to customize the booking forms. Every client is unique, and the ability to customize your booking forms will allow you to serve your clients better.
This can help you maximize your client’s experience, which in turn, will result in more appointments and more revenue.
A pretty obvious factor to consider.
In most service-based businesses, managing costs to maximize profitability is extremely important, so your investment in the appointment scheduling software shouldn’t cost you too much.
However, it’s also crucial to consider that an online appointment scheduling software will save you so much money in the long run. A good approach is to assess how much money you are losing due to no-shows each month. If, for example, you lose $1,000 every month on average, then a reliable appointment scheduling software costing roughly $40/month is definitely worth it, since it will help you reduce or even totally eliminate this $1,000/month no-show “cost”.
An appointment scheduling software solution can significantly help you in two areas: streamlining the client appointment process, and minimize appointment cancellations (no shows).
You’ll be surprised at how many no-shows happened because the client simply forgets to show up. This is where an automated text/email notification feature can significantly help.