Every business runs on a schedule, but none more so than an appointment-based business like yours. Your organization game has got to be on point so you can get in as many appointments as possible in a day.

As a service provider, time is literally money. Your scheduling prowess is the basis for your success. So if you get distracted easily, have trouble keeping track of appointments, or waste time on things you should be automating, you’re hurting your bottom line.

The right appointment scheduling software can pick up the slack for you. But with so many to choose from, how do you find one that won’t just end up wasting even more of your time?

Choosing the Right Scheduling Software for Small Businesses

For your appointment scheduling software to do what it’s supposed to, your clients will need to have access to it. That means security is critical — for you and for them. Make sure any software provider you choose is up-to-date on data security measures.

Because cost is always a factor, most new business owners are drawn to more affordable options. However, a free scheduling app won’t provide the level of security you need to protect your data and your customers’ data. The best scheduling software for small businesses should come with affordable monthly fee structures, greater security, and more customizable features.

If you do any work across state or national lines, your scheduling app should also allow for easy collaboration across time zones. It should be easy for people in different locations to keep their appointments organized on the platform you choose.

These basic elements should be present in any appointment scheduling software you consider for your business. From there, look for a software solution with one or more of the following features:

• Real-time, automated appointment setting: 

When your scheduling app is based in the cloud, you and your clients have a lot more flexibility. Make the most of it by making sure your software comes with automated, real-time appointment confirmations or denials. The system can automatically analyze your calendar so your clients can choose the soonest available time spot.

• Flexible calendar and schedule changes: 

While automation is helpful, that doesn’t mean you should have to give up control of your advance deposits, new-client booking, and other policies. The best appointment scheduling apps let you keep control of your schedule — and keep it flexible. Your solution should include an intuitive, user-friendly dashboard that gives you access to appointment editing, client details, no-shows, and more.

• Automated SMS appointment reminders: 

Flexibility gives you room to set and change appointments on the fly, but that also means you’ll have to pay special attention to reminding clients of any changes. Most of the best appointment scheduling apps will give you the ability to create templates and send SMS messages to remind clients of upcoming appointments.

• Multichannel payment integration: 

If clients can’t pay for appointments and services through your scheduling app, they might not enjoy it for long. Choose a solution that integrates with multiple payment channels, such as PayPal, credit cards, and online bank accounts.

• Class enrollment and schedule management: 

If your services include classes, workshops, or webinars, the ability to manage enrollment and class rosters will be vital to your scheduling app. Automated options will also allow you to create waitlists and automatically enroll participants if more spots become available.

• Options for creating and sending waivers: 

If your service requires that clients sign a waiver or contract, you can save yourself and your clients a lot of time by integrating them into your scheduling app. Create templates that you can customize and eliminate the need for stacks of paper waivers.

• Ability to manage deals and promotions: 

Limited-time offers and seasonal promotions are part of any good business strategy. But they can complicate your scheduling and bookkeeping if your app can’t keep up with them. Choose a platform that comes with an automated deal manager to avoid any complications.

Most important, your appointment scheduling software will fit your business only if it can scale up as you grow. If you can easily add and remove users, manage different locations from a single dashboard, and apply business updates without much hassle, then your scheduling platform should be ready to grow alongside your business.

For more information about choosing the best appointment scheduling app features for your business, or to get started with Schedulicity’s top-rated platform, contact us or sign up for a demo today.