Giving your customers a way to schedule appointments online will not only make their lives easier—it will make yours, too. You can reduce the number of phone calls, voicemails and emails that need to be fielded by making your availability easily viewed and booked online.
It may also boost your sales, because customers can book appointments easily from your website or other online channels any time of day, rather than having to try to reach you during business hours.
That said, it’s important to select the online scheduling tool that will best serve you and your customers’ needs. Most scheduling tools sync with the most popular electronic calendars, such as Google and Microsoft Office 365, and will send out appointment reminders to the customers who book through them. Many also integrate with other apps and tools—giving you access to a wide range of features. But each tool is slightly different and offers different features and integrations, so do some research. Here are four scheduling tools worth checking out:
Starting at $15 per month for one user, Acuity Scheduling can be integrated with your email marketing platform, your web meeting software or your accounting software, as well as many other tools. It also can be connected to several online payment platforms, including PayPal—and even be branded with your company’s logo—so customers can pay or tip you through it.
If you already use the Square payment system, Square Appointments may be the best option for your online booking needs—because Square point-of-sale functionality is built-in. The tool recently became free for solo business owners (one user) and starts at $50 per month for businesses with two or more users. It allows you to easily integrate payments with your booking, such as charging no-show and cancellation fees or accepting prepayment.
For businesses with a significant social media presence, Appointy might be the right choice. Starting with the $19-a-month “Growth” plan, you can let customers schedule appointments directly from your Facebook page or when someone finds your business profile on Google.
The “basic” version of Calendly is free, allowing people to book one type of event on your electronic calendar. But if you want a more flexible online scheduling tool, starting at $8 per user a month, you can get more advanced features. It integrates with Google Analytics so you can track visits and types of engagement with each of your scheduling pages. The tool also allows you to send text-message reminders to customers.
Keep in mind that many online scheduling tools offer a free trial, so it may be worth testing a few before committing to one.Print this article