If you operate a business where you schedule appointments, class attendance, consultations, seminars, workshops, or any other type of event from which you earn revenue, it is critical that you use easy-to-use, yet powerful and interactive small business scheduling software.
I also encourage, if it’s possible with your business, to look for scheduling software that enables your customers to schedule themselves.
This not only makes your life easier, but is an outstanding website conversion tool. What I mean by this is new customers to your website can instantly book themselves for your service. No phone calls or any other obstacles that might lose the sale.
When you book a customer, how much time does it take? Yeah, scheduling customers call center software and clients takes time – yours and/or your staff’s time. How about the time you spend playing phone tag just to book an appointment?
That’s why if you can set up software where your customers can book their own appointments, you’ll free up a great deal of your time. You’ll also be offering a very worthwhile customer service (and impress them). Even if only 1/3 of your bookings do it themselves, you’ll be way ahead – and probably book more clients than otherwise.
The fact is in today’s fast-paced world, customers want immediate gratification. If your phone line is busy or you have to put customers on hold, you could lose that booking. Why not eliminate those losses and poor customer service with implementing online scheduling?
How Does Online Scheduling Work?
It’s simple, and you don’t have to worry about giving up control of your schedule with the right business scheduling software.
There are different uses of scheduling software – it depends on your business
1. Simple Schedule Viewable Online
Some businesses, such as yoga studios, dance studios, martial arts schools, and health clubs may simply wish to display class schedules on their website(s).
The key is getting scheduling software that makes it incredibly easy for you to change the schedule in one central location – which changes then appear on your website(s). Let’s face it, class times, instructors, etc. change regularly.
Instead of displaying your schedule in a fixed table on different pages in your website(s), which is inconvenient to change, use a central schedule dashboard where you can easily make changes.
Have you ever forgotten to change the schedule on your website? When you maintain separate schedules, it’s very easy to forget to update your schedule on your website(s). I don’t have to tell you how customers feel about being misinformed and relying on an out-dated schedule.
Solve this problem by using scheduling software you manage in one easy-to-access location – which updates all your schedules wherever posted.
Moreover, look for scheduling software that let’s you present pop-up descriptions of your classes and perhaps brief bios of the instructor teaching particular classes. The more information you place where it’s easy to find for your customers, the better service you’re providing.
2. Self-Booking Capability
Other businesses require customers to schedule appointments or reserve rooms/facilities. Examples of these types of businesses include hair salons, spas, tattoo parlours, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc. Take yourself as much as possible out of the booking process by getting scheduling software that enables your customers to book their own appointments.
The process is simple with the right software. Your customers register and you provide them log-in information to your online scheduling system. Once logged in, your customers see only availability and then book in available time-slots. Moreover, you then add a contact to your database.
Online booking puts the scheduling power into your customers’ hands. If they need to change an appointment, they can easily do so without taking up your time.
What Other Features to Look for With Business Scheduling Software?
1. Look Only For Cloud Computing Scheduling Software
Without a doubt, the most important feature to look for with business scheduling software is that it’s cloud-based. This means the software you use is hosted with the service provider.
A classic example of cloud-based software is Google Docs. You simply log in to your Google account and use their fleet of document-producing software (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.).
I’ve used desk-top scheduling software and like most desk-top software, it costs much more in the long run, and is very difficult to add new users (i.e. adding computers to the network).
The bulk of the long-term cost with desk-top software is paying a tech consultant to network the software among your computers. Moreover, your scheduling software is not available anywhere – only on computers on which it’s installed. Don’t even think about the cost when you upgrade computers or if you use a server.
Cloud computing solves all these problems because all you need is an Internet connection in order to access your software dashboard. You don’t have to pay for networking, installation, and/or have a server. Instead, most cloud-computing software services simply require a monthly payment for access. It’s easy to scale up – you simply add new users to your account. Your cost only increases as your business grows.
2. Get E-Commerce and Credit Card Payment Processing Integration
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could have customers pay upon self-booking their appointments? This frees up you and your staff from two time-consuming activities – booking appointments and taking payment.