As a service-based business, Time = Money. If that’s the case, how can we get more of both?
Nowadays small business owners and consumers alike can both agree that technology makes conducting business faster and easier than ever. Whether it’s making a one-click purchase on Amazon or ordering takeout through Yelp, a streamlined ordering process saves both time and money for everyone.
The same is also true for you and your service-based business.
Are you using a paper calendar to schedule your appointments? Are you worrying about spending too much time with phone calls? What if you don’t have money for a receptionist?
Online scheduling software serves these types of small businesses, such as yoga teachers and hair stylists, that rely on scheduling appointments with their clients.
So what exactly is online scheduling software?
Simply put, online scheduling software is an online-based platform that streamlines the appointment booking process for service providers and their clients. It’s kind of like having a virtual front desk receptionist.
Through technology and automation, online scheduling software provides your clients a quick and convenient way to schedule their appointments. A business can book 20+ appointments a day. Imagine how much time that takes you to do manually!
You can use online scheduling software to have more time to actually help your clients, or even squeeze in a much-deserved break here or there.
How does online scheduling software work?
First, let’s go over the current appointment booking process…
A client only calls during business hours, the only time someone can answer the phone. The client then asks information about the different services and prices. Lastly, the client asks you which provider and what times are available, and you have to break out the paper calendar to double-check availability. That’s assuming your calendar is accurate to begin with!
All of these are issues are solved with online scheduling software. With just a few settings, online scheduling software can manage your business calendar and appointment schedule automatically.
Depending on the software you choose, even clients can book appointments online in the same calendar, too. Your appointment availability displays in real-time for 24/7 online booking!
You can then view all your scheduled appointments – and even personal time – in a calendar that is automatically updated. Edit, cancel, or reschedule appointments online from any phone or computer, at any time of the day.
How convenient is that?
What are the benefits of online scheduling software?
As a service provider that gets paid by the hour, your time is a precious resource. With automatic online scheduling, you will have more time to actually help your clients during appointments. A two-minute phone call to book an appointment doesn’t sound like much, but barbers can book on average 100 appointments a week.
Just booking 15 appointments like this could be an extra appointment or a lunch break!
Your client’s time is also just as important, as they most likely have a busy schedule too. They have their own jobs and other life obligations and don’t always have the time between normal business hours to book an appointment.
With online scheduling, clients can choose to conveniently book an appointment themselves – whenever and wherever they want.
Let’s be honest, running a business can be frustrating at times. Usually, it’s not from running the business itself, but from all the administrative stuff that goes along with it.
Online scheduling software automates your administrative work, so you don’t need to carve out any extra time.
You no longer need to drop what you are doing to answer a call, fumble around with a calendar book, or follow up with client appointment reminders. Now you can run your business with less hassle and frustration. Or at least until taxes are due.
Most online scheduling software also offers additional features that can also benefit you and your business. One of these features is automatic client reminders. Client reminders help with a big problem: appointment no-shows.
For some service-based businesses, appointment no-shows can make up as much as 20-30% of all booked appointments. That’s a lot of lost revenue!
A simple text and email notification sent to your clients provide a friendly reminder of their upcoming appointment. This feature can drastically reduce no-shows and keep your calendar nice and full.
For instance, hairstylists on Schedulicity reduced their appointment no-shows by 66% simply by using our text reminder feature.
Accept Payments Online
Since scheduling is done online, why not have your payments done online too? You can ensure that you’ll receive payment beforehand. Clients who prepay are also less likely to be a no-show and skip their appointment.
Another helpful payment feature is auto-billing. Have a client that is regularly scheduled? Now you can automatically set up future payments in advance. No more hassle.
There are also discounts! If you’re trying to keep track of your promotions, no problem! Your discounts can be easily incorporated with your appointment scheduling.
Online scheduling software gives you more flexibility with your online payment options.
Add More Accessibility
Clients’ booking options are no longer just in-person or calling over the phone. Let’s say your clients are on the go but have their smartphone. They can book through an app. Or how about when your clients are at work and have access to a computer? They can book through a web browser. Other online scheduling software providers can even integrate into the social apps you and your clients already use, such as Facebook and Instagram.
Even if your business doesn’t have a website, clients can still book with you through your social media accounts. More likes, more business! These additional channels make it easier for service providers to better connect with their clients, and with the platforms they use every day!
Generate Useful Data
Another added bonus of using online scheduling software is all the comprehensive data that can be tracked and analyzed. Did the 10% off deal fill up your Wednesday? Is the student discount bringing in more of the younger clientele?
These data metrics can show you how well your marketing efforts and deals are performing. With this information, now you can make deliberate marketing decisions you know that work.
Take note that not all online scheduling software providers offer all of these features. Make sure to review their features before making a selection that’s right for your business.
Who is online scheduling software for?
Pretty much any service provider that relies on appointments or classes – from yoga instructors and hair stylists to dog groomers and tattoo artists.
If you’re running into these signs, you’re definitely going to need online scheduling software.
Online scheduling software can sometimes seem complicated and intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. If you’re a service-based business owner looking to save time, then you definitely should consider using online scheduling software. Remember, Time = Money!
Considering multiple tools? Here’s a simple scheduling checklist to get you started!