Why Everyone Who Takes Appointments Should Have An Online Scheduler
The reasons can be summed up in two words: FRICTION and TIME.
Believe it or not, there are people who don’t want to have to call you, or email or text, either (whether they are introverts, just busy, or whatever). If those contact methods are their only options the friction between “no appointment” and “appointment” may go up to an intolerable level. As a business owner you should want to reduce that friction as much as possible.
Time is money, certainly for you, and also likely for your clients. It takes time/money to go back and forth with texts, emails, or calls. And it’s a pain. As a business owner you should want to reduce pain as much as possible (even small amounts).
How it Works
I use an online scheduler and can’t imagine going back to the old way. It’s so simple: someone requests an appointment, I send them a link to the scheduler. Existing clients learn to use the scheduler. They see all the days and times that I’m available and they pick one that works for them. I get a message saying an appointment was booked. Done. We didn’t even have to talk, email, or text. Easy and fast.
Note: this is based on my online scheduler of choice (see below) but chances are that all the major players have similar features.
- You can require payment at the time of booking.
- You can set parameters and limits such as “only 12 hours in advance” or “only 3 hours of appointments on Wednesday”
- You can have intake forms attached to the booking process for common questions
- You can sync it to your digital calendar of choice
- People can reschedule or cancel without consulting me (I like empowering my clients)
I once booked a haircut with a barber who I wasn’t really that sure whether I liked, mainly because his online scheduler made it so easy. Talk about reducing friction! Got him an extra appointment.
I’ve had people ask for an appointment, so I send them the scheduler link. Then I get the notice that they scheduled the appointment and it’s two weeks from now! Glad that I didn’t take the time to send a message about what my availability is over the next few days.
It’s really awesome when I get a message out of the blue that someone booked an appointment without us needing to communicate otherwise AT ALL. This cannot be overstated.
But What About…
- You can set your schedule to whatever you want.
- You can make it so people can’t book same day (I’m repeating this because it was a big deal for me)
- You can manually book appointments in or out of your “office hours” (people don’t HAVE to use the online scheduler, but it’s available to them if they do)
- The one I use costs about $16/month, way less than the time I would otherwise spend making appointments (and it’s a cool pro perk for clients to save time, too)
I use Acuity Scheduling and have clients who use it, too. Previously I used You Can Book Me, which is also good.
I have seen people use Square and it works well for me as a client, but I don’t know about the capabilities for the provider (you).
Are you in business? Do you take appointments? Get an online scheduler. Do it for your clients if not for yourself.
If you need help setting it up I know how to do that. You can use my online scheduler to set up a consultation.
Earlier Post: Domain-based email for Gmail-addicts
Later Post: You are what you do