Finding The Best Small Business Scheduling Software


Suppose you operate a business where you schedule appointments, class attendance, consultations, seminars, workshops, or any other type of event from which you earn revenue. In that case, you must use easy-to-use yet powerful and interactive small business scheduling software.

If possible, with your business, I encourage you to look for scheduling software that enables your customers to prepare themselves.

This makes your life easier and is an outstanding website conversion tool. I mean that new customers to your website can instantly book themselves for your service. No phone calls or any other obstacles that might mean loss of the sale.

Finding The Best Small Business Scheduling Software 1

Ask Yourself:

When you book a customer, how much time does it take? Scheduling customers and clients takes time – yours and your staff’s time. How about the time you spend playing phone tag to book an appointment?

That’s why if you can set up software where your customers can book their appointments, you’ll free up much of your time. You’ll also be offering beneficial customer service (and impress them). Even if only 1/3 of your bookings do it themselves, you’ll be 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 must put customers on hold, you could lose that booking. Why not eliminate those losses and poor customer service by 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 to change the schedule in one central location, which changes 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 programs, it’s straightforward to forget to update your plan on your website(s). I don’t have to tell you how customers feel about being misinformed and relying on an outdated schedule.

Solve this problem using scheduling software you manage in one easy-to-access location, which updates your schedules wherever posted.

Moreover, look for scheduling software that lets you present pop-up descriptions of your classes and perhaps brief bios of the instructor teaching particular courses. The more information you place where it’s easy to find for your customers, the better your service.

2. Self-Booking Capability

Other businesses require customers to schedule appointments or reserve rooms/facilities. These businesses include hair salons, spas, tattoo parlors, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc. Take yourself as much as possible from the booking process by getting scheduling software that enables your customers to book their 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 available time slots. Moreover, you then add a contact to your database.

Online booking puts the scheduling power into your customers’ hands. They can easily do so if they need to change an appointment 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, an essential 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 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 desktop 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 you need an Internet connection to access your software dashboard. You don’t have to pay for networking, installation, and a server. Instead, most cloud-computing software services require a monthly payment for access. It’s easy to scale up – you 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 you and your staff from two time-consuming activities – booking appointments and paying.

Moreover, you can book appointments if you’re busy, thus reducing lost charges. Saving one booking often pays for an entire month’s software cost. Not to mention gain you another potentially loyal customer.

If you want top-of-the-line scheduling software, look for software that can process payments automatically upon a booking.

3. E-mail and Text Messaging Reminders and notices

Do you and your staff send appointment reminders via e-mail and text messaging? This, too, is time-consuming. Maybe you don’t do this because you’re too busy – but I wish you had the time or resources to send out reminders to reduce no-shows.

When deciding on scheduling software, be sure to opt for the capability of automated reminders. Yes, this is available. Once you have a customer’s contact information in your system and a customer books an appointment, you can set up the software to automatically send e-mail and text messaging reminders about upcoming meetings.

This serves three essential functions:

You’ll provide an excellent service reminding your customers about their upcoming appointments;
You’ll reduce no-shows; and
If customers realize they can’t make an appointment, they can re-schedule. This frees up appointment space, which you can fill from your wait-list.
Speaking of wait lists – with the right software, you can configure it so that once an appointment slot becomes available, e-mail notices are sent to your wait list, allowing them to take up that time – all done automatically.

4. Additional Sale Opportunities

Recurring Bookings:

Small businesses earn most of their revenues from loyal, repeat customers (predominantly service-based businesses that book appointments). With the right software, you can make it extremely easy for customers to book recurring appointments.

Perhaps they would like to visit your business on the same day of each month. Instead of manually entering their booking information for each month, use software to automate recurring bookings. Better yet, self-scheduling makes it easy for your customers to book their regular appointments.