You probably have a system for booking appointments. Clients call or email, you tell them some available time slots, they check their calendars, and then you write down their chosen appointment time. Easy, right?
Sure. …Except for the fact that you’re spending tons of time on the phone or on email, getting lost in phone tag or long threads.
If you’re still scheduling client appointments without an assist from online scheduling software, you’re wasting time and money—and you deserve better.
Here are five signs you need to make the jump to an online scheduling tool or software, so you can make your life easier and bring in more money, plus 10 online scheduling apps for you to consider when you’re ready to make the jump.
1. You’re still using a paper calendar for your scheduling.
Ah yes, the paper calendar. Using them seems quaint, like sending a telegram or making a call from a pay phone. It almost harkens back to a simpler time—almost.
The truth is that using a paper calendar for booking appointments is just plain outdated. Paper calendars are slow, cumbersome, and prone to errors. Plus, you need to make sure you’re in front of your calendar whenever someone calls—which could be any time. So what time is left for actually working with clients?
Simply put: Paper calendars are archaic and unnecessary. Ditch the sloppy handwriting, and use online scheduling software to cut down on time and inconvenience.
2. You’re wasting time scheduling over the phone.
How much time do you think you spend on each phone call to schedule a client’s appointment? One minute? Three? Five?
Now imagine you schedule ten clients a day. That adds up to another appointment time where you could be making money.
What’s more: You can’t possibly answer the phone every time a client calls to make an appointment—you’re busy with other clients! That person who didn’t get an answer is likely to leave a message—setting you up for a game of phone tag—or even worse: take their business elsewhere.
Online scheduling apps free you up from time spent on the phone. Service providers know that time is money, and you should have more of both.
3. You don’t have money for a receptionist.
A receptionist sounds super appealing—you’d have someone to answer the phones, schedule appointments, and maybe even manage a coffee run.
But a receptionist is an unrealistic luxury for most small businesses. Online scheduling software serves as a virtual receptionist, booking appointments 24/7 without sick days—and at a fraction of the cost.
4. You’re making mistakes with your calendar.
Have you ever double-booked an appointment, only to realize your mistake when two clients show up for the same time slot? What about booking while you’re on vacation? Or, have you simply thought you booked for 1 p.m. but written it down as 11 a.m.?
You’re not alone. When you’re juggling tons of clients (lucky you!), it’s easy for scheduling details to slip through the cracks.
And then there are those moments where they’re making the mistakes resulting in those annoying client no-shows that mess with both your day and your income.
All of these mistakes are easily avoidable. Simply automating your system takes the human error out of the equation. You won’t lose money on comping clients after you make a mistake, and (in the case of most appointment scheduling software) they’ll get automatic reminders to their phones or emails about upcoming appointments—and the no-refund policy you have in effect. Fewer mistakes, fewer lapses in client appointments and payments all around.
5. You keep your client contacts on your personal phone.
Are you guilty of mixing your business contacts a little too closely with personal contacts?
Not only does keeping your client contacts in your phone blur the boundaries between work and life, but this method is also begging for mistakes. What if you mean to text your friend, but text a client something embarrassing instead? Or if you forget to respond to an important text from a family member because you’re inundated with texts from clients? What about vice versa? And then there are all those moments when your phone goes off and disrupts after-hours plans.
You don’t have to live this way!
Online scheduling software makes reminding and updating your clients super effective and easy. Send individual emails and text reminders automatically, and keep your business life and personal life separate—so you can have more time to yourself.
10 Online Scheduling Tools That Make Life Easier
Convinced that you need to switch over to scheduling software or an appointment scheduling app? I’ve rounded up the top 10 online scheduling apps so you can compare features and prices.
That’s us! Schedulicity is ideal for service businesses like hair salons, spas, fitness trainers, tattoo artists, and so much more. We offer features like class management, waivers and alerts, marketing tools like email marketing and business listings, online payment processing, data analytics, and—of course—a super easy booking experience for your clients. The software is free with optional paid add ons.
Vagaro features a template website builder for your business, an email marketing platform, invoice and form generation, and customer tracking in addition to booking and calendar management. Pricing starts at $25/month.
Healthcare businesses, service-based companies, retail businesses, and even logistics companies are a fit for AppointmentPlus, whose packages include text reminders, payment processing, and analytics. Pricing starts at $49/month.
Book lets you list your calendar online and offers an e-commerce option where you can sell items like gift cards. Pricing starts at $129/month.
Mindbody features business software for online booking, marketing, and point of sale options. Mindbody works seamlessly with social media accounts and makes everything available through the Mindbody app. Pricing starts at $129/month.
Beyond the typical scheduling features, Wellness Living lets clients book through Google—making it especially easy for new customers to find your services. Pricing starts at $39/month.
Mend is tailored to scheduling needs for medical professionals, offering calendar features as well as a complex patient management platform—critical for running your medical practice. Starts at $69/month.
8. Luma Health
Like Mend, Luma Health is for medical professionals. Since privacy is critical in the medical care industry, this scheduling software features enhanced security options.
With GenBook, clients can book on social, Google, and practically everywhere else on the internet. GenBook also offers automated reminders and a performance dashboard. Pricing starts at $29/month.
FlexBooker features standard scheduling options like online booking, automatic email or text reminders, and online payment processing. It’s the right fit for you if you’re looking for enhanced security measures to keep your clients’ information secure. Pricing starts at $29/month.
If any one of these signs related to you, strongly consider using an online scheduling calendar for your business.
It’s time to finally get into the 21st century.
Make the upgrade to online scheduling software and modernize the way you do business.